A comparison of Australian VPS Hosts

AuTechNet for an indefinite period of time are using a VPS server located in Melbourne, Australia. This server is hosted on a VPS provided by start-up vpsblocks.com.au.

We actually came across VPSBlocks out of the blue, you see we were searching for an Australian VPS to host a few websites.

VPS BlocksWe stumbled across VPSBlocks after looking for a cheap Australian hosting partner. We could only find a few reviews on the business, though their website like all other VPS hosts came across as looking very professional and honest. That’s not what really got use roped in though!

You see VPSBlocks hosts all their websites on SSDs, that’s right Solid-State-Drives. Solid Strate drives are up to 100times faster than that of most server SAS 15k drives. A faster drive means a fast Input/Output Speed, which in turn means faster data processing for a CPU.

VPSBlocks’ hosting technology takes advantage of the decreasing cost of SSDs which are set to revolutionise businesses. SSDs are already common with high-end consumer gaming machines and anyone who’s used an SSD knows the difference one makes to a computer’s speed.

Though there’s something we’re missing here, SSDs are about $1/GB which means if any ordinary consumer were to buy an SSD, it would cost them at least $120 for a decent SSD drive. So that would mean getting a VPS which uses an SSD as it’s main storage would be expensive? Well, not quite VPSBlocks’ hosting prices are just as good as everyone else!

According to their CEO Will Kruss the cloud-based infrastructure is surprisingly affordable.

“For comparable prices to regular Australian VPS hosting, we can provide a solution to Australian businesses that provides vastly increased speed and reliability,” Mr Kruss told PR Web.

So just how affordable is SSD VPS hosting?

When it comes to Australia there’s no comparison a search for SSD VPS Australian web hosts reveals predominantly US and UK hosts. Though we have heard Crucial provide SSD VPS solutions as well.

  1. DigitalOcean.com an SSD Cloud Server provider provides 1GB memory, 1 Core, 30GB SSD and 2TB transfer for 10/month, though unfortunately this isn’t in Australia.
  2. VPSBlocks.com provides 1GB memory, 1 Core, 20GB SSD and 30GB transfer for $19.95/month from their Melbourne rack-space.
  3. INIZ.com provides 1GB memory, 4 Core, 80GB SSD and 1.5TB transfer for 9 pounds a month which is about $25 Australian from Alblasserdam the Neterlands.

Those are just basic accounts but VPS Blocks to other Australian VPS hosts in general is about the same when you consider the benefits of their selling point, SSDs.

We’ve compared VPSBlocks, Crazy Domains, Digital Pacific and Mammoth Networks which are well known throughout Australia as being preferred hosting partners.

  • A Linux VPS from Crazy Domains will set you back $25 a month for 1GB memory, 50GB storage and 50GB transfer or $22/month of 12 months.
  • Digital Pacific a little more pricey provides 512MB guaranteed RAM (burstable), 25GB space and 60GB transfer for $74.90/month.
  • Mamoth Networks provide 1GB RAM, 5GB space and 25GB data for $20/month.
  • VPSBlocks provide 1GB RAM, 2GHz CPU, 20GB SSD, 30GB bandwidth and a choice of freely available Linux OS’ for $19.95/month.

So… Which is the best out of the four Australian VPS hosts we’ve mentioned?

It probably comes down to who your going to trust. Crazy Domains have been around for a long time and are big, so they’ve got a proven track record with reviews to prove it. Though there is allot of good and bad experiences with Crazy Domains it’s not likely they’ll close-up shop.

Then there’s Digital Pacific, not well known until they started campaigning with Google Ads a few years ago. Their rep on Whirlpool said they have strict guidelines, their hardware vendor said you can “cram 100 or more VPS on a single server, we put less than half of that on our machines to allow customers to grow.” With an attitude like that it’s pretty assuring to their potential clients.

With Mammoth Networks I had never heard of them until I started writing this article. Some have compared them to that of AussieHQ (based in Canberra and Sydney). According to Whirlpool enthusiast Inspiron You, Mammorth Networks use Soul (an Australian wholesale ISP) to provide their IP range and have one single upstream provider, TPG which is proven by using the Hurricane Electric BGP toolkit which finds Internet bogans. The theory behind an Internet bogan is that they only provide one upstream link, which could mean they could possibly harm the reliability of parts of the internet.

