VPS provider hopping

January 24, 2015
sysadmin hosting

So a while back I started looking at alternative VPS hosting providers. I was impressed by the service Linode provided, but started wondering if I’d get better bang for my buck going elsewhere. At the time, I was paying $20 / month for their smallest Xen VPS or $25 / month if I wanted their backup service. My hosting needs were modest, especially since I’d migrated just about everything from dynamic stuff with a DB backend to primarily serving static content. So I could really get away with something with leaner. I shied away from the extremely cheap OpenVZ providers, and tried a couple of different KVM VPS providers before I found one that offered a balance of cost, reliability, and performance.

At this point, I’ve got a pair of VMs from RamNode in different datacenters (one in Atlanta and one in NYC), and one from Backupsy (in Dallas). The ones from RamNode have SSD-cached storage and are fairly performant, so I use them for serving web content and other miscellaneous stuff I’m tinkering with (VPN endpoint, IRC proxy, docker host, config management, etc). The one from Backupsy is less performant but includes 500GB of storage, so I ship backups from the other VPS servers to it and can keep tons of historical backups. And I run all of those for less than I was paying for a single Linode VPS with backup service previously.

During this time, Linode hasn’t been sitting idle. They’ve done several major upgrades to their infrastructure and clearly listened to their customers and started offering a $10 / month plan that brings them down much closer to the more budget providers. Not the sketchy OpenVZ providers that give you a 128MB container for $5 / year, but no sane person would try to host anything serious on one of those.

And if you were curious, I did tinker with AWS some as part of this. If you’re looking to run a couple of VMs, you’ll get much better performance at a better price with a more traditional VPS provider. As far as I can tell, Amazon only really makes sense if really need the kind of scale they offer, especially if you expect to only need that scale some of the time.

Oh. And I’m glad I listened to my instincts and never really used my TextDrive 2 hosting account for anything. They officially shut down less than 2 years after they split off from Joyent as an olive branch to the remaining “lifetime” account holders. It’s hard to know whether it was a scheme to get those people off the accounting books at Joyent and then quietly shut the service down or if it just demonstrates the difficulty of running a shared web hosting provider these days (a race to the bottom for the most part). At least some of their support staff seemed to be working hard to try to keep things running and help customers well past when they stopped getting paid to do so. My memory’s a little fuzzy at this point, but an utter disaster toward the end (drives accidently wiped in 20 of their servers?) highlighted how you shouldn’t rely on using Amazon Glacier as your only form of backup (see this post).