The purpose of the reply was to provide a review to Burst.NET, my budget VPS hosting (with some references to a premium (yet premium) VPS, SoftSys Hosting), but the real value of the reply, is to help give realistic expectations about various differences when deciding to choose a "good" budget VPS Windows hosting.
Generally speaking as a "current" customer with Burst.NET. Their equation is:
Budget Price = Good Service + Enough Support + Poor SLA
So, most of the time the server is working, most of the time it’s working, it works really fast (compared to my chosen specs, 1.5GB RAM Windows), the network also is really nice especially their West Coast (LA) location.
Given that, sometimes the VPS is slow, sometimes too slow, once it was slow that was unusable.
When the server is just slow, the services hosted on it didn’t seem to be much affected, when the server is too slow or reaches the unusable state, I get between 5 minutes to 2 hours downtime (happened only once).
This draws light to support and SLA. Support is generally fine. You get a response around an hour (and some report less times), and problems usually get completely solved in less than 2-3 hours.
I have had mainly few issues in my first month:
Something went wrong with installing the VPS by BurstNet. I was just signed up and confused as hell why the thing isn’t there, and suspecting my form entries, etc. Solved by getting the VPS up for me.
Support was really fast when I indicated this was an "outage" issue (Selection in ticket, don’t use it often please as to guarantee the level of support when you really need it).
- The server was too slow shortly after it was up. Support solved it "somehow" (likely like the next one).
- The server was too slow that it took ages to boot, and didn’t feel connected even (I was checking it via VNC, as RDP was down as web as all). Solved by removing some abusing user on server.
- Two random reboots in two separate days. I tolerated them with plan to contact support if they happen again.
I wouldn’t tolerate such issues except from a budget provider, knowing how fast the network is, and how much service I need (Currently I only run a couple of blogs around 40K page views per month), this service was fine for me, as what mattered to me really is the high performance most of the time not the high availability most of the time (if no downtime but the server is slow for all users, that’s worse for me).
I also do not have much options to tolerate these or not if I choose Burst.NET. Their SLA clearly states those may happen. I discussed it twice with support and they said remember we are a budget provider so our SLA says that "issues" could happen because of other users on the same host server, and those are expected to happen every now and then and are not part of SLA. I was hoping that Xen virtualization prevents this, but clearly, it doesn’t.
(Note to blog reader: Xen one of the best Linux hosts virtualization options to run Linux/Windows guests)
But again, I read the SLA before joining (most people don’t, which is very wrong), and raised concerns on them, calculated the costs and was more practical than idea on my real needs and priorities, and then went with them with proper expectations, although to be honest experiencing can hurt even when expecting!
So, if I want to improve this, I won’t leave Burst.NET to another budget host (like ThrustVPS or whatever). I think Burst.NET is doing the best it can within the cost you pay for it, and any other budget host will be doing similarly.
If I want to improve this, I’d instead work on my own budget and try to improve it, then go to a more premium class hosting. I already have one VPS (I don’t own, but manage) on SoftSys Hosting, and I don’t expect this one to even reboot randomly, and know that if it does I should at least get a note or find it in their announcements page. "Realistically" I can’t ask this from any "budget" provider, not just Burst.NET).
(note to blog reader, I chose SoftSys Hosting to compare because they are the cheapest premium VPS)
Although, I’d really be happy if Burst.NET provides premium Windows VPS hosting, as they have both options for Linux, and as their "fast" reliable West Coast network is a real killer feature for me that I don’t see "many" other hosts (even premium) providing.
Are you interested in these topics?
I have been doing a lot of research recently around various premium and budget class hosting providers, especially in the VPS area, although I have been tweeting about them instead of blogging.
If you think this is an interesting topic for you, please let me know, as then I might decide to write more about it. Actually, I’m even considering creating a dedicated website for hosting matters, as the sites out there are all so full of advertising materials and "trick the customer" words (like highlighting first-month-only prices instead of real ones, and presenting the monthly value of annual payments instead of monthly-payments price, etc..). What do you think?
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