I have been reading these forums for a while now looking for a decent hosting provider. And while I was willing to go for a dedicated solution, my first choice has always been a decent VPS server because of its portability: God forbid the hardware goes down, my VPS can always be easily moved to a different machine. After all, I hate downtime as much as the next guy.
I am a pretty old school in my way of thinking and I like to allot of things myself, including managing my own servers. So I have been looking around for a while and reading the reviews around here, and tried out a couple of companies only to realize that many of the hosting providers out there that sell VPS hosting are actually middle men that rent dedicated servers. And yes, I have also tried Linode, and while I can't say anything bad about them - in fact their support as well as their hardware, speed, choice of Linux distributions, documentation and so on is excellent - they are not as flexible with their features as I would like them to be. I have tried them out at the same time with Zerigo, a company which I came across here at WHT while I was looking for a DNS provider. Linode had no problem issuing a full refund and expressing their regret that they couldn't accommodate my needs. Zerigo on the other hand has become the stuff of nightmares lately, and while I decided to give them a try based on the review that I have found here on WHT, I would like to let everyone know that I haven't met Thomas Morgan or his team over there, only a couple folks from 8x8 who are hanging around on the online chat from 9AM to 5PM Pacific Time fishing for customers for their dedicated servers or cloud offerings. What they don't tell you is that their slow VPS servers run on the same platform as well. I ordered 2 VPS instances from them - both running Debian 6 - to split my tasks and at various times one or the other went down or got stuck when I was modifying the network configuration or doing a reboot. Every time Zerigo support that is in fact provided by 8x8 Inc. took over half a day to respond - during weekdays of course, as there is no support to speak of on weekends - and then it took another couple of hours to get my VPS working again. And when I asked what happened, all I was told was that it was an internal bug. Needless to say that I am close to launching my website, so there is only so much frustration I can take before I go looking somewhere else. I also have signed up for Zerigo DNS service, and that's working fine, I have nothing bad to say about it, however I do not recommend their VPS service to anyone at this time, as you will be left with a sour taste in your mouth and buyer’s remorse from having to deal with them. On top of that, except for Debian 6 they don't have a single up to date Linux distro. Their I/O performance is poor, and every VPS gets a 4 core instance of a AMD Opteron 6128 CPU. At least I hope that they will have the decency to give me a refund as I have already asked twice and was told to cancel my service first, when in fact I did just that days before I had asked them for my money back. I guess that goes to show how little Zerigo values their reputation, or to put it more accurately, how much 8x8 Inc. values Zerigo's reputation. I'm sorry for the lengthy Zerigo review, but I had a really bad experience with them.
Now back to Turnkey Internet: I have been goggling them, and I've read the reviews here on WHT. It is not easy to filter out the good from the bad, because some customers write bad reviews out of a lack of knowledge. That is why I thought it was important to write about my own experience with them, since I manage my own servers, and all my complaints about the other companies where related to their customer service and/or hardware performance. This wasn't my first encounter with TurnKey Internet by the way, as a couple of weeks ago I took their shared hosting service for a test drive. No, I didn't want to host my website on shared hosting God forbid, but it's a good indicator for me how well a company treats their customers when you are a small and insignificant customer. All in all I have purchased shared hosting for $16.95 and a couple of days later I asked for my money back. They issued me a refund no questions asked. Another friend of mine ordered a VPS from them in order run FreeBSD, but because of a recent software update - yes, they do keep their software up to date - he couldn't install FreeBSD any longer. Turnkey Internet issued him a full refund, plus a $50.00 credit towards future purchases. Guess what? He stayed on, used the $50.00 credit and is happily running Debian Linux now. I regret not going with them from the start, however I wanted to explore every option out there. Let me tell you that there are allot of bad apples out there, and I have given to many of them a chance.
It took less than 15 minutes with Nicholas from Turnkey Internet on the phone to customize a VPS solution for me. I haven't spoken to anyone this professional and knowledgeable in a long time, and I liked the fact that he had an answer to every question that I asked, never giving me the run around or telling me that he doesn't know. So thank you Nicholas for all the help, you and your team are amazing. My website is toratek.com, and I hope that it will launch in the next couple of days if everything goes smooth from here on. . As soon as my payment went through, which was on a Sunday by the way, I could log into SolusVM and get things going. Again, I opted for a self-managed solution, so if you're going to get that be prepared to do the entire server configuration work via SSH yourself. I'm fine with that - actually I wouldn't want it any other way. Turnkey Internet doesn't hack or mess around with their Linux Distributions, so if you're going to get a VPS account from them and install Debian or Ubuntu on it make sure that you run apt-get remove grub-legacy followed by apt-get autoremove, because otherwise you will get grub related errors when you run apt-get upgrade, as Turnkey Internet allows kernel updates on their VPS servers, which is a plus in my book.
Here is the configuration that Nicholas customized for me:
TurnKey VPS - Virtual Private Servers- Linux VPS #6
IP Addresses - 12 Dedicated IP Addresses
CPU - 12 CPU - each instance is on a XEON E5504 @ 2.0GHz
Server Ram Guaranteed Dedicated Ram - 10 GB Ram
Disk Drive Raid10 Protected - 60 GB - SSD Storage
Bandwidth - 5000 GB / month
Server Managment: Self-Managed
R1Soft CDP Remote Backups: R1Soft CDP Remote Backup
Business Continuity Insurance
Operating System: Debian 6 64bit
While I only had this service for a couple of days, I'm still obligated to report on the following:
Value: Because prices change all the time, and usually go down, I don't think that it's relevant how much I'm paying per month. Suffice to say that the value is excellent, and that reliability and performance are more important to me than anything. I want to provide my own customers with the best possible service - I will get to what I will be using this server for in a second.
