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Ask HN: Prgmr is unreliable. Please advise on VPS hosting.
38 points by revorad on June 15, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments
I've been using prgmr.com to host a web application in beta mode. I didn't want to spend a lot of money before I get any serious users, so I went with what seemed the cheapest option but still gave value for money.

My experience has been OK, except for one thing - they are completely unresponsive. I know their motto is "We don't assume you are stupid." but charging people money for a service and not providing any support is just rubbish. I've emailed them with some questions in the past and they never get back. A while ago they started issuing ticket numbers and I thought they must be improving the service, but they still never get back.

Last couple of days, my server has gone down a few times. It went down again this morning. Now I can access the root domain, but not the subdomains. I have written to prgmr support and I got my ticket number. But I'm not expecting any real help.

I know this is a bit desperate but I'm hoping HN user lsc (who runs prgmr) will take note of this.

Meanwhile, can I ask you to advise me on choosing another VPS host? I know Linode and Slicehost are the most recommended ones here. Given the prices, I might go in for Linode but I'm wondering if any of you have advice on running a beta cheaply until launching a product.

Sorry for the rant. This is my first time running a VPS server. I'd appreciate any help.

EDIT: Thanks a lot for your responses everyone. In addition to Linode, a few other good alternatives have been suggested which I will look into.

I have managed to get my server up again now and also got a response from prgmr. It's a shame that I had to do this publicly, I don't mean to defame prgmr. But I think it's worth pointing out that this is possibly one bad feature of competing on price.




we got a ticket from you at Tue Jun 15 03:51:50 2010

we sent a response at Tue Jun 15 06:25:58 2010

that's what, a little more than two and a half hours in what is the middle of the night for me?

This is a /whole lot/ better than I would expect my response time to be in the middle of the night. If you are disappointed with this response time, I have utterly failed to set expectations. email me and I'll refund your last month and you can go over to Slicehost or what have you.

Slicehost and linode both pride themselves on support. Slicehost has phone support, and from what I hear, they might help you with your apache problem, too. I met some of the slicehost support people at a xen conference a few months back, and it sounds like they really go the extra mile... so for you, the extra they charge might be more than worth it.

email me and I'll get you a refund of your last month as per policy.

(Note, you don't need to post a HN story to get a refund of your last month, I'll do that for anyone who asks.)


Luke, thanks for your response. I don't want a refund. I will email you.


Linode is pretty solid. They have had about 2(?) outages in the past year or so that I can remember. I've been using Linode since 2008 and am happy.


I have a linode for my totally inactive blog and a small project I am working on. We also just migrated all our servers for SWIX to linode VPS's. All in all linode has been a pretty great experience.

The linode library is pretty helpful too, especially if you are fairly new to linux or systems administration.


I also use linode and enjoy their service. Their outages this year have been in Dallas. If you are elsewhere, you've been less hard hit. Even in Dallas, uptime is ~99.8 or so.


I use Linode from their Atlanta DC. I have their Linode 360 option and it runs 12 websites with mysql and mongodb very very smoothly.


I'd recommend ChunkHost. You can sign up for their free beta. I'm a paying customer of their's and have had only minor problems. To clarify that, they had a scheduled maintenance a while back that involved a reboot of the instances and I had forgotten to set nginx to start at boot, but they'd communicated the maintenance window long in advance of the maintenance and so I knew to check to make sure it was up and it was a good thing to fix in general.

Their prices are very reasonable, they have a nice, simple online management thing that lets you deal with DNS, re-imaging chunks, etc.

I have used/do use: EC2, Slicehost/Rackspace Cloud, Linode, and prgmr.

I found prgmr to be a pain. There are just some small things that make administration so much easier.

Slicehost/Rackspace has gotten expensive compared to the competition, but they're pretty rock solid.

EC2 has some wonderful features, but it doesn't go down to the cheap levels I want for my personal hosting.

Linode is always a great performer and the only reason I'm not with them is that I'm getting a better price at ChunkHost. While I haven't had problems with ChunkHost, Linode is a larger player if you're looking for business hosting you can sell to your boss. As others will tell you, it's easy to recommend Linode.


Second Chunkhost. If you sign up during the beta, you also get a lifetime discount when they start charging you. I'm currently paying $12.95 a month for the lowest level plan.

