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FsckVPS review WARNING: I no longer recommend this host in any way whatsoever. I no longer host my sites at FsckVPS. While their product was more or less what was advertised on the tin, the support turned out to be shit and the guy in charge a common crook. In particular, the kind of crook who shuts down affiliate programs without settling the accounts. You owe me money, man. :-(

I am now a happy customer of KnownHost and have had nothing but good experiences with them.
Following is a long (and potentially boring) account of me trying to find a new host and how I eventually end up at FsckVPS. This was written as I went along, excuse the journal format.

March 4, 15:00

For a long time, I've been wanting to switch hosts and possibly move to something a bit heavier than the simple $3/mo host I've been using so far (your typical shared web hosting service). For most purposes it's been fine but there have been a few annoying limitations (e.g. outbound connections are blocked) and coming from, at one time, having my own small server stowed away in a closet, I've felt rather amputated - even though I've also enjoyed not having the burden of system administration (something I'd rather avoid but can do if necessary).

So, a number of times I've been looking around, trying to find a suitable alternative, but until now nothing ever came of it. Price is pretty important (when isn't it?) since I don't really feel that my needs should warrant something more expensive than $20-$30/mo while still having enough resources to let me play around a bit without worrying too much. I don't plan on doing anything that would really stress the server and my bandwidth requirements are not that high, although it should be able to handle the occasional spike. A good compromise seems to be a cheap VPS (Virtual Private Server) solution.

March 4, 16:00

After a bit of googling and digging through a number of really horrible hosting review sites, it seems that Web Hosting Talk is the place to go when you're shopping around. Investigating further..

March 4, 20:15

At WHT I've now learned of the UK based CheapVPS - would you look at that, it even says cheap in the name! Now, of course this puts me off immediately, since putting "cheap" in your brand name usually means you're peddling crap, but the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, they're regularly recommended and they actually do offer some pretty cheap VPS hosting. The owner (Rus) and some other employees frequent the forums at WHT, so you can even get an impression of the kind of people running the business before buying and they all seem nice and helpful (at least to the extent that you've paid for since these are unmanaged VPS hosting plans).

March 4, 21:30

Ok, I've decided to try this supposedly great service. Off to CheapVPS to find a plan that sounds ok. After debating myself a bit, I've settled on a $19/mo 256MB (512MB with a RAMX2 coupon code) plan and fired off the order. The price is low and paid on a monthly basis, so I can afford to close it again if it turns out to be crap.

March 4, 21:45

Got a confirmation email. Shutting down for today.

March 5, 08:30

It appears another email was sent out a few hours after the confirmation email. I wasn't really expecting any more until today. Anyway, now they want me to scan and email some form of photographic ID (passport, drivers license, etc). Well that's just great, because I think I'm the only person on the planet who's never had a scanner. Way to be a 21st century digital boy, Jacob.

March 5, 09:00

Bummed out that I can't really do anything more right now, I went back to WHT to read some more experiences with this service. It turns out that CheapVPS is actually just one of several companies operated by a parent company called VAServ. They also run a2b2 which offers managed VPS plans, and then another, younger and very interesting sibling, FsckVPS. FsckVPS is an almost fully automated, unmanaged VPS solution and their goal is to make things as automated as possible, ie. everything from ordering to setup, billing, etc. in order to lower prices as much as possible. This means the VPS is instantly setup within minutes (at least according to the website) and for the same 20 bucks I can now get 1024MB RAM (burstable to 2048), 50GB disk and 850GB transfer - or half those numbers for $10. Of course, in turn you also give up pretty much all support. Hmm..

March 5, 09:05

Oh, look. They even have a 10-20% discount for open source developers. Nice! A better deal for me and karma points for them. Sending email to sales department requesting coupon code.

March 5, 09:10

Well, that was quick. A 15% discount code received from Rus the boss. Now pondering which direction to take.

March 5, 10:40

Oh my, it seems all their websites just went down with 502 Bad Gateway errors. Nice timing!

March 5, 11:10

Some of the websites are back up, fsckvps.com not included unfortunately. I'm pretending this didn't happen or that it at least only affects their own websites..

