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Virtual Server Hosting? 71

Eric Anderson asks: "I am shopping around for virtual hosting providers using something like UserModeLinux to allow me to have at least a virtual box to admin for myself. The current two companies that I am looking at are TekTonic and Linode. The price is right for these two companies, but I would like to know of any other suggested companies to look at, and opinions from people that have used these services. I am mostly buying this 'just for fun', but would also be interested in opinions on using these services in a business environment as well."
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Virtual Server Hosting?

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  • JVDS (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @08:55PM (#8244233)
    I'm using JVDS [] right now and am reasonably pleased. Occasional unexplained reboots (also explained security reboots) aside, their speeds and prices are good.

    You should definitely take a look at [] and read what others are saying about various VPSes. It's how I found JVDS, and a lot of newer (read: potentially flakier) startups offer incredible early-signup bonuses to forum members.
    • Re:JVDS (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mnmn ( 145599 )
      Holy crap thats cheap!

      They give $12.5 per month for 10GB transfer. I know 1gb total disk space isnt totally impressive but Ive run some seriously heavy services on a Pentium1 200MHz with 4GB disk and 64MB ram and I know I wont need one-tenth of that.

      Also nice is the fact that they run squirrelmail, I planned to install that.

      What bothers me are the occational reboots and 3mbit connection. Is that shared? Will I be better off running my server at home on my ADSL with 840kbps upload?

      Another thing is they g
      • try I even became a reseller of them. 0 downtime. good speed
      • Re:JVDS (Score:3, Insightful)

        >Another thing is they go against IRC servers; I have no clue why. Why not block public FTP servers, streaming audio or game servers for the bandwidth? Do IRC servers get attacked that often?

        Yes, they do.

        Running an IRC server on a major IRC network is just asking for regular (D)DoS attacks and exploit attempts.

        - Colin
      • Re:JVDS (Score:2, Informative)

        by hellraizr ( 694242 )
        Another thing is they go against IRC servers; I have no clue why. Why not block public FTP servers, streaming audio or game servers for the bandwidth? Do IRC servers get attacked that often?

        Yes they do. having worked IT security at the largest hosting providers in the world I can honestly say that yes IRC servers basicly paint a target saying "Hack and DDoS Me PLEASE!". alot of hosting providers will even go so far as to setup ACLs on routers to block ident and irc traffic.
    • I'm in the process of moving my sites to JVDS [] as we speak. My current host [] is good, but they can't beat JVDS's cost. I also like that JVDS gives you a choice of either a popular Linux distros (Gentoo, Slackware, Redhat, Fedora, Debian, Suse, Mandrake) or FreeBSD, and donates [] part of your payment to either FreeBSD or Debian, based on your distro choice.

  • I just use their shared hosting setup, but tech support has been very responsive and the price is reasonable.
    • I second his opinion. I've got a JVDS server and I'm currently running 3 sites off it. Its been great.

      And Rus kicks ass. There's nothing quite as convenient as having tech support available over AIM... And he even answers "I'm stupid and can't figure out how to configure BIND" questions without grumbling too much.

  • Bytemark Hosting (Score:3, Informative)

    by FattMattP ( 86246 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:07PM (#8244263) Homepage
    • Re:Bytemark Hosting (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lionfire ( 103856 )

      I'll second that. Bytemark [] have been extremely helpful, reliable and competant. They are a tiny bit more expensive than some of the alternatives, but they offer secondary services such as domain-hosting nameservers and backup-MX hosting for free.

      I also really like having my server sitting at GMT. It makes working out time differences really easy :)

    • Re:Bytemark Hosting (Score:2, Informative)

      by daveewart ( 66895 )
      Absolutely agree. are great. The blokes running it really know their stuff. If you have domains to host, you can manage it easily through their system - DNS updates are totally under your own control. System performance seems to be good, they've got a fast connection outwards too.

      And how many other ISPs or hosting providers will offer to help you configure qmail for virtual hosts, for no charge?