Plus, for a beta, the service isn't too bad. But just to clarify, I'm only using it for personal stuff. YMMV


Thanks. The free beta is only for US users, I'm based in the UK.


>I found prgmr to be a pain. There are just some small things that make administration so much easier.

I bet lsc would be interested in your feedback if you sent him an e-mail.

Maybe not, but maybe.


I would certainly be interested in hearing it; I can't promise I'd implement, though. I am most interested in implementing things that make it /possible/ for a user to deal with problems without my help. I am less interested in things that make it /easy/ for a user to deal with problems without my help. Also, there is a long queue of improvements I currently need, some of which are quite critical.


I'm a happy customer of Slicehost. Their customer service is top notch. The few times when I needed help, I went to their chatroom and people were there to help immediately. They really do man the chatrooms. Very responsive and helpful. It's not easy to maintain such high standards for years.

Their articles is another plus point. It's constantly updated. It covers most of the things you need. No doubt they are not the cheapest. But their customer service more than makes up for it.


I've had a great experience with prgmr.com, even when asking them possibly-stupid questions about my configuration. If you can get to one domain but not others on a VPS account, it's likely not the VPS provider's fault...


>If you can get to one domain but not others on a VPS account, it's likely not the VPS provider's fault...

Yeah, was gonna say - a VPS provider's job is to make sure you have a running box and a good pipe to it. This is almost surely a configuration issue on the VPS and not the provider's fault.


I agree but what happened is that the server did go down and initially I could not access any of my sites, including root domains. Then the server seemed to have come back to life, but the subdomains still weren't working. That turned out to be some Apache issue, which I resolved by restarting it.


Which confirms what I said -- the issue you were complaining about was a problem with your configuration, not with the VPS provider. No provider guarantees 100% uptime, and you have to be able to handle things when there is an outage. The root domain going down was their problem, your subdomains not coming back afterward wasn't.


I know well that one can't expect 100% uptime. But I have had a few outages since yesterday. Even so, my main problem with prgmr is not the hardware but their almost complete lack of support.


I think the point is the fact that you're conflating what definitely appear to be configuration issues with provider issues seems to indicate that your expectations for support may be a bit unrealistic, especially for a provider like prgmr that specifically advertise themselves as being for users who will be able to identify the difference between the two.

I certainly understand your frustration, but I think the heart of the matter is that prgmr may be inappropriate for your needs rather than "prgmr is unreliable." I feel like they're quite clear about the fact that they're not for everyone.


Jump on IRC and you tend to get quick support. But you can't expect them to perform server administration on your behalf. Prgmr is targetted at your technical crowd, who are low maintanance, and thats why they are cheap.

If you need high-availability, you can buy 2x prgmr nodes at different locations, for the same cost as most other VPS providers, and you'll get MUCH better reliability that linode or such.. But perhaps you should clarify that it was your fault in your post.. I don't recall ever seeing any long outages..

Also, Prgmr likely runs monitoring software to identify when servers go offline, in which case, they may be able to respond to true outages sometimes the moment they happen.


Another happy customer of prgmr. I am 4yr with them. You kind of forget about them because there was not a single issues or outage during all this time.


I've had a VPS on prgmr.com up for months now with no problems. I mostly knew what I was doing, so I didn't have any need for support questions, but it basically does what I expected it to do well.


Maybe it's just my bad luck then. Like I said, the servers have been good value for money, but as far as support is concerned I have had no joy.


Then perhaps it isn't that "prgmr.com is unreliable" but rather that your configuration isn't reliable. Prgmr offers a virtual machine and a pipe for people who need minimal support, which keeps costs where they are. It sounds like you need your hand held a bit.

But even with that said, I've found their support to be great. They've helped me with a fair share of configuration issues, even though that's well beyond what I thought they offered.


My configuration has been reliable. I suspect some hardware issue screwed up my Apache instance.

If you have had good support, that's fair enough. I haven't and complaining on a public forum was my last resort to get any attention or help. The fact that no one from prgmr has yet responded to this thread is telling. It seems that one gets such bad customer service either from really small teams or giants like Google. I am not scared to call businesses out on poor service.


For those who didn't see, luke said they responded in 2 1/2 hours. That's certainly a reasonable response time. If you need a faster response time than that, then you should be running 2 VPS nodes, to improve redundancy.

