6 months review of Hetzner – cheap dedicated servers.

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6 months ago I decided that I would go away from cloud hosting for my main sites, and some of my backup sites, and got two servers @ Hetzner

WHAT?? are you thinking, but I wanted more control over my servers, and wanted to have more services on fewer hosts and servers.++

I found out about their server bidding, you can get decent servers there for cheap money, and there is no setup fee or contract. I’m using Windows Server 2012 R2 DC on my servers and use Hyper-V to run my VMs.

And this had now worked 100% for the last 6 months.

Product/hardware/price

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At Hetzner you can get it all, from several thousand euro per month servers, to €26/mo servers. And since I’m on a low budget I did find their serverbidding site, and found me a couple of good servers.

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The servers sold on their serverbidding is mostly 2-3 years old. Core i7 2600/3770/3930 and Xeon E3/E5 is mostly what you find there. The auction works like this, the price drop on different servers at different times, if somebody grab the server before you, the price goes up again, and it will take hours up to days before the price is so good again. I had two servers, a Core i7 2600 with 16 GB RAM and a Core i7 3770 32 GB RAM both with 2 x 3 TB HDDs and 20 TB bandwidth @ 1 Gbps, then 10mbps the rest of the time (if you use up 20 TB with BW) And I paid only €26/mo for each server.

I have changed one server, mostly because people recommended it, but I think I regret it, but still, my setup now is:

  • Server1:
  • XEON E3-1245v2, 32 GB EEC RAM, 2 x 3 TB Enterprise HDD, 20 TB BW, 9 extra IPs. Price: €59/mo
  • Server2:
  • Core i7 3770, 16 GB RAM, 2 x 3 TB HDD, 20 TB BW, 3 extra IPs: Price: €28.52/mo

The reason why Server1 cost so much more then Server2 is because of two things: The CPU was €11/mo more expensive then a i7 3770. And then the IPs. I have three extra IPs (0.84 each) and a /29 subnet. (€6.72) And Hetzner force you to have something called a flexi pack when you want /29 /28 /27 subnets. At that costs €12.61 extra per month. Not happy for that, had gladly paid €6 extra for the IPs, but have to pay twice that just to add a subnet is not a good thing.

Some times you are lucky with the disks you get. On my i7 3770 server, the disks was brand new when I got the server. On my XEON server my disks is around two years old.

Still, you get allot for your money. If you are lucky to get a server at the right time, you can get a very good price, and lots of disk space etc.

Service/Support

Hetzer are a unmanaged host. They fix network and hardware issues, but thats it. All other support cost money. Still, I sent in some tickets in the start, just to see if they helped or not, and at the first I got fast and good help, but then they started to say that they only support Network and Hardware, and that you have to pay for all other support.

They also charge you for the most. Like the flexi pack, if you need to boot from a USB, you have ONE hard reset per month, then you have to pay (so don’t turn the server off)

Still, what can you expect from a company that sells you a Core i7 3770 32 GB RAM, 6 TB HDD, and 20 TB BW on 1 Gbps port for €26/mo?

Have not had any hardware issues at all the last 6 months, so I have not tested their real network/hardware support.

Benchmark

I have taken benchmark from one Linux server on each server, both using 4 cores, and 3 GB of RAM and here is the result:

First the Xeon E3-1245v2:

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I tested with 8 cores on the server, but since the 4 last core is just threads, the result was only 5.550 points, around 500 points higher.

Then the Core i7 3770, actually this one got a little better result then the XEON.

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Network/uptime

100% uptime on the network on both Data centers (16 and 19) I have my servers the last 6 months.

Conclusion

I did go from a real cloud service @ Iwstack.com to a dedicated server. Was sure that was a bad idea, but since I have my own fail over service, servers in two different DC, backups on Vultr and a good host like Hetzner, my switch was not so bad. My servers is much faster then the Iwstack system, and I can start, stop, create etc server much faster on my servers then at Iwstack. I can use Hyper-V so I can Live export my servers how often I want, no snapshot that only works in this and that way. Full snapshot, that can be imported back on the same server, or on another server with Hyper-V. Just change the IP, and you are up and running again.

No abuse on the server, just me. The network can be from 200 mbps to 1 gbps. I think that will have something to do with other servers on the same rack using BW.

