Nov 042016

If you read my posts you will realize I am a fan of Linode, have been for years. They are great and reasonable people.

I decided to give DigitalOcean a try since I have heard great things about it.

I found the connectivity was awesome from here in Singapore to my first Droplet in London! They have  quite a few locations that is hard to find from their site. Like you really have to search the FAQ etc. So here is a screenshot of all their locations.

Digital ocean data center locations

That’s pretty cool list of locations. Bangalore & Singapore! wow. And it all starts at $5 but for you it’s free $10  so you can try things out. And I get some referral credits so I can ping other data centers 😀

I wanted to find out more about how I could make it easy to deploy images like Docker/Chef or puppet. I need the ability to maintain multiple regions with the same exact image and all changes applied without too much DevOps.

I would definitely use my free credits to test other locations like Singapore and Bangalore.

Here is my MTR results to London from Singapore using actual vps. I would expect average 270-350ms of RTT so this is pretty good.


Start: Fri Nov 4 13:45:06 2016
HOST: xeon Loss% Snt Last Avg Best Wrst StDev
 1.|-- gateway 0.0% 100 0.3 0.3 0.2 3.9 0.3
 2.|-- 0.0% 100 1.8 201.2 1.6 3931. 726.0
 3.|-- 103-6-148-41.myrepublic.c 0.0% 100 1.7 14.7 1.5 57.4 18.5
 4.|-- 103-6-148-13.myrepublic.c 0.0% 100 2.5 3.3 2.2 19.8 2.5
 5.|-- 0.0% 100 7.7 3.4 2.2 15.5 1.6
 6.|-- 21.0% 100 11.4 4.1 2.1 14.1 2.7
 7.|-- 0.0% 100 185.8 187.1 185.8 193.7 1.4
 8.|-- 0.0% 100 182.2 183.4 182.1 193.1 1.9
 9.|-- 0.0% 100 183.3 183.8 183.2 191.6 1.0
 10.|-- 0.0% 100 189.0 189.4 188.3 231.4 4.4
 11.|-- ??? 100.0 100 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
 12.|-- 0.0% 100 183.4 183.5 182.9 188.8 1.0

The lower the better. 185 ms is the lowest I have ever seen.

I added the IP to AWS Route 53 Latency based routing DNS and noticed that while most countries in Europe where getting the London IP assigned, UK itself was not. This could be either AWS problem or Digital Ocean problem.

So if you if you are going to give it a try for free (I paid the 5$) you can use my code by clicking through here

Feb 022014

A lot of providers will sell you 1 Gbps port with oodles of bandwidth. A test file download to boot. For most people that seems to be enough. That is incorrect in most cases. Having good speed and bandwidth is just one piece of the cake you never ate. You can have a lot of bandwidth allocated but if there is bad network connectivity, crappy maintenance, a decade old routers etc you will never be able to reap any of the benefits. Which is why you will see that some dedicated hosts do poorly as opposed to smaller shared hosting served sites when serving end users.

Here’s how to evaluate a new provider where you do not know any existing sites that you can use to test. (And please don’t use the IPs, files as target to test, those are specially setup servers)

First find out the organization name. Here I target “NoUptime“, (fictitious) since they actually have oodles of packet loss for a good example (in a bad way) nothing against them, they are great cheap cost provider.


First we need to find an IP that is live with this provider and test against it.

1. Let us go to to RIPE who maintain list of who owns which IPs. it is not always up to date but for our purposes it is quite accurate.

I will visit their Database search

type in NoUptime and you will see some results

on the right side of the page you have “result type” filter. Select “inetnum” i.e. IPv4. You can even try inet6num for IPv6 if thats what you want to test.

The results are updated.

2. Select an IP from the results. You may have to try multiple times to get one which is live. I normally select the first IP in the range given in the results. Try different search result pages, not the first only.

So I get an IP, let’s say (not real IP)

3. Run the MTR

While this is only half the report it is still a good indicator. So let us begin. Get the MTR tool if you haven’t already. Once you get it installed run it on the target IP



#mtr (edited to remove real identification IPs etc)

Host                                    Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
 1.                           0.0%   623    0.4   0.5   0.4   1.4   0.1
 2.                            0.0%   623    3.7   6.0   3.0 102.9   8.0
 3. some.ip.further                         0.0%   623    4.9   7.7   3.7 210.7  17.8
 4. some.ip.on.isp                          0.0%   623    4.2  10.0   3.9 206.4  24.1
 5. some.ip.isp.isp               0.0%   623   10.2   7.6   4.8  40.6   2.1
 6.         0.0%   623  173.6 171.4 169.6 197.7   1.7
 7.                 0.0%   623  256.7 255.8 251.4 267.1   3.6
 8.                 0.0%   623  321.7 317.0 312.5 332.3   4.3
 9.                 0.0%   623  335.1 336.0 333.7 347.9   2.6
10.                  0.0%   622  333.5 339.0 332.3 415.5  13.3
11.                    44.4%   622  335.5 335.6 334.2 351.6   1.6
12.                    12.5%   622  336.8 337.3 335.3 360.8   2.9
<span style="color: #ff0000;">13.              10.0%   622  373.3 351.5 328.5 424.0  23.5
14.        15.0%   622  331.9 332.4 329.9 343.2   1.6</span>
15.    20.0%   622  337.1 336.9 335.2 346.5   0.9