      Don't forget to mention to them that if you are a 'free software develope
      • Thirded!

        I've been using them for my domain [] for a few months now and it's been very impressive.

        Sometimes support requests have lagged a little, but they are competent and reliable - and getting a discount for doing free software was a nice bonus.

        • Re:Bytemark Hosting (Score:3, Informative)

          by farnz ( 625056 )
          And a fourth vote! They are sufficiently competent at the customer service side of things that they'll even e-mail you to say that they've got your problem report and it has them stumped for now. No bullshit, no silly arguments, just a simple, "We don't get it either; we'll have time to do more research on Friday."

          Plus they've got IPv6 support already, if you're looking to the future.

          • As much as I hate me two posts, here's a 5th vote.
            Customer service is great, and they emphasize quality of service to the point of buying new hardware for my account rather than overloading servers on an existing customers.
            The discount for free software authors is really nice as well, and with that it doesnt cost much more than other providers - and for a uk provider they are very cheap anyway.
  • Go with! (Score:5, Informative)

    by PerlGuru ( 115222 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:20PM (#8244336) Homepage
    I'm a customer as a matter of fact. One of the things that impressed me the most initially was the open TOS/AUP... Don't do something illegal and you're fine. The message boards on the site also showed a strong since of community much as many large open source projects have. There's even an irc channel on OFTC [] that the owner hangs out in.
    • I too am a Linode customer, and the support is awesome. I have been very pleased.

    • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @03:27AM (#8246607)
      I also agree. I have a basic linod virtual machine with 3 gb of disk space, soon to be bumped up to 4.5 gb. I've received immediate support help over IRC and can't be more pleased. You can install any distro you want practically on the linode virtual machine. Right now I'm running Fedora Core, because I really don't like debian. The terms of service are very good for most people's needs. In addition, freeswan support is in the linode kernel, as in tuntap support, so I can actually use freeswan or vpnc to connect to a vpn concentrator in my network at work if I needed to for whatever reason.

      Having full root access (and therefore shell access) is very cool. This type of hosting beats all other types hands down, especially for the cost.
    • I can agree with the above reply -- I've tried out VPS's on cedant, jvds, and Linode -- Linode beats everything else hands down. Support is excellent, the web-based control panel is excellent (switch from Debian to RedHat or whatever in 2 minutes.)

      Highly recommended.
  • Liquid Web (Score:3, Informative)

    by Blackknight ( 25168 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:24PM (#8244370) Homepage
    I work for Liquid Web and we offer VDS and Dedicated systems. You can check out our plans at

    All systems are based on Redhat 9 and include full root access. These systems are great for busier sites that need more cpu/memory than a shared hosting account.
  • by JumpSuit Boy ( 29166 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:26PM (#8244378) Homepage
    Virtual servers (running on nice enterprise dells) with FreeBSD or some form of Linux (i'm biased I know)
    johncompanies []

    Read about them here in the response to there ad on Kuro5hin
    AD []

    Yes I know the first link redirects through kuro5hin that way they get any cash rev.
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by angst_ridden_hipster ( 23104 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:28PM (#8244386) Homepage Journal
    I'm hosting a few sites with them, on the cheapest plan, and it seems to be pretty good so far.
    • (Score:2, Informative)

      by KILNA ( 536949 )
      I have the $40 or so plan... I have been pleased with their tech support responsiveness, though the machine isn't as fast as I've been used to having my own box. Then again, I don't have to maintain my own hardware. :)
    • I've used these guys for a few months now. There service seems very good so far - friendly and responsive.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @09:30PM (#8244398) Homepage
    Since you provided links to both companies, watch their sites.. Which ever one is /.'ed first.. Go with the other one.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm from TekTonic and was just browsing the logs and noticed all the links from SlashDot (imagine my surprise!). The traffic hasn't put a dent in the server :)

      I'm a bit disheartened that none of our users seem to read SlashDot, oh well..

