Migrating to a VPS Cloud Solution

VPS logo "in tha cloud"

After migrating to Westhost, two months ago, I’ve been looking at the performance of this site. Luckily the visitors have been coming back slowly, but gradually. Thank you all!

However I was not content with the load time. In addition, in the future I want to deploy the photos via a CDN (Content Delivery Network) so I’ve decided to migrate to VPS Net Cloud Hosting. I can assure you this is not for the faint hearted. More to follow after the migration has been completed..

I would like to thank the people at Westhost for their patience and support. If your site is not as heavy as this one (in combination with my other projects) Westhost is the hosting provider to be. I’ve left hosting of one project with them anyway.

During the two months hosted there, there were only 12 minutes of downtime. With my former hosting company I have experience hours of downtime…..

Lessons Learned

A cloud hosted VPS is a Virtual Private server that operates in a cloud. The difference from a normal VPS is that when one data centre goes down another center takes over from it. As VPS says it:

Our VPS cloud architecture is designed from the ground up with redundancy at its core. A traditional server always has a single point of failure; a hard drive, a power supply, a power outage. Our virtual private server cloud uses a RAID 10 SAN system, powered by Cisco network hardware, allowing virtual machines to be quickly moved to new hardware in the event of a failure.

This is the site as at VPS Net

Again it is a matter of a lot of commercial and or technical talk and things they don’t tell you.

  1. Neither Yoast, nor VPS, tell you the learning curve is so steep that you should not try to set up your own VPS if you only have a scanty knowledge of Cpanel and how DNS work like I had. If for instance, if you are a bit familiar with Cpanel already, be warned that a VPS Cpanel and a User Cpanel are two completely different matters, let it be trying to understand their inter operability.
  2. Somehow I miss an article at VPS that describes what the maintenance of your own setup precisely could entail. In other words VPS should give more insight what managed hosting precisely does.
  3. VPS has a wiki that only gives some scanty information. Be sure, before you head over to VPS, you have read and re read their entire features, their entire wiki their entire faq and their entire blog.
    Especially from the blog you should read:

    • Moving to the Cloud: Creating your first account in cPanel
    • Moving to the Cloud: Your First ISP Manager
    • VPS.NET 8/20/2010 Weekly Update Introduction of Jumpbox. An out of the box VPS WordPress installation. May work if you have one Blog, may not work if you have several blogs…
    • Using VPS.NET’s DNS Servers with the cPanel DNS Plugin..This confuses me no end! (see 5 below)
  4. When migrating servers in shared hosting you usually get a temporary name to access your site via a browser. It is not easy to see how to get such access in VPS. The advantage is that you don’t start repairing a migrated WordPress installation using the temporary name and break al the links to your photos….If I would have known 2 months ago that you can buy a month of managed service from VPS including a setup fee and thereafter can cancel the managed hosting and go on with self hosting, then I would not have migrated to Westhost. I would have jumped into the VPS hosting right away. It would have saved me days and nights of work. The trick is that in one way or another you should have your own IP number. With your own IP number you are less likely to install your WordPress blog on a temporary address. If your not savvy with .htaccess and MySQL, you’re likely to end up like me spending days and nights of manually adjusting urls of your photos. The migration of my 2 main sites only cost 2 to 3 hours. After they were migrated they seemed perfectly in order.
  5. All in all the managed migration went reasonably quick and well. However I had chosen to flip the DNS at my registrars after the migration. That cost me another two days and many tickets getting it resolved.
    A nifty tool to remember is this What’s My DNS which helps you seeing the propagation of your DNS servers.
    I have domains registered at 4 instances: 3 servers of my ex host and 1 server at Westhost. One of my questions is: VPS makes it not clear whether you should transfer the registration of your domains to VPS or not. What are the advantages and what the disadvantages? Another question is. If it is advised to transfer a domain from your current registrar to VPS, where can you do that on VPS’s site?
  6. Things VPS could should clarify in addition to other issues mentioned before:
    • VPS suggests you can try it out for yourself when you buy a node for one day for $, but it is not clear that if you want to check it out with CPanel, you’ll have to buy a Cpanel licence for a whole month ?…
    • If you have setup a server with a paid license for for instance Cpanel, you shut it down and you start a new server with Cpanel…you get another bill for Cpanel…
    • Comparing VPS with Westhost now, I noticed that their online chat response times and ticket response times are slower than Westhost’s. I assume that this is because the VPS peeps are maybe more in the clouds that the down to earth Westhost peeps….
  7. Finally I’m not yet sure the load time has become faster after the migration… [Update: at December 8, 2010 the propagation of the DNS servers seems complete and I measure a nifty 2.5 @ 3 secs as opposed to 8 or more secs, but this is Europe]

Last edited by GJE on December 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm

9 thoughts on “Migrating to a VPS Cloud Solution”

  1. Nice comments about WestHost. As you mentioned managing your own VPS can be a steep learning curve. WestHost does have cloud solutions that are fully managed and is developing a cloud solution very similar to what you moved to. Both are great to work with and a great choice for high performing hosting. 🙂

  2. @Jake
    With pleasure. Westhost does an excellent job. Moreover it does an honest job. When I questioned whether hosting in Europe would be preferable over hosting in the US I got an honest answer. Hence Happy Hotelier is now London based….

  3. Very detailed! Yes, cloud hosting is highly preferable. It cuts of downtimes and is highly convenient, Great post!

  4. Thank You Kristina.
    However. I’ve had more downtime in the last week than the prior two months, actually the prior years in shared hosting…

  5. I’d like to know how you are finding VPS NET now? I am thinking of moving over to them, downtime scares me, have you experience much downtime with them?

    I don’t have a clue how to set up a server? can they help with this?

    1. Knocking wood I’ve not experience down time for some time now, but it is working far from perfect. They can help you setting up a server or move an existing site…that goes relatively easy, but as you I have not enough knowledge of apache and managing the lot…have a feeling I have far too much resources….I’ve seen a tweet that they have cleaned their forum from negative experiences…all in all I’m not very happy with them…

  6. I have a server on VPS.net at the moment. Cpanel started emitting errors several months ago which updates don’t fix.

  7. JohnR
    I’ve moved away from VPS in December 2011.

    Do you operated a WordPress site on VPS or do you use it for other stuff?

  8. Hey, I just want to add one thing, that a nifty tool to remember, which helps you seeing the propagation of your DNS servers in a more detailed way than whatsmydns.net is https://dnschecker.org/. With more public servers available to check the live propagation result.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.