back to article Low price, big power: Virtual Private Server picks for power nerds

Running your own virtual private server (VPS) was once limited to either profitable side projects or those with money to burn. The relatively high monthly costs (often $40-$60 per month) made it too expensive for personal projects that didn't generate income and more serious endeavors often used dedicated hardware, leaving VPS …

  1. Julian Bradfield

    If you want a UK-based outfit with good support, I've been very happy with Bytemark for several years now. The selection in the article seems rather US-biased.

    1. Bob H

      Yep, I've been using Bytemark on and off for years now. Their BigV.io system is quite impressive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IPv6?

        It would be useful to know, do any of these providers support IPv6? (Aside: Bytemark does)

        1. choleric

          Re: IPv6?

          Dare I say it? OVH does support IPv6 as standard, and for a very reasonable price. However, in my experience their basic VPS (all I've used them for) is not super stable. It doesn't matter if you're using them for a VPN which can auto-reconnect, but if you're trying to run something serious on it like a mail server then I'm guessing you might not enjoy the experience. It's made a great low cost test bed though.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: IPv6?

          vultr.com provides native ipv6

          I have had 3 instances with them (London / NJ / LA) for a while, and they've been rock solid.

          Though they recently raised their prices for new instances (well, they effectively did - they actually lowering the general spec of each package)

          They are very 'hands-on' and you certainly get the impression that they love their jobs, and aren't just clockwatching for hometime

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excuse my ignorance please

    Could someone elaborate, as it didn't really go into it in the article, as to why you'd use a VPS over something on Azure, AWS et al? What are the pros and cons of each?

    1. Tom Sparrow

      Re: Excuse my ignorance please

      My issue with AWS (which we do use for certain tasks) is it's so hard to see what you're actually going to be paying. CPU cycles, IO cycles, bandwidth in & out & between AWS instances, storage etc etc etc. It's never ending.

      I don't want to care how many IO requests my web server makes a day, I just want a server with enough disk space. I don't mind paying for bandwidth separately, but make it simple.

    2. batfastad

      Re: Excuse my ignorance please

      Well AWS offers a whole raft of services that generic cheapo VPS providers and competing public clouds from MS and Google simply don't offer (though MS and Google keep playing catch-up). Object storage, managed NFS, Solr search, load balancers, DNS, databases etc

      But in terms of simple compute+disk, i.e. a VM, I would say the reason many would use a VPS instead would be price. Even the smallest Amazon instance is usually more expensive than some of the offerings from DigitalOcean etc. On AWS a t1.micro "on demand" instance plus a 20GB EBS volume will run to $29 per month (unless you reserve for 1+ years which brings the monthly cost down).

      An advantage of using AWS though is their API. We spin up additional instances when req/s through our load balancers starts rising and then spin instances down during quieter times. We have several reasonably large internal applications which are powered up on demand by users through a dashboard on the intranet etc. As yet I don't think DigitalOcean, Linode etc have such an expansive API or well-worn SDKs to rival AWS.

      Even though we use AWS heavily, we make sure our compute workload can be easily spun up with any other generic provider. We can route some applications to pre-configured environments with other providers or our own racks if needed.

    3. K

      Re: Excuse my ignorance please

      2 things - Fixed cost and better support.

      Though must admit, I took advantage of the freebie VM on EC2 for a year, worked very well :)

  3. batfastad

    Lowendbox

    Worth having a look at lowendbox.com

    I've worked with a few "companies" that have absolutely minimal budget so have bounced around quite a few of these cheap VPS providers. Experience on the whole is largely very good. Main uses... DNS, distributed mail relay clusters, reverse proxy caches, database replicas, backup boxes, and generally being able to distribute workloads across several providers.

  4. Buzzword

    Pi might be enough

    For many use cases, a cheap home-based Raspberry Pi is enough. Sure, the hardware is basic and your domestic broadband is slow; but the sheer quantity of other users means there's a hell of lot of support out there. For those just dabbling and not sure if they want to go further, a Pi is a great place to start.

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Pi might be enough

      The chief problem with any Pi usage revolves around IOPS. Unless you have incredibly small resource needs such that you can run everything from a RAM drive, even the Pi 2 can't hit any level of IOPS to be truly be useful.

