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LowEndBox Featured on Hacker News

Via LowEndTalk. One of my two year old article got featured on Hacker News earlier today. For those who do not know about Hacker News, read more about it on its Wikipedia entry. HN and one of my local news paper are two sites that I usually read first thing in the morning, as it aggregates news concerning startups, technology, programming, etc. Some topics interest me, as I have recently quitted my job to pursuit my startup.

Anyway. Hacker News is one of more popular tech community. It wasn’t really Slashdot (back in its hey days) nor Digg (its popularity has also been declining), however I think it might still be interesting to see how LowEndBox handled that “spike of traffic”. Remember — it’s on a 80MB “micro VPS” provided by QuickWeb, running current WordPress stable without any caching plugins.

Loadavg after featured on Hacker News

Traffic after featured on Hacker News

Well. Not really spectacular, is it? I counted that only around 5,000 page views over 12 hours. My VPS struggled a little bit (some caching would have helped as it’s hitting one single page), but it survived without too much trouble. Much better than when someone did a load impact test to DDoS this blog last year. From the discussion on that Hacker News page, I guess not many people actually visited the site or read the content anyway. Thanks to “cdx”, “jack12”, “dmmcintyre3”, “nl” who have tried to defend me on HN, but let me try to answer some questions here.

  • My original article was mocking some of the “experts” on WebhostingTalk, when someone asked how much memory is needed to host 18 static websites. Obviously it is not literally limited at 18 static sites. With async/event based web servers, on a low end VPS it’s probably going to be limited at disk IO (assuming not enough memory to cache all frequently used files). But if you want to host 10,000 low traffic static sites?! There shouldn’t be a problem.
  • My original article then extended to cover not just static file serving, but actually getting a full stack to run WordPress, since it is probably the most popular open source blogging software. In fact the VPS runs LowEndBox.com is not too different (80MB memory, Nginx instead of Lighttpd), and it did ~40,000 WordPress PHP requests yesterday. As I’ve said in the previous point — number of static websites does not really matter. However, number of full PHP requests on a popular off-the-shelf package would make it a more meaningful comparison (and something can’t be replicated using Amazon S3).
  • Pfft. Back in ’97 when I wrote my first “real world” web app, demoing a library category system written in Perl CGI saving data to BerkeleyDB. Whole backend (Linux, Apache, Perl CGI) plus the front end (X11, Netscape Navigator, no window manager though) run on a 486 DX4-75 laptop with 8MB of memory. But that’s beside the point. I want to focus what you can get out from a 64MB VPS, right now.
  • I feel disgusted on how someone would perceive that HN posting as “spam”. I have no idea who “tshtf” is on HN and why he chose to post that 2 year old article. As of the affiliation link being questioned in Hacker News, well
    • The only affiliate link I have ever posted on LowEndBox was for VPSLink, when this site was once hosted there. VPSLink used to provide hosting credit (not redeemable to cash) to their “affiliates”. So I was effectively just trying to reduce my hosting cost — that was before any banner ads were introduced to this website. That was when Cameron was still running the show in VPSLink.
    • VPSLink was then purchased by Endurance International in early 2010, and they have also conveniently forgotten about all my hosting credits. D’oh. Those old “affiliate links” obviously don’t work for me any more. Moreover after having issues with Endurance, I had a series of moves. Big thanks to QuickWeb for providing this VPS to me for free to host LowEndBox (and I always need to remember making disclaimers when I post their offers).

    Anyway, I am sure even after a full explanation there will still be people calling “spam”, “shill” or whatever. Quoting one representative of an ex-provider featured here (who is already in deadpool). “Hater gonna hates” :)

Guess what? Getting featured on front page of Hacker News and it actually wasn’t really a good experience. Elitist mentality? Simply ignorant? I have no idea. Or did I just waste an hour posting this non-sense rather than another good low end offer?

Latest posts by LEA (see all)


  1. Silly question about those rrdtool graphs: What’s the time period for them? I’m assuming that it’s a 24 hour graph….

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:25 pm | Reply
  2. cd:

    Thanks for responding to the mess over there LEA, it was needed :)

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:27 pm | Reply
  3. They should really thank you instead for sharing such a post with full of knowledge sharing. That memory saving technique of yours shouldnt get flamed, fair debate maybe yes but you proved your point with real stats, kudos to you LowEndBox Admin.

    I actually create a pdf of your post on “Yes, You Can Run 18 Static Sites on a 64MB Link-1 VPS”. =)

    cheers to you. LEB rocks btw!

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:32 pm | Reply
  4. Don’t stress about it dude. There’s always a few out there that can’t help but argue. Let the trolls be and just be thankful for the free traffic :). Well deserved!

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:37 pm | Reply
  5. Christian:

    “Or did I just waste an hour posting this non-sense rather than another good low end offer?”
    – Definitely

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:43 pm | Reply
  6. vampireJ:

    Next offer LEB please :D

    June 12, 2011 @ 1:44 pm | Reply
  7. @LEA just curious what is your startup?

