Shared Hosting on CloudLinux: Less Performance or Less Dependency?

posted by Archie @ 21:40 PM
January 28, 2011

justice scaleWe are back to the topic of cloud hosting. The latest article we published on it was dedicated to two cloud hosting platforms we compared – a standalone server with CloudLinux OS installed and a cloud, based on several VPS-nodes. Since we analyzed both platforms from the point of view of shared hosting, it is now time to take a closer look at what cloud-based shared hosting actually is like.

The main concern there is about resource delegation – those who use shared hosting, know that providers of shared hosting services usually limit server resource usage softly – they announce the limitations in their Acceptable Usage Policy or any other document, that regulates service operation, which means that anytime the user abuses the server by exceeding the limits and overloading the server, they can suspend the account.

Does this always work? Unfortunately, no. There are many cases when the server goes down simply due to a rapid load spike that can hardly be maintained immediately, so the administrators don’t manage to do anything to reduce the load or lock out the abusive account. This may cause fifteen-minute downtime at minimum – fifteen minutes just for the server to reboot. It can however take more time to get the server back online – procedures of File System Check and rebuild of the RAID array may last for several hours. And they cannot be skipped. Such unbearable downtime may ruin the hosts’ and their clients’ businesses overnight, therefore less hardware-dependent solutions are needed. But what if we take such hardware-dependant platform as a single server working under CloudLinux and compare it to a simple shared hosting server?

The first thing that you are going to notice is the user limitation option – this unique ability of the CloudLinux OS minimizes the risks of server overload since each account is isolated owing to the kernel level technology in use. If you used to suffer from abusive neighbor accounts on your former shared server – you are going to like it. But what if your online project is active enough? You might have caused some temporary hard-to-mention overloads on your good old shared server – everyone does – moving to the server with CloudLinux you need to watch it. An isolated account may simply hang after reaching the resource usage limit, so you will have your “local” downtime with the entire server staying online, and you may not be able to have it fixed unless you contact the support team.

This brings up the first tip: consult the sales department of your future cloud host to find out what the user account limitations are. If they provide relative percentage rate – request the server hardware specifications – although those are not going to tell much, you can estimate the amount of available RAM you can use risk-free.

Another peculiarity to get acquainted with while moving to CloudLinux-based shared server, is the limitation of resources for certain applications. Depending on resource intensity of the software in use, administrators may set limits on CPU/RAM usage for the most demanding apps. Sure, no limits are going to be set by default, and the hosts do not actually interfere into work of their clients’ accounts, but this option may be applied if needed. For instance you can request the limitation of your forum, blog or gallery if you expect a great number of visitors each time new content is uploaded – this will save your web, email and other services under your account from hanging. Or you can ask to set a permanent limit for some of your scripts with lower priority to keep the most important application constantly up.

For this option to do you good you need to keep another tip in mind: check your visitors’ statistics and average resource usage rates, consult your technical support team if needed to figure out your resource limitation strategy.

The last but not least is multiple domain hosting. After introduction, the idea of shared hosting with multiple addon domains support influenced the significant increase in sales – people liked the possibility of purchasing one account and host numerous websites there. Considering the way CloudLinux works with resource distribution, it may be reasonable to try separating you websites to keep them under different accounts.



Shared hosting on CloudLinux may look strictly organized, but it does cut some dependencies – you don’t have to worry about other clients’ resource usage and even about particular software that may sometimes be intensive for a shared server. As for performance – it can hardly be called limited – first of all the servers for CloudLinux are rather powerful, so the so called “fair share” of resources assigned to your account will be enough for your websites. Another thing to keep in mind is rational account usage – if you feel that some of your scripts becomes too intensive, it may be worthwhile limiting it in resource usage on time or getting it transferred to a different account on the same server. Thus, if you follow the rules and common sense you are going to have your sites hosted without any problems. Also, do not forget you can upgrade any time to a cheap Linux VPS or dedicated server to get more resources and options.