Changing your website hosting setup is rarely an enjoyable experience; particularly if you adopt a hands-on approach and deal with it all yourself.
The other day I explained my disappointment with VaultPress. I had used the VaultPress backup service since it launched in 2010 and their one-click restore feature should have meant my blog’s migration to Wetopi’s managed WordPress hosting service was nothing more than entering my new hosting details and clicking restore.
After a week of excuses from VaultPress, I migrated my website myself using BlogVault’s free WordPress plugin Migrate Guru. I’ve been impressed with Wetopi so far (Stay tuned for a review of their service soon) 🙂
This blog, KevinMuldoon.com, was previously hosted alongside all my other websites on a dedicated server from OVH. With my blog now being hosted by Wetopi, I no longer needed a dedicated server (to be honest, I have not needed it for at least a year). I therefore looked for a place to host my other websites.
I did have a look at managed cloud hosting services such as Cloudways, but in the end I decided to manage everything myself.
The service I chose to host my websites was Vultr.
In this article I would like to speak about the experience.
The OVH Performance Beast
If you have not used OVH directly, you will probably have hosted one of your websites on their servers through a reseller. Many website hosting companies use OVH servers to server their customers. Directly, they have over a million customers, but I suspect their servers are hosting hundreds of millions of websites.
Back in 2013 I moved from Wired Tree to KnownHost, though when my website was DDoS attacked two years later they immediately terminated my hosting plan (despite the fact they said they protected customers from attacks).
At that point I was pretty sick of hosting companies so I decided to host my own dedicated server with OVH; a company that was known for offering great DDoS protection.
I initially used a server management company to manage the server for me, however I later stopped using them as they were not doing anything to justify their payment. They did not perform security checks or updates on a regular basis (despite stating they would) and I also found that one of their staff had accessed my server when I had not even asked for support.
This is how I came to host all my own websites myself on an OVH dedicated server.
Before I moved to OVH, I hosted my WordPress websites with KnownHost on a basic hosting package. My discussion forums were hosted separely with the UK hosting company Nimbus Hosting. They now host many different types of websites, but at the time their main focus was discussion forums.
The VPS I had with KnownHost featured:
- 2 Cores Processor CPU
- 4GB Memory
- 20GB SSD Storage
- 5TB Bandwidth Transfer
- 1Gbps Uplink
In contrast, my dedicated server at OVH was an absolute beast.
- Chassis 1U/T3
- CPU Intel Xeon E5-1620v2
- Cores/threads 4/8t
- Frequency/burst 3,7 GHz+/3,9 GHz+
- Intel Smart Cache 10 MB
- RAM 64 GB DDR3 ECC 1600MHz
- Disks 2x 2 TB SATA3
- RAID SOFT/JBOD
- Bandwidth 500 Mbps
- Traffic Unlimited
- Burst [IMG] 1 Gbps
- IP with no monthly fees* 256 IPs
- Public network card 1x 1 Gbps
My new dedicated server was big enough to host all my websites. Whereas before I hosted my WordPress websites with KnownHost and my forums with Nimbus Hosting, I could now host all my websites on my own server.
KnownHost created the situation where I wanted to run my own dedicated server. Unfortunately, as a result of this, I no longer needed to use Nimbus Hosting. I was always pleased with their service and would still recommend others to check them out, however I no longer needed to use them at the time so had to cancel my account.
More Power Than I Need
Migrating to OVH was the right thing to do in 2015.
My discussion forums were more active at the time and I wanted the additional performance and security that a dedicated server offered. Additionally, I was paying around $135 for the whole server with cPanel; which is around the same price that managed WordPress services such as WP Engine charge for my blog alone (though that would have included managed hosting and support etc).
After a few years, it became more difficult to justify using a full server when I was only utilising a fraction of the set up; particularly as I was spending more time producing YouTube videos than maintaining the websites I ran.
Therefore, throughout 2018, changing my hosting set up was on my “To Do” list.
Vultr Was an Easy Choice
I knew from the start that I wanted to host this blog with a WordPress hosting company and host my other websites with another service. It made sense to do it this way as this blog remains my highest priority.
Vultr was my first choice for hosting my other websites.
I had used the service to manage a cryptocurrency masternode and quickly fell in love with the user-interface and how easy the company makes it to deploy new servers. I did check a few other services and considered Vultr’s rival Digital Ocean, but my familiarity with Vultr brought me back to them.
Setting up a new hosting environment on Vultr is simple.
You select the type of hosting you want (e.g. cloud, dedicated) and then select your location. You can select from a variety of data centres in North America, Europe, and Asia.
You then select the server type.
One option is to use a 32 or 64 bit operating system (Windows or Linux). Alternatively, you can set it up using a dedicated application, an ISO, backup, or snapshot.
There is a good selection of applications available from web hosting control panels such as cPanel and Plesk to content management systems such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.
The price you pay will depend on the size of the server you need.
Prices are reasonable. $5 per month will get you a 1 core CPU VPS with 25GB SSD storage, 1GB RAM, and 1TB of bandwidth. There are additional premium add-ons such as anti-DDoS protection and automated backups.
A new server can be set up completely in minutes.
The whole process, from start to finish, is excellent.
Staying with cPanel
Vultr lets you install a web hosting control panel directly. There is a good selection available.
I have used cPanel since the early 2000s and I have always been happy with it, but the free alternatives are worth checking out. Plesk has been refined over the years. I used to find it a bit restrictive, but it has come on leaps and bounds.
A month or so ago I deployed Plesk and attempted to migrate my websites to the new server. Unfortunately, the Plesk import system did not work correctly. I looked into what would be causing the errors, however I could not find a solution.
I therefore turned my attention back to cPanel. cPanel costs an additional $15 per month with Vultr; which is significantly less than the $29 per month I was paying to use it with my OVH dedicated server.
It costs more money than solutions such as Plesk, but it is undoubtedly a better solution as it gives you more control over your hosting environment.
Migrating my websites with cPanel was pain free. I was able to use the cPanel to cPanel import system within the WHM to transfer my websites one by one. Each website was transferred in around a minute.
Of the nine websites that I transferred to my new Vultr VPS, two did not work when I changed the DNS. I checked the error log, however I was not able to see anything wrong.
I therefore opened a support ticket directly with cPanel. Their response was fantastic.
cPanel had modified my setup to fix the problems and detailed everything in a reply that was hundreds of words long. They explained exactly what scripts had not been installed on my new set up and were subsequently causing those websites not to load.
I have got used to bad customer service in 2018 and it frequently takes several replies back and fourth for a company to get anything done. So it was a pleasant surprise to receive such high quality support.
Thanks @cPanel. I've been using their software since 2002 or so. I normally seek help myself or via my hosting company, but I contacted them directly and their support was exceptional.
No need for dozens of tickets and weeks of replies. Just 1 long reply that fixed everything.????
— Kevin Muldoon (@KevinMuldoon) December 7, 2018
cPanel costs me an additional fee of $15 per month for my VPS, but it worth it. It is easy to use, has lots of features, and their support is excellent.
I am all for saving money and reducing costs wherever I can, but I not afraid to pay for a service such as cPanel as it saves me a lot of heachaches and a lot of time.
This is Perhaps a Temporary Solution
I am happy with my set up just now, though if I find that maintaining my VPS myself is taking up too much of my time every month (updates, security etc), I may pay a little extra and transfer the websites to a managed VPS solution.
For now, I am happy with how everything is set up.
Thanks for reading.