14 month review of IwStack.com – the real cloud service.

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Around 14 months ago, I did made a huge decision, I canceled all my Prometeus  servers that I have had for 1.5 years, and moved my servers to iwStack.com. Of course, iwStack is a part of Prometeus, so I did not change host completely, but I changed from normal KVM servers to cloud servers.

As most LET/LEB readers and WHT members already know, Prometeus.com is known to be one of the best host out there, with no bad reviews at all the last years, and thats impressive, especially in the LEB marked. But of course, the LEB marked is only a small part of Prometeus.

Everybody talks about cloud service, and we have huge companies like Digital Ocean and Linode, and newer companies like Vultr.com. But there is a difference between all of them and IwStack.com, and the difference is that IwStack.com offers REAL cloud service.

More about this later on. Here is my review of IwStack.com after 14 months of service.

If you want to support my site, please use my affiliate link if you have plans to sign up at IwStack.com: https://www.prometeus.net/billing/aff.php?aff=168

Product/hardware/price

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Prometeus.com has always had really good hardware, with  good price policy. And there is no difference with iwStack.com. They have managed to create a really good IaaS KVM cloud system, a real cloud (not like DO) with High Availability, Fail-Over, Live migration, Snapshots, Own ISO and Templates, Isolated Network, External Firewall with GUI, Hourly billing and Variable size. When you sign up for iwStack.com you have to pay €30, that you can use in full on the cloud service. The reason for the entrance fee, is to stop abusers. Since you can create lots of VPS servers (at least 20) when you first get access, they have to protect the service from abusers, looking for free/very cheap servers.

iwStack.com has some really good prices, when they launched their service back in 2013, nobody could beat them on price. Not for a real cloud service. Still, I don’t know about any cheaper real cloud service in Europe, but there is so many now, so maybe. Still you only pay for what you use, per hour. You always pay for disk and IP, but if you turn off your server, you don’t pay for RAM and CPU. Most other cloud service charge you for all the resources when the VM is turned off, but not IwStack.com

They have now added more locations to the cloud. You can create KVM servers in Milano, Italy and Dallas, USA and you can add XEN servers in their second Milano DC.

The prices starts at €2.16/mo for a 512 MB RAM instance, then you have to add €0.72/mo per 10 GB of system disk you need.You can add instances from 512 MB RAM to 16 GB RAM. They have a really good price calculator that shows you how much your setup will cost.

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You can easily create (and destroy) new instances in the control panel. (cloudstack) (see my guide here), but they have also added many of the features in their client portal.

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Service/Support

We are talking about Prometeus here, so of course, the service is good. They are unmanaged, so you can’t expect any other support then hardware/network failures, but if they have time, they can help you with allot. But don’t demand it, then you have to go with a managed host (and pay lots more).

Still, in my opinion the service has gone down little since the start. Maybe because they have lots more customers, or because “Uncle Sal” is not so active as he was. I don’t know. Before IwStack was a clear 10/10 host, but now, not a 10 or a 9.

They have also had some trouble with their cloud. And stuff I was told before I sign up would never happen on their cloud service (downtime etc) did happen more the one time. They had a big issue with HA (High availability) that shutdown all the servers, and they did not come on before after some hours. Then the next day or so, they had the same issue, or part of the same issue, and I got more downtime.

I also have to say that it takes very long time to start up a instance or shutdown. Maybe it has something with them being a real cloud service, but when you have to wait 5-10 minutes to start an instance, then it’s no fun. This issue have been there since the start.

Benchmark

This is on their highest plan (16 GB) and the result is good. But on their smaller instances, the result is not so good. Around 1500 on a 4 vcore instance with 2 GB RAM:060214iwstack4

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IwStack is not using any SSD or SSD-cached disk, but they are using a Hitachi HUS 150 SAN. As you can see I get a average speed of 450 MB/s.

Network/uptime

On my 1.5 years with Prometeus before I changed to IwStack, I had almost 100% uptime on all servers. They had a little issue, and then I was told that it would never happen on IwStack. Still, the last 12 month I have just 99.90% uptime on my three IwStack servers.

Not bad, but not 99.99% either.