The response time for emails isn't great, but server outages seem to get fixed pretty quickly. Furthermore, I think you need to accept in your case, that it probably wasn't a hardware issue....


Try rackspacecloud servers (http://www.rackspacecloud.com) - uses pretty much the same backend as slicehost (slicehost owned by rackspace). I find them cheaper as it's not a fixed cost, but pay as you go.


This. I've setup several client servers on slicehost in the past 6 months and they have been solid. More recently, I've put a couple clients on rackspace cloud because the SLA will make the client feel more comfortable. It's been equally solid.


+1

I run everything on Rackspace Cloud Servers, from SaaS apps to a very large Ecommerce site, and I'm extremely happy with them.


Have to agree with this one as well, I'm running my pilot on rackspace cloud, and it's going great.


Agreed, the pricing "trick" with them is that you aren't paying for bandwidth upfront, only what you use. For our particular use cases it has been a huge money saver.


I've had good luck with webfaction. I've only been using them for a couple months, but the one time I had an issue they were very quick to respond.

They're big on Django and I guess Ruby (don't use it). No problems getting a Django site up and running. No issues installing packages or other software in my user account.


Indeed. Webfaction is great for a budget plan. But it isn't an actual VPS. You can do most of the stuff you'd want to do with a VPS, but you don't get root access. Plus, their higher-level plans aren't that great.


That's right. I'm in the habit of conflating VPS with shared hosting.


Seconding webfaction.Been with them over a year. Have 3 small Django apps running and it is a breeze to set up. The support is above and beyond. I was trying to use a python script that needed had a dependency on a python library that had a dependency on a specific version of a c library. I posted my problem in the forum and got step by step command line instructions to get that going.


> This is my first time running a VPS server.

No offense, but it sounds like prgmr isn't for you. When they say "we don't assume you're stupid" they're really trying to say "we assume you won't call us for help, so we have low prices".


There is a huge difference between calling for help with setting up your VPS and calling to ask why their servers are down and when one can expect them to be up again. I can understand that they won't handle the first type of call, but I damn well expect them to handle the second.


Yes, except in this case, he claims the root domain works, but not his subdomains. If he only has 1x VPS, this means he has messed up his own configuration. Prgmr/Linode are paid to offer a service, but if you want them to administer your server, you should probably use shared hosting, or pay for a qualified server administrator


There are a lot of cheap VPS providers out there. You might be interested in trying burst.net : https://www.burst.net/linvps.shtml


"I can't access some VHosts" != "Server is down"


And they do.


Gandi is quite good (but based in France). I'm using their VPS hosting service since March and it's flawless (12€/month, and you can take advantage of the cheap euro if you're in the US). 3 months is too short to have a solid opinion, but I've been using their DNS service for years without any trouble.

Their motto is: "No bullshit"

http://en.gandi.net/hebergement/


I use Gandi for domains (not VPS) and while it works ok, support is not very good. I've had tickets going unreplied for a couple of weeks which IMHO is absolutely unacceptable from a big company like Gandi (actually, I believe it's unacceptable from anyone). So from my experience with them I can assume they might provide you with a good service as long as you don't need to get in touch with their support team.

I've been a Slicehost user in the past and really liked their service.


Second that. I grabbed a couple of shares from Gandi a few months ago and they have been great so far. Cheap as anything.

Also the first month share is free :) which was nice.


Your post is incredibly unfair to Prgmr. You are obviously not great at server administration and you seem to imply that you are requesting server administration support.

All Prmgr promises is that they'll keep your VPS running most of the time. It's on you to maintain it. Not only that but you know lsc is on the west coast and you posted this article while he was still in bed. If your slice is running, lsc is doing his job.

Apache configuration issues are on you.


The server actually went down. I could not even ssh into it. I know I am not great at server admin but if it were just Apache config issues I wouldn't make such a big deal out of it.

Like I've said elsewhere, my beef with prgmr is not the servers or uptime, but rather their poor customer support. That's what I mean by "unreliable". It may seem quite desperate, but complaining on a public forum was my last resort to get any attention on the issue.

I appreciate it must be hard to run a single-man company (I know I run one too), but at least one needs to communicate with the customers.


Were your support requests related to the server going down? Was that happening that often? Or were they for server admin support? Because you make it seem that only recently did the machine start dying.

