You may have come across sites such as LowEndBox and its counterpart forum, LowEndTalk. These sites promote VPS providers with a max price limit of $7 per month, hence why they’ve coined the term, “low end.” In the past when VPS prices were at least 3 times that amount, the only way to achieve a $7 per month limit was to provide VPSes that were 64-128MB in size. However in today’s downward spiral of hardware prices, you can find upwards of 2GB or more in size for just $7 per month. Sounds like a great deal right? Why avoid these providers? Well, the reasons are many.
1. One Man Shows
The barrier to entry to become a VPS provider is quite low these days. You can rent a dedicated server to virtualize for $100 per month, buy and install SolusVM to manage your virtual servers for $10 per node, and buy and install WHMCS which is a popular billing software for the hosting industry for $14 per month. Not sure what the latest prices are but they’re within the above ballpark. As you can see, anyone and their grandmother could start a “VPS hosting business” with very little investment upfront. What ends up happening is that you end up with hosts that are run by only one person, with maybe give or take a few outsourced employees to provide support.
What’s wrong with one man shows? Well, what happens when that individual decides to pack up and leave the industry, which happens a lot actually? You either get an email saying service will be cut off on a certain date, that the company is sold to another, or your service is suddenly cut off without any notification. Sucks right? Well, that’s why you get relying on a single individual. It’s unstable, finicky, and not something you should do if you care about your website and your data.
2. The Low End Attitude
Most of these low end providers have this attitude like you owe them something by signing up for their services. It’s actually a very common psychological reaction when you sell anything for less than what you feel it’s worth. These low end providers have to abide by the $7 per month rule and in turn, have to compete on features and/or price. It’s a cutthroat business, no doubt, but what happens when you complain on a public forum about your issues? You get providers responding with comments like, what else are you expecting for $7 per month. Providers, listen up. If you feel you’re severely undervaluing your services, then by all means, raise your damn prices and drop this attitude like we owe you something. Even the best providers you find in the low end market will have owners that behave this way.
These individual owners are probably not the best in PR and maintaining a professional and courteous public image. They often lash out against negative comments on forums. Large companies have a team of support and PR professionals to maintain their professional image. One man hosts? Forget about it. How can you trust your data to someone who gets angry and shows you anger? I certainly wouldn’t trust my data with someone like that, fearing retaliation against me if I even voice any discontent. What’s worse is that these individual owners are still probably oblivious and living in their la-la land, thinking they’re providing great service and support. In any business, you can’t take things personally. It’s a business.
3. A Templated Approach to Hosting
To add on what I’ve said about about how simple it is to start a VPS business, you end up with VPS providers that simply fail to stand out from the crowd. Every provider you see will have some servers in ColoCrossing (as they’re the cheapest), SolusVM to manage your VMs, and WHMCS to handle billing. They come up with boring names to try to entice you and make you believe they’re special, when they’re simply not. When you compare world-class providers like Linode, Digital Ocean, Rackspace, and even AWS, you see why these low end hosts fail.
I’ve seen threads started on LowEndTalk trying to hype up a new service s/he is starting and ultimately admitted that it’s just another KVM VPS provider running SolusVM. *Yawn* What else is new? If you seek true innovation and features that improves your hosting experience, run far away from low end providers. Linode and Rackspace have node balancers. Which low end provider has that? AWS has a boatload of other services to accompany their EC2 platform such as integrated CDNs. Low end providers? Zilch. They’ll continue to think their stock SolusVM approach is awesome. A dream far far away from reality.