For about a year now I have been running all of my projects on various mediatemple servers and while I have not had any trouble with the services I have always had to opt out of the upgrade program which essentially meant that I was paying a premium for a self-managed VPS. Last weekend I sat down and did some calculations and discovered that I would save a considerable amount of money by moving to slicehost and managing the servers myself. So as of last Sunday evening this website and all of my projects are on a Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy slice setup to my specifications.
One Last Fling with (gs)
Before I left Mediatemple I transferred everything from a (dv) to the (gs) just to see if the service had improved since I last tested around December. I’m pleased to report that the speed problems appear to have been resolved and they actually rivaled my (dv). There are still stability problems and a service will go down for a brief period of time (or more recently the entire grid). And although this is sadly the norm for shared hosting the (gs) was advertised to eliminate these points of failure. With that in mind it is still failing miserably at meeting my expectations
But enough of the negative review. I will just point out that my projects were only on the (gs) for a one week period and before that they were on a (dv) which was rock solid for me.
Why I chose slicehost
I don’t buy a service just because it’s cheap. I like to know the company behind the website and get a feeling that they are invested in the business and are passionate about what they do. Besides the cost savings, I chose slicehost for these reasons:
- The founders are actively involved with the community.
- Provide many community resources (articles, forums, wiki, chatroom), all of which give a sense of openness to the company.
- The control panel is no-frills and to the point. As nice as fancy designer websites are I would rather carry out interactions in a well organized responsive web application.
- They don’t oversell and try to make sales with unlimited bandwidth.
- They show you the load levels of the host server that your slice is on. This is very reassuring because you know how the server as a whole is doing, not just your little piece of it.
Now that is interesting; two years later the (gs) is still frequently bad and there is no word about the (uv) Yuri mentioned. Still waiting for the (cs).
I’m also really keen to deploy some webservices on a Xen OpenSolaris VPS service.
Initially, I was under the impression SliceHost was going to deploy OpenSolaris, being Xen based, but alas they do not seem interested.
I love it when comments on a blog review display a Sales battle between competing companies 🙂
More seriously, I’ve been trying this: http://www.gandi.net (I’ve been using them as registrars, they ere awsome, they didn’t disappoint me with their grid hosting), which I love (also most of the technical team are close friends of mine…). They contribute a lot to the Xen community and will soon have FreeBSD and OpenSolaris available, which I’m really impatient to get!
I knew I shouldn’t have said that…. I picked up a short term project on Friday that is very PHP intensive (Drupal based). Each process uses around 50mb of memory with the possibility of going as high as 100mb. So as you can imagine Apache MaxClients has to be brought down significantly to keep the server from hitting swap and crumbling. That’s fine for this project since it’s strictly development but it has the negative side effect of reducing the capacity of all my other projects running on the server.
So I spent all day yesterday benchmarking different configurations of Apache2 with mod_php against lighttpd with php-cgi (fastcgi). I found lighttpd to provide an advantage over Apache with the variety of applications that I’m running because I could cap the PHP threads separately from the server. I can keep the resource intensive PHP threads in check while still giving the web server sufficient memory to pump out static content without hitting swap like I was with mod_php.
I thought fastcgi was supposed to be dead and buried because it has some issues so I’m a little leary of the future of this kind of setup. But, for now lighttpd and fastcgi with php is getting the job done so I’ll leave it alone. When I’m getting ready to deploy my ruby on rails applications I’ll be back for more evaluation 🙂
LAMP. I’ve used Apache since I first started playing around with servers (~2001) and haven’t found any reasons to consider something else. Granted, my implementations have always been low stress.
I moved to slicehost as well. I’m setting it up and getting the feel of it. Are you on LAMP or LEMP ?
@Matt – Thanks for the warm welcome!
@Yuri – Thanks for the farewell! I’ll keep an eye out for the (uv) and I’ll definitely be trying the (xv) when it’s available.
Sorry to see you go 🙁
Check back with us in a bit, our (dv) U is going to be available really soon ( http://mediatemple.net/labs/ubuntudv/ ). It’s going to be running on even more powerful HP servers with the latest Intel Harpertown processors, Virtuozzo 4 with IO priorities ( Xen doesn’t have that ), newer faster backups, on-demand disk and memory upgrades and larger (dv) resource allocations 🙂
Hi Jon, thanks for taking the time to write this up. We really appreciate you joining and endorsing our service. Please let us know if you need anything and welcome aboard!