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Updated YC Company Hosting Stats (arglebargle.posterous.com)
93 points by brett on June 16, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

This might be a little bit off topic, but I've always thought that it could make some sense to have a YC colocation. With enough companies, it could be more cost-effective than everyone getting their own slicehost. Of course, there would be a ton of other headaches involved like backups, outages, etc, but a lot of YC companies seem to be doing just fine administering their own boxes in a colo. I know it wouldn't be for everyone, but maybe a standard stack of software/configuations could be readily available for new YC companies. We all seem to have had the same frustrations with configuring webservers, mail servers (ouch!), tweaking database servers, etc. It could be yet another benefit of joining the YC mafia =)

I think an easier way to do this is for a forward-thinking hosting provider, colo, etc. in the bay area to offer discounted or free hosting to YC companies (free during the YC period, maybe not after); a few months of free hosting to have a shot at a successful site as customer would be more than worth it.

(alternatively, convertible debt)

Piggybacking on YC's selection process seems like a good business model in general.

I have considered offering free hosting to YC companies. Most of them seem to be a bit, ah, brand conscious (thus going for slicehost over linode) so I haven't bothered to push the idea.

But yea, if any YC company needs free hosting (and really, hosting is so cheap these days that it's all pretty much free) I'd be happy to give it to them. I'm younger than linode, but I've been renting Xen VPSs since 2005, which makes me older than slicehost, I believe.

I'm not asking you to go exclusive or anything (in fact, I think that's a bad idea. don't host all your stuff with the same provider.)

That said, I'd be a little surprised if any of the YC companies have to pay for hosting. Many, many ISPs would be happy to give away a little bandwidth in exchange for some publicity.

I think this would be a win-win for YC and the hosting provider. The startups would save a little bit of money, and the hosting provider would get a good amount of recurring revenue after the 3 months, since we are unlikely to migrate our servers after spending countless hours setting it up.

Why only 1 on linode? Is there a reason?

There are several.

Slicehost has been doing Xen hosting longer. Linode is older, but they were using User Mode Linux (not nearly as good as Xen) for a long time. Slicehost got the mindshare by getting to Xen hosting first.

Slicehost is local to all their data centers. Whether in St Louis or Dallas/Ft Worth, their employees actually work there. Linode's employees all work in South Jersey, 2 hours from their Newark data center and inaccessible to their other data centers. Kinda indicates that they have other people setting up a lot of their stuff.

Linode is often out of stock or having limited stock. This might just be that Slicehost doesn't tell us how the sausage is made and Linode does.

Linode tops out at 2880MB. Slicehost offers instances going up to 15.5GB. That's a major difference if you want to try scaling up easily and there is a huge difference between trying to get your site to handle traffic on a 3GB server and a 15GB server.

Backups are a nice touch.

The Rackspace name lends a "they're the big game in town" to their service.

They aren't that much more expensive. Linode charges a constant $0.0555. . . per MB of RAM. At the 2GB level, Slicehost is charging $0.634 per MB of RAM. That means that if you were to get 2GB servers from each, the Slicehost would cost you $130 and the Linode would cost you $114. It is cheaper, but it isn't so significantly cheaper.

Slicehost can more easily upgrade your plan. Linode has to switch your box should you want to move plans. Often Slicehost can move plans while keeping you on the same box.


Now, none of that may matter to you. It doesn't to me and that's why I'm a Linode customer. However, for many these are considerations. If you're running a business, having instances top out at 3GB is a concern. Would you pay a 13% premium for Slicehost just for the knowledge that you can upgrade beyond 3GB of RAM should the need arise? If I had a person project where downtime for migration would be embarrassing, I would.

Likewise, some might care that the Slicehost people actually work in the area rather than colo-ing boxes with places like The Planet.

I'm very happy with Linode, but I can see why many would choose Slicehost.

>> "They aren't that much more expensive"

Bandwidth overage on slicehost is .30/GB. On Linode it's .10/GB. That's a fairly massive difference.

For some businesses, the economic value of a marginal gigabyte is, say, (does math) $50.

Santa, for Christmas this year:

1) I'd like to use all of my 500 GB quota, every month.

2) I'd like to start paying overage charges. REALLY BIG OVERAGE CHARGES.

> Slicehost can more easily upgrade your plan. Linode has to switch your box should you want to move plans. Often Slicehost can move plans while keeping you on the same box.

I'm on slicehost, and when I upgraded ("resized") a slice, it was not a "live" operation. I don't know whether it's physically the same machine, but the old slice had to be shutdown, file system copied, and a new slice booted.

From the "Resize your slice" page:

Step 3: Current slice is shut down and migrated You will experience a downtime varying in proportion to fullness of the filesystem.

