View Full Version : VPS for amateur website run by Debian user?

10-25-2006, 01:41 PM

I have a small website that probably won't generate much interest, which until now has simply run on my Debian machine at home, over a DSL link, using a dyndns.org domain name. The DSL connection isn't very reliable, so I'm considering moving it to a proper hosted machine.

Since I'm used to running my own machine, I'm probably going to want a lot of control over whatever managed host I end up using. And the wacky part is that I wrote my application in Lisp (thanks Paul Graham, that's the last time I take you seriously), so I'm going to want to constantly install and upgrade CMUCL, Apache's mod_perl, and other obscure bits and pieces.

Nevertheless, I really don't want to have my own dedicated machine. This is partly because I surely won't be generating enough load to justify an entire machine, and partly because I'm worried about what would happen when I inevitably crash the thing. So I'm thinking about VPS.

From what I've seen of VPS hosts, they only talk about providing "Linux", which I guess means they set up the machine for you, and there's only a limited extent to which you can screw with that. The fact that they don't even mention which distribution they use is a bit of a worry. Presumably this is all geared towards the standard LAMP crowd, who don't want to worry about operating systems, they just want to chuck their PHP files in a directory and go. (Kids nowadays! Wouldn't've stood for it in my day...)

The way I imagine it working, if the world made sense, would be that I'd sign up with my hosting company, and then I could upload a VMWare image containing whatever operating system I wanted, which they would then set running. I'd be able to go to their self-service page and it would allow me to virtually shut down and restart my image, and possibly show me the console output. So it would be just like having a real computer in front of me. I could then set up ssh and use that to do the real administration. If the system crashed in such a catastrophic way that I couldn't get it running again, I would at least be able to download the VMWare image of its last state so that I could try and recover the data from it.

Are there services that would do that for me? And would they be in the "amateur" price range, let's say less than $30 a month? If not (and I'm assuming probably not, given that I must be in a pretty tiny niche market here), what's my next best compromise?

Thanks for any advice,

10-26-2006, 05:04 PM
You might want to try knownhost.com. They are a pretty large VPS hosting company. I am pretty sure that they have a plan for $20.

10-28-2006, 05:28 AM
Thanks for the tip. knownhost do indeed seem like pretty much what I was after.

I've just been through the process of emailing westhost.com about what exactly their VPS system gives me. After a first round of assuring me that I had full control of the virtual machine, and could install whatever software I wanted, it eventually turned out that ports under 1024 are "restricted", and that certain directories "are off-limits as they contain system commands". In other words, I don't have full control at all, and I can't install whatever software I want. Boo, hiss!

So I'll have a go at emailing knownhost.com to see what they really offer me. At three times the price of westhost, I'm expecting something a lot better.