Virtual Private Server (VPS)- An Unusual and Fruitful Experience

openvzIt has been a practice for me for a couple of years now to at least have two different web hosting for my sites. Despite the premium, I wanted to have at least a backup in case one server is offline, the other will be a fallback. In this way, I can easily redirect my visitors to an alternative site while the actual site is down.

A couple of weeks ago, both web hosting has suspended my accounts on the same day for the same reason, "High CPU Usage". In one hosting, I have created an IFrame of a popular video on my frontpage and an autoblogger in one site. On the other web host, it was the autoblogger which is causing the problem.

I removed them from my sites and everything went back to normal.

I have shared this experience in one of the webmasters forum. Everyone has suggested that I need to get a VPS (Virtual Private Server) to host my sites. In this way, I could have full control on my web host. I have taken their advices serious so I went hunting for a cheap VPS. Finally I found a suitable VPS host.

The VPS I selected has the following specifications

  • 20GB Space
  • 256MB/384MB Burst RAM
  • 75GB Bandwith
  • 1 Dedicated IP
  • Full root access
  • 100% UpTime SLA
  • Free 24/7 Telephone Support

I did not waste time signing up with this host. During the I was asked to provide some information like, nameservers, etc. which I did. I also selected Ubuntu 10.4 LTS as the operating system.

It took a couple of days for it to be activated, reason - I used a free email address for my sign-up which the web host administration thought was a fraud/spam but finally decided that I am not a fraud.

The clean installed OS did not have anything on it except Apache and SSH. There is no PHP nor MYSQL. It is here where my familiarity with the Ubuntu/Debian OS came into use. To make the story short - I was able to create a working LAMP server.

At this stage, I am still using the dedicated IP address of my VPS. There are still so many thing for me to do, Control Panel, Nameservers, and Mail Servers.

Control Panel. I choose Webmin. I have been using it for quite a while now and it provides me the full access to a remote server like my VPS.

Nameserver. This is a tedious part of having a VPS. Its a choice - use a third part NS or create your own. I decided to have my own as a primary nameserver, then a third party as secondary. It worked just fine for the website after having the trouble of registering it on my domain registrar and configuring my nameserver. By the way, I used BIND which is a readily installable component of Ubuntu or any Linux distro.

Mail Server. I installed Postfix which is the default MTA of Ubuntu. I also configured my nameserver to include MX records. Finally, I was able to send messages via the web mail client which I installed.

Despite being able to send mails, I am not able to receive any emails at all. I checked my nameserver and I get some errors on MX records which may be causing the issue. I got tired of trying to configure it, I just abandoned the Mail Server setup.

I went back again to the webmasters forum and suggested that I could use EHCP, an open-source control panel for web hosting. I was able to install it properly but it would not run properly as my RAM is not sufficient for its requirements. I just uninstalled it.

Now, my VPS is just sitting out there without any activity. I got tired of tinkering with it now. Okay fine - I got full control of it but after serveral days of working on it, I believe that I would rather content myself with shared hosting for now than going into VPS. If time comes that my requirements need a VPS, then that is the only time to go.

Managed VPS is out of the question as I am not ready to spend >$40 per month for a VPS used for personal puproses only.

My VPS experience was very unusual but fruitful experience. I have learned much about it and will be more experienced when I need to do it again depending on my requirements.

A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) - Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) - Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).