VPS on the cheap

Grant Robinson santiago at mr-r.net
Fri Apr 25 12:48:59 MDT 2008

On Apr 25, 2008, at 11:58 AM, Steven Alligood wrote:
> Bluehost has a large number of customers that are getting exactly  
> what is advertised.  Customers are never let go for using bandwidth  
> or drive space, although sometimes they have to be moved to other  
> servers to accommodate them.  What customers are let go for is  
> causing problems for other customers, which often results from CPU  
> pounding or constant heavy drive I/O, and mirroring large active  
> repos does both of those.

As an owner/admin of a hosting company since 1999, I thought I would  
chime in.  I have watched the hosting space change and evolve over the  
last few years, and I have noticed an interesting trend.  Many hosting  
providers are doing just what Chab said.  They are over-promising.  I  
have a BlueHost account that was acquired as part of a business  
transaction, and I have been less than impressed with them.  Their  
customer service is poor, I have to give them a copy of my drivers  
license to get SSH access, and while their offerings are broad, they  
are nevertheless part of a canned package, and they are things that  
BlueHost has chosen to run and/or install, not necessarily what a  
client wants to run and/or install.  We have always tried to under- 
promise and over-deliver.  We don't oversell, but make sure that what  
we have promised lines up with our capacity.  Of course, the result of  
this is we have not become fabulously wealthy, but that's ok. :)

That being said, I also understand the predicament that BlueHost (and  
other mass-volume hosting providers) are in.  You cannot be a mass- 
volume shared web hosting company without the types of things they are  
doing.  Letting every Tom, Dick, and Harry have access to a shared  
machine that other customers are depending on greatly increases the  
risk that someone with malicious intent will get access and wreak  
havoc.  Mass-volume shared hosting is all about automation, from  
installs, provisioning, backups, you name it, and it is either  
automated, or it should be.  Allowing non-conforming setups can  
totally screw that up.

With regards to this specific instance, BlueHost has covered  
themselves by making their terms of service EXTREMELY broad.   
Basically, they reserve the right to shut your site down for any  
reason whatsoever, even it totally screws you over. If you decided to  
run a popular news site like Slashdot or OSNews on BlueHost, it would  
do the EXACT same things that mirroring a popular linux distro would,  
or worse.  It would slam the CPU, network, and most assuredly would  
affect the other people hosting on the same machine.  These types of  
things could happen with any webhost, of course, but if you are  
hosting with people you know, they will usually talk things over with  
you before making a uni-lateral decision.

If you are looking for cheap, and that is the most important thing to  
you, then go for BlueHost, or some place that offers you a VPS for $8  
a month (which, btw, is too good to be true).  Cheap != Good, and if  
your livelihood depends on who you host with or get a VPS with, then  
you would be well-advised to go with someone you trust, even if they  
may cost more.  If it is just for play and getting shut down is not an  
inconvenience, then it doesn't really matter who you host with.  I  
like the line from Lewis Carroll: "If you don't know where you are  
going, any road will get you there."

Just my $0.02.


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