Review of VPS.NET – 9 months of usage

November 5, 2010 – 8:00 AM

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.

Performance:

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.

Added extras:

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.

Reliability:

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.

Service:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

Comments:
  1. Comment #1

    It’s really good to see that Users and Ex-Usersof VPS.net are voicing their problems all over the place. I personally have quite the rant on my LinkedIn.com account located here and it spans about 1 full month: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/VPSNET-Cloud-Group-is-now-2063588.S.38548321?qid=0548ded6-00a4-4f49-8b16-d1204e793991&goback=.gmp_2063588

    We tried using them for about 4 months to evaluate things and put a couple of customers on the VPS.net Cloud system. Only the VPS.net Cloud is more like a thick fog.

    After about 2 months I had pretty much determined that I didn’t like Support from VPS.net. You see most of the Support staff don’t speak english natively. Many if not most are people from the Ukraine and the surrounding area. This is probably due to the cheap labor pricing. Much like programmers here in the US are on average $60 per hour, go to India, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Singapore, and such and you can get the rate down to about $12-$15 per man hour. A huge difference when dealing with large projects.

    After 4 months a around 50 Hours total downtime, and some amount of Data Loss, we were done dealing with their BS. We moved to http://www.Linode.com (Not an affiliate link) We have never been happier.

    Cloud Hosting has been quite the Buzz Word lately and many companies are reaping big benefits of the Buzz Word. When in fact all they are selling are VPS servers. Way back when we first got started in the Hosting Business we had High Availability Solutions we called Clusters but they were expensive, Very Expensive. Now days its a whole different game. We still have a few clients running on the OLD Beowolf Clustering System and still spend in excess of $8000.00 per month for it service and 20 Terabytes of data usage. one big advantage of this cluster to our client, ZERO DOWNTIME. We have had only ONE incident with the cluster when a drive went bad. While the whole system was running we hot swapped the drive and rebuilt the volume which caused some high Disk IO for about 10 Hours. However the website saw only a little bit of degraded performance. Hits were being returned to the browsers in about 1 – 2 Seconds instead of the usual 500ms or less. Bottom line, the site was UP despite the hardware failure. VPS.net has a lot to learn before their system will be really ready for prime-time. For now they are experimenting with people’s businesses and livelihoods. To hell with that noise, and VPS.net.

    VPS.net Sucks Big Time! Nuff Said!

    Good luck to all of you who have to move from their servers.

    Cheers,

    Darrel Carpenter
    http://www.lasvegaswebhosting….
    (702) 845-6334

  2. Comment #2

    I personally had a rather unfortunate experience with vps.net. Just this past week, I had 2 sites hosted on a VPS 4 account with Hostgator. Though I didn’t have problems with Hostgator, VPS.net looked like a great option since they appeared to have far lower costs for the amount of RAM/CPU.

    I migrated my sites over on Monday and what a level 4 vps from hostgator could handle caused crashing and server overload even with 8 nodes of vps.net. This even after they optimized my databases and everything.

    Note, 8 nodes of vps.net should have 3x the cpu resources and nearly 2.5 the ram of my previous vps4 account with hostgator.

    I found the support terrible after getting used to the immediate responses with hostgator chat. In contrast, I usually waited 4 hours to get a response. In many cases, they would say that everything should be fine when the disk updates or something and when I woke up 8 hours later, my sites were still down.

    In short, if you’re okay with 4 to 8 hours of downtime, paying for way more resources than you anticipated, waiting hours for tech support (and paying $10 per ticket), then vps.net is for you!

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