19 July 2007

Searching for UK based Debian/Ubuntu hosting

What seemed to be quite easy and straightforward task turned into complete nightmare.

We have been using 1and1 hosting for quite a while and although they are not perfect and helpline is pretty useless they do have stable and working servers. I have been administrating 2 windows 2003 server and I haven't got any problems so far. So as far as windows dedicated server I have good solution. The problem I have right now is that I have to find linux dedicated server with Ubuntu/Debian. 1and1 is using Fedora Core and therefore it is not an option, Rackspace are good but VERY expensive.

So the only companies providing Debian/Ubuntu I found are 123-reg.co.uk and Fasthosts.co.uk

I called both providers and asked simple questions.
  1. Do you provide full root access
  2. Do you have any trial period or am I able to cancel server hosting if I am not happy with results ?
  3. What happens IF for some reason I brick the server. Is there an option to re-image it automatically or by your administrators
Now the answers:

  • I believe helpline is non-existent - try to call them and you will see and hear it yourself. When I eventually got there I had to wait 5-6 minutes for every answer.
  1. Yes BUT you will lose all technical support. That's it. It will be only you and your server and they will just charge you.
  2. No trial but no contract so you can cancel after month or whatever period you wish to. On other hand you will pay set-up fee so if you cancel after month you will pay £50 setup fee and £40 monthly fee.
  3. That's very interesting answer. Because you lost your technical support as you wanted root access they won't re-image your server nor help you with anything. Basically you have to cancel contract and order new server!!! How st*pid is that? When I asked about paying some fee for re-image I have been told that they won't do anything.
After that I decided not to use 123-reg.

  • Again the problematic part. Have you ever been waiting in queue for 20 minutes and been placed as number one. Yes I was the first person in queue and waited 20 minutes. Possible answer is that they have only two people working on helpline or they were all having lunch. Neither is good, specially when you are in trouble and you need quick help and solution.
  1. Yes
  2. No trial and you can't cancel with DS200 (12 month contract). Or you can pay normal monthly fee and have 256kb line only. So it's your choice, you can either risk it and go for normal 12 months contract with high speed and unlimited traffic or you can have monthly contract but with either 256kb speed or 20gb traffic cap. And NO you can't upgrade your linux server after month to 12 month contract. You have to order another dedicated server and cancel old one. No comment.
  3. No answer. Person on phone did not know. Called again and spoke to another person = same result. But it seems you are able to do that with tools called Full remote server control
So far I havent solved my problem and I haven't got any Ubuntu/Debian dedicated server. And I tell you one thing, it will be struggle and I am not sure I will find one (on normal budget). Rackspace seems like the only solution but quite expensive one.

Some interesting links:

ReviewCentre - Fasthosts.co.uk rating and reviews:

ReviewCentre - 123-reg.co.uk rating and reviews:

ReviewCentre - Rackspace.com rating and reviews:

ReviewCentre - 1and1.co.uk rating and reviews: