A summary of my experiences: Linode vs others

Thought it was past time I posted here how happy I've been with Linode.

I'm a happy customer of nearly 5 years. I manage several servers, some with Linode, some not. To my mind, you can't really tell whether a provider is any good until during and after some sort of disaster. Disasters happen to everyone. Care and attention reduces their frequency, but doesn't stop them.

Here are some differences I've noticed between Linode and some others I've used:

  • if somethings appears wrong, and I create a support ticket, Linode staff don't tell me it's my server(s)/configuration only, when obviously that's not the case

  • if something breaks, they notice and are on to it quickly. It doesn't take a message from me 2 hours later before they notice all VPSs on multiple hosts (i.e. not just my VPS) are down.

  • if there's a problem that might affect several customers, they post it at status.linode.com. Some others have a similar status page, but it seems anything that doesn't affect at least 80% (100%?) of customers doesn't make it to the status page (NB don't judge reliability of a hosting company by their status page). Every problem I have experienced with linode has appeared on their status page. Another company has had two problems in 12 months, according to their status page. Except I know they've had at least 5 outages up to 8 hours long, and I suspect there were others as well that didn't affect me.

  • Linode tell you what caused a problem, and what they are doing to prevent it happening again. This sometimes takes a while, but that's to be expected.

  • Before you sign up, they tell you what you'll get for your money. And that's what you actually get. For example, if they say you get daily backups, then the backups happen daily, not once in a while when their backup system gets around to it.

  • They are big enough that when something bad happens, they have the resources to recover quickly. I am talking here mostly about hardware. For example, the recent problem in Fremont killed 4 of my VPSs there, as well as many others. It took only a few hours to be up and running again. Two other places I've dealt with have had similar hardware disasters. One took 48 hours to recover, the other 24. The 24 hour one only had two boxes that needed to be replaced.

On top of all that, Linode have a great interface that really lets you manage the VPS almost as if it were a box in the same room. If I'm altering the firewall on a Linode, I don't need to worry about locking myself out, as I can always get in using Lish. I can partition and set up my VPS the way I want. I don't have to fight with some "managing" system that expects I will always want something configured a particular way, and re-writes my config files if I change them.

Linode do expect me to know what I'm doing, and if I break my VPS, that's my problem. That is not as big a problem as it might sound to some. They do provide some excellent documentation (the Linode Library) and the forums are very helpful. And if I want, I can start again from scratch without having to ask their staff to set anything up.

Linode's support is also very good, with fast responses for important issues.

Why do I deal with others? Two reasons: 1) I don't like all eggs in one basket, no matter how nice the basket; and 2) I need servers in locations Linode doesn't offer.

So this is a thank you to all Linode staff for an excellent service, even (especially!) when things go wrong. You are my favorite VPS provider, and you look better each time I must deal with someone else!



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