Blog Hosting

review of my 2010 web hosts

As the year 2010 ends, I'd like to review the hosting that I've been with for the year. This is the year that I started my baby steps into hosting my sites in VPS and there certainly a lot of things I learned. The purpose of this review is not to bash the companies but to remind me of what was my experience with them when our paths cross again.

RapidVPS


Plan : RapidOne
Disk Space: 5GB
Bandwidth: 100GB
Ram: 128MB / 4GB
Support : Unmanaged
CPU: 400MHz / 8GHz
Setup : CentOS+Apache+PHP+MySQL
Price : $19.95
Status : Account Closed

Shared Hosting : $35 annual
Status : Account Closed

Officially, this is the company that helped me introduce VPS back in mid 2009. It was the same time when I was busy doing unix shell scripting in my day job. The knowledge surely helped, of course. But their service went downhill for some reason and stopped offering shared hosting. Though the support is awesome (Rick, the founder, even attends to your tickets), he can't really do anything if the problem is a hardware failure which became often at one point. I think that was the time when they moved to another data center.

To be fair to them, I'm renting a low-end VPS plan so I shouldn't be expecting much. I have some online friends who are renting dedicated hosting with RapidVPS and they are quite happy with them. Actually, they are with rapid for more than a year already with very few hiccups. I really wish the guys behind RapidVPS to succeed and I know they will.

I moved on because some of my sites on my shared hosting is growing and I need to move them to a VPS. It just so happened that a competitor is offering a better deal.

JaguarPC

Plan : VPS.One
Space : 15GB
Bandwidth : 500GB
Memory : 198MB (recently upgraded to 256MB)
CPU : Equal share
Dedicated IP : 3
Support : Fully Managed
Setup : CentOS+Apache+PHP+MySQL
Price : $17.97 monthly
Status : Active

This is the most reliable hosting I've been with. As of posting time, the uptime of my VPS is 302 days. If not for the maintenance that they did early in the year, the uptime could have been easily 100% for 2010. That's not an easy feat. However, uptime is just one thing to consider. Another one is the speed. And what would you expect on a VPS with that specification? Well, it's not fast. It takes several seconds to be able to connect via ssh. Not really a problem since once you are connected, you can do what you need to do. But you'll also ask yourself why it doesn't happen on other VPS you rent from other companies.

Another thing that I like about them is that they pre install security patches on your VPS and it already comes with Apache, php and mysql. You can be sure that your VPS has already gone through initial security hardening. So basically, the VPS is ready to go when you receive it. However, you must take note that they are using a modified CentOS so you should be careful on upgrading/installing libraries.

Overall, I like JaguarPC. I'm with them for more than a year already and will stick around for the foreseeable future. But it doesn't mean that I won't jump to another hosting company if I find a better one. I mean, if there's another company whose uptime is on par with Jaguar and with better speed and specs at the same or lower price, then I'll bite that. But for now, I'll stay with them for at least a few more months.

VirpUS


Plan : U-Basic
Disk Space: 50GB
Bandwidth: 100GB
Ram: 512MB / 2GB burstable
Support : Unmanaged
Dedicated IP : 2
CPU: 400MHz / 8GHz
Setup : CentOS+NGINX+PHP_CGI+MySQL
Price : $5 monthly
Status : Active

For the price of $5 for a VPS with that specs, you would say that you should not expect anything. Surprisingly, they are better than what I expected. However, I had numerous downtimes for the past year and the past week has been specially painful. I have three money sites in my rented VPS with them and the 4 days downtime between Dec 24, 2010 and Dec 29, 2010 is too much to bear.

Their support people reply within minutes to acknowledge your ticket and advise you on the status. However, the resolution is usually slow especially if the problem is on the network. That is my current problem with them but I can't really complain because I'm paying just a few dollars. And I'm not really expecting anything but I guess I need to move on. Anyway, that's really the plan. I'm testing nordicVPS and volumedrive right now. VolumeDrive is the hosting company that powers BlackHatWorld.

WPWebHost


Plan : Freedom Plan
Space : 50GB
Bandwidth : 500GB
Support Type : 24/7 email & chat support
Setup : Shared Hosting+Cpanel
Price : $8 monthly
Status : Account Closed

This is another hosting service that has an impressive uptime. Actually, I think I only experience one scheduled outage and even then, the downtime is very minimal. Their server is fast and the support is superb. My tickets are answered within minutes and issues/requests solved or granted in a very timely fashion. WPWebhost is highly recommended for those wanting to dabble with the shared hosting.

I left primarily because I want to use WordPress multisite with the release of WP3.0. If I wanted to enable multisite on my account, I should upgrade my plan and the price would already be steep. Also, I don't have a dedicated IP Address and it would cost me more if I want a dedicated IP. On top of all these, I'm not hosting my money sites there(the original plan is to move one money site there) so the price is no longer appealing. Add the fact that there are cheap VPS with 2 IP addresses and 256MB memory for the same price.

But then again, it was never WPWebhost's fault. If you want reliability and high uptime for your website and don't want or don't know how to setup a VPS, then I would recommend WPWebHost shared hosting for you.

Closing Note


When choosing a hosting company, the plan you are subscribing to is just one part of the equation. VPS specs is not be all end all. Price, uptime, support and network speed all need to be considered in deciding which company to choose. You should do a research on how well the company handles the support of their clients and how good their service is. It has been bittersweet experience for me as I would have earned a lot more if I chose the better hosting. But that's the price I paid to be able to learn to manage my rented VPS.

It must be also noted the price doesn't translate to better uptime and support. There are plans that are priced higher because of the features included (no of IP addresses, free domain registrations, Tier1 support, etc., etc.) that has nothing to do with the performance of your VPS. For newbies like me, it would be advisable to get a semi-managed plan or at least a one-month Tier2 support. Luckily for me, JaguarPC has this Tier2 support free for the first month.

The company's support forum is also a big help. Don't be afraid to ask questions though it is recommended to search for similar questions first. Webhosting talk is also a big help. Most hosting companies posts there and a lot of people are posting their experiences in the site. It is actually a good starting point in doing research.

Disclosure: JaguarPC links are affiliate links. That means I get a commission if you sign up with them using the links I provided.