CatalystHost Review – Dallas Texas VPS Hosting

Howdy!

This is one of my first reviews after the Hurricane Matthew situation. I have 2 active CatalystHost services with their 1 vCPU, 256mb RAM, 10GB disk, and 333TB bandwidth plan which is an amazing $12 per year.

What makes this an even greater value is the service is on a 1 Gbps or greater connection so you receive excellent speeds with this service when you do speedtesting. Both of my services are on the “Dallas Two” node and according to my LibreNMS monitoring setup, I have not received any downtime or gaps in the snmp based monitoring.

CatalystHost review speedtest
An example of the speedtest from Cachefly for CatalystHost. Blazing fast.

I ordered one service awhile back and the latest one recently so the uptime is 205 days with the oldest service ordered and 35 days with the recent service. 200+ day or longer uptime on OpenVZ services is unheard of by “low end” industry standards.

I am extremely satisfied with the quality of the service which is why I will continue to renew the services. By comparison, for slightly more per year, I can get a HostUS service with 768mb RAM and less bandwidth in a Dallas location also. However the network connection with CatalystHost is blazing fast as you can see with the speedtest above.

CatalystHost Support:

With CatalystHost, the service is reliable with unmanaged support so in the past 6-7 months with being a customer of the company I’ve only had to file one ticket.

The ticket was with the new service I ordered was giving me an error when I attempted to set reverse DNS. I’m assuming when I signed up for the second account, I added something in a username field which “didn’t link the services under my account” and gave me the error. I fiddled with it for some time and after 10-15 minutes I figured I exhausted my attempts.

I filed a ticket and Ryan, the owner, responded. I even clearly provided the record I was adding in the ticket thinking maybe there was a known issue or the technical support would set it then send me on my way. With my experience in technical support, you have to do it but balance out that you’re not spoonfeeding customers who expect this to be done when the service is unmanaged but the client area provided what most customers need to self-manage their service.

When Ryan responded, he explained how to do it and there was some back and forth where eventually at the end he figured out the services weren’t under my account. The back and forth could had been easily macro’d or added into a knowledgebase article as I can see this being an issue with people ordering more than one service.

I’m not disappointed at the support, it’s just I think this known issue could be documented better to prevent unnecessary tickets and allow smoother operation.

Conclusion:

CatalystHost is an excellent service with their 256mb RAM / 333TB bandwidth OpenVZ service in Dallas, Texas for $12/year. The excellent uptime and awesome network connectivity make this an excellent value for any high bandwidth uses. The CatalystHost team are active on forums like LowEndTalk and are well reviewed so you cannot go wrong as far as I’m concerned with choosing this company for your VPS hosting needs.

I mean who doesn’t have the budget of $1 per month prepaid for a year?

I don’t think I could spend $12 in a bar so it’s definitely within most people’s budget. However you must know this is completely self-managed so if you’re trying to do something where it’s possibly not enough memory you’ll have an issue if you request support. I knew this signing up and have been extremely satisfied with the performance, reliability, stability and value of this service.

VPSLIST Update

Sorry for the lack of updates the past week or so.

Hurricane Matthew impacted my area with a less than 48 hour power outage and it has taken a few days for my area to return to being normal. There are some areas in my region that are still without power, Internet and other conveniences. Up in some parts of Georgia and North Carolina, some areas are devastated.

I’ve lived in my area my entire life and only have evacuated from 2 strong tropical storms which move slower and dump more rain so by nature, I decided to stay versus evacuate. I live on a barrier island so the decision wasn’t completely understood by friends and family. With the almost 48 hour power outage, many weren’t updated with what was going on and got upset at the lack of updates.

I’m going to continue my reviews over the next few days.

BudgetVM Cloud Server Review Update – 27 Days Uptime

Hello

I signed up for BudgetVM’s cloud server to do a review on and to also host my Plex server on since the resources were dedicated to just this cloud server.

First, let’s explain what the “cloud server” is since the term is overused in the industry and means a lot of things to different people. For $29 per month, you receive 2x Intel E3-1230 series CPUs with 4GB of RAM and 250GB of disk space, 10TB of bandwidth on a 100 Mbps port and 1 IP address. For $10 more, you can get 2x Intel E3-1270 series CPUs, 8GB of RAM, and 500GB of disk space. The services both include 1 Gbps / 500k PPS DDOS protection.

The cloud server locations are Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Chicago. I chose Chicago as it’s the most centrally located in the United States with the Plex users all across the United States who use my media that I host on there.

809GB of bandwidth used from September - October 2016.
809GB of bandwidth used from September – October 2016.

As you can see above, I used 809GB of bandwidth and the outgoing bandwidth was regularly used. I don’t recall any complaints from my Plex users about the connection speed with my Plex server hosted with BudgetVM in their Chicago location.

The incoming bandwidth was coming from an OVH server at their BHS location which has 250 Mbps of bandwidth on a 1 Gbps port.

Many people have asked if the cloud server has enough physical resources, such as CPU and RAM, to handle the demands on Plex transcoding. Most of the video content I have on the server is encoded in 720 so most of the video being played are direct streams. I use PlexPy to monitor statistics and had over 4 transcodes running at the same time without any notice in the performance. I have the server linked to my LibreNMS installation where I monitor resource usage.

