I decided that the time has come to get myself a VPS. I have a perfectly nice HP server running at my office in the UK that quietly chugs away minding its own business. Local access is fine. The only down side is that I live in Spain with my wife, and one of our other employees works from home for half the week. And that's where you discover all the shortcomings of ADSL.
It's Asymetric, both by name and buy nature.
So though the server runs splendidly, access to it for email and our Web/PHP based CRM from outside of the office can be very slow.
Enter VPS. An online server would be a more sensible option, particularly for email and the CRM. We also have something like 100Gb of files, mainly customers artwork, and that won't be feasible to store online. Even pushing my IMAP email stores up will probably be a chore as they are quite large - I'll think about that later. But the CRM will definitely benefit from being up in the cloud.
I also have a variety of other junk that could benefit from being up there so I can get to it from wherever. Currently I use unison to sync between the server at work, the one I have here and one in the teleworkers house - it's not feasible to go carrying round loads of files on USB drives etc. There'll just be the most unholy mess. But with a VPS I can sync up to that which should be fine.
So where do we start ? A friend of mine runs http://www.vpsbible.com which has some interesting stuff.
The first question seems to be a choice between shared hosting and virtual hosting.
I thought this answer seemed to sum things up quite well :
"Shared hosting is usually defined as
having non-privileged access to a server along with multiple other
users. You are not able to start/stop services, deploy custom system
applications (Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc.) and usually cannot edit things
like Apache configuration files (which is why .htaccess files were
born). The resources are managed by the host and you share with others.
If one site uses all the resources other sites will suffer.
VPS solutions offer more isolation and give you some kind of "root"
control. This is accomplished through chrooting, UML or virtualization,
usually. More control over your environment is afforded and the
isolation is greater, depending on the mechanism used. "
From what I can see, VPS is the way to go for me as I want to run my own distro of choice, SME server, based on CentOS. Installing anything other than the distros on offer doesn't look like it is for the faint hearted, but we'll see.
Next question will be trying to find a provider. From a brief look, it's a minefield. The first one I have seen that I quite like is linode.com, but I'm open to suggestions.
Anyone got anything they can recommend ?