Pimp my VPS, linode.com

August 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm (English, Linux) (, , , , )

etienne@sigil:~$ uptime
11:27:25 up 276 days, 23:46, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00

Ok, ok, I know: uptime pissing match are lame and juvenile. Plus 276 days isn’t anything to write home about. I just couldn’t think of a better way to introduce this post, sorry.

sigil is my VPS hosted on Linode. Its main job is to host email for my personal domain, outlands.ca. It’s not a very hard job, it moves only a few hundreds email per day (the vast majority being spam, sadly). It also host my personal web space, which gets only a few hits once in a blue moon. All in all, the load average rarely ever get above 0.10.

However, email being my lifeline, it’s a very critical job. I used to host my mail on a real physical server co-located by a friend of mine. But last October, I had to move it fast as the machine had to be decommissioned pronto. Too bad, it worked like a charm for 3.5 years. Thanks a lot for that, Régis!

At first, when looking at my options, I was not too hot about VPS. The usual concerns about performance and security, you know them. But after some shopping around, it became clear that I could only afford a VPS, or tethering a server to my cable modem at home. I went with the former, being somewhat doubtful of my ISP reliability and not wanting to host a humming server in my basement.

Back then, the choice boiled down to either Slicehost or Linode. Slicehost was the better known option, but they just got acquired by Rackspace, a much larger (albeit respectable) company. I had read very good feedback about Linode on the intarweb, and decided to give a chance to the smaller guys.

Set up was very straightforward. I chose the smallest plan available at 20$/month and created an account. I chose their Ubuntu 8.04 LTS disk image, as I do not want to upgrade in the foreseeable future (it’s painful enough once every three years!). I was up and running in no time. Their VPS management toolchain is decent, with a pretty complete web UI (including DNS configuration), an AJAX console, configurable email alerts and an out-of-band ssh-based management console called Lish, which I do not use. All in all, pretty much everything I may ever need.

Now that I have used their service for nine months, I can really say I recommend these guys. My opinion is not fully enlightened, as I never used another VPS provider in the past and cannot make a useful comparison as such. But as Linode have been rock solid since I signed (hence the uptime), and never been down even once (that I noticed!), I am a happy camper. The network was a tiny tad laggy at time in the first couple months, but it have been very snappy ever since. Well, the IMAP server have been as snappy as IMAP can be, and the ssh keystrokes are appearing right away. What more can you ask for? :)

Now, on to the real purpose of this blog: pimping my referral code:

89d4968d3bda071f68c05be87c57581fcd9f0574

If this post was convincing enough that you decide to use Linode’s excellent VPS service, I kindly suggest you use the above ref code; I will get a 20$ credit if you keep the service three months. That’s what I call win-win-win (as there is three parties). So please do use it, and the karma shall be returned. Somehow. I promise.

If you wonder why I go to the trouble of hosting my own mail server when Gmail would be pleased to do it for free, that’s because I am a real email geek. And a tad too paranoid for my own good. But that’s for another blog post. :)

27/10/2009 Update: Linode just had their worst downtime ever. My VPS was down 6 hours today, and just got back up very recently :( Overall, I am still satisfied with the service, but this just goes on to say that it is not all peaches and cream either …

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1 Comment

  1. cyphermox said,

    Etienne, I must say, thanks a lot for your update :) I was wondering why my Linode had been rebooted, and now I see that it’s most likely the same downtime as the one you are referring to.

    Unexplainable reboots of servers always tends to make me a little paranoid…

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