The Problem with Renting Dedicated Servers

Old 6 Comments on The Problem with Renting Dedicated Servers 60

Over the past week I have been experimenting with how to provide some web based services to my fan base. I found I could get  blazing fast dedicated server with a 500Mbps connection for only $94 a month from and figures this would be a great platform. I had researched numerous different services that I could host and was very excited to be able to get them up and running.

Setting up the new server on was easy enough, and once I started testing it I found it to exceed my expectations.  At this point I started installing different packages and seeing what I could make work.  I played with SQUID, OpenVPN, SoftEther and more.  These were OK, but none of them really did what I wanted so I went back to Google to see what I could dig up.

At first I was excited to find there were numerous options out there that provided what I need.  Things like Captive Portal.  Captive Portal forces users after they connect to go to a specific Splash Page before they can get to the rest of the Internet.  I want Captive Portal so I can direct visitors to Splash Pages with Ads on them so I can sell the ad space to pay for the service.  Additionally there are certain filtering services I want up and running to prevent “undesirable” users from using the service in bad ways, and to also be able to track usage of the service so I can monitor whether it’s actually being used or not.

Unfortunately I ran into a bit of a snag… These options come as entire Distro’s not as individual packages.  Basically the OS and the Services are in a single installation so you have to have bare metal access to your server to be able to install them.  Installing them on a machine at my house is no problem, but Dedicated Server providers don’t give you bare metal access.  They give you a list of 5-20 pre approved OS’s you can install on your box and that’s it.  Once you’ve installed the OS you have Root access and can do almost anything, but if you need an OS that they don’t offer there’s nothing you can do.

So at this point my little Web Services project is in a holding pattern.  Although I can build a system on top of a standard Ubuntu installation that provides the issue is that I don’t want to put that much time into the project right now.

So if you’re thinking abut using a Rented Dedicated Server for something other than a web host make sure the software you plan to install comes as individual packages and is not an entire distribution unto itself.


Eli Etherton

I am Eli "the Computer Guy" and have been in the tech industry for approx. 20 years doing all kinds of odd projects. I started as an electronics tech in the US Army, worked in corporate IT during the IT Boom, was an individual consultant and grew my tech shop to have numerous full time employees and supported small business clients with computer repair/ server maintenance/ web development/ surveillance systems/ telephone systems until the great recession. After that I started creating video training on all the topics I know and now have a YouTube Channel with over 500K subscribers. I am the founder of and my plan is to create a tech "news" site that I would actually find useful if I was still in the server room.

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  1. Chris Barnes August 29, 2014 at 8:57 am

    The problem doesn’t appear to be with the hosting provider it appears to be with whomever is packaging the application you want to use as an entire OS!

    Does your server have enough resources to spin up a virtual machine?

    • Eli the Computer Guy August 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      You’re right it’s not the providers “fault” at all. It’s not really anybody’s fault other than I suppose mine for not doing a bit more research first.

      For server grade virtualization I’ve only messed with ESXi, HyperV and Citrix. I know Ubuntu has the ability to run them, but haven’t messed with it yet. Expect a class on that in a month or so…

  2. William Helloms August 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Just spitballing, but could you use QEMU in your situation?

    • Eli the Computer Guy August 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Maybe… Now that i know the situation i’m in I’ll play on servers locally to try to figure something out.

  3. Chris McAuliffe September 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Yeah I was going to say load up a VM on the system and install the distro with the APP you need. Have you checked out softlayer from IBM? They supposedly have true bare metal cloud and I believe they might allow you to install any OS you wish. They run mostly all commodity Intel servers.

  4. Chris McAuliffe September 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I just did a chat with a rep at SoftLayer and they do allow you to provision the hardware with no operating system selected and then you can install what ever you want. I think the least expensive offering was $149 a month though.

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