From what I've read you seem to be a nightmare customer. Not only expecting a service you aren't paying for, but complaining about it in a public forum when things don't go your way.

>I know their motto is "We don't assume you are stupid." but charging people money for a service and not providing any support is just rubbish. I've emailed them with some questions in the past and they never get back. A while ago they started issuing ticket numbers and I thought they must be improving the service, but they still never get back.

Are you saying here you are sending support requests because your server is malfunctioning/down or are you requesting server administration support?

Honestly, you signed up for a service that openly states that you are expected to run your own machine and then you complain on a professional forum that the company owner is hand holding you.


From what I've read you seem to be a nightmare customer. Not only expecting a service you aren't paying for, but complaining about it in a public forum when things don't go your way.

Service I'm not paying for? Come on, now that's not true.

I've sent support requests for a number of issues in the past and today for the server being down. Are you saying I should expect to be ignored?

Honestly, you signed up for a service that openly states that you are expected to run your own machine

I have been running my own machine, even though I am no pro server admin. But surely I have the right to ask about downtime and other issues which are not in my hand.


>Service I'm not paying for? Come on, now that's not true.

You are paying for a hosted VPS. Not a managed server. If you need help managing a server you should pay for that.

>But surely I have the right to ask about downtime and other issues which are not in my hand.

Other than downtime (Which of course is perfectly acceptable to complain about) you still are alluding to trying to get server admin support from a VPS provider. What other kinds of VPS hosting issues did you run into? I'm curious. Of course you could just apologize for trash talking a VPS provider for not providing you managed server support.


I spoke to nick from prgmr. He says last outage he is aware of was 16 days ago (crock), which means that the server possibly was never down. It may have even been a routing issue at your ISP.

However, rule of thumb, jump onto IRC, and you'll get better support on Linode/prgmr anyway.

If you need uptime, get multiple VPS's, but for $8 a month, honestly, you can't expect the admins to respond immediately. You pay double the prices anywhere else..


Not had any issues with pgrmr support or reliability myself, but can't recomend linode/slicehost enough - personally slightly prefer slicehost, but use linode as well since slicehost don't have UK servers.

edit: oh, and possibly consider www.ovh.co.uk, a French company. Never used them myself, and don't know how good their VPS servers are, but have heard many endorsements for their dedi servers (and their prices are very cheap)


Thanks, I hadn't heard of ovh. My concern with going with someone like that is I don't know how much better the support will be than prgmr. I think I should just stop acting cheap and go with Linode.


What kind of support are you going to be wanting?


Well, basically if something goes wrong (e.g. server goes down a few times in 2 days), then at least someone I can talk to, ask what's happening instead of a wall of silence? I don't need phone support, even email is fine as long as I am not ignored.


Slicehost/Linode are both fine for that, will ask a friend about OVH


Since I wrote my article (http://journal.uggedal.com/vps-performance-comparison) comparing VPS performance last fall Linode has had two network outages in their Newark data center which have affected http://wasitup.com. Other than the network glitches their hardware have been 100% stable (I'm currently running on 4 different physical machines).


My experience with linode:

* Customer for ~4 years

* At one point my server catastrophically failed

* No backups. Or, now it's an add-on for an extra fee. See point above.

* They don't offer support for much... officially. But they make their internal IRC channel public so if you go in there and ask they'll just help you anyway.


Have you emailed Luke about your discontent?

http://book.xen.prgmr.com/mediawiki/index.php/Complaints


I haven't emailed Luke this time, but I have in the past. I have never been rude to him or his staff, but I should email him now regarding my discontent.


Firstly, if you can access your root domain, but not the subdomains, you have configured something wrong (unless you are using multiple IP's). That's YOUR fault, and neither Prgmr or Linode is likely to help much there (although in both cases, people in the channels are more than happy to provide some suggestions).

Now, in regards to stability, I find both to be equal. The difference is, that for the cost of 1x Linode, you could buy 2x Prgmr nodes in different location and run them simultaneously to provide much better stability.

Maybe you should jump onto IRC, but from the sounds of things, you may not have the experience to administer a Prgmr Node. Linode is easier to learn with, but is much more expensive

Just onto Freenode IRC / #prgmr, and people will help. But honestly, there was a short server outage a month ago, but your current server issues are likely configuration faults on your side.


I was about to write something similar about prgmr. They just don't care.

