I fell asleep yesterday pretty early, and ended up awake at 3AM, groggily checking Reddit and the status of the video I posted there yesterday. I ran across a link for ChunkHost Free VPS Hosting.
Lately I have been on MediaTemple (and couldn’t be happier) and though I can SSH into my server, I do not get root with my current setup. A VPS is a good way to get the type of functionality that I am after (dns tunneling), and you cannot beat the price for free.
Before we go any further, here is the VPS definition from WikiPedia:
Virtual private server (VPS) is a term used by Internet hosting services to refer to a virtual machine. The term is used for emphasizing that the virtual machine, although running in software on the same physical computer as other customers’ virtual machines, is in many respects functionally equivalent to a separate physical computer, is dedicated to the individual customer’s needs, has the privacy of a separate physical computer, and can be configured to run server software.
Right away, I rushed on over to the ChunkHost web site to sign up. I noticed that they only used Facebook for authentication, and though the guys on Reddit put up a fight about this, I on the other hand could care less, because a well-managed Facebook account is more or less as safe as an email address, so I said why not and clicked ahead.
chunkhost free VPS service
I was briefed on the details of my chunk, and was allowed to choose between several versions of Debian, CentOS and Ubuntu. I chose Ubuntu Precise Pangolin because I am familiar with the way it should act in this setting and the results were not at all what I expected.
Upon logging in, things were much different than my Media Temple service. Right off the bat I found myself waiting a few seconds for authentication, and then waiting a few seconds for my first command to process, ‘whoami’. This sluggishness had me feeling a bit uneasy.
I was able to determine that I was, in fact, the root account, so I went ahead and issued “apt-get update” which took about 3 minutes to complete. I felt that this was a bit long, and maybe I should optimize the sources.list to choose the closest server. I went ahead and updated my sources, and issued the same command. A bit quicker this time, but nothing to be proud of.
There were one or two updates, so I went ahead and gave it the command “apt-get dist-upgrade” which should have upgraded everything, but instead took about 5 minutes of my sweet putty-minutes and then segfaulted rather unceremoniously. This was about all I could take, so I shut my laptop, got some coffee and a bite before I sat down to get back on this sinking ship for the sake of the article, at this point.
I logged back in, and started to think of a good benchmark of the service. It had to be something I am familiar with, and use regularly so that nothing could be blamed on this or that. I chose “Owncloud” which you may or may not remember, we did a video about.
I started installing the libs manually, php5dev, php5-json, apache2, etc. before I remembered, or rather assumed that by now there would be something in the repos, given the steam that owncloud has gained as of late.
apt-get install owncloud ## SUCCESSFUL
Right as things were moving along swimmingly, I was prompted to change the MySQL password, which I went ahead and did, and the setup resumed, slowly, ready to lose the connection at any moment.. As the install was about to complete, it threw an error that the password could not be changed and that the root account was not priv’d to change MySQL settings.. Lame.
I started to investigate further when this infernal machine segfaulted yet again. Ctrl+C, break connection, delete account. Maybe next time.. It is a shame too, because this was quite promising, but when you look at the long and short of it, what you are paying for, and what you are getting in this situation, are two very different things. The processors are emaciated, and the bandwidth is lacking. The only thing going for this service is the business model; the hardware is abysmal from the perspective of the user.
I’m hoping this is just the Reddit effect, but the slowness and segfaults were just something I could not get past. 2/5 stars.