I was lucky enough to come across a post a couple of weekends ago on LowEndBox.net, a discussion forum regarding cheap web hosting, VPS deals and even dedicated servers. It said that Online.Net (a competitor to OVH in France, known for their ‘Kimsufi’ dedicated servers) was selling some very cheap dedicated servers. These went by the name of ‘Dedibox kidéchire’ and were a limited-time promotion.
How cheap? €2.00 (about AUD$3.00) per month.
Well as you can imagine, I grabbed one immediately. The specs were not high – only a low end, single core VIA CPU. However it came with 2 GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive, plus 100GB worth of FTP backup space in a separate datacentre for free (larger on application, for extra fee). As a part of this promotion, Online.Net had decided to give these machines a shared gigabit connection to the internet – around 24 machines into a single switch, and a single gigabit uplink for all 24 machines to share. Perfect for backups or basic serving of files. These are micro-sized Dell blade servers which are quite old now and well and truly have been depreciated (and paid for themselves too) so they decided to sell thousands of them at basically cost price.
After installing Debian Linux on my first box, I decided this was too good and decided to grab another. So my total outlay is €4 per month.
A number of things have now been ironed out – they now allow for a CentOS 6.x image to be installed, which is my preferred flavour of Linux for various reasons including cPanel compatibility. Unfortunately the new CentOS 7 release changes many things in the structure of the Operating System and this means that the whole cPanel programming needs changing, which will take a while.
There was another option of installing Windows Server onto these machine, but being charged at €23/month. That is some bloody stiff SPLA pricing – we don’t even charge that much at my employer’s hosting environment.
After more discussion on LowEndBox, it was found that Online.Net do not care about seedboxes. Well, they don’t if you use private trackers and no DCMA requests come through. At this point I thought I would finally have to learn rTorrent & ruTorrent on Linux, but then a guy called Joodle had other ideas.
Joodle had already worked out a way to dd a windows image from a remote server onto a OVH Kimsufi server. Funnily enough, the same process works well with Online.Net as they have a similar linux-based rescue mode (boot a linux image to memory). Unfortunately the Windows 7 and Server 2008 images do not work as they require an extra network driver (Intel 82574L) driver to be installed, something that requires greater access to the hardware. Windows 8 & Server 2012R2 does have this drive as a part of the operating system, so that happily installs and works.
After installing uTorrent and getting some bandwidth happening, it is not uncommon to see 10Mb/sec download and I have seen 7-8Mb/sec uploads on some individual torrents. Unfortunately the RDP performance (and ping to me here in Australia) is pretty average to be honest, so it id definitely not a great hosted desktop solution. The download speeds however are more than good enough. It maxes out the around 8Mbit ADSL2+ I have here in my new apartment.
Absolutely wrapped with the performance of the two new boxes, and looking forward to everything I can now do with them.