Moving away from the dedicated server arena I start looking at Virtual Private Servers, which give all the benefits of running your own dedicated server, usually at a fraction of the price, along with a few added benefits. This lead me to Slicehost.com.
Slicehost were a name I'd heard of, so I went to check them out. Their tagline, 'Built for Developers', just about sums it all up for me. With plans starting from just $20/month, I was instantly interested and their well designed website answered all the questions I needed. The features that did it for me the most:
- Ajax console access - The management portal has an Ajax terminal, just in case your SSH goes down
- No contracts, no setup fees. - Always a bonus
- Upgrade, downgrade, add a slice or remove a slice anytime. - This is a thing of beauty. Because your VPS is essential a disk image, if you decide you need more RAM, disk space or bandwidth, you can simply upgrade via the management portal. Your VPS will be taken down and fired back up in a more powerful virtual machine.
- Backups - Again, because your VPS is stored as a disk image, starting from $5/month, you can have upto 3 snapshots (1 daily, 1 weekly and 1 variable) of your VPS available to restore at any time.
Ordering a slice was nice and easy and what really impressed me was the time it took for my slice to be ready to use. I'm used to a 48 hour wait on new dedicated servers, but as you can imagine, creating a new virtual machine takes a matter of minutes. After confirming my details I was taken to the management portal, which showed my slice as 60% built. Two refreshes later and it was complete, I checked my email and my user credentials were waiting for me.
The management portal is also excellent, it's really nice and basic in terms of looks, no fancy gradients.
This blog is the only site I have moved over so far, it was nice and simple as the slice is running Ubuntu like my dedicated server.
Only time will tell how reliable they are, but I'm extremely impressed so far.