Why I love Linode and why nobody else measures up to them

I’ve done a fair bit of evangelising for Linode since becoming their customer. I’ve been using their services off-and-on since mid 2008, and, while I’ve been around-the-block in terms of VPS and hosting providers; I’ve yet to find anyone who can compare on cost, features, service and support. Now that Linode have opened up their first data-centre in Europe; they have finally ticked all of my boxes.

What sets Linode apart for me?

For me, the biggest thing that sets Linode apart form its competition (apart from the fantastic value for money) is the service, support and wealth of information at your fingertips. Between their rather full Wiki, excellent Tutorials, active forums and IRC channel and their dedicated and skilful support team; I’ve never had an issue that couldn’t have been resolved.

In fact, I’ve only ever had to open two support tickets in a year, and one of them was so I can move my Linode from Newark (New Jersey, USA) to their shiny new Data-centre in London.

Of course, the exceptional value for money certainly should not be understated. I can’t find any other VPS provider which can match the features and specification of Linode’s setup for the same price or less.

Another wonderful thing is Linode’s Control Centre. It comprises of the Dashboard, DistroWizard, Disk Image Manager and DNS Control Panel. As well the abundant contextual help, the simple and intuitive interface makes everything straightforward to use.

One feature, which to my knowledge is unique to Linode, is that you can install any distribution of Linux (or indeed your favourite flavour of UNIX) on your Linode provided it has a text-based installer. This means that as well as the ‘ready to roll’ images of more popular OSes available to you, you can run NetBSD, FreeBSD or even OpenSolaris on your Linode.

For me, nothing can compete with them in this flexibility.

Comparisons with other VPS Providers

The information I present here is correct as of the 18th of January at 1900 UTC. For this comparison, I’m selecting two providers I’ve had experience of, either directly myself, or from conversations with former customers (who are also now happy Linoders). I’m also discussing their cheapest package. Prices are all shown in US Dollars. Euro prices converted at €1.43860 = $1.00.

I’ll be comparing the following VPS Providers:

  Linode Slicehost Webbynode EuroVPS
Cost PCM $19.95 $20.00 $15.00 $21.51
RAM 360 MiB 256 MiB 256 MiB 128 MiB
Storage 16 GiB 10 GiB 12 GiB 5 GiB
Transfer 200 GiB 100 GiB 150 GiB 50 GiB
Location Across the US, London UK US US The Netherlands
OS Supported Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, Any other Linux distro with a text-mode installer. Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, CentOS, Fedora, Arch Linux, RHEL* Arch Linux, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Slackware, Ubuntu RHEL*, SLED*, CentOS, SuSE, Debian, Windows Server 2003*
Managed? No No No Yes**
* May involve an extra charge. ** Upgrade to managed hosting available for a fee.

The EuroVPS machine I had was configured with 256 MiB of RAM and was supposed to be able to ‘burst’ to 512 KiB, but was having some trouble serving a rather small Radiant CMS powered website I had for client, largely dropping requests or stalling due to RAM issues. Switching from Mongrel to Thin to Passenger did nothing to solve these problems, the memory management on their configuration seems to be lacking. It should be noted at they are not (or at least, were not) using Xen for their virtualisation.

I can’t personally speak to the competence of Slicehost and Webbynode. Share your experiences in the comments!