I find that I am growing weary of maintaining my own servers at home, but I’m still way too independent to turn control of my domains over to a “web hosting” service. So, I am starting to look at some of the “virtual server” hosting options. These are services that you pay something like $20-40 a month and you get a “virtual” server (it runs linux, so you can run mysql, mud/mush, procmail, spamassassin, apache, php, gallery, and all the fun stuff you would run at home without having a space-heater in your spare room 24×7. It’s not a “real” server in the sense of dedicated hardware, it’s really a virtual machine running on a larger, beefier machine and capped to a small slice of cpu and memory.
So, question one, does anyone have experience with these type of “virtual server” hosting arrangements? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the experience of shopping for one, using one, and whether you have had to call for support and how the service was.
Also, for the folks who have domains hosted on a friend’s server (mine or some other friend) would you consider paying your friend something like $20 a year to maintain the web/mail/whatever for your domain? This would be in addition to the $8-10 or whatever you pay for the domain itself. (By comparison, basic “domain hosting” which includes certain amount of disk space, certain amount of bandwidth, bunch of email accounts, probably runs in the $4-6/month range, so that would be $50-70 per year. These often include php/cgi and some mysql databases, but would not include shell access/tf/screen, procmail, mailing list hosting, mud/mush or other one-offs.)
I’m thinking it would be great if I could get 5-8 or so friends to contribute $20 per year, possibly a bit more for multiple domains, mailing lists, databases, forums or other “power” features, that would probably be ideal. At first I would probably keep the servers I have here at home running in tandem (and as a backup) but eventually the goal would be to have everything virtual, or if we find enough friends, maybe two different virtual servers at different sites…