For over two weeks I’ve had dedicated server problems, big problems. I’ve finally got my unmanaged dedicated server problems resolved.
This is what happened.
I was renting an unmanaged dedicated server from EsecureData for over a year when everything went to s##t!
Unmanaged Dedicated Server Breaks
EsecureData Dedicated Server 1 ($300 a month server) : 2HDs corrupted at the same time, couldn’t be recovered. OK, this sort of thing happens with servers (computers), so not a big deal.
Instead of adding new HDs to that dedicated server (was over a year old) I upgraded instead to a slightly better spec server with KVMIP access.
EsecureData Dedicated Server 2 ($300 a month server) : 8GBs memory, 2 x 1TB HDs (Raid 1 setup) and a quad core CPU. From the moment I installed a control panel (Virtualmin, used it for years with no major problems) it ran like an old 486 with the memory pulled!
Thought it might be a kernel bug, but in hindsight it wasn’t, I’m 90% certain it was a hardware/software configuration problem. After reinstalling all 100+ domains it pretty much ground to an halt after the server needed a hard reboot which started a raid re-sync: I was seeing load averages of upwards of 100, should be around 1: see the EsecureData review for details!
At this point moved an important site to a cheap ($5 a month) Godaddy hosting account and had one issue, apparently the server it was on crashed, was down for 20 minutes (since then no issues).
EsecureData Dedicated Server 3 ($300 a month server) : 8GBs memory, 2 x 1TB HDs (Raid 1 setup) and a quad core CPU. Pretty much what happened to server 2 happened again to server 3.
This one took longer to grind to a halt because I’d turned off all non essential services (was basically Apache web server, SHH, email and MYSQL running) and managed to avoid a hard reboot at first.
It had load averages of 50+ most of the time, but after it crashed and needed a hard reboot the raid resyncing kicked in and load average shot up to over 200 at times, this means there are processes waiting to use the CPU that would take up the full use of the CPU 200 times (anything above 1 means there’s a ‘queue’ to use the CPU)!
I’ve found a load average above 5 will slow a server, anything above 10 will result in timeouts/server hanging and anything above that is not funny (services crash)!
EsecureData support couldn’t fix the issue and wasn’t going to spend more time on another server where the same thing could happen again, so looked for an alternative.
Cheap GoDaddy Virtual Private Servers
Managed to make a full backup of my sites from the EsecureData server (turned almost every service off including Apache) and download them. Interestingly only one of the virtual-servers (domains) had a problem. One of the tables in a MYSQL database had crashed and if you make a backup when a table is crashed it looks like that table isn’t backed up (I keep regular backups so was easy to restore).
Purchased a Virtual Dedicated Server from Godaddy for about $50 a month:
• OS: Linux CentOS
• RAM: 2 GB
• Storage: 30 GB
• Bandwidth: 1,000 GB/mo
As a temporary measure for important sites while I looked for another dedicated server company (not a decision you rush into).
Installed Virtualmin and used the backups from EsecureData dedicated server 3 to reinstate about 40 domains (had these backups failed I’d have used older backups). I was worried I wouldn’t get past 15 domains for a virtual server with the above specs, but so far no problems at all: load averages at below 1 most of the time and memory is not stretched : pleasantly surprised, see my Godaddy VPS review.
Still had ~60 domains to install and there’s no way they’d even fit on 30GB disk space let alone all run well on one cheap virtual-server (one domain in particular gets 15,000+ visitors a day not including search engine spiders).
Purchased a second Virtual Dedicated Server from Godaddy for about $70 a month.
• OS: Linux CentOS
• RAM: 3 GB
• Storage: 45 GB
• Bandwidth: 1,500 GB/mo
Installed Virtualmin and reinstated the remaining domains. There’s a LOT of WordPress posts on some of the domains on this second server (got most of my autoblog test sites on this second virtual server) so there could be a lot of search engine spider activity at any one time, but still so far no major problems. Load averages is tending to be a little above 1, which is normal and again the memory isn’t stretched.
I bought these virtual servers as a stop gap between finding another dedicated server company, but based on what I’m seeing so far, I might just stick with virtual servers and upgrade the disk space and memory a little, or buy a third one and spread the load a little more.
Cost wise this is about a third what I was paying for one dedicated server and this is running just as well as a correctly setup dedicated server (I’m surprised two cheap virtual accounts are running everything well).
Dedicated Server Update
I wrote the above in March 2011, it’s now April 2014 and I’m still with Godaddy VPS servers, now have three cheap VPS servers since own more domains now (around 130 domains).
I’ve had the odd issue, but generally speaking less so than with the other unmanaged dedicated server companies used previously (see reviews below), so generally happy with Godaddy. Biggest issue I had was a Godaddy copyright infringement problem which I’m still not impressed about!
Dedicated Server Company Reviews
Used a number of companies for dedicated servers between 2005 and 2014, here they are in chronological order. The last link is the review of the company I’m using in 2014.