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Dedicated Server Criteria

By Chirael in News
Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 01:41:07 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Any recommendations on a good dedicated server provider--based on your own experience?

Can anyone recommend a good dedicated server provider (from experience)? I've found that my needs for web sites have outgrown the standard $30/month shared space model which is pretty common, and that I instead I need the full server control (i.e., root access) of a dedicated server. There are a TON of options though, and I'm looking for something with a decent price (150-250/month) and good customer service.

I'm pretty sure that the colocated option is a little too expensive and more than I need (see the CoLo thread). Since I may end up creating virtual hosts to provide web space to others, the ability to do virtual hosts and parked domains is important too. Having just given my 10-day notice of cancellation to my current (shared model) provider, Media3 Networks, largely due to their (IMO) very poor customer service, I'm eager to make the transition to a dedicated server ASAP and would definitely appreciate any advice on the subject.


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Related Links
o CoLo thread
o Also by Chirael

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Dedicated Server Criteria | 24 comments (20 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#5)
by RobotSlave on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 02:25:48 AM EST

What are some of these "tons" of options that offer root access without colocation? This is an honest question-- the last time I investigated hosting options was at least 18 months ago.

Re: root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#8)
by Chirael on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 09:48:15 AM EST

Pretty much all of them are dedicated server plans; by "ton" I meant the "ton" of companies offering dedicated options. I found out that dedicated is an option between shared and colocation, as well as about 30 companies to look at pricing/services for, at C|Net's web hosting pages. I trust personal recommendations far more than sites like that, or cherry-picked customer commentaries on company pages, though, which is why I asked for recommended dedicated servers here.

[ Parent ]
Re: root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#10)
by YellowBook on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:24:28 PM EST

Actually, where I work, colocation is cheaper than a deidcated server -- the main difference between the two is that with a dedicated server we set up the hardware for you from scratch, whereas with colocation, you ship us a working box and we plug it in. I decline to mention where that is, for fear of bringing down Rusty's wrath :)

[ Parent ]
Re: root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#16)
by rusty on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 12:33:49 AM EST

I have wrath? Now I'm curious. :-) Where is it? And why would I be wrathful if you mentioned it?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#18)
by YellowBook on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 10:38:23 AM EST

It's Xeran. I wanted to carefully avoid any appearance of spamming, or promoting the company I work for, hence the wrath comment. Anyway, dedicated and colo prices are reachable from the front page, and for dedicated servers, we sell you a server (not rent it to you -- basically you buy a server from us and colocate it with us). I'd say our prices are in line with everyone else's, but you maybe get a bit more bang for your buck, especially for colocation.

[ Parent ]
Re: root access without CoLo? (none / 0) (#23)
by rusty on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 11:39:55 AM EST

A lot of other people get a lot more wrathful than me when people plug their businesses. I just get annoyed by spam of the "hot-grits" variety, mostly. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Erm, why isn't co-location viable? (2.50 / 2) (#6)
by hattig on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 09:10:47 AM EST

If you are willing to spend $250 a month, then paying $1000 for a reasonable machine to co-locate is surely a better option, as you will not be paying rental for a dedicated server (around $50 - $100 per month for 1 or 2 years) as part of the price.

You can also install the software you want, e.g., FreeBSD, latest up to date software, etc, instead of having to lump their default 4 months out of date Linux options. You have full control, and surely that is what you want?

Re: Erm, why isn't co-location viable? (none / 0) (#7)
by Chirael on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 09:41:31 AM EST

If you are willing to spend $250 a month, then paying $1000 for a reasonable machine to co-locate is surely a better option, as you will not be paying rental for a dedicated server (around $50 - $100 per month for 1 or 2 years) as part of the price.
I'd thought that colocation (meaning that you build the machine and house it in someone else's facility) usually started at a minimum of $350/month. There's also the fact that I'm much more of a software guy--I'd actually prefer not to be involved in building the machine. (Other than the occasional memory upgrade and HD swap I don't have much HW experience).
You can also install the software you want... You have full control, and surely that is what you want?
Yes, that's exactly what I want--root access. I'm tired of begging administrators to install things like mod_jserv, Zope, Cocoon, etc. and either getting ignored or told it's not possible because I'm sharing a machine with others.

[ Parent ]
Re: Erm, why isn't co-location viable? (none / 0) (#9)
by perryspeed on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 02:32:08 PM EST

There is inexpensive colocation around. My employer has a deal where you get 2U of rack space and 10GB of data transfer a month for $250/month. 1 and 2U rackmount servers are becoming easier to find, and the pricing is coming down too.

[ Parent ]
Re: How about virtual servers? (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Tin-Man on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:53:34 PM EST

You may want to consider a virtual server then. If all you really need is root access to the machine, but don't necessarily need to specify the hardware, a virtual server sounds perfect.

Check out iServer.com for a service that will run you under $100 and give you complete root control of your virtual server.

I've been using them for some time, and have found their support staff to be very responsive when answering some of my newbie questions, and the service very reliable.
The future sure isn't what it used to be!
[ Parent ]

Dunno if it's good tho... (4.00 / 1) (#12)
by RangerElf on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 03:59:49 PM EST

I'm looking for hosting options and fell upon webstream's which seems to have simple hosting, dedicated servers (both managed and unmanaged) and colocation. I don't know if they're good or not, if anybody else can help out...

The company I work at has a dedicated machine at digitalNation, and it works pretty fine. You can check out their site also.