March 5, 11:20

Ok, I've more or less decided to go with a 1GB plan from FsckVPS instead. The things CheapVPS offers over FsckVPS (as far as I can see) are optional control panels (DirectAdmin, cPanel), choice of Xen or OpenVZ (FsckVPS is OpenVZ only), choice of UK or US location, a few more Linux distros to choose from and 3, 6 and 12-month payment plans. All things that don't really matter much to me. Now I'm just waiting for the website come back online. Their test download file (http://server1.fsckvps.com/test.100M) is still working, so hopefully that means the problem is just with their own sites.

March 5, 12:50

After much waiting, the fsckvps.com website is still down, but I think they only serve a few static pages there anyway. Their order module is hosted elsewhere and I've now completed my order. However, the coupon I received does not appear to have much effect. Even though the discount appears on the order, the price remains the same. I've left a note about it in the "additional comments" field and am now waiting, hoping for a response before I finalize the payment (via Paypal, yay.)

March 5, 13:50

Screw that. Payment done. Ding! Paypal confirmation email is followed by email from FsckVPS telling me my VPS is ready. Instant actually means instant, not bad. Logging in. The HyperVM VPS control panel (about which I know absolutely nothing) seems to be running ok. Time to play!

March 5, 14:00

Seems my new VPS is running CentOS and not Ubuntu as I'm pretty sure I had requested. Nevermind, there's a rebuild option where I can choose between a whole boat load of distros, guess I was wrong earlier when I said there were more options with CheapVPS. Anyway, I don't feel like familiarizing myself with yet another Linux distro, so a rebuild it is. And now it's done, nice. In the mean time their website is also back up. Preparing myself for a day of apt-getting.

March 5, 21:00

Been messing around with my new toy for hours, spent way too much time on simple things like getting SSH up and running (helps when you bind to the right IP), but now it seems I've finally got a basic LAMP box set up. For testing purposes, I've cloned the Pixastic site to http://www2.pixastic.com/ which is now located on the new host. I'll probably let it sit for a few days and then move it for real and if things are still looking fine, I'll begin looking at moving the Nihilogic stuff. Anyway, so far it's been a mostly pleasant experience. My discount is still nowhere to be seen, though, so I'm sending an email now.

I'll probably post a follow up in some time when I've got more experience with their service and maybe my posts will help someone else decide whether or not to give FsckVPS a shot. And if you have any experience with this company and their services or have reviews of similar services, feel free to comment.

TL;DR: Looking for new hosting, signed up for a VPS at CheapVPS, changed my mind and went with FsckVPS, will post more later.

⇓ 22 comments Ben H

Oh, nifty. I was checking out a VPS with VPSLink a while back, but these prices are way more preferable for a poor college student. FsckVPS is on my radar now. If you keep posting about your experiences, I'll follow along.

Also, I enjoyed the journal format. It gives me an understanding of my likely train of thought in dealing with FsckVPS.

March 5, 2009 at 8:36 PM
V1

I was at slicehost VPS been there for a few months now, I was so smart to use pingdom on my account and the response times where awfull, on just a simple page, with not allot of db connections dynamic shit the response time was about 200ms.. that is fair enought.. Untill you see our raging spikes to 1000ms and they have no clue where it comes from. -_-"

March 5, 2009 at 11:55 PM
Jacob Seidelin

@Ben H: I'll make sure to post updates.

@V1: Yea, that sounds like a good idea. Seems the really good hosts are far in between.

March 6, 2009 at 3:15 AM
richtaur

I also recommend slicehost (feel free to refer me ;) hehe, ping me for my email addy if you go with them). You can get Ubuntu with them. I have also heard good things about linode though I can't vouch myself.

March 6, 2009 at 6:04 PM
Jacob Seidelin

Cool, I'll take a look at them if FsckVPS gives me problems.

March 7, 2009 at 2:06 AM
Nicolas Crovatti

Hello Jacob,

Next time you're asked for a scan of photographic ID, think digital camera! Even a cellphone should do the trick!

