Long time listener, first time caller... er... something like that.
I've been using a VPS for the last 6 years at LiquidWeb, and have been very happy with it, but now the main account that needed that level of VPS is out of business, so I went looking for a cheaper host. Following all of the reviews here on WHT, I decided to try out VPSLatch. They offer about the same entry level configuration (actually slightly better than LiquidWeb), but at less than half the price. $18.75 vs $50 with the current special. I'd love to go even cheaper, but budget VPSs below that price seem to be a little too budget, if you know what I mean. I'd love to just go to an even cheaper reseller account, but I need to be able to manage versions of software services such as PHP, and install new software like Ruby on Rails mod_rails. And even though I'm quite capable of doing most VPS management myself, I really like having a fully managed account to handle things when they get too complicated, or it's just too late at night and I just don't want to deal with it.
Anyway, onto the review.
Initial setup went very smoothly. Setup was (nearly) instantaneous, including cPanel installation. Took less than 24 hours for the cPanel license to activate, but it was fully functional right away anyway. I started transferring some of my lighter weight accounts using WHM's built-in transfers, so that all went very smoothly.
I started doing some informal tests of performance. Everything seemed fine. Nothing scientific, just hitting the site, etc. I was happy to see that WHM reported 8 cores available, and each one was a bit faster than the 2 cores I had access to on my LiquidWeb account. But I really wanted to make sure the IMAP access was fast. Previous hosts I've tried were really slow with IMAP, so I wanted to make sure that wasn't going to be a problem. It wasn't (at least not at first, more on that later). BTW, I opted to use DoveCot instead of Courier because it's supposed to have a better IMAP implementation. I can't really tell a speed difference, but I'm happy that the stupid 'mailboxlist' and 'mlbxlsttmp' folders are gone. Otherwise it was a pretty standard setup.
After a few hours of setup and playing around, I asked support to harden the system. They installed a bunch of software, some of which I still don't know what it does. Some seems to be better than what I had used to harden my last VPS, so that was good to see. And btw, it seemed much more involved than the hardening that LiquidWeb did since I had to add a lot of my own tweaks last time. But then again that was 6 years so maybe things have just evolved. Unfortunately the hardening resulted in a ton of warning messages now flooding my email. I submitted a few tickets to tweak a few things, but ended up having to edit some settings myself to do some things that support claimed weren't possible. (e.g. blocking ssh login messages for my IP address, but not others.) So not perfect support, but pretty good, and frankly, better than I expected.
Then I started digging around for the right way to transfer the rest of the hosts with no downtime, loss of emails, or need for watching multiple email accounts to catch straggler emails. I might be able to handle that personally, but I can't have my naive email users go through that hassle. Turns out there's a lot of crap advice out there, including on WHT. Who knew?
But that's another post... (OK, as an aside, my current plan is to set up the old server as a backup mail server to catch any stragglers and forward them to the new server. To minimize the downtime, I've set all the old server's DNS entries to have really short 900 second TTL entries.) To be fair, I never asked VPSLatch support for help on this since I assumed they were just going to do the WHM transfer thing and not really solve the email problem. I suppose I should ask just in case they do know the "right" way.
So then I struggled for a while setting up Ruby on Rails version 3 using Phusion Passenger (mod_rails), which is also outside the scope of this review since it didn't involve their support or anything. But it is an important factor for me going with a new host in the first place, and I'm glad to say I did eventually get it working on the new server.
So far so good. Everything looked great, so I started moving over some more of my accounts, leaving the most critical ones for last.
Then around midnight last night, my phone starts chirping with text messages that a service failed (and was automatically restarted by cPanel). I'm used to getting the occasional alert like this, so wasn't too worried. But then the alerts kept coming and restarting the services wasn't working. Since it was after midnight, I tried to forward the alerts to VPSLatch support so they could deal with it, but low and behold, email seemed to be down too. So now I had to get out of bed and figure out what the heck was going on.
Turns out, many services were dead for about 20 minutes. I thought maybe a nightly cPanel update had broken things, but I couldn't see any reason for the failures other than a high server load and there wasn't much traffic to any of the sites I had moved over yet. So I asked support if another VPS on the server was causing the problems. They said yes, and they've already suspended that account and started moving it to another server to monitor it. I don't know if they would have independently noticed this problem, or if it was because of my reports, but either way, I can't really ask for much more than that. Assuming, of course, that this actually solves the problem.
Then a couple hours ago, I noticed my email accounts on the new server were offline. I hadn't seen my mail client (Mac's Mail App) mark an account as offline in a long time; I almost forgot what it meant. Anyway, telling it to go online seemed to reconnect fine. Then a few minutes later, moving files between folders in IMAP failed after timeout. A look at WHM on the server shows the load at almost 5 and everything is pretty sluggish, yet again, none of my processes or sites seemed to be responsible. So much for thinking the problems are over.
So that's where I am today. I don't know if I'm just one of the unlucky ones with a bad server or if my expectations are just too high and this is the level of service I should expect from a sub-$20 VPS. I sure hope not. But at this point, I'm hesitant to move over the final sites to the new server until VPSLatch support gives me a good answer. They've only been looking into it for the last 30 minutes, so I'll give them some more time.