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Running multiple commands in Bash

- Posted in Quick Tip by with comments

I have found myself often needing to install a couple of different programs on a new server, for example plex and webmin and usually I do these one after the other.

I have found a better way to do this by separating each command with a ; for example:

dpkg -i plexmediaserver_1.9.4.4325-1bf240a65_amd64.deb ; dpkg -i webmin_1.860_all.deb ; apt -f install -y

This allows the commands to run one after another. If you want them to only run if the command before was successful, then you would replace the ; with &&

In my example above, if plex failed to install then webmin would still install. If I replaced the ; with a && then it would quit after plex failed.

I hope that helps someone! :)

Reviewing a KVM VPS from Shock Hosting

- Posted in VPS by with comments

I will be reviewing a VPS from a company called Shock Hosting. They have 2 DC locations to choose from, 1 in New Jersey and the other is in Los Angeles. They have recently updated their plans and I will be looking at this offer:

  • 2 GB DDR4 RAM
  • 30 GB of RAID 10 SSD storage
  • 2 TB of bandwidth
  • 1 x 3.4 Ghz E5-1680 v4 core
  • DDoS protection is also included
  • $7.49 with 25OFF coupon (Normally $9.99/month)

There is also a plan for $4.99 with 20 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM and 1 TB of bandwidth if you think that would be better.

There is a 25% discount promotion which brings the price down to $7.49 for the 2 GB plan and $3.74 for the 1 GB plan if you use the coupon "25OFF"

Now, let's have a look at some benchmarks:

----------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU model            : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-1680 v4 @ 3.40GHz
Number of cores      : 1
CPU frequency        : 3399.996 MHz
Total size of Disk   : 30.0 GB (1.8 GB Used)
Total amount of Mem  : 2000 MB (58 MB Used)
Total amount of Swap : 511 MB (0 MB Used)
System uptime        : 0 days, 0 hour 31 min
Load average         : 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
OS                   : Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS
Arch                 : x86_64 (64 Bit)
Kernel               : 4.4.0-31-generic
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O speed(1st run)   : 1.0 GB/s
I/O speed(2nd run)   : 928 MB/s
I/O speed(3rd run)   : 1.1 GB/s
Average I/O speed    : 1026.1 MB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Node Name                       IPv4 address            Download Speed
CacheFly                        205.234.175.175         104MB/s       
Linode, Tokyo, JP               106.187.96.148          20.4MB/s      
Linode, Singapore, SG           139.162.23.4            5.50MB/s      
Linode, London, UK              176.58.107.39           6.90MB/s      
Linode, Frankfurt, DE           139.162.130.8           4.60MB/s      
Linode, Fremont, CA             50.116.14.9             9.17MB/s      
Softlayer, Dallas, TX           173.192.68.18           45.4MB/s      
Softlayer, Seattle, WA          67.228.112.250          42.2MB/s      
Softlayer, Frankfurt, DE        159.122.69.4            5.97MB/s      
Softlayer, Singapore, SG        119.81.28.170           9.00MB/s      
Softlayer, HongKong, CN         119.81.130.170          9.28MB/s      
----------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-1680 v4 @ 3.40GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.996 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 2000 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  1.1 GB/s
Bzip 25MB: 3.74s
Download 100MB file: 105MB/s
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-1680 v4 @ 3.40GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.996 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 2000 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  956 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 3.62s
Download 100MB file: 106MB/s

Pardon the pun, but that I/O is shock-ingly fast! I've never reviewed a VPS that fast! The 3.4ghz CPU core along with that crazy awesome SSD setup makes this VPS feel snappier than a hungry crocodile! 30GB of this awesome SSD is enough to store plenty of assets for your projects or applications. The 2GB of RAM is a nice bonus. I'm honestly really impressed with this!

The network speed is excellent, considering I'm testing this during peak time. Being in the LA datacenter, this has excellent connections to Australia compared with other parts of North America.

It honestly feels like a dedicated server, this is a very well set up server indeed.

I'm going to install Plex and see how it handles transcoding 1080 down to SD, which I find seems to set a good server and an excellent server apart.

plexmediaserver_1.9.4.4325-1bf240a65_amd64.deb                      100%[==================================================================================================================================================================>] 102.82M   110MB/s    in 0.9s    

2017-11-02 05:36:21 (110 MB/s) - ‘plexmediaserver_1.9.4.4325-1bf240a65_amd64.deb’ saved [107815492/107815492]

Off to an excellent start!

Plex is installed and I'm transcoding a 1080 film to SD and it's flawless. Not a single stutter or skip! I did something I don't normally do, I ran another bench while it's transcoding:

CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-1680 v4 @ 3.40GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.996 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 2000 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  687 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 7.86s
Download 100MB file: 73.5MB/s

This CPU is a monster! It only took a small hit (the Bzip time) down to a very respectable 7.86 seconds which is still very good.