Conclusion

Despide the small issues I have had, I still think IwStack.com gives you lots for your money. And you can setup really complex setups there if you need to, with failover, firewall, HA etc etc. They have expanded to the US and added a second DC in Milano with XEN servers.

IwStack.com offers real cloud, and if you don’t know what real cloud service is after reading this review, you don’t need it. The people that know what it is, they are the customers that should take a extra look at IwStack.com

After 14 months of service, I can’t give them 10 of 10 points more. I have to give them 8 of 10. I will also take a break from them (as some maybe have seen, all my servers is off just now). I still have almost €200 in credit, so I will use them again, but for now, I will try out my own dedicated server, and see how that goes.

This is my honest review of one of my favorite hosts out there.

If you want to support my site, please use my affiliate link if you have plans to sign up at IwStack.com: https://www.prometeus.net/billing/aff.php?aff=168

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

12 month review of HostHatch.com

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It’s actually more then a year since I saw a good offer on LEB from HostHatch, for a smaller SSD OpenVZ server. I took the offer, and have used the server actively since that.

Please use my affiliate link if you are thinking about signing up, keeps my site running without any ads. https://portal.hosthatch.com/aff.php?aff=204

Product/hardware/price

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HostHatch offers servers in three different locations, LA, USA – Dronten, Netherlands, and Stockholm, Sweden. That will cover most of US, and all locations in Europe. They have really good connections, and their servers function very well.

They have four main product line as you can see over. Their OpenVZ and KVM series has all SSD disks. They have a High storage line if you need to store large backup files, and they have their 10Gbps VPS line (in the Netherlands) for any that need really fast connection out/in from their server.

Their lowest OpenVZ plan starts at $8/quarter and their next plan, with 512 MB RAM, 50 GB disk and 2 TB bandwidth, starts at $4/mo. Their KVM line starts at $5/mo, the same with their storage serie. Their 10Gbit plans is more expencive, starts at $35/mo for the smallest plan (1 GB RAM, 75 GB HDD, 5 TB BW).

They are using Intel Xeon E5 3.5Ghz+ CPUs on their OpenVZ and KVM line. And they are using Intel Xeon E3 on their 10Gbit line. So it’s good hardware, the servers is fast, their network is good, and the uptime is great.

Service/Support

Only used their support twice, and both time I got the first reply (not auto) within 10 minutes. First ticket was solved on under 10 minutes also. The second ticket took little longer to solve.

But my impression is that they have pretty fast support, and they do help you. Of course, remember that this is an unmanaged host, so don’t expect the world and that they always replies within minutes, and solve any issue you have.

Benchmark

This is from their $4/mo 512 MB RAM, 2vCores, 50 GB SSD disk and 2 TB BW. Not a high number on the benchmark, but still, it’s only $4/mo so I did not expect the highest result here.

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As you can see the DD speed goes over 580 MB/s, but maybe they are using some cache or something, since the first command only gave 296 MB/s.

Network/uptime

I have 99.896% uptime on my first server there the last 12 months. Some of the downtime has been me doing some work on the server. But not a complete 10/10 on the uptime there. Still, very close to 99.9% that is the “standard” in the LET marked.

Conclusion

HostHatch is a solid provider, has been that for over 12 months for me. And it’s a bonus for me that they have a DC in Sweden, since I live in Norway. So I can etc. use the VPS for VPN or to fast upload and download files. For users in Europe, a 10Gbit server can give you really good speeds. (but the price is little to high on the 10Gbit line, but still, it’s 10Gbit connection to the world). I would recommend HostHatch to all LET/LEB members and other users that need cheap, but good servers, in the US, Netherlands or in Sweden.

Please use my affiliate link if you are thinking about signing up, keeps my site running without any ads. https://portal.hosthatch.com/aff.php?aff=204

29 month review of KnownHost.com

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KnownHost is one of my fully managed services, and I think this is the reason why I have not had any issues with them the last 28 months. They have also taken the 4. place on my Top20 list after their recent server upgrade. Read more in my review.

Product/hardware/price

KnownHost is a US based company with data centers in Texas, California and New Jersey. They are using Virtuozzo on their servers, and offer fully managed plans with both Plesk and Cpanel.

