OVH hosting – first impressions

Update: the OVH hosting caused us a lot of problems and we parted our ways. The post below is no longer relevant. is useless when you try to run a business there (it’s a decent playground when you do not care that some things just do not work from time to time). They offer amazing set of features, tons of configuration settings, unlimited databases, space, email accounts and transfers, free SSL certificate, own IP address etc. All this for less than 15GBP/month. If it sounds to good to be true, it is. Our silver jewellery shop was not performing well enough and the outages were a bit to frequent for me.

OVH takes completely opposite approach. They limit everything they could. The configuration options are sparse and very limited. The homegrown administration panel shows that their admin experience is not the highest priority for them – there’s a bunch of web applications glued together with duct tape and chewing gum. But it seems to be working fine.

I took the “Performance 1” Web Hosting, which gave me guaranteed 1 vCore, 2GB of RAM and five databases spread between three types: “Personal SQL database” (shared), “Professional SQL database” (shared) and “Private SQL database 128MB” (dedicated). They couldn’t make it more confusing if they tried.

Shared databases have a limit of 30 simultaneous connections, so I decided to use Private SQL for our main site. It has only 128GB, but my rather small database seems to be happy with it and uses max 96MB. Other sites, including blog, are using shared database – there’s just not enough memory left on Private SQL. BTW: OVH is happy to sell me more memory for Private SQL should I so desired.

OVH offers a decent control over my domains. The default settings are sensible, but I can go and change all DNS records as I like. They also offer a distributed DNS service where the DNS for the domain is hosted on 17 separate servers (1 GBP/domain/year).

The thing I really didn’t like is that it is impossible to use your email account allowance (1000x2GB) to create emails in domain different than the main one. I had to pay 6GBP (one time charge) to get allowance of 5 email accounts on another domain.

I am currently happy with OVH hosting – it is performing well. I quite like the fact that I have to pay for everything extra – it gives me a confidence that they won’t run out of resources to support my needs.

JustHost shared service – standard vs pro

Our new jewellery store is hosted on I owned the a standard shared server for couple of years now and it was doing it’s job. My static pages were served, email was working fine. Until we started doing something serious…

We tried to run Harry Fay for a week before I realized it is terribly underperforming. I got used to response times around 2s (total page load 7s), but I failed to observe that quite frequently server needed much more time to produce a result – up to 38 seconds! I’ve spend half a day before contacting tech support, which said “it won’t work, but a Pro account or VPS”. I didn’t want to manage the full box, so I choose Pro account.

What are the differences between standard and pro shared server on Well, the Pro hosting seems to work. Both machines were 32 cores, 32GB of ram, but the standard server was overbooked. On standard machine vmstat was showing 35-50 processes waiting at any given time, while on the pro server I see between 0 and 15. Memory usage is also healthier on Pro hosting – I’ve seen minimum of 6GB free while the standard hosting was swapping. Average response time is down to 600ms (compared to 2100ms) and I haven’t noticed any choking.

My general feeling is that the standard shared hosting on just host is not worth it’s price if you want to use it for anything more that static webpage of your kittens. The tech support is generally accessible and will deal with small issues quickly. The answer for bigger issues is: pay more.