Moved from vps.net to dediserve.com

Dediserve Logo
Just to let you know I’ve moved away from vps.net after experiencing an appalling 9 hour 20 minute downtime on vps.net on December 29, 2011. I’ve moved to dediserve.com, an Irish company. Please note they are not the same company as the Poland based Dediserv.

My first impressions of Dediserve are excellent with a couple of caveats.

In a later post I’ll give a more in depth review and the caveats.

I will not become an affiliate of Dediserve as I’m not taking advertising for this blog. But even if I’ll introduce advertising here, I won’t become an affiliate. With hindsight I still feel trapped by the affiliation of a colleague blogger I stepped in when I moved to vps.net approximately 15 months ago – see my post To VPS or not to VPS?. I wouldn’t like to cause such disappointment as I’ve felt to any of my readers.

Now we are VPS hosted in Amsterdam

Yes, as indicated before, with the help of VPS.net our hosting has moved to Amsterdam.

I do hope outages and failures will be less, far less, or better even: Non existent anymore!

For the first time in 2 months I’m glad we can now see uninterrupted supply for over 24 hours (actually I would call that “normal”, won’t you?).

Update: After an appalling almost 9 hours downtime on December 29, 2011 I’ve decided to move away to Dediserve

Last edited by GJE on April 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

Websynthesis – Coppyblogger steps into WordPress only Hosting

Oh Irony 1

Just while I’m in the middle of the (too lengthy) process of deciding whether to stay with VPS.net or change hosting provider again and even go to a dedicated WordPress hosting outfit, I see a pre-battle tweet by Brian Clark AKA Copyblogger that nobody has done it right so far. When someone asks him whether he had looked into WPEngine he answered:

Yes, we decided to roll out our own Websyntesis. Apart from WordPress itself, this is the third dedicated WordPress only hoster after Page.ly and WPEngine I’m aware of.

Oh Irony 2: Copyblogger is a former Thesis partner – hence the name?

Last year there was much ado about Matt Mullenweg threatening to sue Chris Pearson of Thesis with respect to the theme’s GPL compliance. I started my post with:

Yesterday I opened my dashboard and noticed syn-thesis-1 by Matt Mullenweg in a window

While this was going on Chris Pearon and Brian Clark split up their partnership and Brian gave an interview to Technosailer about this split up. Guess what? Technosailor is one of the guys behind WPEngine.[Oh Irony update: I found out Technosailor stepped down first and left WP Engine entirely later]

Afterward Copyblogger teamed up with Genesis od Studiopress, a WordPress theme framework developping community.

Oh Irony 3: Chris Pearson is on VPS.net

He seems decently served by VPS.net. However I’m not sure anymore he’s still there.

Oh Irony 4: Woothemes is also on VPS.net

Next to Genesis and Thesis Woothemes is the third big WordPress theme developper and also they are seemingly served well by VPS.net..

Preliminary thoughts

  • You can only host at Websyntesis if you use the Genesis theme. Not for me for the moment.
  • Theme wars just one step further…As Chris has promised his version 2.0 for over a year now without delivering…this might be an inducement to step away from Thesis.
  • Brian claims the cemetery of WordPress blogs with hosting issues is only due to wrong theme coding..I really doubt this, because I’ve experienced strange things with later versions of WordPress after 2.8. It could be in the WordPress core coding as well IMHO.
  • It’s about time for a European counter intitiative in dedicated WordPress hosting.

Update

And I just discovered another US based WordPress only hosting party: Zippykid

Last edited by GJE on January 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

To VPS or Not to VPS?

VPS logo "in tha cloud"

Introduction

Some readers may remember that a year ago Happy Hotelier and its significant sister blog Chair Blog were kicked from its then shared hosting plan by a Dutch Hosting Company without any pre warning. I was Furious!, to say the least. After the dust had settled it appeared (and they admitted) they had been overselling.

Hasty move to a US based shared hosting plan

All of a sudden I had to find another hosting company. I found and moved to Westhost through a post by Yoast.

I was very impressed with Westhost’s outfit and client service…I felt I was back to “normal”

However, shared hosting proved too slow

I found my sites loading too slow. As Yoast’s article also mentioned VPS.net and I respected Yoast’s expertise I followed his advice to try and use VPS.net……So in December 2010 I moved to VPS.net, which, with the benefit of hindsight I regret:

My 10 months uptime

These snippets from my pingdom report show A measly uptime of 97,23 % – Total Downtime since December 8, 2010: 8 days 15 hrs and 49 minutes with 190 instances!!!!

