I made an off-hand remark to a friend of mine the other day about the future of my personal web hosting. Partly inspired by Sun's recent acquisition of Innotek (makers of VirtualBox) and partly by thinking I've been doing on and off since Xen and Amazon's EC2 took off.

My First Web Server I essentially said that when my existing web servers--those physically hosted up in a data center in San Francisco--finally give up, I'll probably replace them with a few VM images running on a yet-to-be-discovered virtual machine hosting provider.

For the last few years, my personal web servers have been far more than I need. They have more than sufficient CPU and memory (even though they're 4+ years old). Disk space for is about the only place I forsee much growth. So it seems to just make sense to get hosted on a service that'll let me build and upload a Debian virtual machine to host my web presence and give it a static IP address.

The funny thing is that Amazon's service would be prefect for this, except that they don't offer a static IP option--at least not one that I can find. So I may end up on someone like JohnCompanies in the future.

It's been fascinating to see all the work in virtualization over the last few years. VMWare was clearly a pioneer here, but the technology is practically comoditized at this point.

What's next?

Posted by jzawodn at February 14, 2008 07:06 AM

Reader Comments
# Rob Bazinet said:

I was in the same position. I am not a web hoster expert but I found Slicehost.com to be really good and reasonably priced.

They offer a good control panel too. I am not affiliated with them at all.

on February 14, 2008 07:33 AM
# howard said:

I am using OpenVZ (www.openvz.org) and I have set up more than 10 instances of VM on P3 server for testing, amazing fast.

on February 14, 2008 07:49 AM
# Duncan Shannon said:

I am going thru the same process. I've shared a server with a small group for several years now... I've moved my email to Google Apps, moving blogs to wordpress.com, photo galleries to someone TBD (flickr, smugmug or picasaweb)... that about covers everything I need.

Oh, and it's all free... Except smugmug and if I opt to upgrade my wordpress.com account to host mydomain.com instead of mydomain.wordpress.com.

Take the plunge!

on February 14, 2008 07:56 AM
# jim winstead said:

i've been pretty happy with linode.com ever since i switched. the only downtime i've had was to reboot to take advantage of expanded disk space and memory as they keep upgrading accounts.

on February 14, 2008 08:06 AM
# ProbTrader said:

The end of Windows dominance? Computers are converging towards a common architecture and the Internet is putting extra pressure on proprietary systems. The Application/OS coupling is less relevant today.


on February 14, 2008 08:14 AM
# Tom Printy said:

I can second slicehost.com. The are a no fuss company. I have done some recent client work with some hosts there. I am thinking about a 1024 slice for some of my stuff. The cool part is that you can upgrade at anytime.

on February 14, 2008 08:21 AM
# Jeffrey Friedl said:

Jeremy, it looks as if this issue has been definitively solved here: http://www.dilbert.com/comics/dilbert/archive/dilbert-20080214.html

on February 14, 2008 08:32 AM
# Daniel L. said:

+1 for Slicehost. They can't be beat. I've moved both work and personal over.

on February 14, 2008 08:33 AM
# Thomas said:

The registrar http://www.gandi.net has a VM hosting solution based on Xen

on February 14, 2008 08:33 AM
# Nelson Minar said:

My early experience with a VPS Linux host was not good. The price was right, but with a 1/16 slice of the machine the performance was pretty bad. I could live with the small RAM size. But often my kernel would only get a CPU time slice every 100 or 200ms. Not only does that totally screw up any timing stuff you're trying to do, it creates unacceptable delays when serving web pages, doing interactive work, etc.

Newer VM schedulers may have better time slicing. Buying a bigger portion of the hardware would also probably help.

on February 14, 2008 09:13 AM
# Alex said:

Virtualisation has reached a nice point, more Linux distributions are taking into account of some of the quirks when they're being virtualised (like no access to a hardware clock in Xen). Hardware is getting cheaper and more powerful whilst web servers don't require much more memory if tuned properly. Support for 64 bit distributions has also improved - which is usually required for high memory systems.

