Cloud servers, cloud VPS.Nov 2009.
The quest for good value hosting continues. Around the time I got the jaguar VPS, virtualized hosting was starting to appear. Now some 18 months later there are several affordable virtualized hosting options. They are now called clouds.
There are many different cloud services on offer such as "cloud hosting","cloud storage" and "cloud servers".
It is the latter which interests me. I'm after a self managed server but some help would be nice if I need it.
My current VPS is cpanel based with fantastico to maintain my php applications such as tikiwiki.
I am mainly looking at the offerings of two companies.
http://vps.net/ and http://www.rackspacecloud.com/
They offer slightly different products as I will discuss later.
The services are likely to change as time does by so don't assume this page is still accurate if you are in my future. I have the same problem as I research this because I'm also finding out of date postings on the web.
I've been using Cpanel at an account/user level for ages. I also got it installed on my existing VPS and got another level of control in the form of WHM (web host manager).
I've also been using fantastico for quite a while and thought all my Christmases had come at once when I first used it.
I installed wikis left right and centre along with a few other PHP app such as coppermine and joomla.
What I didn't know then is I was creating an upgrade hell for myself. In theory it is easy to use fantastico to keep installations up to date. In practice the upgrades were often buggy and for tikiwiki at least my sites were often broken afterward and sometimes needed major work to repair them. A few sites I gave up on trying to repair and I deleted them.
Many hosting companies bundle the account level cpanel for free on shared hosting and can provide reasonable priced WHM/cpanel for VPS.
Buying you one cpanel license is more difficult and more expensive.
There are free web host managers such as "webmin" but I haven't found a script manager to go with it. The webmin people have another product called virtualmin-pro which does scripts but it cost US$138/year for a 10 way license and I'd need a 50 way one (I think) for $200.
It is a moderately expensive experiment. The renewal fees are much less, so in the long term the cost is reasonable. It looks like a nice bit of software and has a live demo on the site. You really don't know how well something like this will work unless you install it for real and live with it for a while.
Going with cpanel and a company which supports it would be the easiest for me but I'm considering making the break. No doubt many hours will be needed to master it.
VPS.NETOne thing I know is their sales enquiries team is fast. I submitting a query form and received a human email response within a few minutes.
The base cost of a vps.net account is US$20 for one node. A node has 256K of RAM, 10G of disk and the equivalent of a 400mhz cpu (possibly a 1/8 timeslice of a 3.2Gig core). There is also 250Gig of bandwidth included.
Nodes become cheaper in bulk with the cost dropping to $13 for 15 or more nodes.
I expect to need two nodes. They also have storage nodes but I don't need that if I have 20 Gig already bundled.
VPS.NET do offer cpanel for $10 a month. This is $1.50 more than I pay now but I'm OK with that. They do not do fantastico but are working on a deal with SOFTaculous for their script installer.
RackspacecloudRackspace nodes are very similar (not sure of CPU) but much cheaper @ 1.5 cents/hour or about $11/mth.
There is no bundled bandwidth but bandwidth costs are reasonable (22 cents/Gig out and 8 cents for outgoing).
For my site this is a much cheaper option.
If money is the only criteria they win.
Their website has the most annoying chat request popup which I've closed maybe 30 times now. This is about 30 times too often. I want the read the site not chat - a chat button is enough.
They haven't replied to my form yet. Why is there a mandatory telephone number required? I want an email response.
From their site if appears they aren't interest in helping sort out cpanel for you. I don't think I trust their "fanatical support" for when I get stuck. It is possible that they are absolutely fantastic but I've been bitten by marketing hype a few times to often to believe everything I read on a hosting company web site.
update.My vps is being migrated to another node so maybe the problems will be solved and I will stay with JaguarPC.
The migration is complete and the VPS is now working well. The search for a new host is off for now.