In our case, we just got bored of all VPS providers and took a dedicated server. Take the time to compare a VPS to a dedicated server and you may have a few surprises. My current server is 80$/month and a similar one on Slicehost would be 250$/month.


Personally, I think most people write off dedicated servers too soon. (this is a lot of why I only sell domains up to 4GiB- above that, it usually makes more sense to buy hardware and co-locate) Does your $80/month 4GiB dedicated server come with mirrored disk? that's a pretty good deal, better than I've seen lately, and I try to keep up on that (as I'm extremely conscious of the fact that my high end is in direct competition with low end dedicated servers.)

our support, yeah, isn't great. Did you at least get a refund on your last month? we try to be generous with those. (for some things, I know, money doesn't matter... but I think money is the only really sincere way for a corporation to say "I'm sorry")


What dedicated server are you using? Care to give more details?



I know that's not quite what you're looking for, but I use http://www.lowendbox.com/ to look for good deals on VPS (they have coupons) and http://www.lowenddedi.net/ when I want a dedicated server... At lowendbox, I found http://www.quickweb.co.nz (they're based in New Zealand but my VPS is in the US). I'm paying $4.95 for a 256M ram/20GB disk. Quickweb is very good and have awesome support.

Also, because they're in New Zealand, you can ask for stuff late at night (in the US) and they'll answer promptly.

Depending on what you want, http://prq.se/ might also be a good choice.


Lowendbox is a great place to look for /cheap/ providers; I'd suggest that the OP should look at something a bit more up market.


Yes, I totally agree with you. That's what I meant with "that's not quite what you're looking for". I just hope someone who searches for "vps site:ycombinator.com" finds this...


I'm quite satisfied with proPlay (https://www.proplay.biz/).

Advantages: - Rock-stable (didn't have any issues so far) - Cheap (e.g., for 3 Euros a month you get a vServer with 384 MB RAM and 8 GB harddisk) - Non-Enterprisy: Support is available via IRC instead of an useless callcenter

Disadvantages: - It seems to be a one-man company. However, it has been in business since 2003 - They are based in Germany. So from the US the latency to their servers is somewhat higher than a US-based provider and their websites are primarily in German

If you check them out have a look at their "vps premium" offers. they are even cheaper then the offers that you find directly on the mainpage.


I have personally had a great experience with Linode. Though depending on how much bandwidth you use it might be cheaper to go with Rackspace Cloud over Slicehost/Linode.


Bandwidth and memory usage is something I don't know how to find out myself. I have asked prgmr support about my bandwidth usage, but again no response. How do you estimate yours?


I like vnstat: http://humdi.net/vnstat/. It's easy to set up and has almost zero overhead. I have it send me an email from cron estimating monthly usage once a week. It won't break things down per-process, per-port, or per-remote-host, but I haven't found a nice tool to do that yet.


Thanks, that looks useful. I will give it a go.


A good VPS host has the infrastructure to tell you this within 24 hours of finding out.


In europe: ovh, gandi, or hetzner (they will also offer VPS soon). They are cheaper than rackspace, linode, etc... , and it's not a 2 man shop.


I use rimuhosting.com and rackspacecloud.com, happy with both.


I have to add my support for Rimuhosting. I have accumulated nine VPS instances with them over the last three years, and I have never, not even once, experienced an outage. We use an independent monitoring service to keep track of all of our services, so I receive alerts when a service goes down. I know this all to well because of some lingering services we had with MediaTemple for too long.

The upsides of Rimuhosting are:

* Stellar support. No really, stellar support. Their techs know what they're doing, and they respond quickly * Flexible plans - choose your own distro, VPS size, even semi-dedicated plans in between shared VPS and dedicated servers. * Did I mention the support rocks.

A lot of what I know about system administration, I learned from Rimuhosting techs. Not only do they fix what needs to be fixed, but they send you a great summary of the steps they took, complete with copy/paste from the command line. It's a classic "teach a man to fish" approach to support. They've spoiled me so badly that I get a little upset when I receive terse "problem resolved" responses from other companies.

I can't say enough good things about them. They're worth every penny they charge.


I'm also a Rimuhosting customer, with a single VPS I've been gradually scaling up -- I've had very smooth sailing in terms of reliability over the past few years, they offer a discount if you participate in any OSS development, and the techs have been a great help in resolving the questions I've had while getting everything set up how I want it.

