Cheap hosting

I’ve perpetually been on the lookout for cheap hosting. Price’s the reason I’ve been hosting my stuff with Dreamhost for the past few years (going on 6 years!), and is the reason I’m going to be taking advantage of MaxCDN’s ‘free’ 1TB of CDN bandwidth this week. (Reasoing being that I don’t have much use for it now, but might in a bit, so extend my time as much as possible, so I’ll be getting it on Aug 31.)

It’s also the reason I’ve spent hours on LowEndBox after discovering it while looking for information about hosting a TF2 server. And oh my god, I’m so so tempted to sign up for some plans now even though I have no concrete plans for any uses at this point.

I can think of a few – host my own site with Varnish + nginx + PHP-FPM + memcache/accelerator for PHP, something that I can’t do with Dreamhost. Or use a site as a VPN endpoint so I can actually use Google Music, which has sideloaded the music on my phone onto it, but isn’t actually allowing my to access it (among other US restricted services).

I’m comparing all this to Amazon EC2’s free tier for what would be essentially a free VPS for a year (it covers a month worth of micro sized instance usage each month), and I can’t decide which is better though. Amazon is obviously free, but the micro size isn’t acceptable for TF2. And as a VPN endpoint, the 30GB of bandwidth is pretty low, and the fees per GB are high. 10 cents a GB means I’d only need to push more than 42GB, and I’d have paid more than the cheapest plan that I found cost. If I had stats of my usage, it’d be an easy decision. (Considering that I’ve already got an account with Amazon, I’m not eligible for the free tier, but alternate email address gets around that, unless they start restricting to 1 account/credit card number.)

Plans plans plans. And decisions. Anyway, a few things that caught my eye for future reference:

Potential TF2 Servers/heavy web servers – The original plan that caught my eye. 768MB RAM & 1TB bandwidth should be more than enough for a few TF2 servers. Concern of course being OpenVZ & memory, since I have an ongoing horrid experience messing with that & apache on the twokinds VPS, and I have no clue how TF2 would scale to a OpenVZ VPS. is interesting because it’s Xen based – and I much prefer Xen over OpenVZ. Issues are higher price for lower specs. Quite a bit lower unfortunately.

VPN Endpoints

For a VPN endpoint, RAM & CPU aren’t a priority. So smaller is fine, which also implies OpenVZ is fine. – $20 a year for 10GB of disk and 128MB RAM sounds pretty good. 300GB bandwidth is probably more than good enough, considering I don’t think I ever hit that much with my connection at home. – Alternatively, with Xen instead, but again, lower specs. This time it’s 2/3 the bandwidth. No bad, but something to look at & consider. – And now for the really low level Xen host. 62GB of bandwidth. But $12/year. Tempting.

OpenVZ info – Finally, some info about OpenVZ. I’m correct in thinking that the limit is ~0.5 the burst RAM, something I’m seeing at 1and1. (And pissed about.) – a C program that’ll accurately* tell you what the utilization of your OpenVZ instance actually is. *: I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know how accurate it actually is.

Other resources – lowest level plan is $25/year for KVM, and $15/year for OpenVZ, and the hard space and bandwidth are pretty good. I think if I went OpenVZ, I’d probably get this one over the $20/year one. Cheaper & more bandwidth. – There’s a guy from here posting pretty frequently on LEB, so there might be a coupon code floating around there. The plans are more graduated, which is nice, but the low end plan comes up to $21.48/year, for not much in comparison to the other plans. But their ToS explicitly allows benign IRC bots, as well as proxying, which OpenVPN is kind of like. At least, that’s what I’ve read other hosts terminating people’s accounts for when they’ve run OpenVPN. – the WebHostingTalk VPS ad page.

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