Categories
Tech

Opalstack Review – Experiences of the PHP guy

If you have followed this page earlier you know that I’m pretty satisfied user of Opalstack services. In this post I’ll provide more insight of Opalstack features. My point here is to get people to know about Opalstack and their way of hosting and therefore get all hosting providers to provide better plans.

Differences between providers

When speaking about Opalstack and web hosting we first need to look at others a bit. As I have history with Webfaction, I have browsed tsohost’s pricing multiple times.

This is how tso sees it. Affordable price, a free domain name (for the first year, a free SSL certificate for the first year and some strange migrations)

Tsohosting is just one player. There are multiple big players in the industry. Bluehost, Hostgator … There’re so many but they seem to share similar things related to pricing. At the front page they’re quite cheap. But then when you dig deeper and would actually want to use hosting for something, the bill starts to grow. It won’t be enourmous, of course, but relatively high compared to starting price.

So there you are. Webfaction was the first hosting provider (that I knew) who offered just piece of machine to you and you can do whatever (practically) you want with it. Always the same cost. Except when you need services that cause costs to provider, e.g. dedicated IPs etc. Additional cost in those cases are understandable.

Opalstack is Webfaction 2.0 in this sense. Basically the same idea. You can host a fleet for your small+mid sized websites and everything with the same cost. You can host large websites as well but there I wouldn’t probably go with shared hosting even though it would be possible. And hopefully you’re not running a fleet of large sites 🙂

512MB RAM 50GB SSD 500GB Bandwidth is Opalstack Valuestack oneliner. No need to put long pricing pages there. That’s what you have. And by the way: if you’re using shared apache (for example traditional PHP sites are hosted this way), memory is not calculated against you.

Need more space? You can buy it. Only memory, space and bandwidth are things that you need to pay for. Other than that just happens.

It’s more than just pricing

We all have contacted customer service in some hosting company before. We had to ask dedicated IP or SSL certificate or something else. Often those experiences are quite bad. Customer service is not enabling you but disabling. Everything is hard with them.

Opalstack goes in the exact opposite direction. They try to help you even when you have made the mistake yourself. They share tips on their forum and are very active there. It’s not that kind of forum where angry customers are yelling but company reps are not there. Nowadays I always check the forums first. What kind of service you can expect to have if you are their customer. Here’s example from Opalstack Community.

Capabilities are great

Do you need to run WordPress? They got you covered. You can choose over different PHP versions so if your plugins need certain version, it’s of course setting in the dashboard.

If you’re finding a place to host WordPress, please look at this post I made earlier. And maybe this as well.

Want to do something with Python? You can do it of course. They have quite well put instructions to things.

Do you have Java solution, modern or legacy? Yes, you can serve it from Opalstack without help from customer service. Just tell the Opalstack system that you need a free port where you’ll be hosting your service and that’s it. Here is example of a need to run Java program.

Want to run software done with dotnet core? And of course you can do it. Go? Node? Rust? Yes. They all are supported. See all features here.

That’s the idea here. There’s no limitations but only enablement.

Is Opalstack for me?

If you wonder if Opalstack would be a right choice for you, I have good news. They have 14 days fully functioning trial. Test it. Enjoy full shell access that so many times are missing from other competitors. Host your and your friends stuff on there. Because why not, it won’t cost you extra.

I haven’t found anything better available to this day. That’s why I’m acting as a Opalstack evangelist here. Because I want them to set the bar high so that others must follow. And this kind of pricing models and user enablement would be the standard practice in the future.

Until then, I keep using Opalstack.

Categories
Tech

The Thin Client Future

One day I had interesting chat with a colleague. At work, we have windows and mac computers supported by our IT department. You can also run linux but in that case you’re mostly on your own. Meaning if you have problems you need to figure it out yourself.

Categories
Tech

Opalstack – The Great Alternative for Webfaction Refugees

Looking for good hosting alternatives? Below I’ll be introducing you the Opalstack.

Webfaction was awesome

I believe that many of you share my feelings when you first heard that GoDaddy bought Webfaction. Webfaction has been my favorite hosting platform in business and private. Back then I was so convienced of the quality of Webfaction platform and customer service that we decided to put tens of clients to Webfaction hosting. To be honest, maybe over hundred.

It was so easy to ramp up usage as your costs don’t go up every time you want to test something. In case that you’ve tens of simple wordpress (or similar) sites even the smallest hosting plan goes just fine without any additional costs. Because low usage sites doesn’t generate memory or disk usage that much. And thats about all that generates costs in Webfaction.

Webfaction not so awesome

Well. A week ago Webfaction sent an email to its users. Hello all, we are about to migrate your accounts to tsoHost (UK) . It makes sense. Godaddy doesn’t want to have competing hosting companies under its umbrella. They want to get synergy out of its companies.

Pricing from tsoHost 2020-10-18

Unfortunately, tsoHosting is not very appealing for me. I don’t know what would be the migration plan as it was not described in the migration email. But from pricing perspective Ultimate would be the similar level than my Webfaction account.

And they have those numbers in their pricing. 10 hosted websites. Free standard SSL (for first year). 3 Migrations. Etc. Those numbers I don’t like as I’m coming from Webfaction where you could host 1000 websites in your account if you wanted to. Even though my needs are quite simple nowadays I still want feel the freedom.

Earlier I’ve been able to provide hosting to my hobby clubs etc because why not. I want to be that great guy in the future too.

The best managed shared hosting

So I started googling. Good Webfaction Alternative. Well, the results are poisoned with big players in the market. A lot of marketing sites of big players and too much noise. There’s so many hosting companies that you literally get millions of theoritically relevant results.

So, I didn’t do anything. Too much choices and all them seem to be bad.

A bit later I tried again. Twitter this time. Where would I go if I wanted to change hosting company but wanted to keep similar service than with Webfaction?

Soon I got responses (surprising actually). There happens to be a one-and-half year old company founded by people left Webfaction. The business idea is very same. Simple pricing. Lot’s of tools for developers and admins. Easy setup. Very predictable pricing. All that Webfaction had but design is better and tech behind the solution is better and more up to date.

It’s called Opalstack. They have servers in United States, Germany, Amsterdam, and Singapore. They probably will have more in the future. And they’ve really good customer support. Automatic Let’s Encrypt certificates (no limits) and if you need something they don’t have, you can install it to your user. Rather than trying to limit you they actually support you in all these tasks – even weird ones.

I personally believe that for people like me who don’t want to spend time upgrading OSes in VPSes this kind of managed shared hosting is very good way to fulfill all the needs. And for people that cannot really use cloud native components. As they’re not very cheap if you want to run your own WordPress or similar.

I don’t anymore have clients to put there (I’ve changed jobs). I definately would give them a chance even for that case. My experience of customer support is pretty awesome. They answer very fast and in multiple channels. Even though I’ve had also problems with my sites I’ve got always support in minutes.

Give it a try. Probably the best alternative for Webfaction refugees. And everybody else.