RimuHosting virtual servers

Last week, to supplement my Dreamhost account, I bought a RimuHosting virtual server. A virtual server is like a dedicated server, except that instead of being a physical machine, it’s virtualized via something like VMware or Xen, the latter being what RimuHosting is using. So I basically have my own server, with root access and everything, but it’s actually running on top of one big host server with a number of other virtual servers.

Virtual servers are never as powerful as actual dedicated servers, but they’re a lot more affordable, especially for a hobby machine. I’m on RimuHosting’s basic plan for $20/month, which is just fine for my needs. I get root access, like I said, and I’m free to do just about anything I want with it, including choosing my own Linux distribution, installing any software I need, giving accounts to other people, or whatever.

RimuHosting offers your choice of six Linux distributions, all either Red Hat or Debian based. I went with Ubuntu, which has quickly become my preferred distro since installing it at work a few weeks ago. Their Debian and Ubuntu systems are pretty bare-bones compared to the stuff they install by default on the Red Hat and other systems, but one of Debian’s (and therefore Ubuntu’s) strengths is it’s easy package management, so I was able to install everything I need in short order. Upon request, they’ll install their ultimate rails hosting stack on any of these systems. While I do plan to run Rails here eventually, I chose to install everything myself. In retrospect, I should have just had them do it; I didn’t anticipate the complete pain in the ass it would be to get Ruby MySQL bindings installed on Ubuntu (it’s no problem on OS X).

The two big things to look at when rating hosting services is the stability and availability of the service, and the support quality and response times. I’ve only had this account for a week, so I can’t really comment on either just yet; I haven’t needed to contact support and the service has been running fine. So far, so good. The fact that I haven’t needed to contact support is actually a big point in their favor; I ordered the account in the morning and within an hour or so I received an e-mail telling me it was ready to go. I was able to log in as root, change the password, create a regular user account, and get started, completely painlessly. I had already read over their support information before ordering and found that it covered everything I needed to know.

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