Hopefully no one’s noticed that I’ve moved my websites (including this one) to a new hosting provider (well, new for this site, but not new to me in general). When I first decided to move away from shared hosting at Gradwell, I wanted to find a VPS solution to give me more control over the sites. At the time, I was hosting an EverQuest guild website which got a reasonable amount of traffic, and so I chose a VPS solution that would definitely have enough oomph and bandwidth to deliver that. Not a huge amount, but enough. It was my first time in the VPS market and I wasn’t really sure who were best, what was good value and what the different offerings resulted in.
The 1and1 service I went with was pretty good, but not what I would call cheap. Over the 18 months or so I’ve had the service it’s been pretty reliable, a few unexplained outages, and a couple of periods of downtime that were longer than I would have liked. But the VPS was powerful, had plenty of memory and lots of network capacity and easily delivered the 7 or so domains I hosted on it.
Not long after I moved the sites though, the EverQuest guild site dropped off dramatically in terms of load (lots of people left the game), and after 18 months it’s become apparent that the 5 or 6 vanity domains I host really don’t justify the cost and performance of the 1and1 VPS.
I looked again at shared hosting, because I’m a pretty good example of who should use it. I tried tsohosts and while they’re excellent value and I have nothing bad to say about them, I really don’t get on with cPanel and the shared hosting mentality, especially after running my own VPS for so long. I wanted to get into the config files and set things up ‘just so’, and after only 2 or 3 days fighting with cPanel I gave up and bought another VPS from Gandi.
I love the Gandi system (I already have another VPS from them hosting a usenet server), and although a single share VPS is pretty low resource you can deliver quite a lot from a Linux machine with not much in the way of power these days, especially when what you’re delivering are vanity domains with almost no traffic.
So I’ve got a single share (256MB memory) VPS from Gandi and over the last couple of days I’ve moved everything over, and I’m pleased at how easy it was. The 1and1 VPS was running CentOS but I’ve gone for Debian with Gandi (I prefer Debian) so not everything could be simply copied over, but the content (static and mysql data) was easy enough to transfer, so now it’s just a case of making sure the VPS is secure and managed properly.
If you’re looking for some domains or a VPS, I really can’t recommend Gandi enough, my only gripe is there’s no easy way to pay monthly (no direct debit facility, so you have to top up a pre-pay account when you remember), but it’s a small issue when the service is so excellent.