Poor experience and uptime with rapidvps.com

Posted on December 10th, 2007 in General,Linux System Administration by Brandon

I heard good things about RapidVPS from several member of my local LUG.  I’d also heard good things about slicehost, but they seem to be perpetually unavailable.  So when I was setting up a new development and testing server, I figured that I’d give rapidvps a try.  I kindof like seeing how different companies do things and they have a pretty decent package for $30/month.

It turns out that was a poor choice.   I was unimpressed from the first day.   My new RapidVPS server was a pretty vanilla install of CentOS5.  Not much had been customized for their environment.   The name servers in /etc/resolv.conf didn’t even work and there were a bunch of other little annoyances that just didn’t make sense.  I blew it off at the time since I was able to get them resolved pretty quickly.

Their support staff was fairly responsive, but tended to skirt the direct questions that I asked.  For example, I asked specifically why the name servers were incorrect on a fresh install, and they just replied that they were fixed now.

I primarily use this machine for PHP development and testing.  I spend 6-8 hours a day logged in via SSH editing files directly.  So I notice pretty quickly when things go wrong.   One or two times a week I noticed that the IO load gets really high and things take forever.  Doing a simple directory listing was taking over 30 seconds.  When I sent in a support request about that, their reply was something along the lines that most customers use them for running LAMP websites, and that they generally work fine for that purpose, and that the high IO wouldn’t be a problem.

On several other occasions, their network has just become incredibly slow.   Replies from support indicated that one of their customers was getting attacked.    Right now, my server appears to be completely down, and they just replied that the machine is ‘recovering/doing a raid rebuild’ and will be up shortly.

So, I’ve had this machine for almost two months and had all of these problems.    I’d like to just ditch them and sign up for another server at RimuHosting.   But I’ve spent quite a bit of time getting everything configured just right and don’t have time at the moment to move everything somewhere else.

I guess I’ll have to deal with it for another month or so, until development slows down a little bit.  Then I’ll have to spend a few days migrating everything to a new service.  In the mean time, I definitely won’t be recommending RapidVPS to anybody.

6 Responses to 'Poor experience and uptime with rapidvps.com'

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  1. Brandon said,

    on December 12th, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Follow up:

    The server was down for about 4 hours while it was fscking. The support staff didn’t know if the drive was going to recover successfully, so they did offer to restore a backup copy of my vps on a different server, but that would have taken quite a while longer to copy to a new server and extract.

    Once it came back up, the server did (thankfully) have all of my data on it. It would stay up for a few minutes and then reboot. I was able to copy all of my critical information off in between a couple of those reboots.

    I got everything set up on a new RimuHosting server but would still login to the rapidvps server to see how it was doing. It died or was rebooted about 10 more times. Once I had all of my critical information off, it was actually funny to watch.

    I canceled my rapidvps account today and they did provide me with a full refund for the past month without any haggling.

  2. reader said,

    on January 12th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    If you are seriously putting that much into a VPS
    why not just get a dedicated server.
    VPS’s are just fancy shared hosting accounts
    with a crap ton more overhead and problems.

    The problems you ran into were pretty typical of all
    VPS’s because they are just a shared hosts.
    If you are writting 6 hours of php a day you should
    be running your own box.

  3. Brandon said,

    on January 15th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    We do have several dedicated servers, but they run our production servers, and I don’t want to be doing development on them.

    The new VPS that I have actually works great. I’m logged onto it all day long and it performs very well, as I have expected. I also have one of our dedicated servers rsync’ing all of the code and subversion repositories every 15 minutes, just in case something like that happens again.

    The problem here was not with a VPS. I have used VPS’s from various companies and have a pretty good idea what to expect out of them. I was just surprised at the seemingly low performance and number of problems I got from rapidvps.


  4. on June 3rd, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Hi Brandon, sorry to hear about the bad experience. I looked back in our records based on the date of your blog entry, and we did have a service node failure on this day. It turned out to be a failed ram dimm. After a few hours of physically troubleshooting the system at the datacenter (the reboots you noted), we managed to isolate the problem to a single dimm chip. Unfortunately these things do happen and we try to deal with them the fastest way possible. I do believe we kept in constant contact to inform you that we were working on the problem, and it was eventually solved. I just checked the node and it has 28 days of uptime, damn hardware failures!

    Best of luck!
    Rick Blundell
    RapidVPS

  5. Brandon said,

    on June 3rd, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Thanks for the follow-up Rick. You guys did keep me updated fairly regularly during that problem. It felt like it dragged on forever though – probably because I had a lot of work to get done and was frustrated that I couldn’t even reliably stay connected to the server where all of it was stored.

    Ideally, in a situation like that where you are troubleshooting a hardware problem, I’d like to see you move the customer data to a new server (something as easy as moving the hard drives to a new box), then troubleshoot the problematic server when it doesn’t affect customers.

  6. Hugh said,

    on August 12th, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    RapidVPS is SUCKS !!! Believe me, they are the worst Host Ive ever used. Thats why they can never grow their reputation.

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