      P.S.: Our web server is running under UML with 256MB of RAM allocated to it.
  • We at [] use User-mode Linux to provide virtual colocated hosting. We offer a range of plans from 64MB of RAM through 512MB, with disk space starting at 4GB and bandwidth starting at 30GB/month. Plans start at $20/mo, with additional bandwidth at $1.50/GB and disk at $1/GB.

    We unlike some other providers have a very open TOS/AUP allowing you to do anything you would like that is legal and that doesn't include SPAM

  • I'm in the market for a VPS or dedicated server, however, I need more disk space than what is usually offered. I'm not doing anything illegal. I just want to store my stuff offsite and have an offsite server available for (possibly) commercial use. The problem is that most of these VPS offerings only come with around 4GB of disk space, and $5.00/mo per additional gig. Disk space is cheap. Why so chincy on the disk space. Here's my ideal VPS deal:

    60GB Disk space
    athlon 2100 or P4 1.6
    256M RAM
    root SSH
    1 I
    • by DDumitru ( 692803 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @11:24PM (#8245073) Homepage
      I am part owner in a hoster and we run UML for just about everything that we do. Even our in-house mail and web servers are running under UML.

      Pricing UML servers is a strange "artform". In your case, wanting 60G of disk pushes you up into the land of dedicated servers at $79 to $125 per month. This is probably a lot more processing power than you need.

      The best offer that we would have for you is:

      • 15 Gig disk
      • 256Meg RAM (128 Meg core and 128 Meg swap running out of tmpfs space)
      • 40G/month of transfer
      • $50/month pre-pay 1yr + $0 setup or
      • $60/month billed quarterly + $100 setup
      Our servers are available either located in Philadelphia with internet connectivity on Level-3, Verio, or AT&T (your choice), or in Los Angeles with internet connectivity BGP'd between Level-3, Yipes, and Williams. The underlying servers are AMD Athlon XP2200's with 1Gig of ram, Raid-1 80Gig drives, and 100Mbit switched connectivity that is not bandwidth limited. In general, bursting to a couple of megabits from individual connections is pretty easy.

      Our servers are designed to not be overcommitted. We basically cut a server up into 20 increments. Each increment gets 32 Meg of ram and 32 Meg of swap. The swap is run out of a "tmpfs" mount on the underlying host, so it is usually ram as well. Running this way, the only users that have ever complained about performance were running applications that ran their virtuals out of RAM, not the underlying host.

      The servers themselves have an SSH based console that lets you see processes, kill your virtual, restart your virtual, and "become" the virtuals console upon a reboot. This lets you fix filesystem errors and watch bootup, etc.

      We have options for local and off-site backups, multi-patch connectivity for green-screen applications, additional IP addresses, including IP addresses on multiple backbones, local and remote replicated file systems, and a bunch of other stuff.

      In about 2 weeks, we are reworking our website with new UML offerings that are more flexible, allowing users to buy RAM and disk seperately, configure server pairs as hot-backup systems, buy dedicated physical systems with UML pre-configured so you can sell your own UML "sub hosts", and more. Of particular interest to a lot of users will be user-manageable external firewalls, and managed security services so that you don't need to worry about patches, etc.

      Our website is: []

      You can call our offices (yes there are real humans here) at (610) 237-2000 or (800) 470-2756. Our AUP is pretty simple, don't spam and we are happy. Depending on which of our networks you want to be on, IRC servers are allowable, but check with us first so that we are sure they will work for you.

      One last point for people considering getting into the UML hosting business. There is an unbelievable amount of fraud out there. We get >75% bogus orders. There are orders with real credit card numbers with real names and phone numbers presumably coming from Russian or Far East organized crime. We have setup our system to "require" 100% phone authorization before we turn a server on.