This above shows the packets sent to the NoUptime IP that hosts a customer’s server and this amount of packet loss is really really bad. The packets lost are retransmitted. If you were on an ip at NoUptime you can even run the same trace from Server to your connection. It is safe to say it will be just as crappy. As per above we observe that almost 50% of the packets are lost in NoUptime at hop # 11. Which means half the data you send will never reach and will have to resent. What’s worse is that at Hop #12 another 25% of the packets that do manage survive Hop # 111 die of unnatural circumstances. so End of the day your 100 MB file will take more than twice as long to upload. Now CAVEAT: Some routers don’t respond to ICMP as claimed by providers, what I do not is why they’d respond to half the packets and not all. In any case what you need to see in the Last hop, in this case #15. Here we see 20% packet loss. This is the REAL loss and that is what matters. Again, the reason I say try with different IPs is because someone may have configured their network wrong like not turning “autoneg on”. Which was my case.

I have observed that on reverse MTR at NoUptime it’s even worse as such Downloads that account for 90% over of all regular website traffic will suffer greatly contributing to End User experience . This provider is consistent enough for me to just decide one day (today) to write about how to test and still get the same sort of lossy MTR. The reason I write this is because packet losses are normal on the internet and do not mean it is same from every location or every day.

To give any provider the benefit of the doubt you need to conduct the test over a couple of days and not continuously. Just get a sample at every few hours and for a few days (2-5 days), try from multiple locations if you have SSh access to remote servers you currently run, try the RIPE for different IP of the provider. Because device or packet loss can be fixed by engineers when detected, normally they fix on their own. If their network maintenance is really crappy and despite customer complaints they do not fix it then now you know. 

they has your packets.

they has your packets.

Do you have any more ideas on how to evaluate a new Hosting Provider? Share in the comments please.

Until next time.


EDIT: I have corrected the example. I ran a real traceroute at the time and adjusted the numbers manually for laziness. I have marked the packet loss by hops correctly to explain the scneario. Point is if you see zeroes in between then it is not an issue. It should be loss from one start point to end or -1 hop (in case the destination host is also blocking ICMP)

Also see comments from Chris below

Apr 042013

I have posted earlier about Linode and it’s lack of performance on my node as time went by.  However in the recent few weeks it has been back to top performance and I did not change anything. In fact I added two more sites to it.

Linode has made a whole bunch of improvements recently:


Improved network performance

Increase in Data Transfer by 1000%. yes. I used to get 400GB but now I have 4TB outbound, inbound is always free. It seems the CPU is also much better though it seems there is either upgrade or move of some accounts around. I will need to do a reboot to get the improvement apparently, according to their blog post on March 18th.

Linode did improve their network for my own experience

CPU Upgrades

Now they are going ahead to add better CPU on nodes by upgrading them to 8 cores. Currently webmin is reporting I am still on 4 cores L5520

The thing about Linode is that they do upgrade and they do it for free. In one year the disk space increased by 50% and bandwidth by over 2000%. Unlike some hosts who are only interested in keeping you on old shit and charging you more for the same stuff.


Linode CPU upgrades, before reboot

Linode CPU upgrades, before reboot screenshot

Going ahead with reboot…



2mins later.


holy shit. it’s 8 cores. Linode does it again. These upgrades Linode is doing is absolutely free. Considering that the Dreamhost shared host I use is still on the same hardware for at least 4 straight years and you can actually distinguish between crawling 2012 and crawling 2013 this is commendable. On a sidenote , the only thing that works well on Dreamhost for me is their Mail server… aptly named “homie”.


Their blog post said E5-2670 as the new processor. I don’t see it yet but then it could be webmin. Will check on this in detail. But heck at the free upgrade to 8 core I am not complaining.

Given the current upgrades at linode I am planning to move one of my dedicated host with 8 sites over to Linode to solve my problem with european providers who are now buying gold chains with your IP address money.


linode after reboot cpu upgrade 8 core

linode after reboot cpu upgrade 8 core



I just like saying proof. proof.


source Linode Blog

affiliate note: I have slapped Linode before. I am pretty frank about it because there are enough aff based posts about each host to screw all our collective brains. I use aff links when available and it gets me money off my own hosting at Linode. It does not make me rich and it does not cost you more, so feel free to click … or not.