Sorry to make my first post asking for help.. but I guess we all start somewhere, right?
I had some very minor concerns with moving from an oversold, over-advertised, and overcrowded shared server (I'll save them another negative review) to an unmanaged VPS.
I believe I am technically capable. I have installed and configured software over SSH for my friend on his dedicated, I've played quite a bit with the Ubuntu Hardy beta and familiarized myself with Linux, and well, I grew up using a command line. (MS-DOS!)
However, I certainly don't know everything there is and I'd be doing quite a bit of learning along the way, to say the least.
So I guess the first question is "Do I sound ready"? I'll have to admit that I'll be put *slightly* out of my comfort zone by this, but I really see no other choice. I'm not going to risk moving to another shared host. By out of my comfort zone, I mean things like I'll be constantly afraid that I'll mistype a remove command and delete my entire server. You know, the little things. =p
So my next question is "Is it remotely possible I'll have a worse experience on even the cheapest VPS than I have on shared hosting?" I'm talking about server loads, download speed, customer service. I know not to expect a ton moving from say a $9.99 shared plan to a $15-$30 unmanaged VPS plan, but I certainly don't want to go backwards.
Some info about my site: ULTRA small vBulletin forum, little over 10K posts, honestly only about 30 really active members, total of users + guests online is rarely over 30. I honestly feel there isn't a NEED for a VPS, even a small one, but I like doing things myself and I'd hardly be paying any more money per month.
However, (and this is a big however) there have been a few occasions where I've been linked to directly from the Windows Media mainpage and our stats have skyrocketed. Are there VPSes that are going to shut me down for this? Even on the days which we've been linked to from WM, the entire monthly bandwidth hasn't even approached 50GB. It wasn't even an issue with my awful shared hosting. It does involve streaming media though, so I'm surprised this wasn't a problem.
There's a good chance I'll be linked to again, as we have an ongoing deal with another website, so if I was okay on a shared server am I going to be OK with the VPS I choose? (I will provide what VPS I am considering as a front runner, if anybody asks, but I really don't want to turn this into a discussion about the host I'm leaving and the host I'm running to)
I will provide *one* thing about my current host, and that's my server load averages over the past few hours.
1208494837 - Server Load Averages 20.31, 14.50, 9.79
1208496504 - Server Load Averages 7.02, 8.28, 8.75
1208502121 - Server Load Averages 17.47, 9.61, 6.68
1208503897 - Server Load Averages 3.18, 3.07, 4.32
1208504235 - Server Load Averages 9.53, 5.06, 4.62
1208504272 - Server Load Averages 6.41, 4.84, 4.57
1208506952 - Server Load Averages 4.21, 4.37, 4.93
1208513694 - Server Load Averages 4.61, 8.25, 8.37
1208515844 - Server Load Averages 6.21, 6.93, 6.77
1208519938 - Server Load Averages 4.50, 5.52, 6.11
1208520613 - Server Load Averages 3.36, 6.68, 7.26
1208521147 - Server Load Averages 9.61, 9.23, 8.38
1208523405 - Server Load Averages 15.92, 13.33, 12.25
1208523518 - Server Load Averages 14.38, 13.58, 12.47
1208524541 - Server Load Averages 22.86, 17.87, 15.96
1208525953 - Server Load Averages 5.06, 7.45, 10.54
1208528166 - Server Load Averages 15.30, 11.71, 12.11
1208528540 - Server Load Averages 8.53, 9.26, 11.00
1208528729 - Server Load Averages 3.90, 7.05, 9.85
1208529708 - Server Load Averages 7.88, 6.41, 7.72
1208530326 - Server Load Averages 14.56, 9.12, 8.15
1208531902 - Server Load Averages 8.93, 14.22, 14.00
1208532612 - Server Load Averages 7.74, 8.38, 10.60
1208533321 - Server Load Averages 17.50, 11.67, 11.85
1208534714 - Server Load Averages 10.60, 13.77, 13.59
The times are intermittent as you may tell (I certainly can't read UNIX timestamps) since they rely on a "fake Cron" I set up though vBulletin and set up at pretty distant intervals, so this hardly captures the spikes I am CONSTANTLY seeing over the past several days.
I've even emailed before and was curtly told that I must upgrade my plan and they will not move me to another server. What does upgrading my plan even have to do with it? I'm not the one outgrowing my server in this case. I hardly ever have more than 20 people online!
So, I'm done with dealing with them. I'm certainly not going to email asking for support now.
So an extension of my previous question is "Is it remotely possible I will experience loads like this on a cheap VPS plan?"
From what I can gather I am choosing a reputable hosting company. I've read very good reviews on here and have seen the owner himself reply to negative reviews and I seem to end up believing him over the negative reviewer.
