A year ago I decided it’s about time to get a Virtual Private Server for my pet projects. Prior to that I had 2 sites on a shared hosting server and some other non-web network related apps spread around workstations that are always on. But at some point it all started to get messy and moreover I needed to put a few more things online. So I decided to get a VPS and consolidate all of my projects in one place. Compared to shared hosting environment the VPS gives me more freedom and fine grained control over the exact versions of applications and libraries I use among other things. It requires more work on my part though.
The fact that I have 10 years of experience working as a (unix) systems and network administrator is very handy when it comes to installing, configuring and troubleshooting the software I use on my VPS. Unfortunately it doesn’t help that much with the selections process so I had to sit down and filter the myriad of VPS providers out there.
I dug through blogs & forums, asked friends. Web Hosting Talk forums were particularly useful. Finally I have chosen Future Hosting. It turned out to be a good choice indeed. I’m with them for almost a year already and there weren’t any major issues. I asked for PTR RRs (that’s reverse resolving from IP to hostname) and their support staff quickly added these for me.
However good a hosting provider is you must keep a backup of your own. I was rather passively looking for second VPS provider for some time. One day I saw (can’t remember where) a Comfy Host’s ad. It looked suspiciously cheap at $10/mo to me and I haven’t heard anything about them before. But this was supposed to be a backup VPS so I decided to give it a try. I placed my order with Comfy Host using my PayPal account and started waiting for a welcome email. One day later I received an email saying that due to the surplus of orders my VPS setup will be delayed a little bit. Ok it happens. Few days later I had to submit a support ticket to ask what’s going on with my account. After some more back and forth support tickets I got my VPS up and running.
I used it for three months and it was pretty stable. I used it only for my automated daily backup and monitored it with nagios. Then one day suddenly the monitoring lost connection with the VPS. Since it is a backup server and I was busy with other things I let it stay this way for a week. Finally I logged into the control panel and guess what… I was paying on a monthly basis after receiving an invoice from Comfy Host. Last month I didn’t receive an invoice. And I couldn’t pay either because according to the control panel I didn’t owe money despite being late with the payment. Hm… I submitted a ticket to ask why is that. I had to wait several days for a reply that read:
“Sorry about the late reply. The ticket seems to have been overlooked without a response. We received no payment and therefore your VPS was shut off.”
Enough. I went looking for another backup VPS. I remembered that Leo from Zen Habits once said he is satisfied with his current provider – namely slicehost.com. So I’m with slicehost.com as my backup VPS for about a month now. So far so good.