Still, after 6 months, I don’t regret that I changed from Iwstack to my own dedicated servers. But of course, it cost more money. Before I paid less then I do today, but I have put several of my services in the two servers, saving money here and there. Still, it cost more then the cloud. Since I used so little RAM, HDD and CPU cores.

What do you think? Please comment on LET after I have posted the review there also.

30 day review of VULTR.com

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It’s seems like 2014 will be the “cloud” year, more and more cloud providers is coming. VULTR is not a real cloud service, but offer cloud like features, the same way as DigitalOcean do. The difference is that VULTR has more locations (soon coming) and offer better prices on some packages. Here is my review of VULTR so far.

Product/hardware/price

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VULTR offer “fake” KVM cloud instances with SSD storage (like DigitalOcean), so you only get some cloud features like hourly billing, quick deployment, many locations etc. VULTR has promised that more features will come the next months.

VULTR has the same plans as DigitalOcean, but the price is little lower on some of the plans., take a look at this pictures to see the plans, price and locations.

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As you can see VULTR has plans to offer 12 locations around the world soon, thats three times more locations then DigtalOcean has.

VULTR guarantee more then 3 GHz CPUs on all their plans (except their storage plans in NY), so you get fast CPU power on all servers. They offer SSD storage as standard, but you don’t get Ramnode speeds, more like 3-460 MB/s. Still, can’t complain over that.

Their hardware seems solid, and using CentOS 6.5 and Virtualmin gives me a really good result. The servers (both France and Netherlands) works really fast.

You deploy new servers within minutes  depending on what location you are deploying in. It’s really simple as you can see in the picture over, you only select locations, package, and OS, then your server is online.

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Service/Support

Their service seems really good. They have already several good offers, like double your first payment and 2xRAM coupons last weekend. They are active on Twitter and on LET.

I have opened one support ticket in this period, and they used around 30 minutes to reply on it. Not the best, nor the worst reply time for a unmanaged host.

Benchmark

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Great speeds internal in Europe, and ok speeds to the US from my Netherlands and France server.

Network/uptime

I have 100% uptime on my Netherlands server and on my France server the last 30 days.

Conclusion

If you need a host that can offers lots of locations, rapid deployment and hourly billing, take a look at VULTR.com. They also promise to deploy lots of new features soon, that will take them closer to a “real” cloud provider.

They do compete with DigitalOcean, but if they deploy all they say that they will deploy, they actually can give better service then DO.

They offer fast servers, good network speeds, great prices, many locations, hourly payment and more, and I’m recommending them. Of course, the best thing is maybe to wait some times, so they get all their locations online. But if you can live with the current locations, go for them now.

Giving VULTR 7 of 10 points, since they are not offering all features and locations just now. Looking forward to seeing them getting better and better.

Check it out for your self…vultr.com

First impression of Digital Ocean

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I just started playing with cloud hosting, and after I moved all my main sites to iwStack.com, I wanted to see if there was any other good cloud host out there, that don’t charge you lots of money. After reading on LET, I quickly found out that DigitalOcean was next in line for me.

DigitalOcean is not really a cloud service like iwStack.com, but they charge by the hour and you can create “droplets” in several location, and it only takes around 60 seconds to create a VPS server. They uses KVM.

You can create VPS servers from 512 MB RAM up to 96 GB of RAM.

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You pay hour by hour, and you can see both the hourly price and the monthly price when you create a new droplet (VPS).

You can then select location of your new server, currently DigitalOcean has 5 locations to choose from, three in the US and two locations in the Netherlands.

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After you have chosen a location, you can select what kind of OS you want on your server. You can also create a new server from templates you have creates, backups or destroyed servers.

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Then you click on Create Droplet, and 60 seconds later your server is online. You get your root password on e-mail.

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Their billing system is simple. You pay by the hour for any droplets (VPS) servers you have created. You pay full price if the server is on, or off. The only way to not pay is to destroy your server, or/and make a template of it, and then destroy it. (you will get a new IP if you restore it).

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The uptime has been 100% so far, after I started monitoring the uptime. I played with the server at the beginning, so I rebooted it some times, before I started monitoring it.

I have done some easy benchmarking, checking connection speeds and IO:

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I have not tried their support yet (but it’s a unmanaged host) so I can’t tell how good they are.

