Among the web hosting providers I've used over the years, some are unmanaged VPS providers. Some of these have been awful - cheap price, and for a reason. Others have been quirky, and I'd never recommend them to others. Others I grew out of, and no longer needed what they offered. But there are 3 that I've used for years that are rock solid and I keep on coming back to them. If you're interested, I've written a comparative review of all 3.
Today, I'd like to review one of those providers in more detail: RamNode.
I have been a customer of RamNode since February 2013. They've been around since May 2012, so that means I've been with them nearly from the beginning. I can certainly review them from first-hand experience.
RamNode is owned by Nick Adams, who has taken on additional staff to allow the company to grow without losing its reputation for quality. They entered the market for affordable VPS by offering a relatively distinctive selling point: VPS on servers powered exclusively by SSD drives. Since then, they've also started offering Open VZ servers with traditional drives (in fast array) for customers wanting more disk space in return for some loss in drive speed.
What RamNode Offer
In common with most VPS providers, RamNode offer the two main types of virtualisation: OpenVZ and KVM. OpenVZ also comes with the option to have "Massive" storage space, in return for being on non-SSD drives.To give you an idea, their Premium SSD Open VZ server with 256 MB of RAM comes with 25 GB of disk space; the "Massive" equivalent comes with a whopping 120 GB. The SSD line is split into "Premium", run on E3 processors (3.3 GHz per core), or "Standard" on E5 (2.3 GHz per core), with the Premium also giving more space and shared use of more processor cores.
These services are offered out of 5 locations: In the United States, there's a choice of Seattle (north-west), Los Angeles (south-west), Atlanta (south-east) or (unusually) New York City (north-east). In Europe, they are in the Netherlands.
New from March 2017: Virtual Dedicated Server plans
The VDS plans are KVM plans, on nodes using arrays of pure SSD disks, where you get dedicated CPU cores for your particular instance. This gives you most of the benefit of a dedicated server, at a fraction of the cost, and with the speed and redundancy of RamNode's SSD disk arrays thrown in. Starting at just $20 per month, they represent excellent value.
Particular Features / Strengths
Now let's talk some specifics.
- Network: Of all the low-cost VPS providers I've used, RamNode have the best network. That's both "best" in terms of stability. They have developed their own detection system for any DDOS attack targetted at any VPS on their network, that will automatically null-route that IP in seconds. It's also best in terms of low-latency. They've put a premium on obtaining good peering and exchange arrangements in each data centre.
- DDOS Protection: In all locations you can have your traffic filtered at a small extra charge. This is done through CNServers (Seattle) and Staminus (elsewhere). Do this, and they won't automatically null-route your IP if it's targetted (although, obviously, if the attack is too large they won't let the rest of the network suffer).
- Disk Speeds: Their full SSD setups mean very fast disk read/write speed. To give a rough idea, a quick test measured 300 MB/s sequential write on an SSD-Cache server, and over 500 MB/s on a full SSD. VPS seem to hold this level. On providers many times the cost, I've always found there are periods when other containers on the node are thrashing the disks and my speed drops. I've never had that problem with RamNode.
- Templates and ISOs: Their SolusVM is packed full of templates, allowing you to reinstall any OpenVZ or KVM server yourself in a few seconds. They also have a wide range of OS ISOs on offer for KVM customers to install directly from CD using the VNC terminal. Other providers I've tried only have a limited range of one or the other of these.
All in all, they're rock solid. If you want a low-end priced provider with absolutely sterling quality (quality processor, disk and network, with resilience against DDOS attack) then RamNode is the one for you.
Plans and Prices
Below you'll find all their current plans and prices. You can sort and filter the table below if that helps. If you spot any errors, please let me know.
|Plan||RAM||Disk Space||Price / Month||Price / Quarter||Price / year||Order|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||256MB||120GB||—||$8.00||$28.80|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||512MB||150GB||$5.00||$14.55||$54.00|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||1024MB||200GB||$10.00||$29.10||$108.00|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||2048MB||250GB||$20.00||$58.20||$216.00|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||3072MB||275GB||$30.00||$87.30||$324.00|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||4096MB||300GB||$40.00||$116.40||$432.00|
|Massive SSD OpenVZ||8192MB||350GB||$80.00||$232.80||$864.00|
|Premium SSD KVM||256MB||8GB||$3.50||$10.19||$37.80|
|Premium SSD KVM||512MB||15GB||$7.00||$20.37||$75.60|
|Premium SSD KVM||1024MB||28GB||$14.00||$40.74||$151.20|
|Premium SSD KVM||2048MB||42GB||$28.00||$81.48||$302.40|
|Premium SSD KVM||3072MB||56GB||$42.00||$122.22||$453.60|
|Premium SSD KVM||4096MB||65GB||$56.00||$162.96||$604.80|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||128MB||12GB||—||—||$15.00||
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||256MB||25GB||—||$8.00||$28.80|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||512MB||50GB||$5.00||$14.55||$54.00|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||1024MB||75GB||$10.00||$29.10||$108.00|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||2048MB||95GB||$20.00||$58.20||$216.00|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||3072MB||115GB||$30.00||$87.30||$324.00|
|Premium SSD OpenVZ||4096MB||135GB||$40.00||$116.40||$432.00|
|Standard SSD KVM||512MB||10GB||$3.00||$8.73||$32.40|
|Standard SSD KVM||1024MB||20GB||$5.00||$14.55||$54.00|
|Standard SSD KVM||2048MB||40GB||$10.00||$29.10||$108.00|
|Standard SSD KVM||3072MB||60GB||$15.00||$43.65||$162.00|
|Standard SSD KVM||4096MB||80GB||$20.00||$58.20||$216.00|
|Standard SSD KVM||8192MB||140GB||$40.00||$116.40||$432.00|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||1024MB||40GB||$3.50||$10.19||$37.80|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||2048MB||60GB||$7.00||$20.37||$75.60|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||4096MB||80GB||$14.00||$40.74||$151.20|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||6144MB||100GB||$21.00||$61.11||$226.80|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||8192MB||120GB||$28.00||$81.48||$302.40|
|Standard SSD OpenVZ||16384MB||200GB||$56.00||$162.96||$604.80|