It 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.