For many years, aplawrence.com ran on a BSD based VPS (Virtual Private Sever - sharing by virualization) server. I was quite happy with that, but a few years back the hardware it was running on started becoming unstable and as the hosting company I was with no longer offered VPS servers, they wouldn't move it to new hardware.
I tried Rackspace. They were expensive and after crashing within a few days of trying it, I gave up on them. I also tried Amazon S3 - cheaper than Rackspace, but they really seem to go out of their way to make everything confusing. I also didn't like that they charge for extreme usage rather than just limiting you - a DOS attack could cost a fair amount of money before bringing me down!
I am unwilling to pay for dedicated hosting, so I reluctanly settled for shared Linux hosting at the same host where the BSD VPS had been. It was reliable, but I really disliked not having control. No root access, no ability to run jobs with "nohup" (they'd just get killed after an hour). I couldn't run "screen", couldn't install software, couldn't serve compressed html .. none of that is expected with shared hosting, of course, but I missed it.
I heard about Linode rather accidentally and immediately liked what I saw. They are very reasonably priced - I went with the 768MB package for $29.95 a month with no contract (you can prepay to get cheaper prices). They have a wide choice of Linux distros to choose from, a comprehensive help system and a simple, yet very powerful command interface. It's all Xen powered, very easy to add storage space, additonal RAM and so on. You can choose from multiple hosting locations, too.
I'm paying just a few dollars more than I was for shared hosting, but have full control again. It's also much faster:
# old system
$ time find . -name "*.html" | wc -l
# Linode system
time find . -name "*.html" | wc -l
This was AFTER changing DNS, so the Linode was serving pages while that ran; the old system had already dribbled down to a few hits from China now and then.
I have far more disk space than I need:
Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/xvda 12106720 1411344 10197304 13% /
devtmpfs 370876 116 370760 1% /dev
none 371084 0 371084 0% /dev/shm
none 371084 48 371036 1% /var/run
none 371084 0 371084 0% /var/lock
none 371084 0 371084 0% /lib/init/rw
/dev/xvdc 12106720 722360 10886288 7% /dup
The system has been generally loafing:
I am very happy to be back on a VPS!
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