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Scenario: I'm a freelance designer, I host my clients websites for a fee. I currently use Heart Internet Reseller for this which is shared hosting. I don't have SSL or any flexibility. This costs me £42 per month ($66) - I feel this is quite a lot for shared hosting.

I'd like to move to a VPS so I have more control and scalability for application such as Magento. I'd like it semi managed solution, for example Media Temple: http://mediatemple.net/webhosting/dv/, my current budget allows for their base package ($50 per month).

Would moving myself and about 30 clients over to this base package give me better or worse performance than my reseller plan at the moment? Media Temple did try explain how the performance is based on some CPU units, although I don't quite understand it.

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What do your 30 sites run? CMS's or static sites? I'd stick to a control panel based model - no need for you to become a server admin (unless you want that?). MediaTemples CPU units should be more than sufficient for 30 low traffic sites, and you get the benefit of tolerable staff/support and a reliable platform. I was able to get someone knowledgable enough to help me on the phone within a minute both times I called (previous sysadmin had sites here I needed to pull out) –  iainlbc Nov 15 '11 at 23:21

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you want full control over your server you'll probably at some point need to leave the control panel behind. As far as a VPS provider I'd suggest Linode. They have better support, offerings, and pricing than any other Linux VPS provider out there.

Unless your websites have a large set of special permissions migration should be pretty trivial. To migrate a user I imagine the following: 1. Create a user 2. Set up a directory structure: /home/jsmith/website.com/htdocs (same with logs, etc) 3. Add a virtual host for the website pointing to the above folder 4. Copy data 5. Adjust permissions (if necessary) 6. Verify it works

Linode has a great knowledge base. You say you have ~$50 to spend monthly. You couldn't get their Linode 1024 but I expect you'll be fine with the Linode 512. The only limiting factor with Linode is disk space. The Linode 512 ($20/mo) starts you out with 16gb of drive space.

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IMHO 512MB ram is not sufficient to host 30 sites esp. if they are PHP. This would be fine if they are all static sites - but does anyone really make/design/run static sites anymore? Each PHP process takes ~30MB, so to have the bare minimum and no concurrency you're looking at 900MB in php processes alone (static phpfpm model, not mod_php) –  iainlbc Nov 15 '11 at 23:11
    
You don't need a unique PHP worker (nor unique httpd) for each domain. I run 28 vhosts on my Linode 512 and I could run 200 more if I wanted. It all depends on the traffic and the computational intensity of each page. The number of simultaneous PHP requests that you have to fill at any given time is the major determinate of how many workers you need. For instance, I'm looking at my Linode 512 and see I have 11 apache workers consuming anywhere from 0.6% to 2.5% of my memory each. When I make a request to my dokuwiki page it spikes for a second, then drops down. Idle workers take little memory. –  Caesar Kabalan Nov 17 '11 at 19:47

To be honest, I'd go Rackspace Cloud. You can get a server running for about £7 a month, it's 64 bit and it's all yours. http://www.rackspace.co.uk/cloud-hosting/cloud-products/cloud-servers/

You can get nightly backups, you can scale up or down with a single press of a button. [edit] You don't get a control panel like cPanel. But you could always just install one if you really need it [/edit]

You don't get a control panel with it, but for basic linux admin Google / ServerFault are your best friends (plenty of how-to style guides on http://www.howtoforge.com/)

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Rack managing is EXPENSIVE! –  Mascarpone Nov 15 '11 at 22:02
    
I disagree this with whole heartedly. RS Cloud is not production ready. Their control panel, and more importantly, their underlying infrastructure is buggy. They lost backups of mine in cloudfiles when I needed them. They also do not scale well (no backups over 80GB). I fought with this platform for years before switching to a much better alternative. I have been a RS customer (dedicated/cloud since 2005), they have no desire to improve their cloud and have not done so since its conception.They bought slicehost (cloud pioneer) and ripped the soul and innovation out of the company. –  iainlbc Nov 15 '11 at 23:15
    
The only way I would ever consider using RS Cloud for anything in production would be a cluster of stateless webnodes attached to a physical SAN. Their dedicated offerings are still among the best IMO because of service/support - but competitors have actually closed the gap quite a bit in the last few years. –  iainlbc Nov 15 '11 at 23:18

If you don't have any system administration skills (I suppose you don't have dedicated admin too) it would be better for you (and for your customers) to buy virtual server with a control panel.

Also be sure that you plan good your resource usage (HDD, RAM ..etc) which depends to the sites you are hosting. I've seen a lot of cases where some not well optimized website runs nice on a shared hosting and after migrating to virtual server the performance degrads a lot....

Even if it's kinda time consuming, my advise is to get a trial virtual server (I think that a lot of companies would give you a trial period for testing their services) and make the migragtion, than see how the sites are working (with a real traffic on them).

And...when the question is related to control panels....I would stay away from plesk(you can search the net for them, and see what I mean), preferring cPanel.

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I would definetly go for a VPS, as it allow much greater flexibility.

Ever hosted a RoR app on a shared? it's a NIGHTMARE.

Anyhow greater flexibility means also greater responsibility. Keep in mind that you can buy reliable server management from 29$/month, from third parties companies.

Keep also in mind that a cheap VPS can perform worse than shared under certain workloads, like high IO.

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