30 day review of Digital Ocean

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When I first started looking at Cloud hosting, I did quickly hear about two services, iwStack.com and DigitalOcean. One month ago I did signup for an account with DO, and have used their Amsterdam 2 DC since that. As always I started with a small VPS plan, to test uptime, network, hardware etc. Here is my review of DigitalOcean.

Product/hardware/price

DigitalOcean is not really a cloud host, but they offer cloud features like pay by the hour, snapshots, templates,  quick deployment, use your credit to create lots of servers, backups, several locations etc. But still, you get a “normal” KVM server. They have no High Availability, no Fail-Over, no Own ISO, no External Firewall with GUI etc like iwStack do.

But still, they have a really good product. It’s super simple to create new droplets, it takes only around 55 seconds before it is online (you get the root password on e-mail). In fact, it only takes around 55 seconds to create a 64 GB RAM, 640 GB SSD disk, 20vCore KVM server! What other host let you do that?

Their prices starts at $5/mo or $0.007/hour. You pay for what you use, and they do only bill by the hour. But they do charge you 100% regardless of your servers is turned on or off. Still, you can create a template, and delete your server, then recreate it later on when you need it, without paying for it. Unlike iwStack.com, they do not charge for template disk space.

I’m normally using a 512 MB RAM , 20 GB disk. 1 TB BW, 1vCore server on their AMS2 DC, paying $5/mo for it. So most of my review is based on this server, with the uptime. But I have done my benchmark test on a 64 GB droplet.

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Service/Support

The first (and only) time I used their support so far, it was a mixed experience. I asked them some really short and clear questions, and got BS replies back. But I had stumbled on a little “trade” secret, that the normal support guy did not know (or wanted to reply on). I did not understand why I could not get any reply, after I had repeated my self for the third time. I then tweeted about this issue, and then it took under 10 minutes before I got a reply, both on twitter and on my support ticket. This time from a Support Specialist. I got a really good explanation on my question, and as a really nice thing I got a credit on my account.

I think this is a excellent proof of a good host. I could easily been a situation there I had been very unhappy, just getting strange replies on my ticket, but it was solved very fast. And with a very good outcome for me. 😀

Their response time on “normal” support tickets is around 14 minutes average from my tickets.

Benchmark

I have done one test on Serverbear.com, but it was not done on the same droplets as my own benchmark. On the Serverbear test I got a really low disk speed of 160 MB/s.

The first test is with a 16 GB 8vCore server, and I got a UnixBench result of 2844. I did then run a test on a 64 GB 20vCore server, and the result was: 4226 points. It currently holds the 5.place on my Top20 list. I could not test their 96 GB RAM 24vCore server, they have disabled it on all locations.

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I get an average of 445 MB/S on my DD test, and thats not so impressive since they offer pure SSD disks on the nodes. Still, 445 MB/s is not bad, but it’s not Ramnode speeds either. I have seen DO speeds up to over 700 MB/s but I’m sure that was on low load nodes.

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Really good connection in the Netherlands, and not so bad speeds all around.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 100% uptime the last 30 days with 1 minute monitors. I’m using their AMS2 location for my test server.

Conclusion

DigitalOcean is not a complete cloud host, it lack some cloud features like HA, fail-over, firewall etc, but it still is a really good host. Servers is deployed within one minute, you can choose from several locations, templates etc. You can create templates and backups that you can transfer from EU to US and vica versa.

Their servers is really good, you can resize your servers with one click, and their uptime is really good. (the best).

Signup and do a test for your self, I’m sure you will like DigitalOcean as much as I do.

 

4 month review of Ramnode

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The first time I used Ramnode is around 1.5 years ago (July 2012). They was a new company then, only around 2 months old. But still, they had really good servers with really good disk speeds, and a high Benchmark result. But back in 2012 I did not continue with their service, because they only had US servers then.

4 months ago, I did signup for two Netherlands servers with Ramnode, and have used them since that.

Product/hardware/price

Since they started back in 2012, Ramnode.com has always used really good hardware. When they started with their SSD-cached nodes, and then their pure SSD nodes, almost no other companies could compete on IO speeds.

Ramnode offer OpenVZ and KVM servers, both plans comes with pure SSD and SSD-cached options. Ramnode offer so many different plans on three locations, as you can see on the screenshot below, their prices starts so low as $2/mo. On top of that they often have coupons out there (just now they have a 25% off coupon) so you can get the price even lower.

