Last updated: December 28, 2018
Linode is an American hosting company that provides VPS hosting to its clients. The company was founded in 2003 by Christopher Aker and has grown over the years to incorporate cloud options.
Based in Galloway, New Jersey, Linode has customers in 131 countries and focuses solely on Linux hosting. It provides a detailed breakdown of its customer preferences: at the time of writing this review, 56% of VPS plans were deployed on Ubuntu, for example.
Linode Hosting Plans
Linode’s hosting is exclusively provided on Linux, with virtualization at the core of all plans. Each instance of a Linux server is referred to as a Linode. Customers use the company’s unique Linode Manager tool to deploy a Linode, choose the Linux distribution they want or change its settings. Linode Manager can be used via the desktop or the company’s own free iPhone app.
There are six VPS options, from 1 GB RAM to 16 GB RAM, which includes a sliding scale of storage and transfer. Users can choose one of six data centers in Tokyo, London, New Jersey, Georgia, Texas or California. There are 100 MB test download files on the site so you can assess the best option, and Linode also says you’re free to move later.
All plans come with SSH and root access. Backups are offered as an optional extra service which you’ll have to pay for. Likewise, cPanel and WHM licences aren’t included on any plans.
Linode offers a range of other features, including its NodeBalancer service. NodeBalancers help to intelligently balance demand across several Linodes. Again, this is a paid extra. A wealth of technical data and advanced options are provided for Linux enthusiasts and programmers.
Linode offers a standard 99.9% uptime guarantee, as defined in its Terms of Service document. The company’s credit policy is simple: if your service is down long enough to break the SLA, you simply request a pro-rata credit. There are no complex rules about how much downtime you can claim: it’s a straight swap. The company doesn’t appear to publish uptime statistics, although it seems that these can be activated via a customer’s VPS if that’s something you want to monitor.
Linode offers customers the opportunity to host their website in one of six data centers; four in the USA, one in the UK and one in Japan. There are some blog posts about its data center facilities on the site, but no real definitive guide to the facilities offered by each one.
I did ascertain that the UK data center is located at Powergate, the newest facility owned by Telecity Group. The New Jersey data center is run by NAC, and the data center in Fremont, California is owned by Hurricane Electric.
As mentioned above, backups are offered on Linode, but you’ll have to pay for them. The backup services looks very capable providing you can afford the hefty additional fee.
Linode is a self-managed hosting company, so don’t expect support to hold your hand; you’ll be on your own with your VPS unless you have a system issue that their technical team need to look into. Most inquiries will be directed to the Linode Library, a comprehensive and rather technical knowledgebase. There’s a ticket system for support requests, plus a US telephone number, although customers are asked to use the ticket system first. As a test, I sent a sales inquiry via email which was answered within a few minutes.
Linode has active pages on Twitter and Facebook, but it doesn’t really use these pages to respond to customer support requests.
Linode in the News
In April 2013, Linode suffered a serious breach of security. According to its blog, a group of hackers known as HTP gained access to the company’s secure database via a vulnerability in its ColdFusion server. The database was used to store customer billing information and passwords. Although Linode says no data was taken, and this claim is republished in the news report below, hackers later posted proof that confidential data had been obtained.
Linode Control Panel
Linode’s virtualisation is handled via a custom control panel used to manipulate and deploy server instances. No control panel software is included in its plans.
Linode does not offer any extras, such as advertising credits or freebies.
Linode Money Back Guarantee / Cancellation Policy
New Linode customers can take advantage of a 7-day money-back guarantee. This is very short in hosting terms, but it’s still good to see a guarantee in place.
If a customer wants to cancel their hosting plan after the first week, they’ll be issued a pro-rata refund minus a $5 fee.
Linode’s VPS hosting is geared purely towards people knowledgeable in Linux, and there are no managed options whatsoever. While some will relish the chance to purchase a VPS in such an unrestricted way, some customers will find the learning curve too steep to make it worth the switch, despite the fact that Linode’s pricing is competitive.
There are a few other hosts operating in the same price band offering similar features, so it’s worth researching the market thoroughly before signing up – some include backups, for example. The billing hack Linode experienced may be unfortunate, but it’s also going to be a serious concern to anyone looking at signing up with Linode in future.
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