Yesterday I moved this blog from Dreamhost to Slicehost. I’d started with Dreamhost during a great deal that made it nearly free, and was happy with it for more than a year. The typical software was very easy to install and configure, although running Rails is a little tricky. For the money at a shared hosting service it is still a great deal.
But now that the deal has run out, signing up with Slicehost seems like a better deal for a little more. They use Xen to partition VPS “slices” in different configurations. So you get root and can do what you like, including connecting to the console via a web app if needed. Slicehost has gotten solid reviews, and now have a short wait to sign up. We’ve been happy using them for tourb.us, and since I was an existing customer it was almost immediate to get a new slice created. It came with Ubuntu Dapper, then upgraded to Feisty Fawn. It was mostly smooth getting the services I want installed, like Lighty, Rails, WordPress, mail, SVN, etc. The only minor issues was that Ubuntu no longer packages PHP4, which is what I’ve run in the past. PHP5 broke the Kill Preview WordPress plugin I use, but a newer beta has a fix.
In the past I’ve been torn between using a service like Slicehost vs. buying and configuring my own machine. Now, I’ve come around to viewing hardware as an issue for someone else to worry about. Some back of the envelope calculations make me think that by turning off the lowend Dell PowerEdge linux server I have at home, I’ll save money by using Slicehost. With the box drawing 250W, it would be 250W / 1000 * 24hrs * 30days * $.18 kWh = $32 / month. Not bad.