2007 HostingFu Year In Review

Year 2007 has come and — it is almost gone. It has been an interesting year here at HostingFu, my blog on web hosting. This blog was created back in 2006 when I was looking around for web hosting providers to host some of my hobby projects. 100+ posts here later, playing around with hosting accounts actually became the hobby itself! My main obsession has been virtual dedicated/private server hosting, which you can probably guess from all the VPS hosting related articles I have written. Well, I love the power of root, but (1) can’t afford the whole “real thing” (2) don’t have a big enough project to warrant the “real thing”. I guess I will be testing out more VPS hosting in 2008 then.

Hosts I Am Still Using

Here is a list of hosts that I am still using as of 31 December.

  • DreamHost — bought my very first web hosting account there back in 2005, and I am still hosting my church website, a file uploading service, and other large media files. $10/month, okay availability, crazy amount of storage space and data transfer allowance, slow servers but great bandwidth to East Coast Australia — perfect place to dump and serve up big media files.

    I don’t really plan to leave them in 2008 as moving that much data elsewhere is going to be PITA. Reading their blog alone is worth the price of $10/month anyway.

  • NearlyFreeSpeech.NET — I reviewed them in March, and I still have one fairly static site hosted with them. It’s great for that low-traffic database-less site. In fact I suspect my initial $20 deposit might still have some change left by this time next year. They have also had some improvement since my review, for example migration to a new data centre, and migration to PHP 5.2. I will still recommend them for small sites that you want to host and forget, or larger PHP sites that you want to make use of their clustered set up to scale.

  • SliceHost — I did a 12 month mini-review on them back in September, and 3 months later, this site is still hosted with their Xen VPS. In my review 3 month ago, the biggest issue was their wait list, as not many people were willing to fork out more to jump the queue for a product they have no experience with. Apparently it is no long the issue — Matt at SliceHost has officially declared the death of their wait list, and you can now sign up and get your slice instantly like how it used to be!

    Highly recommended for their service, their server performance and stability, their developer-centric community, etc. Wait for my 24 month review in September 2008.

  • VPSLink — I have been with VPSLink for almost 19 month now, running a 256MB OpenVZ VPS with CentOS/LxAdmin. I use LxAdmin to host quite a few friends’ sites. Over the last 6 months it has been rock solid (especially after I requested my VPS to be moved to another host node with less IO wait 🙂

    Since I do not actually have a “production site” on my VPSLink VPS (these are all my friends’ sites), I don’t tend to tinker around with the configuration which might be why it has been quite stable. Another reason might be that LxAdmin requires CentOS, and personally I can’t stand CentOS and would like to keep away from it as much as possible 🙂 Will I still be hosting at VPSLink? Most likely, as long as I am still responsible to keep my friends’ sites up and running.

  • Web24 — after saying goodbye to GPLHost, I moved my project there to Web24.com.au in Melbourne Australia, as they have pretty cheap bandwidth for their Australian Linux VPS. I got a “Silver” plan running Ubuntu 7.10. So far so good — fast support, great hardware, good bandwidth, etc — but more I used Virtuozzo, more I appreciated my Xen-based VPS.

    I will hopefully write a review on them next month.

  • Linode — they contacted me a few days ago offering me to review their VPS. They lent me a Linode 360 Xen VPS in Fremont CA and I have been playing with it over the last couple of days. Their control panel is very impressive and performance is good so I am tempted to actually get one myself.

    Their review will be up in the next couple of days as well.

Yeah, I know. I seem to have more VPS than I actually need. I am already paying over $100/month on hosting fees so I guess for 2008, I just need to develop some killer projects that actually utilise all my server resources 🙂

Hosts I No Longer Use This Year

There have been a few hosts that I no longer use during this year for various reasons.

  • GPLHost — I had been with them for over 12 months, but has decided to say bye-bye to them because I need more cheap bandwidth in Australia. The support is excellent. Server performance has been great since migrating to the new hardware. Stability is patchy. They are still one of the cheapest Xen VPS provider in Australia though.

  • VPSByte — when they advertised their 1 year anniversary specials — 512MB guaranteed, 1GB burstable, 300GB data transfer, OpenVZ $14.96/month — I bought one VPS from them as an impulse buy because it’s just too cheap. It turns out to be a $14.96/month waste of time and I was too lazy to cancel it so I actually kept it for 2 months! Faults:

    • Time drift. You can do nothing about it as it’s an OpenVZ VPS (whereas in Xen you can have your own independent clock). Ask the support to sync with NTP server, and few weeks down the track it’s out of sync again.
    • Capped bandwidth. Not sure whether it is capped, but RX can’t seem to exceed 50KB/s and it takes painful long to download package updates even from local mirrors.
  • BuyAVPS — bought a small VPS from them back in March as I needed a small server in California. Then the big drama of its ex-owner Navid Nadali unable to pay the data centre, move the servers around, and then disappeared completely leaving all its customers screaming and shouting on WebhostingTalk.com. AxisHost came to rescue, but since it is no longer hosted in LA I gave the new BuyAVPS a miss.

  • AnchorVPS.com — used them for a month. Too many reboots at the beginning and the whole server is simply not stable enough. A few months later they closed down giving their existing customers only 48 hours to respond. That is dodgy.

There might be others but I don’t really want to write out all these bad experiences on this blog.

Blog Statistics

It is still a small blog after 20 months. 400-600 unique visitors a day, less than 2GB a month and that’s about it. Most popular post this year is Nginx v.s Lighttpd for a small VPS, which has been featured on Reddit and linked by many other blogs.

Thank You Sponsor

Finally, I would like to thank VPSLink for sponsoring this blog (you should see their skyscrapper banner when you browse around). They have been advertising on this blog since June this year. Also thanks to Web Hosting Unleashed for sponsoring this blog in March-April.

Please contact me if you are interested in advertising on this blog.