Coffeehouse Thread

16 posts

Windows VPS Hosting - who's good and cheap... who do YOU use?

Back to Forum: Coffeehouse
  • User profile image
    itsnotabug

    Just looking for some first-hand accounts. I needs full RDP access with a dedicated share of memory/cpu... had been with gooodaddy for shared, but time to step up and I kind of want to get away from the goooo.

    I've seen the microsoft web hosting referral site, but I'm looking for real world unfiltered/unbiased anecdotal evidence from real developers... and real numbers of hits per day without throttling. the number of fake reviews on "PR" sites is unbelievable and makes it hard to find real reviews.

    My needs are Windows 2008 R2, Sql Express, at least 1 external IP, ability to host as many domains as i want, full trust, 2GB+, 50GB+, lots of transfer.

    ...or would I be better off just investing in a small box and self host out of my garage? Does anybody do this?

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    as far as I am aware of cheap and full access to a private server are not in the same box.

    the best thing I can recommend is to check out discountasp.net

    http://www.discountasp.net/features.aspx

    at about $200 USD per year you get a lot of stuff.  that price is based on having sql server and the web hosting. no rdp to the box, not a vps but heck.

    if you really want a vps with rdp then it will as far as I know cost a lot more than 200 a year.

    if you must have that level then just buy space in a data center and pay the price.

    if you can find a setup that will cost less than a grand a year tell us.

  • User profile image
    Jim Young

    I was going to recommend discountasp.net also, but it did not figure into his requirements. They are who I use for all my domains. They're not necessarily cheap, but they are dependable, their tech support is responsive and you really get what you pay for.  

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    What about running a VM on Windows Azure? You can get dedicated CPU cores and memory, but if you run it 24/7 you are easily looking at in excess of $100 per month. I don't think you can get it much cheaper anywhere else, though.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    Self-hosting a server (out of your garage, no less) just doesn't compare to something sitting in a datacentre with a high-speed internet connection and 24/7 support. If uptime and latency are important, don't even think about doing it yourself, unless you can provide that level of performance/reliability.

    I've been using CrucialParadigm's Citrix-XEN based VPS.

    http://www.crucialp.com/virtual-dedicated-servers-vds/windows-2008-server.php

    There are add-on services available, such as R1Soft-Backup (for data versioning backup) and external 'hardware' firewall.

    I'm using one to support multiple specialized websites, with different domains, and running specialist local services, that my CMS application requires, and that I wouldn't be allowed to install with traditional web-hosting.

    As with any hosted VPS, you get to call the shots on how the O/S is configured and what you do with it, just as you would a dedicated server - e.g. security config is your problem/choice. 

    I have customers with their own VPS service (running additional apps that I don't support) and am able to configure a 2nd private LAN to move files between multiple VPS.

    Strictly speaking, the self-managed service means re-boots only (if RDP doesn't respond for some reason) but in practice I've found them far more helpful than that, and prepared to assist troubleshoot every problem I've encountered (which are usually Windows software based). I have never been left waiting for a tech-support response for more than 10 mins. Mind you, I'm using the local (Australia) branch, so can't vouch for elsewhere, 

    I'm sure there are other services out there that are cheaper, and others that are equally as good - but this is what I've used.

  • User profile image
    itsnotabug

    The best vibe I'm getting is from SoftSys. http://www.softsyshosting.com/windows-vps.aspx

    Mostly good reviews on the webhosting forums. Their Eco-2 unmanaged tier looks like it'll satisfy my needs at around $300/yr. That's not too expensive considering I'd be killing my dropbox account in favor of my own "My Documents" folder sync of less than 10GB... that's really the only thing i use dropbox for (if I ever got serious and had paying customers I would not use the server for personal backup).

    I looked at azure and amazon but they get ridiculously expensive quickly. I do like the nice interface and extras with amazon (not to mention the full-use free tier.. azure should really offer something like this!). If you're serious about big scale then it'd be the way to go, but not for me.

     

  • User profile image
    PopeDai

    I managed to get a special offer and preferential rate from my colocation provider (after they almost fried everyone's machines with a faulty power-supply upgrade a few years ago) which means it's still far, far cheaper for me to continue colocation than it is to switch to a VPS.

    However, once my hardware starts failing then the cost of new hardware (possibly in the $10k-range) means I'll start looking at a VPS or "Cloud" VM service. I'm looking at Amazon and our own Azure as possibilities.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    , Sven Groot wrote

    What about running a VM on Windows Azure? You can get dedicated CPU cores and memory, but if you run it 24/7 you are easily looking at in excess of $100 per month. I don't think you can get it much cheaper anywhere else, though.

    now this is one of the things I have never figured out:  how do you *NOT* run a server 24x7 and still have a "Server" ?  seem to me that the on-demand use charges that make the cloud servers sound economical only happen for expansion not for the basic server.

    for example your #1 web server has to run 24x7 and you have to pay for that.

    but if you have the setup to grow on demand then you only need to pay for server #2  when demand on serve #1 is to high.   but you also then have to make sure that the demand is worth paying for and that someone has not attacked your server possibly creating junk traffic to make you go out of business from high costs for that cloud.