I’m using a OpenVZ SSD-Cached VPS (CVZ-E5) – Netherlands – 512MB CVZ-E5 server with a Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2630 0 @ 2.30GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 120 GB SSD-cached disk, 2 TB BW and I’m paying $4.87/mo for this after a LEB special.

I’m using my Ramnode server to store Virtualmin backup files, that I also have used several times to restore sites on test servers around EU/US, and their servers works really good.

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Service/Support

I have not used their support yet, or they contacted me because of really high CPU load on one of my servers. I got an e-mail telling me that the VPS was suspended since it used a mining script. They gave me the option to start the server, and find out what the issue was. I quickly found out that one of my sites (using Status2k) was hacked, and someone had uploaded a bitcoin mining script and started it.

The day after the first “attack” my CPU load on my other Ramnode server was going into the roof, and I found out that I had only deleted the script, but not removed it from RAM, so it still could be started and used. They shutdown the server, and notified me. Also this time with details the script that was abusing my CPU.

They also advised me to maybe rebuild me servers, since they had been compromised. And that started the process there I got rid of almost all my old servers, changed hosts, and got a completely new setup for both my main servers and my backup servers.

Under the whole situation Nick was very professional and I never got accused for abusing their service on purpose. And of course, it was my fault that my servers got hacked, and the best advice was to rebuild my servers to be 100% sure.

Benchmark

Since my plan just comes with 2 cores, my UnixBench score is 1256.8. Have not used UnixBench on small VPS plan before, so don’t know if the result is over or under the average for a such plan.040214ramnode4

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Good/decent network speeds from most locations. Of course, best results from the other NL locations.

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I just using a really cheap OpenVZ SSD-cached node, but still I get decent disk speeds with a avrage of 468 MB/s.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.942% uptime the last 4 months with 1 minute monitors. Ramnode has a 99.9% uptime guarantee so no problem there.

Conclusion

Ramnode is not a just 4 month old company that I first used back in 2012. They have become one of the most liked companies on both WHT and LET/LEB. they have won the Q3 2013 and Q4 2013 poll of the Top Providers on LEB.

They have really good hardware, good network, really good disk setup, good offers, good prices, three locations (EU/US) etc etc.

And @Nick_A use lots of time both on WHT and LET to satisfy his customers. They are a unmanaged host, but you still get the feeling they are something more then that.

60 days review of INIZ.com

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I have used INIZ for 60 days now, after I got a good deal on LEB. My first plan was to use the server for my DNS failover service, but I later on decided that I would only use one host for that, reducing the number of hosts and servers I use. So I paid for a year. 😀

Product/hardware/price

INIZ provides unmanaged service in three locations: Los Angeles, New York and Amsterdam, Netherlands. They offer OpenVZ plans, pure SSD plans and KVM plans. They have plans from $4.93/mo (256 MB) to $19.72/mo (2 GB)

I’m using a LEB special and have a OpenVZ, 4vCores (Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 0 @ 2.00GHz), 2 GB RAM, 100 GB disk, 2 TB bw plan that I’m paying $46.50/year for ($3.85/mo). I’m using their Netherlands node.

Their prices is not very low, almost $15/mo for a 1 GB OpenVZ server with no SSD is actually some expensive. But, INIZ is a active member on LEB, and often has very good offers, like what I’m using. So always take a look at LEB and the VPS offer section of WHT before you order from them.

I have seen some high load on the node from time to time, but I’m sure INIZ has it all under control, since the load is not seen for any long time.

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Service/Support

Not much to say about their support, have not tried it all the last 60 days. But since they made it to place number 3 on the Q4-2013 (and Q3-2013) poll on LEB, and they must have a good support team.

I have not used the server for any live site. I used it for a month or so as a backup server on my DNS failover service. So I replicated my sites every hour to my INIZ server.

Benchmark:

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My plan is “only” a RAID-10 plan, but I get some good disk speeds here. I must say that I have also seen speeds down to 250 MB/s, but I get speeds over 500 MB/s most of the time.

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.949% uptime the last 2 months with 1 minute monitors.

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Conclusion

INIZ.com is a good provider with good hardware and network, with great offers from time to time. I have got really much value for my money with them. They do not have much downtime and they are holding their promise of 99.9% uptime.

I have changed my rating system, and INIZ gets 8 of 10 points in this review.

 

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.

 

Entering cloud hosting – with iwStack.com (Prometeus)

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I have finally moved my main sites from “old” KVM based servers to the cloud, and luckily I did not have to leave my favorite VPS provider, Prometeus.