I can honestly say this is the fastest VPS I've had to date, and I even reviewed an i5 dedicated server and this outperforms it!

I highly recommend this VPS to anyone looking for something with huge power, a very generous 30GB of shocking fast SSD on a budget.

Click here to order it, and don't forget to add the 25OFF coupon in the checkout :)

Reviewing woothosting web hosting

- Posted in VPS by with comments

A few months ago I came across an offer from woothosting which looked too good to be true, and being my first experience with woothosting, I thought I'd give it a try:

Spring Reseller Hosting 200GB:
200GB Storage Allocation
2,000GB Monthly Bandwidth
Shared IP Address
cPanel/WHM Control Panel
Unlimited Sub Accounts
Softaculous Script Installer
Free Website Migration
24/7 Technical Support
Instant Deployment
FEATURE: Advanced DDoS Protection Included!
$9.00 Annually

$9 per year is insanely cheap for web hosting, plus it's a reseller account meaning you can create and even resell accounts which is cool to play with.

When I signed up, I was given an option to double the disk space for $7 and add an SSH Jail for $1.50 - which brings it up to 400gb of space for $17.50 per year!

So, I set up my website (this one) on there and things started to get a little bit strange. The control panel (cpanel) usually never loaded properly, and neither did my website! It's a simple, flat html website which shouldn't be a problem for even the smallest server to handle.

Fast forward by a week and I get an email from them saying they have issues with their server and are migrating to another node, which was fine, but my other website didn't work correctly (uses lychee) and after a few tickets back and forward, they fixed up the issue on their server.

About a week after that, one of my "reseller customers" websites was terminated by them because a few media files were on the server. I understand if it was several GB, but it was only a handful of mp3s. If this were one of my customers, I'd have egg on my face. Luckily, it was one of my test accounts and I was using ampache which is one of the scripts they allow you to install to play music, so go figure.

Not long after this, I set up a downtime monitor with uptimerobot.com and I would be getting emails left, right and centre, telling me my websites are unavailable! This is beyond a joke.

In cPanel, you can see the server stats. This is the stats for the actual server hosting the websites. I couldn't believe it to see that of the 8 cores available, it had a load average of 40!! That means that the server was heavily overloaded and couldn't handle it.

Woothosting definitely oversell their services, which is a shame really because it was promising. I doubt it's a sustainable business model, but there are probably many people who don't even use it, just another impulse purchase perhaps.

I wouldn't be able to recommend their web services to anyone who is seriously considering hosting their clients there, which I intended to do from the start, but I'm so glad I didn't!

If you're looking for cheap web hosting for a side project, or to play with cPanel and make websites for friends, etc, I could probably recommend them with caution. You definitely get monkeys when you pay with peanuts!

In summary, I'd probably give them a 5/10 only because it's a great deal, but points lost for it being practically impractical to use for any remotely important purpose.

Sometimes, when I quit Battlefield 1942, the screen resolution goes to a horrible 800x600 which makes everything, well, horrible. I used to reboot to fix it, but then I found a solution that's much nicer, plus it's also handy if you like to play with screen resolutions too!

If your screen resolution is, say, 1920x1200 then to reset it back use this command:

xrandr -s 1920x1200

Replace those values with your screen resolution and you're good to go!

Maybe add this to a script as a shortcut, or as a keyboard shortcut.

Reviewing a 6GB RAM VPS from TNAHosting

- Posted in VPS by with comments

Today I will be looking at a VPS that falls in 2 categories - storage VPS and high RAM VPS.

Here's a deal from TNAHosting:

  • 6GB OpenVZ - Chicago, IL
  • 1 IPv4 [IPv6 available]
  • 2x vCPU
  • 200GB HDD
  • 2TB Bandwidth
  • $5/m - Order Here

200GB HDD with 6GB RAM and 2 cores is a pretty sweet deal for $5 per month. Let's see what it looks like under pressure..

CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           L5420  @ 2.50GHz
Number of cores: 2
CPU frequency:  2500.020 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 6144 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  434 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 5.88s
Download 100MB file: 42.8MB/s
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           L5420  @ 2.50GHz
Number of cores: 2
CPU frequency:  2500.020 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 6144 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB 
I/O speed:  470 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 6.03s
Download 100MB file: 53.2MB/s
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           L5420  @ 2.50GHz
Number of cores: 2
CPU frequency:  2500.020 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 6144 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  483 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 6.00s
Download 100MB file: 52.1MB/s
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           L5420  @ 2.50GHz
Number of cores: 2
CPU frequency:  2500.020 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 6144 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB 
I/O speed:  506 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 5.87s
Download 100MB file: 43.2MB/s

We're getting 2x 2.5ghz Xeon cores and 6GB of RAM, no swap (but with 6GB of RAM why would you want to swap it to HDD?) The I/O speed is impressive, it could be cached by the looks of it, but that's a very good result! And the CPU is fast! Navigating the system through SSH feels very responsive and things happen quickly.

