A VPS index / database

Novacha

Content Contributer
Recently, when looking for a semi-specific server, I realised there was no terribly great option for getting accurate results. The sites that exist are often slow to update, often incorrect for long periods of times and tend not to show coupons, discounts and specials. I personally believe that a site dedicated to a 'database' of VPS servers managed by the providers themselves would allow people to quickly survey the market and therefore choose a server without wasting resources or money because they did not know a offer existed in the location that they wanted etc.

Provider sign up

The way a system like this would work, is that it would have it's contents verified by the provider. The provider would follow certain steps to register (to ensure they are who they say they are) and then be able to post their packages, update them for specials and so on. The verification would be fairly simple and would have to be manual:

  1. The provider signs up like a normal user to the site.
  2. The provider (within the control panel) will enter in their business address, with the domain of the address being the domain of the site.
  3. A moderator will check the domain against the providers real site and get the system to send out a verification code.
  4. The provider upon receiving this code will enter it back into the control panel and gain access to the provider specific management sections.
This fairly simple process should prevent fake people posing as providers from registering and possibly causing a bad name for the providers. 

Provider Control

Providers would be able to do the following in their control panels:

  • Add locations (e.g. Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, Berlin)
    Set test IP addresses and download speed test links
  • Set the datacenter
[*]Add packages
  • Set the usual package details (Virtualization Types, RAM, HDD etc.)
  • Set a coupon / promo code (if applicable)
  • Set the billing period and additional conditions
[*]Manage their profile
  • Add company images, links and small promo adverts
  • Add AUP and TOS links, which would be included in every package listing automatically
  • Add contact information such as support emails and IRC

Customer Control

Customers / Users would also be able to sign up to a system like this as they would provider the reviews and keep track of servers they have ordered. In summary, customers would be able to:

  • Review packages
    Add reviews to packages
  • Rate packages out of 10
  • Post benchmarks related to that exact package
[*]'Save' packages
  • When a user orders a package, they can 'save' it so that they can keep track of all their servers
  • This would include the assigned IP addresses
[*]Watch packages
  • Get a notification in price changes, billing period changes, discontinuations and promotions of packages
[*]Watch providers
  • Watch a provider for new packages, discounts etc. (same as above)
[*](Future) Watch locations
  • A user would be able to watch a certain location with the same information as above
  • The reason this is marked as future is that at some stage, I intend to build up a list of locations for providers to pick from but in the mean time, providers would have to enter them themselves.

Technical Details

The technical details for a project like this are quite important, as it will be open sourced, possible under the GPL 3.0 licence (don't hold me to it though, as it may change to the MIT or another licence).

It will be a Django (Python framework) based application with a MySQL backing (There will be raw sql, so the all-round ORM will not always work). The project will be hosted on Github and pull request will be really appreciated. Any dedicated (not full-time) help from an experienced developer would be much appreciated as a project of this size would take considerable man-hours to create. If anyone out there knows the Django framework in and out, let me know so I can possibly add you as a collaborator.

The project would be covered by unit tests (where possible) and accordance with PEP 8 code formatting standards would be the best for readability. I have a Jenkins CI server where all pushes will get tested and coverage + pep reports generated. Those should be a good indication on how well structured the project is. That being said, pep standards don't have to be followed to the letter and if you think the way you have structured it is better, just leave it as it is. :)

I would intend to host this on a DDOS protected server, most likely BuyVM's servers. The moderators and admins from the site would be at first the developers of this project (me and some main collaborators). Don't worry though, as there is not much room to be biased in a provider controlled system.

Advertising

To cover the costs of the site, it would most likely need advertising. This being said, I will not accept money for promoted listings, featured posts and biased reviews (feel free to quote me on that). Ad's will be placed in accordance (if possible) to Adblock's advertising guidelines along the side or bottom of the page. If I did receive sponsorship from a provider, advertising would not be necessary.

TL;DR

In essence, I am looking at creating a provider controlled VPS database. It would show up-to-date specials, packages and allow users to search for VPS' with their specific requirements (HDD, bandwidth, etc.) and get the best possible prices with the providers they want. It would be written in Python using the Django framework and be open sourced (but still hosted by me in the final version).

Thanks' for reading and I hope I didn't bore you too much. Let me know what you think of the idea, any pitfalls and what you would like to see added / removed. It is open sourced so that all your ideas come into play and when it is finally deployed, you can still create feature requests and pull requests to be added during maintenance windows.
 

titanicsaled

New Member
Not a bad idea. This would overlap quite a bit with serverbear though as they already provide a similar service but with benchmarks as well.

There are also quite a few other VPS lists floating around, can't remember them though.
 

Novacha

Content Contributer
Not a bad idea. This would overlap quite a bit with serverbear though as they already provide a similar service but with benchmarks as well.
 

That is true, but serverbear seems to separate all their systems a little bit too much to be able to easily skim the best deals. Most of the servers (from what I remember) are posted by the users as well and are not very well categorised or updated (I could be wrong so feel free to correct me). There also do not seem to be any alerts for when host deals come up, which is something I have always wanted. 

