Virtual Private Servers, also known in short as VPS are commonly used to host small to medium Crypto-Currency Mining Pools. If you have read any of my other mining pool guides, you will see I always set them up on a VPS. I will be going over some basic things you should know about and consider when selecting a VPS for your new Mining Pool Endeavor.
There are a lot of variables that go into how many resources you need, I cannot tell you specifically with a certain setup you need “x and x”. These are all conservative approximations, and depend heavily on the crypto-currencies your pool is setup for, what your web traffic is like, and many other variables. This table should give you a roundabout idea of what sort of resources are required for your mining pool depending upon the amount of miners.
Containers vs Virtual Machines
So if you have done any research into Virtual Private Servers, you will have realized that there is containers (such as OpenVZ) and actual virtual machines (such as KVM). I will tell you that right off the bat, containers have better performance per dollar spent. There is not as much overhead required to run a container. However, I will advise you to go with a virtual machine due to the fact that it is better for a Mining Pool. Not only are your resources more dedicated to your VPS on a virtual machine, it is also much more secure. Security is very important when it comes to anything Crypto-Currency Related. With a container if the main node’s kernel gets compromised then they can snoop around your VPS and possibly steal from your pool’s wallet. There is plenty of options available to you in relation to virtual machines. KVM, Xen, and ESXi are some of the more popular options.
SSD vs HDD
If you have the budget, you always want to go with a VPS that uses SSD drives for it’s storage. Solid State Drives will always be faster than Hard Drives no matter what. Mining Pools tend to do a lot of reading/writing and SSD drives do tend to improve performance significantly, especially when you have a lot of miners.
Managed vs Unmanaged
Managed VPS Hosting is just that, managed. There is a systems administrator at that hosting company that is at your disposal to do certain tasks for you. I can tell you that they will NOT support your third party software such as uNOMP, MPOS, or other mining pool software. What they can do is update your operating system on a regular basis, install and manage the firewall, setup your DNS, optimize services such as MySQL, Apache or Nginx. They can also harden the kernel, install rk hunter, and other security based things. You can do these tasks yourself, it is not anymore difficult to do these things then it is to follow one of my pool guides. It really is a personal choice and comes down to your budget, how much you value your time, and how important security is to you. Unmanaged VPS solutions are in abundance, but keep in mind they will not help you whatsoever. Popular hosts like Digital Ocean, OVH, and Vultr are unmanaged, they will not help you with anything and this can be quite nerve wracking if you are not good with linux.
Which Hosting Company Should I Go With?
Most people tend to think that cheaper is better when looking at a hosting company, and I completely understand. Mining is very cutthroat now-a-days, and you are barely making pennies on the dollar so you want to save a few bucks by going with the cheapest host for your pool. However, I like to compare hosting in general (Web Hosting, VPS, Dedicated Servers etc.) to hand tools and power tools. Sure, you can go buy that cheap bargain bin angle grinder or socket set. It may work a majority of the time and do the job just fine, but in those crucial moments when you need your tool the most it decides to break. In the end you end up spending more money on the cheap tools then if you would of bought a premium one to begin with. This same logic applies to the Web Hosting Industry, your VPS is a tool. Going with a premium VPS host will help you in the long run.
A good place to find a good VPS provider is the Web Hosting Talk VPS Offers. In that forum you will find VPS providers from all over the world posting special deals, coupons, etc… for their VPS services and what not.
Another great thing to do is to use Web Hosting Talk and Google to your advantage. Once you find a possible VPS provider, simply type “Host/Provider name webhostingtalk.com” in Google and you will see customer driven reviews for that host. If they do not have any reviews then you should be wary.
Avoid EIG (Endurance International Group) owned companies. EIG conducts silent buyouts of large hosting companies, and try to save every penny and dime by cramming as many clients as they can into a smaller amount of servers. They also will replace a companies support personnel overnight with incompetent, poorly trained support personnel. In general you will have more issues then it is worth when you go with an EIG owned company. Some of the large EIG owned companies include HostGator, BlueHost, and Arvixe. There is many more then those 3, a complete listing of all the companies owned by EIG can be found in this ReviewHell Article.
Selecting a Virtual Private Server is no easy task, these are just some of the things you should consider before your purchase. Mining Pools live and die by the stability of their hosting. You should always invest wisely in your infrastructure, and seek out quality hosts that will help you pool grow rather than hurt it. Please remember that research is your friend.