Good co-lo at rackspace.com (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 05:17:13 PM EST

I just got set up with Rackspace.
The setup was $250 and monthly is ~$220 for a 400mHz P2, 128MB, 10GigHD, 5 IPs and
2Gig bandwidth/month. I've got root and am running my own DNS and can add as many
virtual hosts as I want. Their tech support is good and fast to respond so far. They hopped
on the server and loaded up mod_perl and mod_php for me until I figured out for myself
how to compile both those into Apache myself. So, from my experience with them so far,
they get 2 thumbs up from me.

Re: Good co-lo at rackspace.com (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by fake on Wed Jun 21, 2000 at 05:28:24 PM EST

I was with them a few months ago and their stuff was HORRIBLE. Before they implemented the ticketing support system, everything was fine. After they started up with it though, it was impossible to get anything done. I think I tried having my reverse resolve on my ip's changed about eight times, to no avail.

To me it seems, their only advantage is their cheap prices and constant advertising on slashdot.

What horrified me is that when I called to cancel my service, they required no verification whatsoever. I called, told them my name and machine ip, and they turned it off the next day.

[ Parent ]
Re: Good co-lo at rackspace.com (none / 0) (#15)
by rusty on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 12:31:17 AM EST

If not rackspace, who provides the same service and is good? Comparable prices would be nice, but regardless, who does better?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Good co-lo at rackspace.com (none / 0) (#17)
by fake on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 06:21:09 AM EST

After getting fed up with rackspace and their utter stupidity, I went with DigitalSpace(http://digitalspace.net).

Why? Two reasons:

1. I know someone who already had their server there and vouched for their great support and whatnot.
2. They're small and personal.

They don't have HUGE bandwidth, but their DS3 isn't anywhere near capacity. Their prices are comparable to Rackspace, and you can always work out custom packages.

The main selling point to me was their support. Sure, they've only got a few admins .. but they dont care if you call their personal cell phone in the middle of the night. Moreso, I ordered parts for my server to their facility and they put it together, installed Slackware, and hooked it up in less than two days.

Some other hosts I've heard good things about:
digitalnation (dn.net)
cais (cais.net)
hurricane electric (he.net)

Basically, the feeling I got with rackspace was:
"What? Your server is down? Okay, thanks for letting us know. We'll take care of it when we feel like it because we're a big huge company with thousands of clients to deal with."

/me contemplates starting a colocation provider review site.

// fake
// eyeP.net -- dynamic dns

PS. I recommend emailing to get the current pricing, their website is a little out of date because they are in the process of expanding.

[ Parent ]
www.iserver.net (none / 0) (#19)
by Alhazred on Thu Jun 22, 2000 at 05:06:37 PM EST

This is an offering by Verio Inc, which is the largest hosting provider in the world (by far). They are also reasonably good.

They offer several types of service. The lowest level is the "virtual server" which is a fancier version of standard web hosting where you get telnet access, you can install stuff, run daemons like mysql, have your own apache, and you can even create hosting accounts UNDER your account. It all runs on FreeBSD, and the documentation is pretty good. For many purposes these accounts are a good solution. Costs vary based on bandwidth allocation, starting at under $100 a month.

If thats not good enough then you can always upgrade to a true dedicated server, but at least in the case of Verio I don't think its really in any way cheaper than CoLo (though at least they are responsible for the hardware and for backups, a nice thing indeed). Prices go up from $250 to $400 or more depending on bandwidth.
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
co-location (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by smcavoy on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 01:20:51 AM EST

Just wanted to point out that if you co-locate your own hardware with an ISP you are responible for any hardware problems (i.e. hd crash, memory errors, etc). ISP's will charge for labour and parts to replace deffectives. If they "rent" you the server they replace it, most will do this with in one hour or refund money... make sure you factor in hw replacement if you co-locate!

Comparison chart (none / 0) (#21)
by Chirael on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 07:27:24 PM EST

I've taken all the suggestions people have made on virtual hosts (many thanks) and put them into a spreadsheet for comparison purposes. At this point, I've narrowed it down to two choices, webstream.net and digitalspace.net, with a slight preference toward the latter since I prefer working with small companies rather than large ones. The chart is available at www.adf.org/DedicatedServerComparison.xls for anyone who wants to look. My apologies for the Excel format, but with all the columns of information it would have been a pain to paste in and format here as plain text...

Re: Comparison chart (none / 0) (#22)
by fake on Fri Jun 23, 2000 at 10:34:53 PM EST

Interesting, mind if I use your spreadsheet and start adding other providers? I'm thinking about maybe starting a comparison site .. could be a useful resource for lots of people.

Mention fake or crontab.org if you do sign up with digitalspace, that'd be real nifty =P

[ Parent ]
Re: Comparison chart (none / 0) (#24)
by Chirael on Sat Jun 24, 2000 at 03:55:42 PM EST

I don't mind at all--go for it. If you're going to do it as a real thing, a web table is probably a little more accessible to folks than an Excel spreadsheet of course (I've gotten a little griping about that, as I expected :). I'm waiting to hear back from both digitalspace and webstream, and if I go with digitalspace I'll definitely mention fake and crontab.org.

Btw, if you do do the comparison site, I'd recommend adding the ability for people to make personal comments (either anonymously or not). That's something that a lot of the directory sites (see Yahoo's list of hosting directory sites) don't have.

[ Parent ]
Dedicated Server Criteria | 24 comments (20 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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