It's pretty similar on SH and LN. I prefer LN, because you get to decide when it happens. You just get a message in your manager to say you have a migrate pending, and you can shutdown when you like.

When I moved from 1400 to 2800 it was a very speedy operation.

Exactly (thanks for linking to it:-) you can't compare the RAM prices directly. You have to figure in the 64 bit tax on Slicehost first, then compare. It turns out that Linode is significantly cheaper.

> trying to get your site to handle traffic on a 3GB server and a 15GB server.

I find that I always hit cpu limits way before memory becomes an issue.

same here. i've been profiling this past week trying to see if i can trim cpu cycles or whether that's just how the game is played.

The problem is template rendering, string handling is a (relatively) expensive process. I found utf8'ing my entire workflow (instead of decoding to unicode then reencoding to utf8) drastically affected performance (using python).

if you want more than 15GiB... use hardware. For less than half what a 16GiB slice sets you back, I'd be happy to rent you your own 8 core server with 32GiB ram.

I was just thinking the same thing. 14 on Slicehost and only 1 on Linode seems like an odd ratio considering the similarities of the services provided and price point.

Maybe its because Slicehost offers backups?

I'm not YC, but yes backups differentiate for me.

Though I'm still itching to find something just like Slicehost but with gigabit on the private network.

That's the power of branding..

SH really does have a strong brand. Initially, I wasn't really aware of the 64 bit issue, and saw that lots of people were happy with them, so I went with them over Linode without any real concrete reasons. That turned out to be a mistake, as Linode is significantly cheaper for what I need, yet still seem to run a quality operation.

Surprised me as well. I don't know of a metric where slicehost beats linode.

Slicehost support is top notch -- also getting started on a box is absurdly simple with PickledOnion's tutorials.

True. PickedOnion's tutorials are really helpful, especially if it's your first time setting up a "real" server. I later went with Linode for my personal websites, since they're a bit cheaper, and I felt more comfortable with setting up a box now.

I went with linode and used the slicehost tutorials for setup. All good. I definitely feel more loyalty to slicehost, but I was already set up on linode and it is cheaper, so momentum kept me there.

SH are definitely good people, but are they better than Linode in terms of support? That's difficult to determine and quantify. The only support request I filed was asking if they'd be adding 32 bit instances any time soon, and they said no;-)

Disk, right? RAID 1+0 at Slicehost is pretty unique, afaik.

I'm not saying that makes them objectively better in every way, but it's just an answer to your non-question. ;)

Linode is great. Using them for Hacker News Directory (hndir.com) and several other sites.

Thanks for compiling that list. I didn't know about SoftLayer.

I noticed the list mentions Justin.tv hosts itself. Aren't they built on Amazon EC2 and S3?

Justin.tv and Weebly run their own networks. We have BGP-speaking routers that announce our own IP address prefixes to the global internet routing table via multiple transit providers.

Your information is out of date. We outgrew EC2 a while ago.

Outgrew how?

In a couple different ways. EC2 is an amazing service, but it's not a perfect fit for everyone. We basically wanted to buy cheaper bandwidth and more bandwidth per CPU, and there's no real path for that on EC2.

From what I can tell, Justin.tv and us (Weebly) are the only ones on that list who own their own IP blocks

wow nobody using engineyard! I guess the YC stipend would only cover one month :)

Not a YC company but I have sites on Slicehost and FDC Servers. Slicehost was nice for setting up my first Linux server - now that I've done it, I'll be using FDC as it's hard to beat FDC for the price/bandwidth.

If you can stay under 3 TB/month 1and1 also has some decent servers for the money.

Does Mosso cloud mix into Rackspace? I've been quite happy with my Mosso Xen VPS.

I pay like $26/mo. for my 512MB VPS. It's $0.03/hr which is $21.90/mo. but you pay $0.22/GB out, and $0.08/GB in. I don't use a whole lot of bandwidth though.

It'd be a nice touch to link to the sites in question. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't recognize all of the YC companies on that list! :-)

True. They're linked in the FAQ: http://ycombinator.com/faq.html

Before this, everyone was on AWS, did YC companies get a deal with Slicehost?

I wonder why no YC companies are on Google App Engine.

It's only been 4 months since they announced commercial licensing. Before that you'd have been a nut to build your business on it. Pretty much any announced YC company started development more than 4 months back.

I know of at least one that is!

You beat me to it. :)

Which one?


I miss you, Softlayer :(

Why did you switch to Rackspace?

Monetary reasons.

Could you expand on that? :) We've been happily hosted at SoftLayer for a few years. Our negotiated rates were quite a bit better than Rackspace the last time I checked, curious if their pricing has come down.

Interesting reviews at Web Hosting Geeks: http://webhostinggeeks.com/

*edit--damn no one likes sarcasm around here

Why the url then? Seems a bit tongue and cheek.

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