So we’ve left the best till last, VPSBlocks while you wont find many reviews on them we can tell you a little about them from our research.

Who is VPSBlocks?

VPSBlocks‘ is a startup that formed in mid-2012 in Melbourne Australia. Their hosting is priced well and is comparable to that of other Australian VPS providers.

If you were to search for reviews on VPSBlocks you probably wouldn’t find any, except maybe this one or a thread on whirlpool.

You’ve heard enough about their SSDs in earlier paragraphs which are useless if the main thing anyone that even a remote geek should be concerned about is their internet backbone. Located in Melbourne and connected through OMNIconnect Pty Ltd their providers include Nextgen Networks, Soul and the Western Australian Internet Association. With 2 IPv4 providers and 2 IPv6 providers it’s looking considerably better than that of Mammoth Networks.

So if their on OMNIconnect’s network you should be able to expect a pretty good ping rate? From Townsville to Melbourne (to Google Australia on 74.125.237.127) we receive a ping time of 66ms to our VPS and 54ms to Google.com.au. Which when compared with a US shared host it is a mile ahead of the sluggish 300ms to iPower.

VPSBlocks Ping Comparison

A Comparison of pinging a VPSBlocks VPS to that of a US shared host.

The next question you ask is how fast is the down and up-link? A putty test connecting to cachefly.net’s 100mb test shows an average of around 3-3.5M/s or around 15 seconds to download 50MB to your server from cachefly.net one of the world’s best content providers.

VPSBlocks Cachefly.net 100mb Download Test

VPSBlocks Cachefly.net 100mb Download Test

So the next question is what’s their up-link which is what everyone should be concerned about as it majorly affects your visitor’s experience.  To complete this test we ran an FTP connection to our server hosted of an 12mbps ADSL connection in Townsville, that comes out of the Sun Shine Coast. We then transferred Cachefly’s 10mb test file to our FTP server. The VPS Block server transferred 10mb in just 8.35 seconds.

VPS Block Uplink

VPS Block Uplink speedtest to an ADSL connection in Townsville connected at 12mbps.

To compare this with another VPS hosted by James Cook University’s IT department for IT and Design students it takes 8.39 seconds to transfer the same 10mb file to our server on home.autechnet.com.

After looking at the two tests above you would probably be quite satisfied with VPSBlocks‘ network – I know I am.

What’s my experience with VPSBlocks?

As the test is rather biased because I’ve only tried VPSBlocks and haven’t compared it with a VPS from another provider I can’t tell you much more. What I can tell you is I’m incredibly happy with their service and support.

When our account was first created there was actually about an hours delay (not much of a problem) as one of their provisioning scripts wasn’t functioning due to some network upgrades. Once the VPS was up and running I had an installation of Webmin and Virtualmin running within about half-hour which is pretty good for a Linux newbie! Needless to say I actually corrupted my first install of Ubuntu Linux 12.04 by stuffing up the SSL ports on Virtualmin.

So, I lodged my first technical support ticket with VPSBlocks within the first 24 hours. To my amazement I didn’t wait long for a response:

  • I lodged a ticket at 3.21pm asking for my VPS to be restored to out’s out-of-box state.
  • I received a reply at 4.08pm from their founder Will who answered my questions and confirmed he could reprovision my server.
  • I replied back and gave the all clear to go ahead with the reprovision a few minutes later and received a response to confirm it was underway and I should have root access within the next half-hour.
  • I had root access just six minutes after that ticket which in my books is excellent support.

Download the support ticket here

Now I must say, I’m happy with the level of support provided and communication. In my experience in dealing with VPS and shared hosts the fastest responses I’ve ever previously received has been around 1-2 hours (with hostgator)

What it comes down to?

It probably comes down to budget for some or track records for others. Judging from my experience and the experience of others VPSBlocks must be on the right track.

With a growing customer base and data to prove it I’m sure the niche that their driving will prove successful. I even commend VPSBlocks for starting a business during one of the low-points of the GFC within Australia that saw many businesses’ including ABC Kids Childcare centre‘s close-up and Kodak declare financial difficulties.

As for me it comes down to man-points, the pure fact of being able to tell tech enthusiasts, just like myself, that I’ve got a VPS, that runs on an SSD!