The Truth About CloudAtCost Virtual Private Servers 2017-07-15
A Virtual Private Server is essentially resources on someone else's hardware. The idea is that some company (or individual) will buy or rent hardware which lives in some big datacenter somewhere. And they run software on that hardware, which lets them divide up the processor, memory, network, and hard disk resources in to "chunks". Each chunk is a VPS that you can rent. You have no physical access to the machine, but you can remotely log in and manage it as if you were sitting right at its local keyboard.
CloudAtCost is a company that sells VPS's to schmucks like me. Unfortunately, their servers don't live up to what that page says at all. But that is a hell of a deal though eh? So how could it not be worth it? Well...
By default, "CloudPRO" servers are set to run in "Safe Mode". No, not like Windows Safe Mode... it means that after a week they will just turn themselves off. Your server will not ask you if you want it to shut down, it will simply turn itself off. You can start it up again by logging in to their web site, but your server is down in the meantime. You can also set your server to "Normal Mode" in the web interface, but it will revert back to Safe Mode at some time anyways. Well that sounds frustrating. Why would they do that? They do it so they can oversell their server resources.
An individual server (remember the datacenter photo above?) will have numerous people running their own "stuff" on it. I might use mine as a web server, you might use yours as a DNS server, and someone else might use theirs to download torrents. If too many people are using up "logical resources" on a "physical server", the performance of the server sucks for each of the people using it. However, the more customers like me they can jam in to a physical server, the more money they make. This is why VPS providers [sometimes] oversell their equipment. Not all providers, but it happens.
In the case of CloudAtCost, they have simply come up with a better way to oversell their equipment... or at least a different business model to do it. They make their servers a pain in the ass. Not only do you have to keep logging in to their web site to make sure your server isn't going to shut itself down, they also have frequent crashes. Sometimes your server might stay up for a few weeks, sometimes just a few days. Sometimes it is because of massive disk failures, and sometimes it is mysterious disconnections from the network. And do you know how to fix these problems? If you said "open a support ticket" you are what we in the computer biz call "hilarious". CloudAtCost does not answer support tickets. No automated reply, no human is assigned your ticket, nobody cares about your ticket at CaC. They just wait a few days and close the ticket with no comments or reply of any kind. No, the only way to fix your server is to delete it and create a new one. A new one with a new IP address, a new root password, and none of your data from your old server of course.
This all sounds quite ridiculous, how can I call this a business model? Well the idea is that customers like me will be impressed with the CPU and network resources. Because frankly, when it is working, it can be quite quick. The price is also low enough that people like me will think "I'll keep it because I know there is SOMETHING I can use it for". Eventually, I'll get tired of rebuilding my server and will stop using it. Sooner or later my server will turn itself off and CaC will recover the resources and keep my money. How do ya like that business model?
To be honest, I was thinking I could use mine as a SOCKS5 proxy for myself. The throughput is good and the bandwidth is unmetered, so why not eh? But I am tired of waking up to find my proxy inaccessible and having to use their web interface to destroy and recreate it. If you're thinking of trying out a VPS, and even if you think you might hate it and will dump it... get one from some other company. It is simply not worth the hassle at CaC. :-(