My current shared hosting provider (Dreamhost) is incapable of supporting Ruby on Rails. They say they do, but me and several other people have been unable to get RoR working on their shared plans and support is disinterested (love them for PHP stuff but RoR is not their thing).
So I'm planning to get a VPS. This particular project is more of a learning exercise. Ultimately, I'll have a few family members connecting to the site, but it's not high traffic or mission critical. Traffic will be very light.
How big a VPS slice do I need to run Apache + Passenger (or Mongrel) at that level? I'm thinking more about RAM than anything else.
Is there one type of VPS (OpenVZ, Xen HVM, etc.) that would be better suited?
Honestly, I'm looking in the budget ($10 or less/month) range, maybe $15/month max. I realize I can't ask for specific recommendations, but perhaps someone can comment if that sounds like a reasonable price range.
if you buy a VPS and install cPanel, Cpanel will be eating up to 300MB ram without any websites hosted or applications installed on the server, I suggest a minimum of 512MB if you are going to use cPanel , if no cPanel then a 256MB ram will do well.
You're budget is fall in the range of 512MB VPS under openvz environment.
Go for Xen HVM if you need more flexibility in terms of custom kernel, but you need to have basic skill in managing the server.
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I had a similar experience with hostmonster - they "support rails", but their rails is rails 2 (incompatible with rails 3 which has been out for a year plus), and their support is a one page post followed by a dozen comments saying it doesn't work. So now I have a year of web hosting I'll never use - nice deal for them. Last time I buy a year of anything.
I'm switching to a VPS, but one tip that may help you - I swapped out rails for Padrino, a much lighter weight framework, and cut my memory usage and increased my performance significantly. So at this point I should be able to put my app in 128 or 192 Megs. I'm also looking at a VPS with FreeBSD which has the best docs of any OS I've seen.