Thinking of ordering a PowerUp Hosting VPS for SEO?
Wondering if they are worth the premium?
Read on to find out…
Firstly, these guys have a superb reputation within the SEO community and are constantly being recommended on internet marketing blogs and forums. They also have a good working relationship with key players in the SEO software arena, such as GSA.
All this makes for a good sign when it comes to choosing a reliable SEO VPS provider.
When I made my decision to purchase my first VPS last year, I had short-listed PowerUp Hosting, but instead went for another provider. This was purely due to price alone. I was just testing out this kind of software and did not really want any unessential overheads until I could see that there was any financial gain to be had from this activity.
When you add up proxies, software and a VPS, you are looking at quite a bit of cash as an outlay. I probably spent close to a $1000.
Since then, I have ranked two new sites alongside some YouTube videos using these tools and have seen a return on my investment. This makes me the more interested in what else is out there…
What To Look Out For In A VPS
When choosing a new VPS for your SEO activities, you want to be looking out for the following things:
- Distance from the Server – Typically, the further you are, the longer the reaction times. Using VPS in a Tier 1 Network will negate this distance, unless your internet connection is poor.
- Quality of Connection – The better the connection, the shorter the reaction times and the snappier feel and the ease it can run multiple threads.
- Quality of Equipment – Using the latest technology, like on any PC will give you better performance and ability to run programs quickly and with more threads.
- Bandwidth speed – Probably the least important factor for link building as any server should have decent enough bandwidth. The hardware will bottleneck the operation speeds way before the bandwidth will. ..Unless you are using your Grandpa’s 56K dial up.
- Operating System – Make sure it runs Windows 2008 – No linux. All SEO software runs on a windows box. “R2” Makes it a bit like Windows 7.
- Do They Mind You Spam Link Building? – If the answer is no then you are good to go! Some hosting companies may take offence and shut you down…
- You Are Going To Need Private Proxies – No hosting firm, SEO friendly or not will let you operate without proxies. So stop being a cheapskate and buy some
All of these factors combine together to give you an overall usability level of your machine.
The reality is no matter how good your set up is, the poorer the available connection and further you are away from the server, the less snappy its operation will begin to feel. This is because the ping, or time it takes for commands to jump back and forth is increased, creating a lag time.
These days, a well powered VPS with minimal ping should feel like you are working on a local desktop.
PowerUp Hosting Review
OK, down to business…These guys are a US outfit with their servers based in LA. Unlike many providers they actually own their own equipment so have total control over their products. This is a refreshing change as many providers are actually just resellers, often just opting for the cheapest set ups to sell on at the biggest margins.
After having an initial chat with one of the friendly System Admin guys, the VPS was up and running within minutes. When I asked the average set-up time, I was told either a few minutes to a few hours depending on the queues – but for me it was ready a few minutes literally.
This always a good sign. The last hosting I ordered took almost 12 hours to provision and the service reflected that later on down the line. 🙁
PowerUp Hosting Hyper-V VPS Plans
Here’s what’s on offer and the standard VPS pricing:
For this review I went for the Hyper-V Plus standard as its the same spec as my SolidSeoVPS so I can do a like for like comparison.
- Dual Core
- 2GB DDR3 RAM
- 70GB Hardrive
- 1Gbps Connection
- $54.99 a month
A Quick Overview
As always, as soon as I log in, I run a Novabench test which shows me my actual VPS specs, plus some basic, high-level benchmarks.
You can see this machine is running on server grade CPU’s – Intel Xeon’s. Nice.
Updated 27th Feb To reflect SolidSeoVPS’s new range.
In direct comparison to the new SolidSeoVPS range, the RAM speed is now 30% slower and the CPU is now equal. This could make a big difference overall.
The hard drive write speed is now significantly slower- there is a 50MB/s difference.
I then fired up the OOKLA speedtest and choose the server offering the least ping, i.e. the closest. This was during peak hours for the US and it still gave some seriously healthy bandwidth overheads. Now before you get too excited, this is a test between two servers almost sitting on top of each other!
