I like to use a service for some time in order to make an informed decision about staying or going, it’s something that I don’t take lightly and any one thing cannot make me change no matter how bad it is because as everyone knows companies change and service from those companies change also.
This is why after 9 months I have decided to leave VPS.NET, it’s nothing personal and I’m not saying that it’s not a great service to use for others, it’s just not right for me.
Before I get to the review I’d like to point out that I was using a 1 node VPS at the Salt Lake City cloud running Debian 5.0 x64 and it’s very important that if you’re comparing it to another provider to only compare it with similar services.
One of the reasons I decided to go the VPS route was performance. With my previous provider(s) this website wasn’t the easiest to host, it tended to use a lot of resources and on 2 occasions with my previous host my site was disabled for taking too much resources. It was unfortunately very hard to diagnose those issues when I didn’t have access to the required information. On top of this a shared hosting system has it’s own performance issues and my last 2 had high load issues no matter how many tickets I sent.
VPS.NET was a welcome reprieve from those issues, with dedicated minimum CPU and dedicated RAM I wasn’t subject to the issues of shared hosting, along with this the ability to diagnose every aspect of my server allowed me to streamline this website to run well on any host.
Latency was as expected, being in Australia the latency to the US is anywhere in the 200-300ms range, I opted for Salt Lake City as it’s the closest geographically to here. Yet for some reason doing anything on the server was a little laggy, this caused some slowness with using VPN software and a noticable lag when loading the site sometimes.
Bandwidth was very good most of the time and I only occasionally noticed a time when I wasn’t able to max out my internet connection downloading anything from it, though I never benchmarked the actual bandwidth it was always very fast at downloading updates and I never had to wait too long to install anything.
Disk performance fluctuated quite significantly, it did it at random and as such I tried as much as possible to keep everything in RAM, because at some point it could suddenly drop and my site would slow down to a crawl, however in the later months this improved significantly and I was able to let somethings get shifted into the swap file without any drawbacks.
CPU performance was fairly consistent, unfortunately it was consistently bad and it seems to be the main drawback of running a 1 node VPS, compression and encryption really made the server suffer, compressing something wasn’t the end of the world but it did take a long time, while using something like SCP to send backups would slow the server down so much that it would actually fail occasionally. I had to switch to using FTP for things like that, this wasn’t a deal breaker though, I simply had to control what I used.
In summary the performance wasn’t bad enough for me to say that it’s a problem, it certainly could do with some improvements at the 1 node end of the scale though.
The added extras are a great thing for the first time VPS user.
I love the idea of giving free ISPManager Pro licenses out, when you’re not making money from your VPS or in my case trying to be revenue neutral it is great to have something that is easy to use without having to pay a monthly subscription. ISPManager works well, doesn’t use much resources and is quite lenient when it comes to custom changes.
You also get a free Codebase account, though I didn’t use mine unfortunately as I only started wanting to use a service like that when I decided to close my account.
The rest of the services you can pay for include IP Addresses that I used in order to set up DNS, a few backup solutions, none of which I tried as I was on a budget and had my own backup solution. There are also managed services for those that need more hands on help in running the server.
Setting up the server went smoothly aside from a few user errors and everything went well, occasionally there would be small cases where something would go wrong but for the most part it was quite reliable, 4 months ago there was an issue and the techs worked on my server, afterwards the server rebooted and reverted to an earlier version of itself, however after rebooting a few times the correct image booted up and I didn’t experience that issue again, things were smooth sailing again, however towards the end I had a rather large downtime, where my VPS wouldn’t power up and was down for 12 hours.
In my time with the service I had little downtime caused by actual problems with the VPS.NET software/hardware and I encountered no lasting corruption issues.
This is what ultimately sealed the deal for me personally, when I first signed up the service was great, I had responses to tickets within 30 minutes and in most cases the problem was solved in that time as well. However in the past 2 months the amount of time I had to wait simply for the initial response to a ticket ballooned out significantly.
The general time-frame for getting a problem fixed took just as long proportionally to the point where my site was down for 12 hours because it took almost 3 and a half hours to get my first response, an hour to explain (back and forth) that I hadn’t made any changes to the server to constitute a boot issue, 5 hours from then I was informed it was escalated then 2 and a half hours after that it was finally fixed. The amount of time it takes to fix is ok if it’s a big issue and for all I know it was, but the large amount of time it takes for their support staff to even acknowledge the ticket is just too much.
There was also more and more cases where I wouldn’t get help with something unless I paid for managed support, even for things I had previously received free support for which made me wonder what kind of checking they do for that kind of thing, does needing a file deleted on an non-booting VPS require a $10 payment or not?
From what I can understand things in this department are being sorted out at the moment and they should hopefully be back to their usual great standards soon.
In the end there were a few reasons that made me decide to change hosts for now, VPS.NET were the best value for money choice when I signed up but for a while now you can get more RAM, CPU power and disk space for the same price at other providers and the support has become a tad bad. Overall my experience was pleasant but not quite pleasant enough.