Their plans goes from 512 MB of RAM to 5 GB of RAM. With a price of $25 – $90/mo on their SSD plans, and $25 to $120 on their normal plans.

I’m using their SSD2 plan with 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of SSD disk space and 3.000 GB of BW. I’m using Plesk 11 as control panel. The price for this plan is $50/mo and for a fully managed server with Plesk/Cpanel this is a good price.

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Service/Support

KnownHost is known for their good service, and I have only positive experience with KnownHost so far. I have used their support once in 29 months, it was because I wanted to update PHP from 5.3 to 5.4. They responded in person within 3 minutes after I opened the ticket, an within 8 minutes the issue was solved. But three minute response time is really good.

Free stuff

The last 29 months, my VPS plan has been upgraded for free several times. I have gone from normal RAID 10 disks to SSD disk. My RAM has been upgraded from 960 MB to 2 GB. My BW has gone from 2.5 TB to 3 TB. And the CPU has been upgraded from Xeon(R) CPU E5645 to Xeon(R) CPU E5-2630 v2 @ 2.60GHz

Benchmark:

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Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.999% uptime the last 12 months with 1 minute monitors.

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Conclusion

It just works. Almost no downtime, no issues, no need for support. (just me asking for updating PHP) What a perfect host. If you need a fully managed host with Cpanel/Plesk in the US, take a look at KnownHost.com, and I’m sure you will be happy.

12 month review of Backupsy.com

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Almost 12 months ago (27.04.2013) I got my first Backupsy server. They offered a really good deal on a 500 GB disk server in the US. I was really happy, but when they opened at Netherlands DC I moved my files there, the price was little higher, but still the same great service.

Some months ago I got 4 more servers with Backupsy, both in the UK and NL. Here is my review of them

Product/hardware/price

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Backupsy have really good prices on their backup line. 250 GB/512 MB/1 TB for $10 and 500 GB/512 MB/2 TB for $20. But they always have coupons out there, so you will get around 30-40% off with their coupons.

They have currently 8 locations to choose from, 6 locations in the US and 2 in the EU. They are using good hardware, and their servers works fast. Backupsy are using Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5570  @ 2.93GHz on both my NL and UK servers. My oldest server is using a Xeon(R) CPU X5560 CPU.

When i first started to use Backupsy they was a really new company. But within months they had 8 locations, and have got lots of customers. They also gets pretty good reviews/comments on LET/WHT so they must do something right.

One thing you have to check on before you get a Backupsy server, is about other use then Backup. They have some restrictions on most of their locations about not using the server for anything else then backup.

Service/Support

I have some support tickets with them (just a few) and their response time is really good for a unmanaged host. On three tickets i have a average response time of 8 minutes, and thats is really fast support. Can’t complain over that.

Their service is really great. They have been really helpful a couple of times, one time with a really good offer on 4 servers in two locations, and the second time when I needed a temp server to transfer around 300 GB of data off my old server, and then back on it after I had done some work on the server. (added a Truecrypt container for storage).

Benchmark

My Netherlands server:

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My UK server:

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As you can see I get pretty good disk speeds on both my servers. They are not using SSD disks, and still I get 354 MB/s on my NL server and 259 MB/s on my UK server. Their network speeds is also pretty good. As you can see cachefly speeds is 60 MB/s on my NL server and 45 MB/s on my UK server. And the speeds is great to most locations also.

Network/uptime

On my oldest VPS server I have 99.993% uptime with 1 minutes monitors, the server has been up for 277 days. On my “newest” servers I have 100% uptime the last 72 days since I got them.

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Conclusion

You can’t go wrong with Backupsy. Their prices is really good, you get allot for your money, they have fast servers, fast network and really good uptime.

They have lots of locations, both in the US and in the EU so you will most likely always find a DC that is close to you. They have a good support department with only 8 minutes average response time (on my three support tickets). And they are active at LET ( @serverian ).

If you need a good backup server, or two, go for Backupsy, you will not regret.

 

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

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.

18 month review of KnownHost

KnownHost is one of my fully managed services, and I think this is the reason why I have not had any issues with them the last 18 months. Read more in my review.