I've also noticed that periodically when I'm researching server setup-related questions, Google points me to their resource pages, which seems like a good sign.


Try chunkhost.com , I currently pay $9.50 for a 512MB/20GB VPS


I'm seeing $19.00/month on the site, how'd you manage that?


If you sign up during beta, they give you a lifetime discount (chosen randomly) when you start paying. When I did it, the max discount was 30%, but they might have increased the discount since then.


I have managed to get my server up again now and also got a response from prgmr.

What was the issue?


Only thing I know is that the server went down and initially I could not access any of my sites, including root domains. Then the server seemed to have come back to life. I could ssh in and see my primary domain, but the subdomains still weren't working. That turned out to be some Apache issue, which I resolved by restarting it.

I got a reply from support at prgmr but haven't been able to trace down what exactly happened.


It seems you have over-estimated your system administration skills and expect prgmr to compensate, even though that's clearly not the business they're in. Frankly, this thread reflects pretty badly on your ability to take personal responsibility for your business.


What made you believe it's a VPS issue and not software issue ?


I have used RimuHosting, VPS.net, Slicehost and EC2.

Slicehost and RimuHosting by far have the best customer-service experience. I really liked the idea of slicehost, but unfortunately in practice trying to scale up a 4GB instance to an 8GB instance to handle load isn't fast-enough to actually be a great production strategy -- your VM contents are effectively copied to another machine and booted in it's place, so if you have a ton of small files, that copy operation will take a long time, especially if the server is getting hammered.

Also, you cannot scale beyond the 15.5GB instance because it is 1 physical server. So if you have potential massive growth down the road, you'll have to look into load-balancing.

As for cost, I disagree with the few that said Slicehost was expensive -- in our experience it was a lot cheaper than EC2 -- go ahead and price out comparable VM's on EC2 and don't forget the bandwidth, that is where they get you.

Unfortunately we didn't stay with Slicehost because of 2 VM host failures in 2 months. About 3-4hours of complete outages both times and 1 time our VM failed for no reason... it was really frustrating to have all these mysterious issues and it seemed there was no "fix" for these things... they were just god's will or something, who knows.

We moved to VPS.net next and it was great, for 12hrs... in the following week we had 2 mysterious complete failures of our VPS (tried, 4, 8 and 12-node configurations IIRC) and each time the 1st tier support would respond with "Our server admins are looking into it and will get back to your shortly", and then another 3 hours of down time before a useless "Ok, your VM has been restarted" response... that's it... no identification as to why the failure occurred so often or what was going on.

Again, another great idea "in theory" that just ended up sucking for us. However, if you need massive scalability, VPS.net will let you scale your individual VMs up to like 64 "nodes" -- which comes out to some insanely large machine.

To their credit, I got tweets and emails from the CEO and head of CS to help me after I blogged about the experience... but it is one of those "thanks but no thanks" situations...I didn't want to keep doing that dance with failing servers.

I eventually ended up BACK on RimuHosting -- 2 years prior we had left to try and find a more easily scalable VPS platform after no downtime on Rimu. We got dazzled by these other AJAX-enabled management sites and so on... Rimu has a very simple/ugly web interface, but an incredibly responsive team of very very smart people all dedicated to server stuff... and in the end we just couldn't come close to replacing that with real world experience on high-load sites (Dugg, slashdotted, etc.)

That being said, there are a lot of options Rimu doesn't advertise on their site well that make it one of the cheapest hosting solutions out there... like going over 2TB of bandwidth a month in their Dallas center only costs $0.10/GB -- Amazon is $0.15/GB

They can also scale you up to an 8-core, 72GB monster dedicated server on the high end for $1k/month -- price that same thing out on EC2 with the same allocated bandwidth and it's like $1700 even with the reserved instances.

Then you throw the really responsive customer support that is willing to do almost anything reasonable for you for free (including configing/installing software, etc.) and even though they have no sexy AJAX on their site, my life is a lot easier hosting with them.

We do all our serving through them, even stuff we have to scale over time with growing VPS accounts -- if you need custom setups that aren't on their site, just ask. They'll likely toss it together for you.

--- Hope that helps, I know you have a lot of feedback to read.


I completely agree with your point about Slicehost resizing not being a great production strategy.