Control Panel: I'm not big on control panels or GUIs in general, as I prefer to administer my server over SSH, but Turnkey Internet uses SolusVM as their control panel for their VPS servers, and it does everything that I need very well. For those of you who want to know more about SolusVM, please check it out here: solusvm.com
Uptime/Reliability/Network: I haven't had a single hickup, and their network is extremely fast. I know that the truth is in numbers; however their network was fast enough that at no time did I feel the need to measure the performance. At this time IPv6 is not implemented yet on their VPS servers, however it is comming Q1 2012. I am not worried about it because once it becomes available it is fairly easy to implement - as easy as editing a couple configuration files.
Performance: OK, I have access to 12 cores, so yes, it is blazing fast. It also compiles anything from source like nothing that I have seen before. The same person that I was talking about earlier is running his VPS on a single core, and he compiles every new NGINX release from source without any issues. Oh, and did I mention that every VPS that Turnkey Internet offers runs on RAID 10 SSD. Not many VPS providers use SSDs for their servers. Trust me; it doesn't really get any better than this. I have been told that Turnkey Internet uses OCZ Enterprise Class SSDs.
Features: I can perform Reboot, Shutdown, Boot, Reinstall, Backup, change my hostname, root password, main IP address, Reverse DNS, get advanced Statistics, and they even offer an iPhone App for remote management. And these are just the main features, as Turnkey Internet has a very comprehensive ticketing system. If you have more than one VPS then you can see each VPS in your control panel. Also, Turnkey Internet has already implemented IPv6 support in their control panel, and they will update the network infrastructure in Q1 2012.
Technical Support: At any time I can call or email someone. I have submitted tickets at 2AM or 3AM with trivial questions and I got a reply anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. They even configured the automatic backup system for me at no additional charge. My questions where about IPv6 availability and the automated backup system. So the support is fast, to the point, and hassle free. Now if you expect every time that you submit a support ticket to be pampered like a little baby, keep on dreaming. The admins have to help everyone, so their responses will be short and to the point. For example I submitted a request to have my RDNS set, and within a couple of minutes it was done, and all that I got back was "RDNS setup..." and proof that it was setup. Again, I wouldn't have it any other way, as I am not the type to write love letter to Tech Support. Also, every support ticket is signed by the person that replied to it, and some of them even include a picture as their avatar. I think that's pretty cool.
Customer Service: This is something that any of you can experience. Just click on their online chat box and take them for a test drive. They will answer any questions that you may have. If they don't have the answer handy, they will find it for you. IMHO I expect this, but from allot of companies I didn't get it. Again, Nicholas, one of their sales consultants was great to work with. The fact that he was able to customize a VPS for my needs was also great. This is a company that I will give more of my business in the near future, as I have a project that involves renting a couple of their dedicated servers. By the way, Nicholas was able to provide me with quotes in real time, and also ball-park quotes for future services. Not many, if any at all do this kind of stuff.
Bottom Line: I didn't come here to sign the high praises for Turnkey Internet, I came here to help others out that are in a similar situation like me and are looking for a reliable and decently priced hosting provider. The good part is that you don't have to take my word it, give Turnkey Internet a try and see for yourselves. Their refund policy is extremely decent, so if you don't like what they have to offer, you can easily cancel and get your money back. Be warned however that they will bend over backwards to keep you as their customer. This is a good sign of a healthy company that wants to grow, and knows that they can only do as good as they take care of their customers.
Special Promotion: This is something that I haven't seen before, so I have to tell you guys about it: Turnkey Internet is running a special right now where they offer 75% off for customers that sign up for a new VPS. So for every $100 you will pay only $25. The offer is recurring until you cancel the account. Check out their website for more details.
I guess that some of you will be wondering why I place such emphasis on customer service and attention to detail. It is because I do the same for my own customers. My name is Marc Mironescu, and I am the founder of Toratek LLC. I am a custom computer manufacturer based in Winston Salem, NC, and I have been building custom gaming computer systems, workstations and small servers since 2007. My background is in computer programming and linux server administration. I could add to that Drupal development. Because I am a perfectionist, I want only the best for my customers because if I provide a good service for them, they will put food on my table. It is these basic principles of business that many companies ignore, especially when they start growing a little bit. By talking to Nicholas from Turnkey Internet, he communicated to me by answering my questions that his company understands that they need to take good care of their customers. If I regret something it is that I haven't signed up with them sooner.
My company (Toratek LLC DBA: Toratek Custom Computer Systems) is made of me and three other people, one of which is doing only quality assurance. We are a small business, and we treat all the customers the same, because we understand that regardless of how little or how much a customer buys from us, he can make us or break us for months with a bad review. Of course, I did not come here to advertise my company or Turnkey Internet, and hopefully we get all the last details worked out by the end of this month and launch our website so that customers can place their Christmas orders in time. I don't think that a follow up review will be necessary because our website will speak for Turnkey's VPS server performance. Furthermore, we will be hosting forums and other websites that will cater to the enthusiast community in the United States and all over the world.
If you have any questions about this review, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Because there are so many fake testimonials, I have to say this: Turnkey Internet has not solicited or asked me to write this review. I have written it because I grew tired with frustration of all the hosting companies that try to be hosting providers but fail miserably at it. I have found what I was looking for, and I hope that they will keep up the good work and provide their customers with excellent support. I am not a professional reviewer, so please excuse any grammatical or otherwise contextual mistakes that I may have made while I was writing this review.
I wish you guys the best and a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!
-= This being my first post here, I was limited by the forum software to using mostly just plain text, so I apologize for not using any bold, italic or underlined text to make this easier to read. =-