    I just have not seen a virtual / cloud system that really is worth looking at unless you can pay as much as you would for a normal server farm.

  • User profile image
    itsnotabug

    @figuerres: That's very similar to my own conclusions after investigating this stuff. Until the elastics can offer a compelling price point to the little guy for 24/7 or maybe some kind of sliding time share with people on the other side of the world, the only legit use case i can think of would be on-demand cpu cycles... like if you wanted a super computer to crunch serious numbers for one specific task, without investing in a bunch of ps3's/graphics cards and actually building the super computer.

    I can only assume they offer better economies for general hosting when you get past a certain scale.

    Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone. It's interesting to see who people are actually using.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    @figuerres:Yes, I can well appreciate that for larger implementations (like a 'News' website) the ability to quickly scale from minimal to as far as you need, as the demand varies during the day, would be very attractive. However, for small business requirements, I'm yet to see anyone justify the entry level. This is where cheaper hosted VPS solutions using Hyper-V or Citrix-XEN come into their own.

  • User profile image
    PopeDai

    , elmer wrote

    @figuerres:Yes, I can well appreciate that for larger implementations (like a 'News' website) the ability to quickly scale from minimal to as far as you need, as the demand varies during the day, would be very attractive. 

    I don't believe any websites' popularity can waver that much on a daily basis - while it's true a website will see increased visitation during daylight hours it's incredibly unlikely that demand on a server during peak periods would be enough to bring it to a halt and introduce a need to expand. With today's hardware you can easily support a PHP or ASP.NET website that gets millions of pageviews per day on a single $1000 Dell rackmount box - I think the limiting factor to a high-traffic website is needing a CDN for large-sized site assets or if you have a bottleneck on your database server - neither of which a VPS or VM service will help you with.

    Stock-trading? That's a different matter, but those things are so mission-critical that they wouldn't be using a rental VPS or Cloud VM service.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    I just run a VM off of Windows Azure. Actually Windows Azure is pretty nice. It's not necessarily the cheapest, but you can be sure that you won't have accidentally given your credit card details to some Nigerian Prince, and if you find you don't need your VM, you can decommit it and avoid getting charged. You'll also find that Microsoft, being as it is a major corporation, is perhaps slightly more likely than some teenager in his mom's basement at actually honouring the 99.99% uptime claim on the website.

    You'll also benefit from the fact that Microsoft has spared no expense in getting bandwidth and adding DDOS protection to the core of Windows Azure. Microsoft aren't taking chances with their big customers here, and you'll inherit that protection for free.

    There's also a 30 or 90 day trial or something if I remember correctly. You need to give your credit card details to MS so they can be sure you're not jumping from trial to trial or hosting illegal stuffs, but that's about it.

    Also, if you find after a while that you're only running a web and or SQL server, there are cheaper plans that are not VM-based as well on Windows Azure, where they manage all of the cruft like Windows Updates on your behalf.

    Oh - and in the unlikely event that you find that your server isn't big enough, you can beef it up on the same VM, or elastically scale over multiple VMs either via the management console or via Powershell scripts, and you'll have access to the extra resources almost immediately. No need to speak with an adviser or wait a couple of hours.

    So my advice to you if you do go Azure, is first of all decide if you actually need a full VM with RDP. If you do, get the smallest VM and scale up from there as and when you need it. But think carefully. Directly hosting your website and SQL content in Azure is cheaper and less hassle if you don't actually need the more exotic apps that only a VM gives you running in the cloud.

    Also - get Server 2012 if you can. The interface is a little bit horrendous (metro and server really don't mix well) but Server 2012 is more secure and faster than 2k8-R2. And also because if you're choosing a less secure server to put on the Internet because you don't like the desktop shell GUI, then someone needs to lock you out of the server room.

     

    If you don't go for Azure. At least go for another big company like Amazon. Seriously. That $2 a month cheaper isn't worth the trouble fighting with the bank when your credit card details end up on some russian hacker forum or fighting with the sysadmin after he only delivers you 40% uptime or a 56kps internet connection this month.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @evildictaitor: That's Windows Server 2012. There's no 2013 version yet. Wink

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Sven Groot wrote

    @evildictaitor: That's Windows Server 2012. There's no 2013 version yet. Wink

    Lol. Yeah. Got confused because I installed Office 2013 recently Smiley

  • User profile image
    PopeDai

    , evildictait​or wrote

    *snip*

    Lol. Yeah. Got confused because I installed Office 2013 recently Smiley

    You're one of them now. The people who tell me they were running Windows '97 on their Microsoft laptop, or had Office Vista.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , PopeDai wrote

    *snip*

    You're one of them now. The people who tell me they were running Windows '97 on their Microsoft laptop, or had Office Vista.

    Pssh. What do you know? I play games on my Xbox 2013 all the time. And I love my Windows Vista Phone. Although I'm not all Microsoft don't 'cha know. I moved from Windows Explorer to Google Chrome a while ago because it had too many viruses in its database.

    I might move to the new version of Office soon, but I'm a bit worried. DeathByVisualStudio and a couple of others have warned me that they've removed the Skype button menu in the corner.

Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.