Our app servers (on Slicehost) were getting hammered yesterday, so I issue a resize (1GB -> 2GB). After about 20 minutes it gets to about 97% and then stalls. In a panic I log into the server and kill all the apache2 instances. I look at the Slicehost console again and it says 40%. It actually started over. By the time it actually restarted with the resized slice it was over an hour later. The traffic was already gone by the time the resize finished.


as far as I can tell, EC2 doesn't start to be that great of a deal until you start doing the 70% off for paying a year ahead; in that case, Oh boy. in some cases, I think, they even beat me then (on larger instances, of course.)


Thanks a lot for your detailed comment!


I've used linode for a short while and am still using slicehost. If your apps are disk I/O heavy, go for slicehost, if you're looking for more RAM, linode may be a good choice. My stuff was not CPU heavy at the time, so I have no comments on that, but linode seemed pretty fast.

I left linode because I kept getting emails from linode support about disk I/O, and that was for an initial import of a 50GB postgres db.

After that, I kept getting emails from them once in a while, when my app was getting disk I/O busy. I can't run a business with these worries in my mind.

Slicehost is and has been working great for me, and they have great support.


Is this the email that states:

This is not meant as a warning or a representation that you are misusing your resources. We encourage you to modify the thresholds based on your own individual needs.

You bailed out because of that?


No. Its emails from human beings. Perhaps I got bad nodes... but I had just short of 10 slices if my memory serves me right


Haha, you beat me to it! :(


Linode runs RAID-10 arrays in all their hosts, and their disk I/O performance reflects that (it's very fast).

As davidw pointed out, those e-mails were generated by completely customizable thresholds. If your default usage results in disk I/O rates higher than the default settings, then you should just raise the settings. The warnings are very handy if your node starts getting starved for RAM and begins to swap stuff in an out a lot.


If their I/O really is significantly better than mine (and I hear that it is often enough that it is quite possibly true... I do know that my I/O does kindof suck) then it's more than just RAID-10. I use raid 10 on all my new servers, too. But, I don't email people who use too much disk I/O. I should do that, really, as I/O is /really hard/ to effectively limit automatically. (yes, yes, IOnice. but it doesn't work very well.)


As I pointed out to davidw, I was not talking about generated emails. It was emails from humans, including from caker himself.

I have no idea what kind of storage strategy they are using, but if I got support tickets filed because i'm doing a db import, well... they're doing it wrong.


Storm on Demand (by LiquidWeb) and GigeNet are pretty good. Storm starts at $50/mo for dedicated CPU core and 2GB, GigeNet starts at $10/mo for 384MB and shared CPU


I have been using Fivebean (http://fivebean.com/) and had a great experience so far.


My vote is for ARP Networks.

http://www.arpnetworks.com/

They officially support FreeBSD and OpenBSD as well as various Linux distributions, and since their VPSs are KVM rather than Xen-based you don't have to worry about building or running a Xen kernel inside your VM. In my experience they're very reliable.


Zerigo is another decent host. You can go with their hourly plan for 2 cents per hour for a VPS with 256 MB of RAM.


I've had a Linode 360 since Jan 2010 and love it! rock solid performance, create customer service and community.


I used to use Linode, and I agree, it has a great community. But for the cost of 1x Linode, I can purchase 2x Prgmr nodes


I had a good experience with Prgmr for the most part (dirt cheap memory for the price), and was reliable while I was using it. My only gripe was that IO performance was terrible, to the point that using ls in bash was annoying.

I switched to Linode and have been very happy with it.


We are using QuickWeb VPS, cheap yet excellent uptime and support. i'm running my site with them for 6 months now and going great.

site is www.quickweb.co.nz/wht for promos packages! they have server at softlayer so very stable network.


I had a great experience with DynDNS VPS. Reliable and fast.


I have had good experience with dreamhost: http://www.dreamhost.com/hosting-vps.html


I've had a few small sites (sub-50k uniques) hosted on Dreamhost for the past year. They go down. Alot. And the support is very slow to respond.


I've been a dreamhost customer since 2004 and receive near-instantaneous support (my e-mails are responded to within 15 minutes). I don't host anything mission critical there, but their shared hosting is pretty decent for a few PHP + Ruby sites I serve up.


Agreed, DH really is the most budget of budget providers, and their quality of service generally reflects that


Linode




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