Product/hardware/price

KnownHost is a US based company with data centers in Texas, California and New Jersey. They are using Virtuozzo on their servers, and offer fully managed plans with both Plesk and Cpanel.

Their plans goes from 512 MB of RAM to 5 GB of RAM. With a price of $25 – $90/mo.

I’m using their SSD2 plan with 2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of SSD disk space and 3.000 GB of BW. I’m using Plesk 11 as control panel. The price for this plan is $50/mo and for a fully managed server with Plesk/Cpanel this is a good price.

Service/Support

KnownHost is known for their good service, and I have only positive experience with KnownHost so far. I have used their support once in 18 months, it was because I wanted to update PHP from 5.3 to 5.4. They responded in person within 3 minutes after I opened the ticket, an within 8 minutes the issue was solved. But three minute response time is really good.

Free stuff

The last 18 months, my VPS plan has been upgraded for free several times. I have gone from normal RAID 10 disks to SSD disk. My RAM has been upgraded from 960 MB to 2 GB. My BW has gone from 2.5 TB to 3 TB. And the CPU has been upgraded from Xeon(R) CPU E5645 to Xeon(R) E5-2630.

Benchmark:

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Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.994% uptime the last 12 months with 1 minute monitors.

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Conclusion

It just works. Almost no downtime, no issues, no need for support. (just me asking for updating PHP) What a perfect host. If you need a fully managed host with Cpanel/Plesk in the US, take a look at KnownHost.com, and I’m sure you will be happy.

Benchmark – natcoweb.com – Golden plan

I have dome my benchmark test on a Golden VPS plan from natcoweb.com. They just released a new SSD based VPS line. The results can you see in this test, they have really good disk speeds and IO. Not so fast CPU. Still, read the test and look for your self.

Server location: USA, Clifton, NJ
*Golden* –$45.95/ mo
Plan info:
KVM – 1024 MB RAM, 30 GB HDD , unmetered bandwidth.
Disk info: RAID 10 array

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70 day review – Ramnode.com

I have got a new five star host..Ramnode.com. Read my 70 day review here.

Product/hardware/price

Ramnode.com has expanded a lot the last 70 days. They have added new powerful hardware, several new VPS lines, including pure SSD and SSD cached VPS plans. They have added KVM. They have a new DC in Atlanta etc etc. I have tested most of their new servers and Ramnode.com gets high results, and currently has four places on my Top 20 list.

Their plans goes from 512 MB RAM up to 4 GB of RAM, and the price starts at $7.50/mo up to $60/mo. They do also have a small 256 MB RAM plan for $15/Quarterly.

Service/Support

Their service is really good. They are active on WHT, they do send out info mails about scheduled maintenance or other things. One day I got an mail about a DDoS attack on the node I used, but I had not seen any issue, and did not know about the attack. So good info from Ramnode.

I have not opened one support ticket since I signup, so I can’t say anything about their response times etc.

Network/uptime

Their network seems very good, fast speeds and my server have 100% uptime. It can’t be any better.

Benchmark

Read my latest Benchmark – Ramnode.com – KVM SSD-Cached VPS

Read my Benchmark – Ramnode.com – Atlanta 1024MB plan (pure SSD)

Conclusion

Ramnode.com has got a new DC, new servers, new technology (KVM) and SSD Cached plans. You get allot for your money. You have the choice between really fast pure SSD plans with up to 966 MB/S disk speeds (DD) and slightly slower SSD cached plans with lot more disk space and disk speeds around 7-800 MB/s.

Benchmark – Ramnode.com – KVM SSD-Cached VPS

Ramnode.com continue expanding their VPS line, and have now added KVM VPS with SSD Cached HDD. You get more space then on their pure SSD nodes, but of course, you get lower disk speeds. Still, you get VERY good disk speeds with SSD cached plans also.

Here is my benchmark test of their 1 GB KVM SSD cached plan.

Thank you for providing me with this VPS for my test.

Server location: Atlanta, USA
*1024MB CKVM* –$30 / mo
Plan info:
KVM – 1024 MB RAM, 50 GB , 2000 GB BW, Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E3-1230 V2
Disk info: RAID10 SSD-Cached HDD Space

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