Cheap alternative to online subscription VPS

Cheap alternative to online subscription VPS

Postby c1borg » Mon May 18, 2020 12:27 pm

I haven’t run this by Steve before posting so hopefully he will approve (fingers crossed) :smile:

I thought I would pass on a hopefully useful setup for those who want an alternative to online commercial VPS’s. I started to look at this due to being in lockdown here in the UK as I found I had plenty of time to get this up and running.

Firstly a big thumbs up to Eaymon whose FXVPS service I have used for quite some time prior to setting this up. I thoroughly endorse Steve’s comments regarding his services, his customer support is amazing and I personally had very few issues. If you’re happy using his services, or anyone else's for that matter, please carry on and ignore this guide.

So what's this all about? I have started using a dedicated hardware trading setup, which is relatively easy to put together, and once intalled has no ongoing cost (apart from electric) is cheap and pretty maintenance free.

Hardware required
• Minix neo z64W windows 8.1 or 10 – I got mine brand new on Ebay for £50 (have seen them for less)
• USB memory stick – Had one lying around mine is 128GB but 8GB would do
• 8GB Micro SD Card – I bought it for £3 Ebay

The Minix neo Z64 if you haven't come across it is a fanless mini PC loaded with Windows 8.1 or 10 (doesn’t matter which) https://www.avforums.com/reviews/minix-neo-z64w-windows-8-1-review.11764

Spec:
The CPU is quad core billed at running at 1.33Ghz – and up to 1.83Ghz in Turbo mode. There's also 32GB of fast EMMC memory on board (24.8 GB available out of the box) and 2GB of DDR3 RAM available. The Z64W comes pre-loaded with a full version of Windows 8.1 or 10 and it probably should be noted that this is the 32-Bit Version.

You will need a keyboard and mouse initially but they won’t be required after setup. Plug the PC in and follow the normal Windows setup, connect to your WiFi or hard wire to your router if you can. Remove anything you don’t need for trading and setup the device to auto boot into Windows Desktop without a password, there are several guides on how to do this.

Next download the free TightVNC https://www.tightvnc.com/download.php install it as a server on the Minix and as a viewer on the laptop or PC you usually use to access your VPS, You can now connect using TightVNC and disconnect the keyboard and mouse. There is also an app for you phone or tablet called Remote Ripple which you do have to pay for at around £3 but it works very well. Lastly put the 8GB SD in the slot on the Minix and use it as extra memory. Plug in the USB and use it for extra storage.

Set up your Empty4’s on the device and put the Minix anywhere you want as long as it has power and wifi or a connection to the router. You can easily transfer files to it across the network should you need to.
Many of you will be happily using FXVPS as a Power User at $39.99/month but I am a tightass ;)

Its early days yet with my testing but I am currently running 3 instances of Empty4 with the following results. I have run 6 quite happily as a quick test but not sure what the limitations will be. :good:

capture4.png


So hope this is of interest I personally love the setup and so far it’s worked like a dream. Any questions fire away.
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Postby Barcode » Mon May 18, 2020 12:56 pm

Sounds good c1borg but you need to add a UPS to guarantee uptime.
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Postby c1borg » Mon May 18, 2020 1:03 pm

Barcode » Mon May 18, 2020 12:56 pm wrote:Sounds good c1borg but you need to add a UPS to guarantee uptime.


Correct however we don't get many power cuts in the UK and should it fail you can carry on managing trades on your phone using the Empty4 app :smile:
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Postby SteveHopwood » Tue May 19, 2020 12:01 am

c1borg » Mon May 18, 2020 12:27 pm wrote:I haven’t run this by Steve before posting

Didn't need to - you are not flogging anything commercial.

Mind, we do get power cuts here in the UK. They usually only last for a few seconds.

I had one recently, for the usual few seconds before the National Grid cut back in and restored the supply. It is very good at managing this stuff. It did knock out the desktop.

I could not connect to the internet when I restarted the desktop. The desktop assured me that my router was up and running fine, just that it could not connect to the internet.