Personally I've got together with a few friends for a fairly high spec machine and we split the cost between us, with myself being the admin of the main server. Means we don't have too many people on the machine overloading it, but we can burst to the full resources if needed.

If you just want someone else to take responsibility then look around carefully, there are plenty of good providers, although some are a bit too cheap and nasty.

on February 14, 2008 09:45 AM
# warren said:

another vote for slicehost here.

I'm in the process of quitting my "budget" shared host in favour of slicehost + gmail/gapps. I just don't see the economy in setting up, securing and maintaining an email server for less than half a dozen email addresses when gmail offers full POP3 and IMAP as well as 6Gb of storage per acct.

on February 14, 2008 12:48 PM
# Dave Dash said:

Hey Jeremy,

After talking to some coworkers on a popular internal mailing list at Yahoo ;) I decided on slicehost. In fact, I moved away from John's Companies.

JC is good, and they let you do what you want, but slicehost offers all that+a community for half the price. But a lot of Yahoo's swore up and down that slicehost ... rocks, and so far I've been delighted.


on February 14, 2008 09:19 PM
# Jon said:

I'd second the love for linode.com. I've hosted with them a few years and been quite happy with both the service and the price.

on February 15, 2008 07:24 AM
# Martin Weiss said:

Just wanted to chip in with another host, www.mediatemple.net. Very stable, and good harddisk allocation. I've been with them for now 2 or so years, and there are only few outages.

Seems like a good host for those of us who do not know how to run & maintain their own installation.

on February 15, 2008 09:09 AM
# Antony Sargent said:

I recently fled from dreamhost to a VPS at TekTonic. They have good prices but uptime, while not terrible, has been a little less than rock-solid. I'm thinking of migrating over to SliceHost (especially since I've listened to their podcasts and they seem like nice guys).

on February 15, 2008 12:22 PM
# Shanti Braford said:

The problem with VPSes is that it always seems like comparing apples & oranges. Slicehost appears to be the winner -- they have a really good reputation.

I've used VPSLink -- other than a recent outage, I've had decent luck with them.


I'd love to see a site where you could upload benchmarks of vanilla VPSes + stats, price, etc too so we could compare all of the options.

on February 15, 2008 01:01 PM
# Alex H. said:

Without wanting to plug too much, we've got a virtualized platform setup using UML which works pretty good:


I'm quite a big fan, truth be told, and have High Performance MySQL sitting on my bookshelf at work as "The Bible" for when I'm trying to remember how certain things are done with MySQL.

We're also pretty darn cheap on Xen; we only do this kinda virtualization through the medium of dedicated servers, but essentially you order whatever physical hardware you're after and we'll give you a Debian Etch + Xen system :) Administration is "simple" as Bytemark employ Steve Kemp, so we've got the excellent xen-tools installed in most places!

Looking forward to future blog posts, MySQL publications and other tomfoolery. Thanks for keeping me interested!

on February 17, 2008 05:03 PM
# Scott Y. said:

Hate to repeat what everyone else has already said but...

+1 SliceHost!

Oh I also have virtual servers from Linode, VPSLink and a few others but SliceHost has solid performance, great service, lively community and pretty good price.

on February 18, 2008 05:26 AM
# Tom Asaro said:

Hey Jeremy -

Check out Linode Virtual Servers (http://www.linode.com/)

The Linode Manager offers features found nowhere else, and the plans offer the most resources for your money.


on February 18, 2008 08:04 PM
# Igor Clark said:

Hello - bit late to the party but just to say I use and rate Slicehost too, and have even started recommending them in for smaller clients at the web company I work for. Looking into Linode too, interesting.

on February 20, 2008 08:43 AM
# Technology said:

In my opinion, once you have determined the kind of host you need to thrive online, the next step is to actually begin that growing process and plant your seeds through some internet and search engine marketing. It is completely possible to drive traffic to your site without spending a dime on marketing or search engine optimization. The likelihood that a first-time online business will meet the criteria for this is not highly probable but with some guidance it is possible.

on February 21, 2008 08:58 AM
# Jason Wehmhoener said:

+1 Slicehost

on February 22, 2008 12:12 PM
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