hunting a vps

I’ve been a New Media developer (RIA developer in modern speak) for a fair few years. Despite a period of Web-Application development, I’ve so far managed to avoid any serious sysadmin. However I now have a number of different applications I’d like to run on-line (the likes of WordPress, Bugzilla, Drupal and others), and keep them live 24/7. None of them are high-traffic, and while I have machines at home that I could run them from, for the sake of the planet, my electricity bill, as well as the temperature, and noise in my flat, I didn’t want them running here 24/7. So the quest was on to find a VPS, and do so without breaking the bank.

Obviously Googling on VPS Hosting will return loads of potential providers. Following are my notes against those I gave further examination and my final choice.

Hostway

I’ve been with Hostway for what seems like for-ever, both through my last ‘permanent’ employment, and my more recent years with my own company. My main site is hosted there via a windows shared hosting account. It is relatively in-expensive, and has served me well over the years. However it doesn’t allow me the flexibility I feel I now need. Their VPS solutions start at £39.95 / month, which is way too expensive for me. (The value of VPS with respect to my requirements is far less than that.)

MediaTemple

I was quite interested in MediaTemple. A number of prominent respected bloggers are hosted by them, and they seem very much oriented to serving freelance designers and techies of my ilk. Their “Grid-Service” is a step up from a shared service – but not quite VPS. This service allows multiple domains and one-click install of loads of applications, and includes SVN pre-installed. They are US based, and at $20/month the current £:$ ratio makes the pricing pretty good – especially compared with my Hostway web-share. The fear-factor for me was the mysterious GPU measurement. I have read some bad press out there (although I think they’ve fixed most of the mysql issues that were the root of most complaints).

I suspected that my chances of getting Bugzilla to run in that environment, may be problematic. (It is not the most straight forward install in the world.) Admittedly I didn’t get around to asking them the question.

An alternative for which I’m sure I would have had no trouble installing Bugzilla is their “dedicated-virtual” at $50/month (20Gb disk 256Mb Ram, 1Tb bandwidth) seemed worth a look and good value compared with Hostway’s VPS. However I really wanted the server based in the UK if at all possible.

WebFusion

I had a look at WebFusion. Starting at £19.95/month for “VPS value” seemed worth investigating. I’m generally happy with 123-reg (part of the same group). However I’ve had a bad experience with WebFusion in the distant past. Since they were bought out by Pipex I thought they’d be worth a fresh look. A cursory glance shows that pre-installed software is quite old – PHP4, MySQL 3.23.58. A quick google-around revealed a couple of complaints of poor support, and an unresponsive VPS over a prolonged period of time. These complaints made me somewhat less interested.

ByteMark

Following a thread in the WAUK mailing list, a colleague made a valued recommendation for ByteMark.

You essentially start with a 150MB (RAM) machine, 10GB disk, 50GB traffic at £15/month but can grow it if you need to. The machines are in the UK (helps with things like data protection).

This is for a plain VPS. I’m not a sysadmin (nor do I wish to be one), and while I can cope with Apache config, I’d be a complete newbie as regards DNS and email etc, so thought I’d really need/benefit from a control panel. The only black mark against using ByteMark for this is that I’d need help finding and installing such a control panel.

CheapVPS

I chanced upon CheapVPS. Normally a name like that would deter me immediately. But I thought it worth a punt, with the pricing for an entry level Linux plan:

128Mb ram
5Gb disc
150Gb band
£4.75 / month

The server is in the UK. It is implemented with HyperVM which allows you to install the LXAdmin control panel which itself includes an application installer for a load of stuff including WordPress 2.1, Drupal 5.1 etc.

After playing around with it for a few days, I got a couple of plain sites, a test WordPress site and Bugzilla running. I am pretty happy with progress so far. I’ll follow up later with a post on installing Bugzilla into this system, as it did take me 3 attempts to get it right.

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4 Responses to hunting a vps

  1. […] Bugzilla on a HyperVM VPS running LXAdmin Following my quest to find a suitable VPS for my needs, it was time to get the newly released Bugzilla 3 installed and running. It did take […]

  2. Did you also consider an actual dedicated server as opposed to a virtual one? I rent several boxes at ww.servermatrix.com and while I admittedly do my own sysadmin work you can also get a variety of control panels there. As you mentioned the GBP versus Dollar conversion works in our favour and once you host a few sites for some of your mates (or clients) then the whole thing pays for itself.
    I’ve had shared hosting for years bu would not consider going back. Being able to have full access to an actual box is too good to miss.

    BTW I can wholeheartedly recommend servermatrix, the reliability of the hardware and connectivity has been outstanding for several years now and it’s not often that I would publicly recommend a hosting provider…

  3. creacog says:

    I didn’t really consider dedicated – the costs seemed immediately prohibitive. Perhaps in future when the number of sites I need to host increases.

  4. Lxadmin says:

    We have easy switch to apache available now. Please check this link: http://forum.lxlabs.com/index.php?t=msg&th=1433&start=0&

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