In reality, unless you live near LA, the speed will start to decrease and the ping increases the further you are. However, the fact is that the juice is there if you can take it.
Going Into Closer Detail
Here is the PassMark result for the CPU performance:
This result is now 20% slower than that of the EU SolidSeoVPS which came in at 1267 and 10% slower than the US one at 1124.
I was shocked to see such a difference the newer RAM that the Solid machines use.
When talking to PowerUp, they informed me that they always keep an overhead of 40% free on each server. This is so that each VPS will always perform at optimum speeds.
In reality, with any PC system real or virtual, the bottleneck is the hard drive – unless you have some SSD’s in Quad RAID that is, which we don’t. So lets take a look at the Crystal Mark scores. These measure the rates in which the system can read and write to the hard drive.
These speeds are good for an 7200rpm hard drive but you can see how the system will be gimped by the older technology. The argument for equipping SSD drives to your VPS is becoming stronger now the prices are more accessible to the average user.
Link building software, such as GSA SER is extremely heavy on the Hard drive with constant reading/writing taking place. This means the drives become fragmented relatively quickly which then begins to slow down performance. Fortunately PowerUp are fully aware of this which is why they swap out and replace the hard drives every year.
For now, the price and increased storage capacity overrides the speed of SSD for many users, but I think we will see this change over the next few months.
PowerUp Worldwide Connectivity
Next I wanted to compare the connection speeds between different parts of the world. The PowerUp data centre sit on a Tier 1 Network which means they should be capable of some serious data transfer rates.
LA to Dallas
LA to New York
LA to Amsterdam
LA to London
As you would expect to see, ping increases the further we get from the data centre in LA and the bandwidth becomes more restricted.
The impressive part of all these results is the shear upload capacity the PowerUp Tier 1 Network has at its disposal. Even when pushing data all the way to Amsterdam, it hits over 100Mpbs during peak hours without raising a heartbeat.
The most important thing to remember is that these figures are just a for a general indication. The time of day and data centre will effect these numbers so no test will be the same. The factor that overrides all of this is the quality of the internet connection you use to access the server.
Also you need to remember that if you are link building or scraping, your VPS will be operating behind proxies and pushing and receiving data from servers situated all around the world. The above figures will reflect how fast it can do this as well how snappy and responsive the machine will feel when you connect to it remotely.
What Does All This Mean?
You may be thinking what the hell are all these results and why should I care…I just want to build some links you crazy Englishman! Well, simply put, the better performing your VPS, the faster it will be to respond to your commands and the more threads or potential links per minute it will allow you to build. Basically making the whole thing easier to work on.
I spend at least an hour a day on my main VPS and get very annoyed when I have to wait too long for things to load up or when I get the “not responding” freezes.
I was using this VPS from London, so there was a long way for the data packets to travel. Despite of this the VPS was extremely responsive and snappy, impressively so. I am connecting using a 30Mb Fibre line.
Compared to one of my German based VPS’, there was a slightly slower reaction time to my mouse clicks when browsing the internet using Chrome.
While this does effect usability a little, the actual load times and performance of software remained top notch.
It’s worth noting that Internet browsing on any VPS is a terrible experience as there is no GPU (Graphics processor) so the CPU has to do all the work.
From chatting with PowerUp and using their VPS for a while, it is clear to see these guys are really passionate about what they do and are in it for the long run. This makes a massive difference.
To put it short, PowerUp VPS is a solid performer. It’s benchmarks are top notch but now compared to their rival SolidSeoVPS, they are now coming in a close second with this range of older machines.
It’s worth noting that with PowerUp, you’re getting a purpose built, server grade VPS that sits on a 1Gbps, Tier 1 Network and keeps 40% of its overheads spare.
Update: If you are seriously considering a VPS from PowerUp, then I suggest you pick up one of their new SSD range which are now on special early bird offer via the link below.
They are cheaper and faster than their standard range and outperform the older range on every test. I’ll publish the stats shortly.