A while back I wrote an article of how I came to choose RailsPlayground for my next host. I have been their customer for the past 3 months and I thought I’d write a review for those that are interested. After looking at several hosts, I chose RailsPlayground because of their rails support, ssh access, excellent support, and no limitation on how I use my disk space.
Signup was painless, I entered my information and credit card info on April 4 at about 9 AM and I received my log-in information at 4PM on the same day. These are the major details of my hosting plan, The Developer Plan:
- Storage: 5GB
- Bandwidth: 30GB/month
- Shell Accounts: 1
- Cost: $5/month
In addition, I also receive the following:
- Access to PERL, PHP, Ruby, Python, TCL, and Ruby on Rails in your shell
- Unlimited domains, sub-domains, e-mail accounts e.t.c
- Postgres and MySQL databases
- Nightly backups
- 1GB storage/10GB transfer SVN and Trac hosting
With all this, no wonder it is called the Developer Plan! It has everything a developer needs to get started with Rails for web development and work with their favorite language. The SVN and Trac hosting makes version control and issue tracking for yourself or your team easy. According to the description page, their “latest server features Dual Opteron processors with 2 GB of RAM and Raptor 10k RAID 5 protected hard drives.” They don’t list how this maps to their other servers.
So far, their hosting has been solid. I’ve never experienced a slow connection and my server, baldr, has been up longer than I have been a subscriber. My machine is lightly loaded, I’ve seen a load average of 1 only once and it was due to a run-away process. You can always check its uptime on my uptime page or visit my main site.
RailsPlayground uses CPanel as its control panel. The panel has all the features you need to manage your account without ever logging into the shell account. You can add/delete e-mails addresses, databases, backups, domains, sub-domains, and everything else that involves web hosting. The panel includes Fantastico, a one-click installer for many free popular programs such as blogs, wikis, and CRM software.
I’ve had to contact RailsPlayground twice and both times I’ve received excellent support. The first time was to report a run-away process, they answered my e-mail 10 minutes after I sent it and they killed the process right away. The second time, I e-mailed them to set up the SVN account that is included with my hosting package, I sent the email at 9:42PM and they had it ready less than 9 minutes later – I received the confirmation e-mail at 9:51PM! I am very happy with their support.
I haven’t used the documentation at RailsPlayground much. In addition to contacting support, you can also have a wiki for articles and a forum for questions. I once had trouble setting up an e-mail address for automatic notifications, they have a very nice tutorial for it in their wiki that I was easily able to follow that fixed my problems.
One of my deciding factors for choosing RailsPlayground was their shell access. The developer account gives you 1 shell account and this one account is sufficient for me. The shell is accessible via SSH and they put you in a Jail-shell to limit potential damage, that has never gotten in my way. I haven’t seen a time limit, I’ve been logged into my shell days at a time. Likewise, I’ve seen no process limitations, I have several cron jobs that run from once daily to every half-hour and I’ve never seen them delayed or stopped. From the shell you have access to everything you would in a standard UNIX environment – vim, emacs, cron, lynx e.t.c. One thing I noticed is that they don’t have screen installed so you have to log into multiple sessions if you plan on doing any serious editing.
I’m very pleased with the features, hosting, and support at RailsPlayground. Rather than overselling and trying to hook customers on quantity, they deliver quality and strive to please. They have features that fit all users, shell access makes it easy for experts and CPanel makes it easy for newbies. The multiple language support make it easy for users to develop applications in a familiar environment. If you don’t believe it, feel free to visit my site or my uptime page to see how they are doing :).