Again, I'll at least mention my future host if in the replies anyone feels I *need* to. I simply just don't want either owner of either hosting company posting in this thread, which seems to happen all too much on here. I have in fact read posts from both owners in the last few days. *sigh*
I certainly don't want to reveal the old, I think even identifying my server loads and their associated times is enough for at least them to know. Probably not though. I'm just being safe. =p
So I guess the all-encompassing question is am I doing the right thing? I'm being overly cautious this time, since the last time I choose a fairly reputable host it crept up and bit me on the butt.
Thanks for any help and suggestions.
Which, by the way, I'm not necessarily LOOKING for suggestions, but here's at least some of the hosts I've looked at. If someone wants to warn me to stay away from any of these then that is fine by me, as long as there is some reason for doing so.
Try to go to a provider that has a managed option available to you, just in the event that you are not comfortable managing the server yourself. The only way you'll know if you can handle it yourself is if you give it a try. As for being afraid of doing something wrong, when you get that feeling, just don't do it, and ask someone that may know
If I were much richer this wouldn't be a problem. I believe I'm capable of managing a server.. I've at least had some pretty decent experience with SSH and the likes.
It's more so my other concerns that I'm worried about.
Like is a VPS for $20 going to put me back in the same situation I am in on a shared host for $10?
Or are my site stats (considering the occasional days where I'm linked to from Windows Media) well within the limits of a VPS with lower RAM? (I never really stated what amount of RAM I was looking at, but I would figure anyone would assume 256MB or so from the prices I mentioned).
So like I said it's not SO much about my capabilities.. It's more about my concerns if I'll really be undergoing a large enough upgrade to ease the ANGER I feel inside over my current host. haha.
Thanks for your response, though.. I should have explicitly stated that I can in no way afford managed.. Except maybe the few $30-ish plans I've seen, but that's pushing it.
Really the only other option I would have would be to move to a new shared host, and I said in my OP that I certainly don't like taking that risk... Since after all, I went with a supposedly reputable host until well, I found out they're really not.
You sound ready to manage your own VPS to me. You have curiosity, willingness, and a reasonable fear of getting things wrong so you are all set.
It is quite right that you should be worried about VPS performance, it can range from worse than a 486 to better than a dedicated box costing twice as much. The only way to know for sure is to try them out, after picking some good ones from the reviews on WHT of course.
I saw one VPS provider proudly display what hardware they used, and how many VPS they ran on it, and something didn't look quite right. Then I noticed that they didn't have enough RAM - they were oversubscribing the guaranteed memory, to say nothing of the burst. I hate to think how it all performs when even people's guaranteed usage causes the machine to swap all the time. That is the sort of thing you are looking to avoid, thankfully there are companies offering better plans for the same money.
Your traffic usage should be well within the cap most companies provide. It might be worth investigating what happens if you do go over the limit though. Sometimes you get billed (often a disproportional amount), sometimes cut off, and sometimes downgraded to a throttled connection.
As you have pointed out, managed hosting comes at a cost. However some unmanaged solutions are more managed than others. Some will charge you for support, some won't offer any at all, and some will try to help you as much as possible but don't have the staff to provide you with guaranteed 24/7 attendance. If your site is important to you then I would recommend at least having the option to pay for support if you really really need it, just in case.
If you go with the right provider I'm sure you will find a $20 VPS much better value than your current $10 shared plan. Thanks to WHT it is quite easy to find great providers, your list looks good to me.
Blue Room Hosting - High availability UK VPS KVM Plans - Multiple OS support. Virtual console and CD drive.
I'm a bit biased to HyperVM and LxAdmin, but it will give you exactly what you need with minimal learning curve and possibly the best resource utilization on the market short of installing everything from source and staying 100% command line. Not to say 100% command line is not an option, heck, it was the only option when I got started, but if you'd like to have both worlds available to you, there is a way you can investigate. Personally I don't see your site being an issue, but I defiantly see the server you are currently hosted on being a huge motivator to find a new home. You seem to have enough interest that you should probably get your feet wet with a VPS that includes some type of control panel so you don't waste countless hours researching how to make your site go once you move it to a totally unmanaged server with nothing more than a command line.
Good luck with your search.
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I think that analogy is a bit understated, IMO. =p
Shared felt like, for me, New York City fighting over one very small water supply. You've simply got to move if you want to survive!
Regardless of server analogies, I've had a shiny new VPS in my possession since Friday night! In relation to when I created this thread, I know that may seem sudden, but I had already been researching VPS providers for several days. Hope nobody thinks that is still too quick. haha
I've definitely enjoyed the experience so far. One of those 'big smile on my face, glad I did this' kind of experiences. I'll update this in a few days after I've migrated my website, for anyone who is interested.
Then hopefully all will go well and I'll be able to write a positive review for my new host! (Don't want to jinx it quite yet... =p)