I have used Prometeus.com as my main host for almost 1.5 years now. And I have to say it, they are really good. Their hardware and network is very good and stable, so I have almost had no downtime at all past 1.5 years.

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Some days ago I decided to try out Prometeus cloud service, iwStack. And I have to say it, I love it. You get a “pay as you go” account, and can start creating VPS servers, private networks, firewalls, load balancing, snapshots (both manual and automatic) etc etc right away. And you only pay for what you use. They charge for the hour, so if you only use a VPS server for an hour, thats whats you charged for. I really like that I can create new VPS servers within minutes, and using them for whatever I want, then close them down (or destroy) them and not paying for them. And also the option to create a new Linux or Windows VPS at anytime I want, not having to order something a wait for it.

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You can get a price estimate using this price calculator…

The price is not to bad, in fact it’s one of the cheapest I have seen. Before I had four KVM servers with Prometeus. 2 x 512 MB (25 GB) servers, 1 x 1 GB (35 GB) server and 1 x 1.5 GB (35 GB) server. The total price without any discount was €30.5/month

With iwStack I have created three servers that do the same. 1 x 512 MB (40 GB), 1 x 1 GB (10 GB) and 1 x 2 GB (20 GB), with a CentOS 6.5 template (20GB), and two snapshots (2x20GB) I pay €0.777600 per day = €23.4 per month. So I save €6.5 per month.

I also have a Windows 2012 R2 server that I only start when I need it, and then stop it again. The only cost on it when it not run is for the storage, and thats €0.057600 per day, thats righ €0.05 per day. When I run it it costs me €0.006000 per hour = €0.144000 per day. (€4.32/month)

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The price is not the most important thing for me (but it’s not bad either), the best thing with iwStack is the endless opportunities, the freedom of creating as many VPS servers you like, whenever you wants. And of course, the possible to upgrade (and downgrade) servers as I need. And of course, the fact that you only pay for used resources is really nice.

Iwstack – creating a new VPS in the cloud. (my guide)

I will make a review sometime after 30 days but here some disk and network speeds from one of my cloud KVM servers:

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Iwstack – creating a new VPS in the cloud.

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I have started using iwStack cloud from Prometeus, and here is how fast you can create a new VPS within your cloud account.

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You can select a Template (iwStack templates, or your own) or using .iso files (you can also upload any .iso file you want into the cloud)

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I’m using my own CentOS 6.5 32bit template that I have created.

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Then you select how much RAM and CPU cores you need, from 384 MB (1 core) to 16 GB. (12 cores)

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If you using a Template, it’s has the ROOT disk size fixed. iwStack offer a 10 GB centOS template and a 40 GB template (and many other OS types). My template uses 20 GB primary disk.

If you are using a .iso file, you can select how big the ROOT (primary) disk should be. In this step, you can select if you want a secondary storage disk attached to your server.

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Here you can select what network you want your VPS using. iwStack offer both normal networks and a DDoS protected network. You can also create your own private isolated network, with load balancing, firewall, fail over service, and more.

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And then you’re new VPS is online within minutes after pressing Launch VM.

 

1.5 year review of Prometeus.com

The 15.January was the 558 day with Prometeus.com. And it has been great. In fact, it could not be any better. My four VPS servers has almost been up since I got them. ** Three of my VPS servers has been up for over 250 days.

** There has been some kernel updates, and a couple of the nodes has been taken down, but all servers has around 99.8% uptime in 2013.

I have two monitoring services that monitors all my VPS servers every 60 seconds, and there has been no downtime at all on the network.

When I wrote my 150 days review I had three servers with Prometeus.com, but now I have four. All has 6 months payments on them, and I do not worry at all.

I have had some unusual request to Mr. Salvatore about payments options, renewing etc, and I always get a fast reply, and they always gives me a good answerer and solutions. I’m sure that I’m one of the first asking to pay for two servers almost two months ahead of the expiration date.

Prometeus is one of the best hosting provider I have ever used. No little problems with four VPS servers is unbelievable. Their hardware is top notch. 😀

Prometeus.com is not on my Top20 Benchmark list, but thats not a problem. In my book good servers has very good uptime, just works, and do not require any attention from my side. And it’s always good to know that you get a good and pretty fast reply if you contact support. Still, I know they are unmanaged, so I understand if I don’t get a reply after 10 minutes.

Nothing else to say about Prometeus.com 10 of 10 points in my book.