BTW, I personally went for the self hosting from the closet solution for my blog and it's hard to handle the digg/reddit effects without a free CDN.

March 9, 2009 at 3:35 AM
Jacob Seidelin

@Nicolas: Ah yes, that might have worked. Good thing I didn't think that far, though, or I wouldn't have gone back to reading at WHT!

March 10, 2009 at 6:21 AM
Drew LeSueur

I use slicehost. They are the only ones I have used for a VPS. But so far I am really satisfied with them.

March 25, 2009 at 7:11 PM
Anonymous

I'm now looking at FsckVPS....now that you've played with them a while, what do you think? I'm mainly interested in speed.

Any feedback you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

April 3, 2009 at 3:08 AM
Anonymous

One word: Amazing speed! I got a 1gb plan, and downloaded with yum a couple modules at 10mb/s, average. And everything is truly snappy! I recommend them.

June 5, 2009 at 5:18 PM
Tim

Hopefully they work out good for me. I just signed up to FSCK using your affiliate code :)

June 7, 2009 at 4:54 AM
Jacob Seidelin

Cool :-) I'm still happy with them and have had no problems.

June 7, 2009 at 10:59 AM
jvp

unfortunately, virtually all their servers have been down for two (2) days now and individual site owners have not been uniquely updated! it is a bit unbelievable that all of their five (sites) have been severely hacked without it being an inside-job type. those whose server experienced "total loss" are being offered a new vps -- somewhere -- but no mention has been made of restoring from their backups, just start over. this leads one to conclude that even their backup servers were hacked (and, apparently, were physically co-located with the servers they were backing up -- a very bad practice) and this lends even more credence to the inside-job theory.

the malicious hacking aside, this 100% dislocation at five (5) different spots around the globe seems to indicate that this operation can only be considered for web sites that require absolutely no security and can be replaced instantly from your own sources in your own physical control. also note that they believe that the customer profile data was adequately encrypted to secure your credit card data, but they are giving no guarantees and apparently have not obtained any from the applicable issuers.

this is a shame since their service, offerings, and pricing for a low-cost structure has been quite good and suitable for personal, development, and up to medium-sized commercial sites.

June 9, 2009 at 3:30 PM
Anonymous

I agree with @jvp. I lost my server and didn't get any notification till today and that was just that they may have even compromised the credit card information. I would shy away at this point. However, up till now it was very good. (I was with FSCKVPS but I'm looking elsewhere now).

June 12, 2009 at 12:56 PM
Anonymous

It's not really their fault, just a 0-day flaw in your hosting panel. The guy that made him hanged itself the same day it surfaced.

June 14, 2009 at 12:59 PM
andrew

Hi that is greate i am also searching for virtual prvet server for my company.Can you give me tips for that?

r4ds

November 7, 2009 at 4:56 AM
Roger Pack

I also recommend linode as a pretty cheap VPS. They have better pricess than slicehost and also offer 32-bit OS's--important as your processes will use less RAM.
And I don't work them *at all*.

November 25, 2009 at 9:31 AM
Anonymous

i recommend HostStore vps:

http://www.hoststore.com/virtual-private-servers

December 11, 2009 at 5:40 AM
Anonymous

I do not recommend FsckVPS. Their lack of customer support is not justified by their low prices. They seem to only answer support tickets once a day. I ordered my VPS four days ago and I still have not been given the IP address.

January 8, 2010 at 9:52 AM
Jacob Seidelin

@anon: I agree wholeheartedly. Since this post, a lot has happened. I'm no longer hosted at FsckVPS but have moved everything to KnownHost, so far with no problems. Their support is rather lacking and the guy who appears to be running the show (Rus) strikes me as a downright rotten fellow.

January 8, 2010 at 10:44 AM
cheap vps

Any host can go down, a good example is the recent event with Rackspace. I wonder how their customer support is, any one has feed backs?

January 12, 2010 at 10:56 AM
debian vps

Great review! :) Here's some tips before buying a host, see the uptime and the customer service. second is read some reviews like this. :)

January 17, 2010 at 7:34 PM
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