      Doug Dumitru
      EasyCo LLC
      610 237-2000 (I get so much spam, a little more can't hurt)

    • I've been using valueweb for only a few weeks, but I've been very happy so far.

      dedicated server with:
      60GB disk space
      1000 GB transfer (!!)
      1.3 duron
      512 MB RAM
      1 IP
      Whatever aps you want
      $59 a month with a $99 setup.
      Check it out... []

      And no, I have nothing to do with them other than being a happy customer so far...

    • Something to note is that you often get what you pay for regarding disk space at hosting companies. A hosting company can easily match your above specs, but you'll get a 60GB IDE/33 drive and 40GB of transfer on one of the worst backbones. If these things do not matter, then it is indeed what you are looking for.

      I work for and the reason that we are not giving away 60GB of disk for $49 on our VPS systems is because we use high performance hardware that would make it unfeasible. U320 15kRP
  • (Score:3, Informative)

    by curufin ( 697683 ) <> on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @10:43PM (#8244680)
    I've been extremely pleased with RimuHosting [].

    The price is right ($19.95 for 64MB ram, 4GB disk space, 30GB transfer), and they have some nice features that cheap virtual servers often lack, such as the ability to 'power-cycle' your machine from their web control panel, in case you firewall yourself or similar.

    They offer RedHat 9, as well as a minimal Debian install, which makes it easy to install just the packages you need. I've found them to be stable (143 days uptime), and the tech support is friendly and helpful.

    • Thanks for the reference! We also have a Fedora distro available now [].

      Now, it may be because I've drunk the UML cool-aid, but UML servers are a great way to host. Whether is for a personal blog or a corporate website.

      cf. shared hosting you have control over everything (except the kernel which is usually provided by the hosting company). It is common for people to install and reconfigure all their core services. But I've even had customers install a different distro - e.g. moving themselves from RedHa

      • (Score:3, Informative)

        by jshare ( 6557 )

        Oh, and UML servers make perfect backup/failover boxes it you are running an uber dedicated server somewhere else. e.g. see

        Dude, you are seriously suggesting that people use passphraseless ssh keys? Madness!

        Just use keychain []. Enter your passphrase once per boot. Then you don't have to worry about someone stealing your key. You do still have to worry about the box with keychain on it getting rooted, and leading them to the backup box, of course.

  • freebsd VPS (Score:3, Informative)

    by JDizzy ( 85499 ) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @10:49PM (#8244713) Homepage Journal
    you could just use freebsd's jail fraimwork, which doens't require any special usermode-fu crud to mess with. It is simply there in any FreeBSd system, and is chroot on steroids. I simply hate the use of the word "jail" on a linux system as linux doens't have a "jail" command, just a chroot, and a bunch of scripts that sit on top of that which trap() things to handlers. Furthermore, you could simply use the linux compatibility mode in freebsd, which as it turns out is faster than linux itself, and then jail that off. Each freebsd jail can have its' own IP address, its own filesystems, and whatever else any other system has.
  • (Score:4, Informative)

    by ibbey ( 27873 ) * on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @10:56PM (#8244767) Homepage
    Check out []. They use FreeBSD to provide jailed servers with full root access. I've been with them for more then a year now, and I've been blown away by the level of service. FAR superior to any other host that I've ever used. Their support is provided by serious geeks, and they will go out of their way to solve any problems you may have. Try calling them & asking them a few questions & you'll quickly see just how good these guys are.
  • by d2ksla ( 89385 ) <krister@k[ ] ['mla' in gap]> on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @12:15AM (#8245480) Homepage
    I've used Linode for about 3 months, and it has worked great for me. No more DSL worries for my servers...
  • In my experience as a customer, they live up to all the rave reviews about their support and premium bandwidth. It's easy to get spoiled when hardware, network and OS issues are virtually non-existent.
  • I have been using (Score:3, Informative)

    by Korgan ( 101803 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @01:14AM (#8245935) Homepage

    Hosting Metro [] for a while now and am very very happy with it. To the point where one of my friends has now signed up with them and another is about to as soon as his existing hosting contract finishes. These guys are great.

