Hodge Podge

For every article, I try to write something that is interesting, entertaining, educational and fun. Sometimes I even succeed. Many other times I have some things I'd like to talk about, but there's not enough of it to fill the space. This time, I decided a disjointed hodge podge would be the theme. So let's just have a virtual nerdy talk about stuff, shall we?

My Little Cloud Puff

It's really nice to have a server on the internet that is online even when you're not. Even with my two business-class internet connections (one cable modem and one DSL), the reliability of my connection is shoddy at best. The thing is, I don't really need very much in a server. I mainly use them for hosting files I want to access when out and about, or to test services, and so on. It used to be prohibitively expensive to purchase a dedicated server. Thanks to VPS options though, it's actually really cheap to get full-blown internet servers that have a dedicated public IP address. In order to get the best deal, however, it's important to think about what you need and then shop around.

For example, I like to have a server I can use as a VPN. There are affordable services, like Private Internet Access, which I do use for $40/year, but if you want your own VPN to protect your data, a VPS is perfect. The thing is, you need a specific type of VPS. It doesn't take much CPU, RAM or storage to run a VPN, but limited bandwidth on low-end servers really can be a showstopper for something like a VPN service. The key is to find a very low-end machine that has unmetered data. It usually doesn't have to be any faster than 100mbps either, because that sort of speed is still more than enough for browsing the web. (That said, it's hard to find a VPS with less than 1gbps speed.)

I'm not endorsing VPSCheap.net as a vendor, since I don't actually use it, but a quick search found this plan (Figure 1). For $20/year, you get a small server with unlimited bandwidth. For a VPN, it's perfect! Plus, with unmetered bandwidth, you can do things like run a BitTorrentSync server and not worry about getting your VPS shut off. The only downside with unmetered bandwidth is that it usually comes as a trade-off with memory, CPU and storage space/speed.

Figure 1. Although $20 is a significant amount of money, for a year, it's pretty reasonable!

If you need storage, like for an offsite backup, other VPS plans exist that favor large storage while trading off CPU/RAM. For instance, Bit Accel has 100GB of storage with 256MB of RAM and a shared CPU. It even offers unlimited transfer. It's only $1.99/month (Figure 2) with other plans scaling up and down from there. I don't use this either, so I can't vouch for its reliability.

Figure 2. This example is only slightly more expensive than the other VPS, but it has 100GB of storage!

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.