I still like iwStack.com better then DigitalOcean, but it’s not a bad choice. At iwStack you have to pay €30 to get access. At DO you only have to pay $5 to create your first server.

Take a look for your self, and find out how DigitalOcean can make your hosting more easy.

 

30 day review – SolaDrive.com

SolaDrive.com is really one of my favorite hosts. They are fully managed and their hardware is really good. They do care about their customers, and offer a good product to a good price.

Product/hardware/price

SolaDrive offers both OpenVZ and XEN servers in three location (Los Angeles and Scranton, USA) and Kent, UK. They offers three main plans on both OpenVZ and XEN, from 1 GB RAM to 4 GB of RAM.

I use their smallest plan, the OpenVZ Business plan with 1 GB of RAM, 40 GB of HDD (RAID-10 protected), 500 GB BW and a 16 core XEON E5620 @ 2.40GHz CPU.

They have the best server I ever have tested, with a UnixBench score of over 6.000.

Service/Support

SolaDrive.com cares about their customers, and often check up on customers to see if there is anything.

I have only started two tickets my first 30 days. I was going to use SolusVM when I found out that I did not have the logon info. I raised a ticket, and they replied back after 29 minutes. The second ticket was about both of my monitoring services told me that the server was unreachable several times that day. Both reported the outages at the same time. I’m using two different companies to monitor my services, they have different IP ranges, monitors from different locations etc, still they reported the same error.

SolaDrive.com replied back after 42 minutes. They did only tell me that there was nothing wrong with their network or servers. So it had to be an error in both of my monitor services. Not the kind of reply I expected from SolaDrive.com.

Edit 25.08.12:

I got a reply from a Supervisor today, telling me that there was in fact a client on the node that had a DDoS attack against his server. So it was the reason why I got outage reports. Nice to know that two different monitoring services don’t fail at the same time.

Still, there has been no issues before this network issue, and there has been none after.

Network/uptime

My one minute monitor is reporting a uptime of: 99.974%, my 5 minute monitor is reporting an uptime of: 99.873%

Benchmark

Read my latest benchmark test of my VPS at SolaDrive.com here…

Conclusion

I was very happy with SolaDrive to my last support ticket. Was not expecting so little understanding for my issue. But my server has been up all the time, and they have good customer service most of the time, so they still are a good host. Was planning to give them 8 of 10 points, but going down to 7/10 because of the network issue I had and their support reply.

30 day review – TMZvps.com

Here is my 30 day review of my VM-1024 plan at Tmzvps.com

Product/hardware/price

tmzvps.com has five standard fully managed VPS plans, from 512 MB RAM to 2.5 GB RAM. I used their VM-1024 plan with 1 GB of RAM for my test period. They offer only OpenVZ plan just now, but they have announced that they will start offering KVM servers soon. They are using RAID10 disk setup with really good disk speeds. I got 314 MB/s on my DD test.

I tested their L.A node, and I did get a UnixBench score of 1454. It’s not a very high results, but it’s not a very low score either.

Their price is in the higher range for most of my VPS servers. Around $36/mo for my 1 GB plan. For that price I got 1 GB of RAM, 40 GB HDD, 1500 GB BW and 1 x 2.26 Ghz CPU core. It’s also include a Cpanel license.

Service/Support

tmzvps.com offer fully managed servers (you can get unmanaged also). In their price you get Cpanel/WHM also, and you have to have a control panel if you want their fully managed service.

I did only open one ticket in the period I used their service, and they used 49 minutes to reply on my ticket. That not fast for a fully managed host. Still, since I only opened one ticket, I can’t say what their average support time is.

One good thing is that TmzVPS (user TMZHosting) is very active on Webhostingtalk.com, so if you have any issue, I’m sure you can get a reply there. But it’s of course not their official support channel.

Network/uptime

My server was up 100% in the time I used it, with 1 minutes monitor service from several location. I have not seen any other problems with their network speeds or other.

Benchmark

Read the latest benchmark of my VPS at TmzVPS.com here…

Conclusion

If you need a fully managed server in US or in UK with Cpanel and OpenVZ technology, Tmzvps.com can be the right host for you. They are highly recommended at Webhostingtalk.com and if you search their offer section, you may find a good offer also.

They do not have the fastest servers I have tested, but still, solid servers backed up with a solid network.

4 year review of FutureHosting.com

After some time at SolarVPS I left for FutureHosting 04. May 2008. The main reason back then was the price. Since I only hosted my private webpages on the server.
Since then I have always used my VPS at FH as my main VPS. I have upgraded it several times, and I have got free upgrades from time to time.

Since I live in Norway, and my visitors is mainly from Norway I have used their UK location. In 2010 they had a lot of problems with their UK DC. It was much downtime, and I was ready to jump ship. But they changed DC and after that all was ok.
I had a fully managed Virtuozzo VPS with Plesk CP (100 domains), 1.4 GB RAM, 55 GB HDD, 2000 GB BW, 7 dedicated IP’s, Future Engineer™ Standard and Business Continuance Protection. I paid $42/month for this, so it was a good price.

I have also always had one backup server, with Plesk and a complete backup of all the sites. The last one and a half year I have used JaguarPC.com. I have paid $20/mo for this (or I have not paid because of a lot of free time after an error from their side). So totally my budged for hosting was around $62/mo.
The last two years I have hosted some few sites from my customers. Only small sites, almost never updated, only info pages, 1-2.000 visitors per day in the summer, a fraction of that in the winter. Still, they pay good money for my services, and they demands good uptime and service.

This year I started looking at new hosts. I wanted to try out VPS with OpenVZ, Xen and KVM. With SolusVM CP and Virtualmin. I have tested several hosts, and after almost 6 months I decided I wanted to switch from FutureHosting and JaguarPC to new hosts. This is now done, and I have my last day with my FH VPS today.
I want to write a detailed review of FH, so here it comes:

Hardware
I have never seen any big issues with the Hardware FH is using, beside their UK DC problems in 2010. My VPS was a Genuine Intel, Intel(R) Xeon(R)CPU E5620 @ 2.40GH based server.
Their network has been very fast and stable. Still I have had some shorts downtimes on the Network from time to time.
My uptime the last 12 months was 99.882%.
I will give network and hardware a 7/10.

Service / support.
One of the great things about FH is their service and support. They really have 24/7/365 support. Most of the times they replies within minutes on a normal ticket. Still, they can use some time to solve your problem, but they have always solved my problems within the time I think is reasonable.
They have also their Future Engineer™ add-on, who checks our VPS for updates and security issues every week, and sends out a report telling what has to be done. And since I always have used a managed plan, they always offers to do the work, I only have to open a ticket.

Since I live in Norway, I’m working when the US is sleeping. Still, I have always got replies on my tickets, night and day, weekend or not a weekend.

But of course, after four years, I have had some issue with support, that have taken longer time to fix than usual.
I will give service and support a 9/10

Price
FutureHosting.com always have great offers here at WHT. and you get allot for your money. So are you looking for a fully managed plan, with multiple location, and very good support, I will recommend FutureHosting.com

I will give the price a 8/10

Some issues I have had with FH
I have had several bad issues with Plesk, the latest last week. Some of the issues has happened after I have updated the VPS with #yum update (who Future Engineer™ is recommend that you are running on ever report). Some of the issue has happened after FH has updated my VPS.

My VPS have been completely rebuild some times because of this major issues. Not a big problem, since I have the backup VPS from JaguarPC and since I always keep fresh backups of all my sites, databases etc. But it has been time consuming and I don’t like issues with my VPS.

Another big issue, that they never has figured out is high load on the VPS from time to time. Several times when I have tried to update my sites, I have got so high load on the server that the DNSMadeEasy fail over service has kicked in, and used my backup VPS.

Almost every time I have opened a ticket, the load is back to normal before they replies. So they have not located the problem. But it has been so for the last year. Before that I had no tickets on high load.

Overall I still think FutureHosting is a great company, and they have the best support.

I have switch from two companies to three companies now. I’ currently using Prometeus.net/Iperweb, BurstNET and Urpad.net.
I also have some testing servers at xenspeed.net and providerservice.com. Totally I have got 7 VPS for the same price I paid for two VPS at FH and JAG.(actually less) I do not have access to the great support anymore, but still I think I have got a great deal changing host, and that I will get higher uptime now.

And if all fails, I know that I always will be welcome at FH.