9 months+ mini review of Prometeus, Urpad.net, SolaDrive and KnownHost.

It’s over 9 months since I based my VPS setup on cheaper VPS hosts. Increasing the numbers of servers, using a good DNS Fail over service, servers in different locations etc etc.

I have gone from two servers (that I paid almost $100/month) to 15 servers that I pay around $600/year for. Thats half the price what I paid for two servers before.

My old servers was fully managed, but still, I had so much problems with the servers that I used lots of time on them, time that I did not like to use on them.

Now I have 15 servers, almost everyone of the unmanaged, still, I have less problems with all my servers now, then I had with only two fully managed servers.

Prometeus.com is the best host I ever have had. They have a really good product. Their uptime on my 4 servers I have with them is 100% the last 6 months. One server that I have had no need to reboot, had a uptime of 268 days yesterday.
All my servers with Prometeus is really fast, their network speeds i great and you could not ask for a better host.
They are unmanaged, but really do help out if you need something.

I’m sure I could have canceled all my other servers and only used Prometeus as my only host without any risk of any problems.

Prometeus.com has all of my main servers.

15.01.2014: Urpad.net is not one of my favorite hosts any more. They was sold, and all went downhill, and they closed down all EU servers and moved all to the US.

Urpad.net have one thing Prometeus don’t have: servers in many different locations, both here in Europe and the US.
They have good servers, good network and really good prices. And many locations.

Of course, Urpad.net also have lots of DDoS attacks against their UK node, so I have stopped using that server and taken it out of my DNS Fail Over service. Last week I have had more then 22 hours downtime on that server, and the last 6 months I have had more then 5 days downtime total.

But if I look at my 4 other servers (Iceland x 2, Luxemburg, Florida) I’m really happy. The uptime is great, the network is great, the servers is great.

So in total I’m pretty happy with Urpad.net. But I hope I can move my server from UK to another location soon, for I really hate getting downtime messages.

Urpad.net is my 1. backup host


SolaDrive.com has a great product, fully managed servers for a really good price. But as Urpad.net they also have had lots of problems, most DDoS issues on their UK node.
It has been better, but I still get outages report, and seeing very high load on the server.

So I have taken them out of my DNS Fail Over service, but are using the server as a backup server, that I can put in production within 20 minutes.


My only server with Plesk, my old favorite control panel, is with KnownHost.com.
I have a personal backup server for my online photo album, and some backup files in the US.

The server is really great, fast, good network and no downtime. They do really deliver a good product.
The only drawback for me is that they only offer servers in the US, no I can not use them for any of my customers sites.

150 days with Prometeus.com

The 5.December was the 150 day with Prometeus.com. And it has been great. In fact, it could not be any better. My three VPS servers has been up since I got them. ** The first VPS has been up for 153 days today, my second VPS 150 days and my third VPS 140 days.

** Or, I had a DDoS attack on one of my servers after around 10 days, and it was turned off. After that day it has been up.

I have two monitoring services that monitors all my VPS servers every 60 seconds, and there has been no downtime at all on the network.

When I wrote my 90 days review I had three servers with Prometeus.com, and I still has three servers. All has 6 months payments on them, and I do not worry at all.

I have had some unusual request to Mr. Salvatore about payments options, renewing etc, and I always get a fast reply, and they always gives me a good answerer and solutions. I’m sure that I’m one of the first asking to pay for two servers almost two months ahead of the expiration date.

Prometeus.com is not on my Top20 Benchmark list, but thats not a problem. In my book good servers has very good uptime, just works, and do not require any attention from my side. And it’s always good to know that you get a good and pretty fast reply if you contact support. Still, I know they are unmanaged, so I understand if I don’t get a reply after 10 minutes.

Nothing else to say about Prometeus.com, still 9 of 10 points in my book.

90 days with Prometeus

It’s now 90 days since I switched my main VPS over to Prometeus.com. Since my first impression review and my 43 day review, there is nothing new that has happened. I have reduced my servers from 4 to three, because I did not need the last server that I only was using for testing. But I have changed my last server from month to month payment over to 6 months payment. It’s a huge peace in the mind that I know all my servers just works and that there is no issues.

I have 100% uptime on all three servers the last 47 days, in fact I have 100% uptime since my first impression review.

No reason to contact support, no reason what so ever to contact them. It’s really nice when things only works, and you don’t have to use any time on problems.

So keep up the good work Mr. Salvatore and Prometeus.com

They still keep their 9 of 10 points in my book.