Hetzner has a reputation in the hosting industry for offering fast servers for a low price while still keeping a good quality. They seem to be able to do so by only offering few products with few configuration options and by building their own servers based on desktop hardware.
I was very interested to hear that they now also offer virtual servers based on Linux KVM. They currently do not charge a set up fee so I decided to give it a try.
The Hetzner website is available in German and English and ordering is simple; just choose a product, proceed to checkout and enter your details. Payment is only possible by credit card or direct debit from a German bank account. I choose a Hetzner vServer VQ 12 with 1GB of RAM, 40GB of Storage and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS 32 bit pre-installed.
After submitting the order form I immediately received an order confirmation by email. Two minutes later I received another order confirmation in both German and English and an email with access details to Hetzner’s web interface called Robot. Four minutes after that yet another email with the SSH login details.
Since I am a new Hetzner customer I did expect it will take a bit longer to verify my identity or credit card details. But it was less than 10 minutes from ordering the server till the first login. Very impressive so far.
The ping time for the vServer is 19 ms from Amsterdam, Netherlands and 97 ms from Washington, USA.
The system is a minimal Ubuntu install with only sshd, madm and ntpd running. Very un-Ubuntu like root login is enabled by default. You cannot set a hostname when ordering the server so you will need to change that later.
16 packages needed an upgrade including the kernel and grub but installing them and restarting the system only took two minutes. The system so far feels very responsive.
df -h shows 35 GB disk space are available for use.
A simple hard disk speed test using dd shows the disk I/O is good too.
root@Ubuntu-1004-lucid-32-minimal ~ # dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/output.img bs=8k count=256k262144+0 records in262144+0 records out2147483648 bytes (2.1 GB) copied, 33.8586 s, 63.4 MB/s
Downloading a 100MB test file from Leaseweb in Amsterdam was done in 56 seconds.
<br></br> root@Ubuntu-1004-lucid-32-minimal ~ # wget http://18.104.22.168/100mb.bin<br></br> --2011-02-19 16:26:04-- http://22.214.171.124/100mb.bin<br></br> Connecting to 126.96.36.199:80... connected.<br></br> HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK<br></br> Length: 104857600 (100M) [application/octet-stream]<br></br> Saving to: `100mb.bin'``` `100%[=========================================================>] 104,857,600 2.25M/s in 56s` `` <span style="font-family: Monaco, Consolas, 'Andale Mono', 'DejaVu Sans Mono', monospace; font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px;">2011-02-19 16:27:00 (1.78 MB/s) – `100mb.bin’ saved [104857600/104857600]</span> Downloading a 100MB test file from Softlayer Washington, USA took with 2 minutes and 22 seconds more than twice as long but it is still a good value.
root@Ubuntu-1004-lucid-32-minimal ~ # wget http://speedtest.wdc01.softlayer.com/downloads/test100.zip
--2011-02-19 16:18:43-- http://speedtest.wdc01.softlayer.com/downloads/test100.zip
Resolving speedtest.wdc01.softlayer.com... 188.8.131.52
Connecting to speedtest.wdc01.softlayer.com|184.108.40.206|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 104874307 (100M) [application/zip]
Saving to: `test100.zip'```
100%[=========================================================>] 104,874,307 989K/s in 2m 22s
2011-02-19 16:21:05 (721 KB/s) -test100.zip' saved [104874307/104874307]
The Hetzner web interface for server and domain administration is called Robot. Here you can order, configure and cancel products, change payment and contact details and contact the Hetzner support.You can also start and stop your server or boot into a rescue system. The Hetzner rescue system boots your server into a minimal linux system without using the server hard disk. It only takes about 2 minutes to start and you can then check and mount your the hard drive and make changes to your server, e.g. in case it does not boot any more.
A nice feature available for vServer is the Remote Konsole. It lets you access the server console in the browser window. This works with a Java applet and therefore of course requires Java to be installed on your computer.
I can recommend this vServer to anyone who likes to run his own server and does not want to spend much money. It is very fast and is running this website for one month without any issue now.
I would like to see support for IPv6 though and for additional IPv4 addresses, both is currently not available. Hetzner also does not offer a backup solution but I prefer to not keep backups at the server provider anyway.