    You do effectively run inside a virtual machine on a shared server. You can reboot your vhost any time you like from the control panels, you have shell and SFTP/SCP via SSH (obviously) and you get to choose what you want to install. You can install the GNU compiler tools to add your own applications or you can just go with the basics.

    For a bit over $6/mnth you get 500megs of storage, 20gig of traffic, unlimited pop mail boxes, secure SMTP or POP3 before SMTP, MySQL or PostgreSQL as you like, Real Server, (mod_)PHP, (mod_)Perl 5, Apache, full control over your domains and subdomains, including the ability to create and modify all your own DNS records. You can point multiple domains there if you like.

    There are a lot of other features there as well. I liked it enough I signed up for 2 years up front.

    Support is great. Every email question I've ever sent them has been answered quickly and coherently. They work with you until the issue is resolved and don't just say 'its not happening for us' as I've experienced with others in the past. The guys aren't just textbook admins, they definitely seem to know what they're doing from my observations.

    There are a lot more features I cannot begin to cover off here. But definitely check out their options. I'm sure you'll find something there you'll like.

  • A good choice might be Media Temple []. They offer plenty of goodies including MySQL, PHP, Flash, e-mail & aliasing, SSH login, and web-based control of all services, even page editing. Service has been reliable and quick with me. Check it out.
  • We were with Eryxma for a while, using their virtual-private-server solution. It was nice for a while, though we didn't particularly care for the redhat installation (we're more slackware-oriented.) The speed varied sometimes drastically on their end; we got blacklisted at least once because someone at some time had been a big-time spammer somewhere on our IP block; and eventually the service was discontinued and we were put out in the cold because they simply couldn't deal with the amount of abuse on their
  • I am hosting one of my business sites on ( []).
    It has been great to me. I love having a cheap web account that I can use emerge on (I am a Gentoo fan).
    You get to pick your distro with Linode.
    Also, I should say that I was using (freebsd setup). They had HORRIBLE reliability. There was too much "scheduled downtime" and way too much unscheduled downtime.
    +1 linode []
  •'s hosting services are very good. All UML hosting sites seem to be working through some teething problems as UML matures but has been exemplary in doing everything possible to make UML work well on their systems and provide a solid hosting service. And I have found their offerings to be very reliable.

    I have had a server there for nearly 6 months and have had one unscheduled reboot (due to the data center accidentally pulling a power plug which I assume is a very rare occurrance) and
  • How much RAM? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Wespionage ( 751377 )

    It's been a while since I've worked in an environment with so little RAM -- I don't know how/if things will run.

    I see that the base plan for several of these includes 64 MB of RAM, but I see that at least RimuHosting states that Java servlets won't run with 64 MB of RAM, and more is recommended if using a MySQL database [], I don't see anything yet on Linode's site about practical requirements. Does anyone have any experiences with what's necessary/practical. It seems that on the base plan, doubling the RAM f []

    • For Java, you _may_ be able to sneak by with 64MB for a small webapp on Tomcat. You won't be able to run JBoss. Ideally you'd want 96-128MB of memory for Tomcat and 128++ for JBoss.

      FWIW we [] have a VPS-C plan that overallocates the memory on the host server (so it swaps every now and then). Performance is good, but not as good as our main plans where we don't overallocate memory. All that means is that for the $24.95 VPS-C plan you can muck around with Java servers all you like.

  • I suggest []

    The tech support is really wonderful, the prices good, and it's run by a guy in a bank vault.


  • by semanticgap ( 468158 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2004 @10:59AM (#8248683)
    When they mention the amount of disk space available, that may or may not include the virtual server itself. For example, looking at the linode page, the free space is the space left after the distribution is installed.

    2. Uptime. Providers that claim 99.999% or whatever uptime are simply lying. It's probably the uptime of their network connection, but not individual server - I've had 3 different VPS's over the past two years (Verio, JVDS and Spry), and every one of them has at least once experienced a server problem where it was down for several hours.

