BuyVM/Frantech MySQL Shared SQL offloading review

One of my favourite low-end Linux virtual server provider these days is BuyVM/Frantech from Canada (, eh?). They offer 128MB OpenVZ VPS plans for as low as $15/yr and 128MB KVM plans for $25/yr in Buffalo NY or in San Jose on the west coast. These virtual servers come with 500GB traffic/month and 15 GB disk space. They have a very nicely crafted VPS management console and you can even get a free storage plan as well which will add another 5 GB of storage on their FTP server.

Now, if you’ve ever tried running a LAMP, LNMP or LLMP (Apache, Nginx, LightHttpd) based site on a 128MB server you probably know that this is a bit of an adventure, memory wise. That’s (one reason) why Frantech offers an offloaded MySQL plan. Their shared MySQL server is highly tuned, including SSL-based read caching. The plan includes a whopping 15 GB of database storage and within that limit you can create as much databases and database users as you like. It doesn’t matter if you have multiple VPS with them, you can access the shared MySQL server on all of them. You can even access it from external servers not hosted on their network. They provide a cPanel with wizards for creating databases and users and phpMyAdmin for database access. For just $12 a year that’s quite a steal!

This is what their cPanel looks like:

Even though there’s quite some SQL traffic on the server, I can tell you that queries get executed very fast.

Here are a few tips & tricks when using their shared MySQL server.

Even though you’re accessing the MySQL server from within their internal network, you have to whitelist your server’s internal IP address in the “Remote MySQL” section on cPanel. Check the VPS management console for your server’s internal IP address (usually in the 172.* IP range) and add this address in the “Add Access Host” field.

Even though Frantech is backing up their database server frequently, you probably want to backup your databases as well (and move the backup offsite) – just in case. I’m doing this in the “pre” step in my most favourite backup software called Duply (a wrapper for Duplicity).

root@sheep:/etc/duply/offsite# cat pre
/usr/bin/mysqldump --all-databases -h -u username -ppassword > /home/sheep/db.sql

In order to backup all your remote databases, you have to use the same username and password you use to login in their cPanel. This way all your databases will be backed up at once no matter how many you’ve chosen to create.

See their Wiki page for more information on SQL offloading.

Check for stock availability. Their low-end KVM plans are always in high demand, the OpenVZ plans are a lot easier to get hold of. I wrote an automated stock check shell script just in case someone is interested :)