Billing period also seems to be an issue there. The offers are always looked at by month, so a $36 a year server would still come up as $3 a month near the top of the cheap VPS pile, when the user would have to prepay for an entire year. I also believe a server management system, so users can keep track of purchased servers would be very helpful. Right now I resort to keeping an excel spreadsheet for my servers, which quickly becomes a bigger hassle as I try to create condition tests for billing cycles, store many IP addresses and so on.

All this being said, if there are any features that you find a bit redundant due to serverbear, let me know so I won't be trying to replace an already solid system.
 

mikho

Not to be taken seriously, ever!
I started a project like this not that long ago but failed to create it the way I had in mind. (I was to use lowendguide.com for that project)

If you search on LET I have a thread there about my idea and even a mind-map of how things should be connected.

At that time, taipres (if someone remember that person) had a site similar to LEB but with some extra features.

His site eventually turned into the hands of vps6.net and literally died.

I wish you all the best with your project!

Feel free to drop any ideas i you need input on it, I'm not a coder but I sometimes have the greatest ideas. :)
 

willie

Active Member
Seems too complicated.  Why not just put up a wiki where providers can edit pages related to their products?
 

jarland

The ocean is digital
I love it. I think it addresses what serverbear lacks, which is a good system for providers to update info. Would have to be subject to strict moderation for obvious reasons.
 

D. Strout

Resident IPv6 Proponent
Provider Control

Providers would be able to do the following in their control panels:

  • Add locations (e.g. Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, Berlin)
    Set test IP addresses and download speed test links
  • Set the datacenter
[*]Add packages
  • Set the usual package details (Virtualization Types, RAM, HDD etc.)
  • Set a coupon / promo code (if applicable)
  • Set the billing period and additional conditions
[*]Manage their profile
  • Add company images, links and small promo adverts
  • Add AUP and TOS links, which would be included in every package listing automatically
  • Add contact information such as support emails and IRC
Sounds like a real pain for the provider to keep up to date after they would have just spent a bunch of time setting up their own billing panel. Only reason I would think they might is if your site got big. And consider the pre-existence of:

It might be hard to get this started. In theory I'm all for you, but in practice it's not easy. Of course there's also the fact that you mention an integrated client control area when I already have something like that going. So maybe not quite all for you :p

</shamelessSelfPromotion>
 

Novacha

Content Contributer
Seems too complicated.  Why not just put up a wiki where providers can edit pages related to their products?
A wiki would not really be suitable as a wiki just contains pages. This contains self-contained modules or packages which are searchable and sortable based on it's parameters. It also has things like reviews, ratings and benchmarks, all of which would not really look good edited onto a wiki page. The second part, the user control and their own saved servers, would also not be able to be done with a wiki system. A wiki system is a bit too general to a specific need like this (and is not really designed for a need like this) and therefore would most likely lack the control and organisation needed.

So, something similar to this?   http://vps-list.cryto.net
It does share a similar feature set, through I aim for this system to go beyond with a higher level of integration between the provider, their pacages, specials and reviews. It would be a provider controlled system as user submissions can be out dated, poorly submitted with inaccurate information or just intended to be misleading. The specific packages would be able to be reviewed and rated, giving an extra level of security when purchasing a server. In the case of abuse of a provider, the customers would be asked to show proof of purchase and those reviews would be placed under a 'verified' status.

Sounds like a real pain for the provider to keep up to date after they would have just spent a bunch of time setting up their own billing panel. Only reason I would think they might is if your site got big. And consider the pre-existence of:

It might be hard to get this started. In theory I'm all for you, but in practice it's not easy. Of course there's also the fact that you mention an integrated client control area when I already have something like that going. So maybe not quite all for you :p

</shamelessSelfPromotion>
Their control panel would be relatively simple, with only a few core sections. They would have to add locations (with IPs, download links, etc.) and these locations would be reused throughout all their packages. They would also have to add packages, which just details the server's specifications and then they are basically done. Each package can have it's own promotion code which would be managed in the same section. After this, they are basically complete and their product will be sortable, searchable and listed.

I thought it would be nice for the customer upon purchasing to be able to add a providers plan to his account, with all the details (like RAM, HDD etc.) being copied over for him. It would also allow him to generate totals like bandwidth and RAM (I may look into a signature link system). At the beginning it would not be easy to get off the ground, and many of the offers would most likely have to be added and maintained by me (from LEB, LET and here). After that, if/when providers sign up, they can resume control over those packages as they will be placed under their account.
 

MannDude

Just a dude
vpsBoard Founder
Moderator
So, something similar to this?

http://vps-list.cryto.net
That's actually a really neat site and resource. Would be nice if there were more sorting options, however.

Though I think alterarch's idea is pretty great too, and would love to see it developed. So what if ServerBear exists? While it's a great site, competition encourages innovation.
 

Novacha

Content Contributer
competition encourages innovation.
 
So true. The general consensus is that something like this should go ahead so I will most likely start development soon and post the links to the Github repository and Jenkins CI server.
 
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