    3. Proprietary things. Whatch out for provider trying to lock you into their way of doing things. This may be a complicated xinetd/qmail setup that works well with their GUI panel (which you may not care about). Once you get used to their way of doing things, it would be hard to move to another provider who will probably have a different setup.

    4. Watch out for the price. The vast majority of the hosting companies out there operate as Ponzi schemes - their main source of revenue is the setup and pre-payment fees, but the monthly fee alone isn't enough to sustain their costs. This makes them very eager to keep signing up new customers and not to work hard on retaining them.

    5. Few hosting providers will upgrade their servers, it's just too much trouble. So if you got a FreeBSD 4.3 or RedHat 7.2, it will probably stay this way despite of what the sales guy may tell you.

    6. You don't know what hardware they are using. It is trivial to patch the kernel so that dmesg always reports it's a 2.4GHz Xeon whereas it's really a PII.

    7. Most hosting companies don't like to reveal their inner workings. You can most of the time guess whether it is a FreeBSD jail, a Linux UML (those usually list memory limits as part of the price), a Linux VServer (not a lot of those yet, but it's the future most likely) or a proprietary solution like the ViaVerio crap. What this means is that you don't know what security and reliability measures they have in place, don't ever assume anything.

    8. AUP. A more restrictive AUP is a good thing IMHO. Providers with liberal AUP's are usually winking that they like to host porn. You probably don't want to be on the same machine with a porn site because they will eat all your CPU. Some providers prefer porn customers because they are easy to deal with, always pay on time and don't like to draw attention. Then other providers don't host porn because they consider it immoral.

    9. Make sure that the IP's you get have not been previously spoiled by a spammer. You will find out sooner or later when your e-mails sent from the VPS bounce.

    Well that's about all I can think of right now...

    • When they mention the amount of disk space available, that may or may not include the virtual server itself. For example, looking at the linode page, the free space is the space left after the distribution is installed.

      Quite true, although they do make that pretty clear on their site. For what it's worth, my fairly tight RedHat 9 setup uses about 350 MB before any user files are considered.

      2. Uptime. Providers that claim 99.999% or whatever uptime are simply lying. It's probably the uptime of the

      • 5. Few hosting providers will upgrade their servers, it's just too much trouble. So if you got a FreeBSD 4.3 or RedHat 7.2, it will probably stay this way despite of what the sales guy may tell you.
        Once again, with a UML host like this is not an issue at all. You control all of the software on your server and can upgrade whenever you see fit.

        Sorry, but I have to disagree with you here... Unless you are planning to be a fulltime admin, keeping up with the necessary security patches & such
  • I personally used for around 2 months and I was very impressed with their service. The ability to "reinstall" any OS instantly and play around was a really cool feature with endless possabilities. Best of all, their control software _just_worked_.

    You might also want to look into getting a dedicated server. I just picked up a P3 800 with 256MB of ram for $40/month. Most VDS supplies are charging that much for a lot less horsepower. There are plenty of deals out there to be had. Check out www.webh
  • I use Bytemark Hosting [], and I like them very much - prices start at 15/month for 64MB of RAM, 3Gb of Disk space and 1Gb of backup space - although given the current weakness of the dollar, I don't suppose it works out as well economically as the US ones do.

    However, if you use them, be sure to put me as your referrer ('tim'), You can choose between either getting me 1.50 off my hosting fees per month, or they'll make a one-off donation of 7 for the Debian project - your choice.

    I've always found service wit
  • I've only had an account with them for a few weeks, but so far, has been great; $19.95 for 2GB and 25GB xfer. They use H-Sphere as their control panel software. (I didn't know about linode though.)
  • Not to toot my own horn but :
    Pigs Can Fly Computing offers low cost Virtual private servers based on UML with full root access starting at $5/month .

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard