Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything I can't use a Virtual Dedicated Server for?

Well, we are governed by the law of the land, which in our case is the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Thus, anything which is illegal in the UK or The Netherlands, you can't use your VDS for. Aside from that, when you want to run an IRCd listening on an external interface, you should let us know in advance, so we can avoid putting your VDS in a data center where that is not allowed.

Can you do a VDS running Windows?

No. Xen requires the Operating System to be ported to the Xen architecture. Such a port was attempted, initially, by the Xen developers, but due to licensing restrictions, they were not allowed to make it available, and Microsoft is also not selling it. Consequently, the port appears to no longer be maintained. You could, of course, run qemu in your VDS and run Windows inside that, but you may not like the resulting performance...

How can I pay you?

We can take payment in Euros using paypal or bank transfer. Payment details are listed in your invoice.

I can't get PHP working on my machine. Can you help me?

Short answer: No, we are fundamentally opposed to torturing our customers.

Slightly longer answer: although we don't generally do detailed hand-holding support of this kind, it won't hurt to contact us on IRC or by email and ask. If the problem seems interesting, we are known to jump in, against our better judgement, and fix it just for the fun of it.

I just got an email from you saying that my VDS is "at risk" due to maintenance. What does that mean?

It means that we will be doing some hardware work in the data center that should not normally affect our customers, but involves some risk of things going wrong (e.g. accidentally pulling the wrong cable...). Rather than just quietly doing the maintenance work, and inform customers afterward when something went wrong, we think it makes sense to warn customers in advance that there is some risk, so when something does go wrong, they know what is going on.

Note that when we do maintenance that will actually involve anticipated down time for customers, we will announce it as expected down time, not as "at risk".

When I reboot my VDS, it doesn't come back up. What am I doing wrong?

You aren't doing anything wrong. There is a known problem in Xen in that soft reboots have a high chance of running into a panic during boot due to Xen incorrectly re-initialising the virtual machine. We are aware of the problem, but we don't have a quick fix. Rather than trying to fix this bug asap, we are currently working on a secure hardware console for customers, so you can do a hard reboot, which is more useful and makes this problem less urgent.

This control panel is available for beta testing by customers. Contact us by email if you want an account.

Can I run Debian testing/unstable or Ubuntu/Centos/Fedora/SuSe/Gentoo/BSD?

Debian testing/unstable shouldn't be a problem. Just edit your sources.list file and run a dist-update/dist-upgrade.

Ubuntu we can do for you. Just drop a mail to support.

As for the others: currently we do not support them, but we intend to support other distributions and operating systems when there is demand and we can ascertain that they are stable under Xen.

I need more swap!

You can easily hot add more swap to your vm, the simplest way is with a swap file, which you can create with the following commands:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/swap-new bs=1M count=128
mkswap /swap-new
swapon /swap-new

This creates a 128MB swap file in /swap-new. To create a bigger or smaller one, change the 128 in the dd command. Once you have created the new swap file you will need to add it to your /etc/fstab so that it is activated on each boot.

Can you do backup MX and dns?

Sure we can, within reason. Drop us a mail and we can set things up for you.

What are your dns servers again?

What about reverse DNS?

Email support telling us the IP address, and what you want its rDNS set to. Be aware that most systems doing a look up on your rDNS will also do a forward look up on the domain returned, so you should make sure that your forward DNS is correct too.

What distribution do your shell servers run?

Our shell servers run debian stable.

I would like to use $package from my shell account, is that possible?

By and large, yes. If its available in debian stable, then we can probably do it. Obviously this isn't possible if the package you want conflicts with something that is installed already, but generally, we should be able to accomodate you. To see what packages are available, take a look at apt-cache search (man apt-cache for details).

Can you help me tune my VDS?

We have gathered some useful info about performance tuning on this page. If you can't find there what you are looking for, let us know, and we will try to help you.


As customers ask us more questions, this FAQ will fill out some more. If you have a question, please email us on info@contextshift.eu