VPS Hosting revisited

So two years ago I started up a linode – yep, I’m still with them for my LAMP stack stuff. I really have no complaints, whatsoever. Since being with them they’ve bumped up my storage to 48GB from 40GB (for free), I’ve had one network problem (which affected everyone in my datacentre) about 18 months ago, but apart from that – nada. zip. Not had to contact support, performance from the VPS itself has been excellent. Awesome.

So now it’s time for me to re-evaluate my other box which is running Railo (and everything else under the sun). This one, running Centos5 is feeling fairly long in the tooth. One of the reasons I’m looking round for a new VPS provider for Railo is that for some reason, Railo has decided to start being slow – like, instead of the usual 500ms response time average, that average has slipped to 2-3 seconds. However, as a) it’s an unmanaged VPS and b) even if I contacted my VPS support they wouldn’t really have a clue about JVM tuning, I’m a little out of luck, bar reinstalling Railo/Java and hoping for the best.

As hosting Java is a smidge more complex than your average PHP hosting, (well, different anyway) ‘Googling’ it doesn’t alway help much.

So, I’ve decided to try Viviotech. Several things have lead me here: 1) very, very good reports from the CF community generally 2) my pre-sales questions were answered so stupidly comprehensively by Jordan Michaels, including appropriate linux distros and future plans for load balancing 3) the price is about right – not worryingly cheap, but not stupidly expensive either and 4) Jordan actually wrote the Railo installer, plus he’s actually answered my questions in the past on the Railo Google Group, which gives me some faith in the support structure.

I ordered it at 9am UK time: within 10 minutes I got a call from Viviotech (from the US, to my UK mobile!) checking/confirming the order. It must have been 1am their time (!). Once all confirmed, off they went. It did take them a day to setup, but I wasn’t in much of a rush, so no problem there. Once all the details arrived, it was just a matter of logging in.

Some nice things they do out the box – move SSH to a non-standard port, add an anti-brute force hack script, setup backups, configure some basic firewall stuff and install vsftp (which personally I don’t use, as sftp should be a minimum). I  asked for Railo to be installed as I was feeling lazy: the only thing which caught me by surprise was Railo running as root – on querying this, they do it for usability, and pointed me to a simple script to change the user Railo runs as. All the Tomcat/Apache connectors were setup and working too.

So so far all very good – there’s something nice in not being *completely* on your own like with fully unmanaged solutions such as Linode. The only thing I miss is those lovely graphs you get in the Linode dashboard (oh and that iPhone app which is amazing) – still I guess there’s always Munin.

You can find out more about Viviotech here