Here's a different perspective:

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU model            : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU L5420  @ 2.50GHz
Number of cores      : 2
CPU frequency        : 2500.020 MHz
Total size of Disk   : 197.0 GB (0.7 GB Used)
Total amount of Mem  : 6144 MB (37 MB Used)
Total amount of Swap : 0 MB (0 MB Used)
Load average         : 0.12, 0.09, 0.03
OS                   : Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS
Arch                 : x86_64 (64 Bit)
Kernel               : 2.6.32-042stab123.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------
I/O speed(1st run)   : 498 MB/s
I/O speed(2nd run)   : 513 MB/s
I/O speed(3rd run)   : 496 MB/s
Average I/O speed    : 502.3 MB/s
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Node Name                       IPv4 address            Download Speed
CacheFly                        205.234.175.175         43.6MB/s
Linode, Tokyo, JP               106.187.96.148          461KB/s
Linode, Singapore, SG           139.162.23.4            1.12MB/s
Linode, London, UK              176.58.107.39           2.16MB/s
Linode, Frankfurt, DE           139.162.130.8           1.21MB/s      
Linode, Fremont, CA             50.116.14.9             1.60MB/s      
Softlayer, Dallas, TX           173.192.68.18           4.27MB/s      
Softlayer, Seattle, WA          67.228.112.250          2.47MB/s      
Softlayer, Frankfurt, DE        159.122.69.4            1.19MB/s      
Softlayer, Singapore, SG        119.81.28.170           913KB/s       
Softlayer, HongKong, CN         119.81.130.170          1.57MB/s      
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Disk access is incredibly fast on this VPS, this looks like the perfect VPS for Plex Media Server!

A good test is to see how well Plex can transcode a 1080 movie and stream it to me here in Australia - not all providers can achieve this due to CPU/RAM restraints or network issues. This VPS, being in Chicago, by default doesn't have a great connection to the Asia/Pacific region, which is true for most providers.

I have installed Plex and can happily report that I was able to successfully transcode and stream a 1080 movie to my place in Australia. This VPS is excellent value for the price, I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a VPS to do more than just idle away!

From what I understand, there is limited stock on this so take action now and order it if you're looking for a good VPS.

I have also added this to my Storage VPS list.

Benchmarking a time4vps storage VPS

- Posted in VPS by with comments

Time4vps have been providing high storage VPS for a while now, and they're one of the popular providers for storage.

Here's an offer from them in their datacenter in Lithuania, Europe.

  • 1x1.7ghz processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD (RAID, 200IOPS limit)
  • 10TB bandwidth
  • 100mbit network
  • OpenVZ
  • Hosted in Lithuania, Europe.
  • 5.99 EUR/month

This looks like a good storage deal for the price, there's plenty of bandwidth too. The 200 IO/s is an interesting limit, meaning 200 I/O operations per second. Let's see what it looks like with a benchmark script:

CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2603 v4 @ 1.70GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  1698.052 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 1024 MB
Total amount of swap: 512 MB
I/O speed:  66.4 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 6.85s
Download 100MB file: 11.4MB/s

That's not too bad, the CPU seems to be fairly available and the 100mbit connection capped out.

Here's more..

CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2603 v4 @ 1.70GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  1698.052 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 1024 MB
Total amount of swap: 512 MB    
I/O speed:  57.3 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 6.81s
Download 100MB file: 11.4MB/s
CPU model:  Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2603 v4 @ 1.70GHz
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  1698.052 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 1024 MB
Total amount of swap: 512 MB
I/O speed:  65.9 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 6.75s
Download 100MB file: 11.4MB/s

I think the IOPS cap is coming into play here, being a storage server it's probably a good thing to avoid noisy neighbours from making the disk unstably slow.

It runs nextCloud fine, although a little slow when loading pages, it's not as snappy as some other providers. The fact that it's openVZ really, in my opinion, disqualifies it from being useful to me (I love KVM and encrypted LVM volumes for my private data)

If you need cheap storage, consider this offer from time4vps.

Automating rsync with sshpass

- Posted in Quick Tip by with comments

I have made a script that every 5 minutes downloads a still shot of the weather radar in my area and saves it into a folder on my server. This is done using a bash script and crontab.