  5. SecretSonOfHG

    Watch out for non standard options in VM kernels

    Not with any of the three providers mentioned, but I found one nasty surprise in one VPS a client rented for an application: the maximum number of file descriptor was capped to a surprisingly low number. Seemed that the savings from the kernel reserving less memory for file descriptors (and remember, everything is a file) allowed them to stuff more VMs on the same box.

    But of course, if your apps open 1000's of files (and remember, executing a program and all the shared libraries it uses counts as an opened file for each) they will fail in mysterious ways.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Watch out for non standard options in VM kernels

      Files open within a VPS are internal to that VPS - there are no more open files on the host when the guest opens more of its internal files.

      I assume you are either talking about jails/containers or less likely, some weird VPS setup where the guest mounts a real filesystem on the host, but even then, the link would be abstracted via something like NFS, so not directly applicable

      1. SecretSonOfHG

        Re: Watch out for non standard options in VM kernels

        "Files open within a VPS are internal to that VPS - there are no more open files on the host when the guest opens more of its internal files."

        ... and I was referring exactly to files opened within a VPS, of which there is a finite number of them, and if that number is made smaller allows you to run each VPS with less kernel memory, which allows you to stuff more VMs inside the physical host.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Watch out for non standard options in VM kernels

          "<I. and I was referring exactly to files opened within a VPS, of which there is a finite number of them, and if that number is made smaller allows you to run each VPS with less kernel memory</I>"

          Right... So what's stopping you raising it again, or did it come without root access?

  6. Phuq Witt

    Article Penned by Nigel Farage?

    "[Linode]...offers data centres in London and Tokyo. Linode doesn't currently have a data centre in Europe though..."

    Last time I checked, London was [however reluctantly] in Europe.

  7. schafdog

    Alternatives to Serverbear or LowEndBox.com

    Started using VPS a year ago. Got an ofter through LEB at reliablehostingservices.com. Uptime has been good, but not perfect. Performance has been up and down, but my requirements are more storage than speed.

    But I want an alternative location, so started searching for web sites like serverbear, but didn't find any. Serverbear looks great, but seems a bit outdated in data, so is there any others?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Alternatives to Serverbear or LowEndBox.com

      vultr.com storage instances in Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Amsterdam:

      (EU customers need to add their appropriate VAT rate to these prices, due to the changed EU rules)

      1 CPU

      512MB MEMORY

      125GB STORAGE

      1000 GB TRANSFER

      Monthly $5.00

      Hourly $0.007

      1 CPU

      1024MB MEMORY

      250GB STORAGE

      2000 GB TRANSFER

      Monthly $10.00

      Hourly $0.015

      1 CPU

      2048MB MEMORY

      500GB STORAGE

      3000 GB TRANSFER

      Monthly $20.00

      Hourly $0.030

      2 CPU

      3072MB MEMORY

      750GB STORAGE

      4000 GB TRANSFER

      Monthly $30.00

      Hourly $0.045

      2 CPU

      4096MB MEMORY

      1000GB STORAGE

      5000 GB TRANSFER

      Monthly $40.00

      Hourly $0.060

  8. 27escape
    Thumb Up

    cloudatcost

    Gives you the option to purchase a VM for a one off fee, prices are reasonable; based in Canada for those not wanting to host in the US.

    The various interfaces are not consistent and poor, but get the job done, customer support is about average, but for these prices - acceptable.

    $35 USD gets you a basic system (1 vCPU, 1 IP, 1G RAM, 10G SSD, 500GB data) or you can rent it for $1 USD / month. Thats right just one dollar!

  9. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    power nerd here

    I've had a server at a co-location for about 10 years now. Past four years have been in a facility here in the bay area, $200/mo for ~200W of power and 1/4th of a rack. I wouldn't be caught dead with my company's assets in this facility but for my own personal use it works fine. 100mbit unlimited bandwidth with 10s of gigs of backbone connectivity.

    Server runs ESXi and a half dozen VMs. Fortunately it's been fairly reliable, last time I had to go on site was a couple years ago for a bad disk and I think to reinstall ESXi on a new USB flash drive.

    I love my site to site vpn, and I proxy all my home http traffic over the vpn through the colo, really accelerates things. Home is about 23ms from colo at the moment.

    I tried cloud route for about a year(Terremark vCloud Express) a few years ago and well the cost/benefit of doing what I do now is quite a bit higher than cloud was at the time (not going back either). Not touching Azure or amazon with a 5 mile pole.

  10. Paul

    I found my VPS provider through the lowendbox blog, and signed up with Cloud Shards and found them to be excellent.

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