After running my external web site and e-mail on a “webhotel” (at www.louhi.fi) for five years, I got fed up to the inflexibility of the solution and started to look for VPS (Virtual Private Server) options.
Five years ago, a VPS was still quite expensive, but as the prices seem to have dropped, they are no longer much more expensive than webhotels. My colleague recommended DigitalOcean so I decided to give it a shot. At first glance, it looked perfect: the smallest VPS has 1 CPU, 512 MB RAM, 20 GB HD and 2 TB monthly traffic, static IPv4 and IPv6 address. Their web interface is very clean and efficient. Registering and setting up a Debian 8 “droplet” only took about two minutes. I got the root password by e-mail and was ready to SSH in. It seems extremely easy and user-friendly compared to e.g. Amazon. It is also much cheaper – just 5 dollars per month. (For more dynamic setups, they offer an API and hour-based charging as well – so that you can e.g. create large Linux clusters on demand automatically from your own software.)
Luckily I had saved the old configurations from the VPS I was running before the webhotel era, so I didn’t have to configure everything from scratch. After spending a couple of evenings with my laptop, I now have my e-mail (postfix, dovecot, sieve, spamassassin) and website (apache, wordpress) running 24/7 in DigitalOcean’s data center in Amsterdam. I run automatic backups over SSH to my home server each night. I also moved rinta-aho.org DNS servers to DigitalOcean. They have a very neat web page to configure the DNS records and they don’t charge any extra for that.
After a few weeks, I am very happy with the change. I now pay less than I paid for the webhotel, I have more disk space, I have complete control over the software running on my server, and all services at rinta-aho.org are now accessible through IPv6.
Give it a try: https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=44faab0c4f59