    June 12, 2011 @ 2:24 pm | Reply
    • I rather not say as it’s far from being in stealth mode (and I don’t want to jeopardize my “hobby” here). Ran that for the last 5 years (although I’ve only turned full time on that in March), user generated content, 9 million page views a month, profitable, etc. I can even identify some regulars here as users on my other site :)

      June 12, 2011 @ 11:43 pm | Reply
      • vampireJ:

        Come on spill it out! You will get even more pageviews!

        June 13, 2011 @ 12:06 am | Reply
  8. vedran:

    I’ve read some of the comments there, and I’d guess most of the people never actually read the article.
    But that never stopped them from commenting.

    I’ll just stop talking now.

    June 12, 2011 @ 3:12 pm | Reply
    • Sorry but…

      Oh the irony


      June 12, 2011 @ 6:15 pm | Reply
      • vedran:

        Shh, that was someone else …

        It’s not my fault this thing has no delete button!

        June 13, 2011 @ 10:22 pm | Reply
  9. Jun:

    Long live the LEB.

    June 12, 2011 @ 3:33 pm | Reply
  10. Always interesting to see them stat graphs for LowEndBox :)

    June 12, 2011 @ 4:04 pm | Reply
  11. this is a reason why i’m stuck here.. a couple years ago when i own my first linode VPS (it was 384MB ram), i’m doing research how to manage the “tiny” memory of my VPS. and i saw that article, and you know the rest of my story. :) thanks LEB :D

    June 12, 2011 @ 4:11 pm | Reply
  12. Interesting LEA, and what about the RAM? Is a xen VPS right?

    I must confess I did a loadimpact test some time ago…. :S don’t kill me!!!!

    June 12, 2011 @ 6:08 pm | Reply
  13. Congrats LEA, some people only know how to criticize and dont know when to appreciate a real talent of a good piece of advice. Keep up the good work LEA, I love this blog :)

    June 12, 2011 @ 7:36 pm | Reply
  14. Scott:


    Can anybody point me in the direction of a tutorial to get some of those pretty graphs plotting my VPS?


    June 13, 2011 @ 12:49 am | Reply
    • I use Cacti, installed off-site, with some optimisation to keep the memory foot print low on each VPS.

      June 13, 2011 @ 12:53 am | Reply
      • Scott:

        Cool. Thanks for the reply.

        Seems like a pretty complicated program…

        June 13, 2011 @ 3:01 am | Reply
  15. Go:

    Nice article, this takes us inside the LEB engine :P, and I guess this serves as a record when planning to increase the 80 MB RAM in the future!

    And QuickWeb are the bigger beneficiaries, any provider would love to do the same, I bet on that :p

    June 13, 2011 @ 10:10 pm | Reply
    • And QuickWeb are the bigger beneficiaries, any provider would love to do the same, I bet on that

      It’s a pity that a lot of providers here don’t see it that way. They would rather argue with folks here instead of dealing with their issues.

      June 14, 2011 @ 12:02 am | Reply
    • There’s actually no short of providers that want to offer me free VPS hosting. However there is only one LowEndBox.com and it can only be hosted in one place. Besides, I don’t need that many servers. Even if I do, I prefer to pay for them rather than declaring my affiliation every time I post.

      June 14, 2011 @ 12:32 am | Reply
      • @LEA: Sigh…only if one day my little low-end site could be as great/popular as yours :) But really good work you’ve put in here, I almost can’t stop myself from visiting LEB everyday now. :)

        June 14, 2011 @ 12:23 pm | Reply
  16. Sam42:


    I would not worry about the comments on HN. I am a frequent HNer and was glad to see your link there. HN is full of elitist “web-dev” specialists who cannot know what optimizing a server meant if it hit them in the face. Most of them are kiddies who want to spin a “cool” webapp based on so many readymade stacks and APIs and get it trending and sell off. They are happy with the Amazon offerings and dont have much if any experience on what it takes to do server admin. Most of them are just flaunting ignoramuses “hacking” ruby stacks on a Macbook.

    Sigh, sorry for the long rant. Keep up your good work.

    June 15, 2011 @ 5:47 pm | Reply
  17. I thoroughly enjoy lowendbox and your approach to hosting / optimization. Keep up the good work and don’t be bothered by the hn criticism.

    Why don’t you cache btw?

    June 15, 2011 @ 7:25 pm | Reply
  18. Thanks. There are actually quite a few individuals on HN that I respect, but with the current tech bubble going on, there are also a lot of marketing-type talkers rather than doers hanging around there as well.

    @Kasper — WordPress caching plugins, even those caching to disk files, use quite a lot of memory due to buffering. I am actually getting worse general performance if I turn the caching on (although it might save me from getting linked from a popular site). Running this site on 80MB on Xen is a bit stretching :P

    June 16, 2011 @ 3:52 am | Reply

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