Decision review: Switching from Rackspace Cloud to Linode

Update from 2013-05-10: Linode doubled what you get in each plan, so now I have a 1.5GB VPS for $30/month. Whee! Plenty of space to run lots of nginx workers, Emacs, and maybe even a Ruby development environment… I might downsize to 1GB ($20/month) if I can’t find productive ways to use the extra memory and processing power, but I’m sure I can think of something! ;)

I moved my website from Rackspace Cloud to Linode in order to take advantage of Linode’s cheaper rates. A virtual private server on Rackspace Cloud cost me around USD 26 per month for a 512MB slice and data transfer. Linode promised USD 20/month for a 512MB slice. There’s a 15% discount if you prepay for 2 years, and they emphasize that this isn’t a contract – if you change your mind and leave, they’ll credit a pro-rated amount.

It took me about five hours to switch over. Most of that was spent backing up and double-checking my settings. I also fiddled around with Rails so that I could get that up and running again, too. (I haven’t quite gotten the hang of rvm, so I had to deal with version annoyances.) Now my site’s up, and things are pretty sweet.

I spend a little extra on virtual private hosting instead of shared hosting because virtual private hosting gives me more flexibility. I really like being able to SSH in and manage my own server, even though it means I’m also responsible for configuration and optimization. I can run other tools on it too, such as my weekly library renewal script. (Yes, I have a script that renews our books and tells us which ones we need to return.) It’s convenient being able to manage a few sites without paying extra for each, and to be able to mix PHP, Rails, the occasional Emacs session.

My Linode account has been up for only a short while, so we’ll see how it works out. Everything’s back in working order, though.

Update from 2012-06-10: So far, so awesome. I eventually upgraded my Linode slice to the 768MB slice (USD 29.95/month) because I was running quite a few things on it that I haven’t yet optimized for memory. The process of upgrading was painless. Haven’t had any network issues on their side. My site has occasionally been down, but those were entirely my fault. =) I like the service, and I really enjoy having a virtual server I can ssh into and tweak.

Considering Linode?

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  • Jim

    Both your former provider and your new one sound a bit pricey to me. I have been using Verve Hosting since 2004 and am quite pleased with their service, reliability, and pricing. Perhaps your hosting company provides some extra cool technical tools that you haven’t mentioned, but it still sounds expensive to me. Verve Hosting’s basic package provides 2,000 MB of space & 10,000 MB of monthly bandwidth for $5.95/month. This isn’t a commercial — I’m just an ordinary customer there. I believe they support Drupal there, but I am just a plain vanilla HTML guy.

    • Andy

      They are too different products. Verve provides shared hosting. Linode provide actual servers.

  • Hello, Sacha!

    I at one time also used Linode, but then switched to using amazon ec2.
    Ordered a machine such as micro, 600 megabytes of memory, the processor is sufficient. When using the reserved instance the cost of hosting including traffic is about $10. Which is much cheaper than hosting from Linode.

    At the same time I have server stability is much improved, previously seen little downtime, but now uptime is 100%

    • Jim: I asked one of my friends why he moved from Verve to Linode, and he said he switched so that he could be on a virtual private server. I can see the usefulness of that, and that’s why I moved from my previous host to Rackspace Cloud and then to Linode. I use my server for more than webpages. I develop on it using Emacs

      Denis: I considered EC2 before, but I hesitated because I saw many blog posts and reviews with negative experiences (or perhaps mismatched expectations). I might try the AWS free tier sometime, because it’s useful to learn how to work with a full cloud computing platform. My Linode stats say I’ve used an average of 15.83% CPU (dual-core 2.5GHz on the server, I think), so I’m not sure if the Amazon EC2 micro CPU throttling will get in the way of, say, using Emacs on the server to develop my personal dashboard. I don’t have a lot of compute-intensive tasks, but it might be interesting to see if some compute-intensive tasks can make my life better. We’ll see!

      Thomas: Rock on. =)

  • Hi Sacha, welcome to Linode! Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything.

  • Hi Sacha!

    I’m also looking for VPS systems, I’m probably going to get 6sync (has slightly better prices than Linode, and their twitter account manager is quite fun) starting November. Although I’m a somewhat happy blogger user, I want something else for my real personal page (i.e. where I say what I do and “please hire me!”), also managing a server is fun and I lack this kind of fun with Blogger.


  • buythiscomputer

    Hello, I am now hosting at Dreamhost VPS and everything is always down, can you tell me if things would be better with a cloud at Linode, Rackspace or any other ? What is the cheapest and best service for you ? Also I would like a server that is managed, as I am not an expert…

    Thank you so much for your help.

  • Raj

    I think I need to switch from Rackspace to Linode too….

  • Wait a minute, you are a girl?

  • Pingback: From Rackspace Cloud Servers to Linode VPS – A move by Sacha Chua | Rackspace Cloud Blog()

  • Alex

    Hi Sacha, 
    Thanks for the tutorial!
    One question: which email solution do you install in your linode?
    Thanks again!

    • I didn’t. I just set up the MX records so that I can use Google Apps.

  • alex

    Hi there! Could you detail the steps you took to migrate to Linode? Is there an easy process to do it?

    • What are you migrating from – another virtual private server, a shared hosting site, or something hosted like WordPress?

      When I migrated, I moved from Rackspace, so it was a matter of:
      – backing up my databases
      – copying all the files over
      – setting up the various server daemons (web, etc.)
      – trying it out with a temporary hosts file on my system
      – copying new database / file changes (most recent blog posts)
      – switching the DNS over
      – cancelling my Rackspace account when I was happy with the results