Happily, I had invested in a high spec lappy a few months earlier. I originally intended this lappy merely so I could indulge my obsessive viewing of my trading accounts from the comfort of lazing on my sofa, but I also intended a bit of security as well. I bought one with a screen big enough to use were I to be separated from the mahoosive screen that is connected to my desktop.

Which proved to be a prescient move. I would have been stuffed without the lappy. Nothing I could do would persuade the desktop to connect to the internet. I am a smartphone moron, so it is computer or nothing.

Lappy happily connected to the internet. So did my Sky TV box. Just not the desktop.

Via the lappy, Tommaso told me to run CHKDSK as sudden power cuts can bugger up the hard drive. I did, and all was well again. OK, with a certain amount of reinstalling, but you get my drift?

Just beware of relying on a single power source machine is what I am saying here, especially if you are using it as a surrogate VPS.

Tangentially, the lappy has a SSD and I am addicted to the speed of it. I am using it these days instead of the desktop despite the smaller screen. I cannot bear the time the desktop takes to do anything useful. Lappy does it at warp speed. I am only waiting until the local computer shop opens up for business again before taking the desktop for an upgrade.

Don't even bother to have bad dreams about buying a new computer without a solid state drive, folks. The difference it makes is just plain stunning. Forget the extra cost; you will love it.

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Postby c1borg » Tue May 19, 2020 7:18 am

I agree with your take on this however the Minix box is entirely solid state and therefore less likely to suffer the mechanical failures. The USB stick contains the Empty4 files running in /portable mode, which means you can take it out plug it into another device and be up and running in an emergency. Lastly after a power failure everything comes back due to a batch file in startup.

I did have quite a few restarts and shutdowns with Eaymons VPS so its far from perfect, nothing ever is I find, but to be fair these glitches were usually sorted out very quickly. However if Moving Day carries on making money like today the online VPS costs will be insignificant. :lol:
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Postby danjuma » Tue May 19, 2020 8:56 am

c1borg, many thanks for this info. Nice one! :clap:

Unfortunately, looks like not a lot about for less than £80 + delivery on ebay or amazon :(
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Postby c1borg » Tue May 19, 2020 9:55 am

Added another Empty4

capture.png
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Postby TradingMastermind » Thu May 21, 2020 10:49 am

I also run a couple of PC's for running Empty4 tests.
I run a couple of programs on them that others might find helpful.

I have all my PC's connected through a Zerotier network which allows me to securely RDP into any of them instead of using VNC.

I run a program called 'servmon' that throws up a popup on my main PC screen if it cannot ping the tester PC.

I also run a program called 'Quick Startup' that auto starts instances of empty4 if the tester PC decides to reboot.

While this is quite a solid system, I also run my live accounts on Eaymons VPS, you cannot beat the security and transaction times you get from a good VPS.
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Postby c1borg » Thu May 21, 2020 11:02 am

TradingMastermind » Thu May 21, 2020 10:49 am wrote:I also run a couple of PC's for running Empty4 tests.
I run a couple of programs on them that others might find helpful.

I have all my PC's connected through a Zerotier network which allows me to securely RDP into any of them instead of using VNC.

I run a program called 'servmon' that throws up a popup on my main PC screen if it cannot ping the tester PC.

I also run a program called 'Quick Startup' that auto starts instances of empty4 if the tester PC decides to reboot.

While this is quite a solid system, I also run my live accounts on Eaymons VPS, you cannot beat the security and transaction times you get from a good VPS.

Some good tips I will have a look thanks :smile: where did you get Quick Startup?
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Postby TradingMastermind » Thu May 21, 2020 5:20 pm

It's a free utility from glarysoft.com. Simple to use. Just be aware when installing it, it asks you do you want to install the full glarysoft utility pack. No need, just install Quick Startup alone.

c1borg » Thu May 21, 2020 11:02 am wrote:Some good tips I will have a look thanks :smile: where did you get Quick Startup?
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