CPU usage didn't exceed 30% the whole month
CPU usage didn’t exceed 30% the whole month

All I run on the cloud server is Plex, PlexPy and snmpd (for LibreNMS) so there’s nothing additionally running. I think perhaps some of the CPU usage could be attributed to when I do SFTP transfers from the OVH server to the BudgetVM cloud server.

I have over 60 users on the server so there’s quite a few people regularly using the Plex server.

I feel that Plex has more than enough resources to keep the users happy and that the BudgetVM cloud server that I chose to use was the right choice because I was considering other options but this was the most cost effective solution that was quickly deployed.

Is 500 GB enough?

I don’t keep as much TV shows as I do on there, which consumes a lot of disk space, but I do keep movies and “in theaters” movies regularly updated. If somebody requests I put something on there, I just keep it on there 7 days and delete it later so I think 500 GB is probably the minimum I would go with a Plex server but 1 TB would be optimal. I know the only resource upgrade available for BudgetVM’s cloud servers is going from 500 GB to 750 GB of disk space. The extra 250 GB disk space would definitely be helpful but I’m not to the point of upgrading to that.

Conclusion:

I am very satisfied with using the BudgetVM cloud server for my Plex server.

The price is excellent and the server locations beat a lot of budget providers who have “low end” dedicated servers. BudgetVM has locations in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami and Chicago. The cloud server would definitely be perfect for a cPanel server or shared web hosting server. The possibilities are endless with this solution which bridges the gap between VPS hosting, which BudgetVM also offers, and chasing after low end dedicated hardware offers from companies who haven’t been around as long as BudgetVM.

 

HostUS Review Update

I’m not posting this to beat up on HostUS, as many accuse our page of being “too soft” on providers. However I had my “first issue” with HostUS over the past 24 hours.

One of their LA nodes was having an issue and was rebooting. I opened a support ticket which Leo answered very quickly considering HostUS being in the “low end” crowd regarding VPS hosting services. I was receiving cPanel Monitoring emails about services for this cPanel DNS Only VPS failing, then recovering and I decided to login to investigate.

The uptime was low, about an hour total, and a few reboots occurred when I was logged in.

I logged in, checked with the “last” command and indeed the service was reboot. I checked my processes and network traffic, didn’t see anything weird, as I was possibly thinking I could have a compromise such as DDOS attacks or something CPU intensive running. Nothing was giving me the indication of this so I opened up a ticket with HostUS after exhausting everything from the self-managed side that I could.

Like I said, Leo responded very quickly and later on Andrew followed up with me to say the issue was finally resolved. This is what I call A+ service for such an amazingly affordable service with such reliability and backed with such great support. Granted some would say there should be no downtime but I’m reasonable and I understand what I pay for.

HostUS Review – Solid Uptime In London

HostUS is one of my favorite, “go to” hosting providers.

I’ve been a fan of their 768mb VPS plans in their locations which have 1 CPU, 768mb RAM, 20GB of disk space and 2TB of transfer per month. The price has changed since it was initially offered but the $11 – $12/year cost is now up to $16/year which is still a great price. It’s not a great price for those seeking sub-$15/year plans however you can’t make everybody happy.

The 768mb VPS plans are perfect for private VPN servers, web servers, small clusters like DIY CDNs, and even cPanel DNS Only clusters which I use the service for on the US locations. I currently use this London UK service for an OpenVPN installation. I run an LibreNMS instance on one of the 768mb services. I have 6 active 768mb VPS plans with HostUS and I’m extremely satisfied.

HostUS London location showing the uninterrupted network transfers
HostUS London location showing the uninterrupted network transfers

As you can see on the 30 days of graphs above, there has been no interruption in the network uptime of the VPS at their London, UK location. I am extremely satisfied and was hesitant at first to get the location but the location hasn’t failed me in my decision to go with it.

The VPS is powered by a Intel Xeon E3-1270v5 CPU running at 3.6Ghz which is a very powerful and new (by hosting industry standards) CPU compared to some of the older 1230s and 1270s being used by other companies. For a 768mb VPS, 1 CPU is more than enough for what you’re trying to reasonably do.

With my LibreNMS monitoring, I can see the service uses minimal hardware and network resources. This service just idles until I need to login to use the VPN. The service just runs so smoothly that the only downtime I experienced was seeing network alerts regarding flapping when HostUS was having some issues with denial of service attacks the past few weeks but it never impacted my experience. It seems that a lot of hosting companies, data centers and network carriers are experiencing some large denial of service attacks lately with some suggesting that somebody/something is possibly ‘testing’ the Internet out for weaknesses.

Conclusion:

You cannot go wrong with choosing HostUS for your hosting needs.

I’ve been with new and established providers over the past 6 years but have closely been watching HostUS establish themselves then expand into new locations that are the same quality that their customers expect. HostUS has locations in the US, the London location but also Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong which these three locations are rare for most providers let alone having all three locations as a provider would have one of the three as Southeast Asian locations have their different operating costs which can add additional costs to hosting in those areas.