On my computer, I've made a bash script to sync them, but it requires me to enter my password all the time for rsync.

I found a solution to that called sshpass.

First, we need to install it:

apt install sshpass

Now, we can use it. In my case, I'm using a bash script and a cron job to sync them every hour. Here's what my bash script looks like, using sshpass:

echo "Setting up.."
export SSHPASS=supersecretpassword
echo "Syncing..."
sshpass -e rsync -Aax --progress user@server:/remotefolder /localfolder
echo "Cleaning up.."
echo "Done!"

The main thing is that you set the password variable, and keep the -e tag in sshpass (tells it to use an environment variable)

Hopefully that helps someone!

Cheapest domains

- Posted in Quick Tip by with comments

I have recently been looking at domains, and it's a tough choice with so many different providers offering them.

I have searched high and low, and I can't find one cheaper than namesilo.com

They have .com for $8.99 every year, no funny renewal price hikes or tricks. These guys are awesome value. They have the free email forwarding and an excellent DNS control panel.

If you use the coupon halloween1dollaroff you will get $1 off which brings the .com down to $7.99.. see if you can find a cheaper one :)

I came across this cheap NAT KVM Storage offer from wishosting recently and I thought I would do some benchmarks on it to see how it performs. Here's the deal:

  • 1 vCPU core i7-3770
  • Unlimited CPU core 3.7GHz Turbo
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1TB HDD RAID-5
  • Linux/Windows OS
  • Bandwidth 250Mbps
  • Traffic 2TB
  • 1 IPv4 NAT
  • DDoS protection
  • Location - Germany
  • Setup time up to 24 hours
  • $4.99/month (paid quarterly)
  • $5.00 one off for a dedicated IPv4

I decided to make my life a little easier and got the IPv4 upgrade. The KVM is in Germany, and the IPv4 is in France, it does some crazy proxy trickery but it works perfectly! A couple of hours later, Michael from wishosting had my account set up and even helped with some questions I had. I must say, he's very professional in his ticket etiquette!

Here's some benchmarks:

CPU model:  Intel Xeon E312xx (Sandy Bridge)
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.998 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 988 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB
I/O speed:  447 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 5.16s
Download 100MB file: 89.5MB/s
CPU model:  Intel Xeon E312xx (Sandy Bridge)
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.998 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 988 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB    
I/O speed:  478 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 5.15s
Download 100MB file: 87.3MB/s
CPU model:  Intel Xeon E312xx (Sandy Bridge)
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.998 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 988 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB  
I/O speed:  459 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 4.84s
Download 100MB file: 91.2MB/s
CPU model:  Intel Xeon E312xx (Sandy Bridge)
Number of cores: 1
CPU frequency:  3399.998 MHz
Total amount of RAM: 988 MB
Total amount of swap:  MB    
I/O speed:  527 MB/s
Bzip 25MB: 4.12s
Download 100MB file: 91.0MB/s

This is a very speedy KVM service! It feels very snappy, sometimes servers feel a little slow but this feels like I'm the only user on the node which is amazing! I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great value KVM with 1TB of storage!

Here is a table of various locations around the world, and a note on the ping and download speed from each location.

This is from the perspective of Brisbane, Australia. Speed is shown in megabytes per second. Speed is taken by using wget to a 100mb.bin file in each location, the final speed reported by wget is the speed shown below. Ping is taken by pinging the server. Quality is the amount of packets that made it. 100% is no packet loss, 0% is full packet loss.

Location Ping Speed Quality
Atlanta, GA, USA 240 1.83MB/sec 100%
Dallas, TX, USA 201 5.66MB/sec 100%
Tokyo, JP 189 5.76MB/sec 100%
Rotterdam, NL 317 3.69MB/sec 100%
London, UK 318 3.29MB/sec 100%
Haarlem, NL 172 5.38MB/sec 100%
Singapore, Singapore 117 3.33MB/sec 100%
Seattle, WA, USA 185 3.59MB/sec 100%
San Jose, CA, USA 174 4.38MB/sec 100%
Washington, DC, USA 230 4.09MB/sec 100%
Paris, France 319 3.97MB/sec 100%
Nuernberg, Germany 420 0.46MB/sec 95%
Perth, WA, Australia 70 7.52MB/sec 100%
Sydney, NSW, Australia 25 10.12MB/sec 100%
Manassas, VA, USA 236 4.09MB/sec 100%
Bucharest, Romania 374 3.36MB/sec 100%
Milan, Italy 326 3.35MB/sec 100%
Quebec, Canada 235 6.59MB/sec 100%

Last updated: 31/10/2017 @ 13:32

This is more of a note to self, but I hope it helps someone else because I tried googling and couldn't find anything similar.