It is noteworthy to see that the numerous comments to this original post of Yoast seem having disappeared completely. In a Twitter conversation Yoast admitted the comments dissappeared though his own fault through a sloppy MySQL dump. [update] However with the number trimmed down they can now be found on a Separate Page.

Yoast’s Second Post

A couple of weeks ago Yoast published a second post about VPS.Net Cloud Hosting, Cloud Servers, what’s the difference? It featured an interview with one of the guys at VPS.NET. I just read it when my sites were down for 5 hours on September 4/5 and made a comment in a series what turned out to be many comments, mostly of people who had issues with VPS.Net.

Some VPS net clients reported about their dissatisfaction

Through the posts of Yoast and via Twitter I found som blog posts from other (former) clients of VPS.net:

  • VPS.Net Cloud Hosting – Why I canceled my account after 2 days – Sangat Pedas.
  • Reelseo was another VPS client who was not amused.
  • N0on3 posted very extensively about his experience mainly the lack of backups
  • Wegopro In Dutch
  • Tentblogger was not amused as well.

Yoast’s Third VPS Net post

Yoast was taken aback by the many negative comments the prior post attracted.

Therefore, in VPS Net Issues and what they do about it Yoast grilled the CEO of VPS.net in an interview with some tough questions and some pertinent answers from the CEO.

However, My situation even deteriorated afterward:

Pingdom September and Oktober Outages

Click the image for the full downtime report according to Pingdom: Uptime 93.08 % Downtime over three days in hardly two months at 93 instances with September 5 with 5 hours and September 15 with 10 hours and September 16/17 with 29 hours downtime the most frustrating days…

You have to be a Geek bigtime to be able to manage a VPS!

  • Domain registration management. Do keep it separate from your hosting provider in case you want to move away from your hosting provider. Rather than moving a domain from one hosting outfit to another which can take up to 5 working days, you can easily change the url to where your site is hosted and depending on the TTL you’ve set the propagation can be as fast as a couple of hours.
  • You must always keep a separate e-mail, because if you don’t and your VPS goes down, there is no other way of communicating with the support other than a slow web based ticket system
  • Server management. Anybody know how to login into and manage an Apache server from a command line? I don’t. It is very specific linux stuff.
  • How to secure or harden your server against outside intrusions? I’m not technical enough to give you guidance.
  • How to manage a CDN (a Content Delivery Network)?
  • Control panels for the VPS (the server itself)?
  • Control pannels for the programs you want to be run by your VPS?
  • Updating the stuff.
  • Preparing for calamities with backups and so on.

I can assure you it is a steep learning curve and actually much too time consuming to be bothered with. I’m sure Yoast is well versed in all these matters, but I am not and I don’t want to be. I simply want to be able to run my business and occasionally post here and on my other blog, without all this hassle.

Alternatives for VPS Hosting

I came across two companies who do dedicated WordPress hosting: Page-Ly and WPEngine. Both take away the hassle from you.

If you are interested here are some reads about them:

Page-Ly relies on Firehosting. WPEngine relies on its own servers (and not on Amazon as I assumed earlier).

I’m very much inclined to make the step to WPEngine despite the following consideration:

In Which Country do I want to host?

Basically I don’t want to host my site outside The Netherlands. The reason is that I am not familiar with the ins and outs of foreign (mostly Anglo Saxon) law and I don’t want to get involved into another legal system by the mere fact my sites are hosted in a foreign jurisdiction. The Netherlands itself has red tape enough.

That’s the reason I’ve tried a VPS plan with XLS hosting in the meantime. XLS hosting is a pure Dutch provider, but has a setback: It’s helpdesk closes after office time. But during the day I’m usually busy with my business and later in the evening I can find some time to go into hosting details so their service level doesn’t work for me.

I’ve also tried JaguarPC as they advertised having Dutch clouds. However after signing on they admitted that they wouldn’t start new Dutch clouds in the foreseable future.

Preliminary Conclusion

So despite their setbacks I’ve decided to try VPS.net once more with their AMS based cloud servers.The speed of VPS.net is great as well as its support..They promised me a migration….Also, their slogan is 100% uptime, but they do not refund you for downtime…they credit you for future use…..

Or am I being stupid staying with them one more time?

Updates:

  1. It went very well for 6 weeks…
  2. After an appalling almost 9 hours downtime on December 29, 2011 I’ve decided to move away to Dediserve

Last edited by GJE on April 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

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

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