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

iwstack_logo2015

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

100215iwstack_001

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.

100215iwstack_002

060214iwstack3

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.

100215iwstack_003

100215iwstack_004

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

060214iwstack5

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

hosthatch_logo

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

030215hosthatch001

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.

030215hosthatch002

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

280914fh3

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.

280914fh2

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:

280914fh1

Network/uptime

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

280914fh4

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.

18 month review of Soladrive.com

soladrivelogo1

SolaDrive.com it’s my second fully managed services, and one of the host I normally recommend. I have been using them for over 18 months now. Read more in my review.

260114sola4

260114sola5

Product/hardware/price

SolaDrive.com has really good hardware. They still are number 1 on my Top20 benchmarking list. You get at least a 16 core server (fair share), but they also have 24 cores servers. I’m currently on a Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2620 @ 2.00GHz server
on their UK node using their OpenVZ business plan with 1 GB of RAM and 40 GB RAID-10 HDD.

SolaDrive has three fully managed OpenVZ VPS plan to offer from 1 GB to 4 GB of RAM and three XEN plans, see the above picture for specs and prices. For a fully managed service, their prices is pretty good.

They also offer three locations, Los Angeles, Scranton and the UK.

Service/Support

SolaDrive has excellent service, and are know for it on forums like Webhostingtalk.com. They really takes cares of their customers. They say on their page that support tickets normally is replied on after 10 minutes, but no longer then 60 minutes. I have checked my  last three tickets, and the response time was: 23 minutes, 3 minutes and 4 minutes. Thats a average of 10 minutes, so they don’t lie on their site.

Benchmark:

260114sola2

Network/uptime

My monitoring services tells me that I have a 99.796% uptime the last 12 months with 1 minute monitors. Most of my downtime has been a result of DDoS attacks on the node or DC. They do promise a uptime of 99.9%, so in this case they have not held their guarantee. 13 hours and 53 minutes of downtime is allot in a year.

Edit: They have changed their UK Data Center around 7 months ago, and after that they have only had 1 hour with downtime. Just wanted you to know that.

260114sola1

Conclusion

The only negative thing about SolaDrive is that they have had allot of downtime on their UK node the last year. (they have later on changed DC, and there has been only one hour downtime since that) But their service is still excellent and their support is really fast. and they have a great product. So I have no problems at all recommending SolaDrive to people needing a fully managed host in the US or in the UK. So I give them four+ stars (of 6) this time.

First impression of Digital Ocean

digitaloceanlogo1

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.

250114do2

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.

250114do3

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.

250114do4

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

250114do6

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).

250114do5

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:

250114do7

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.

 

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:

150114kh1

Network/uptime

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

150114kh2

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

Continue reading

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.