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Softsys hosting windows VPS review

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  #1 (permalink)
 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: CL, ES, AUD/USD
 
Posts: 51 since Apr 2013
Thanks: 27 given, 31 received

Beeing on the move and not staying in one place more than a few months at a time I was looking for a cheap VPS to run Ninjatrader strategies uninterrupted.
After almost a year using softsys services I can only say I am very satisfied with both the price and the level of service.
During that time I only had one unexpected reboot due to them applying a critical security update on all servers. My only concern about that incident is that I didn't receive any email despite them saying they did.
Other than that everything else has been flawless.

I however think their service is for the more tech savvy of us. With the base price you don't get any support and you have to do everything yourself.
Lastly they often have a 50% free RAM promotion. So it's always better to wait for those deals.

Here's the price range :
https://www.softsyshosting.com/windows-vps/

I went for the VPS ECO 1 at $12.5/ months on a 12 months contract (1Gb + 0.5Gb Free at the time) on Windows server 2012

With NT7 with 4 or 5 charts windows, and 2 IB Gateways (1 paper, 1 live) running I am always over the 1GB of ram used. I have also installed Windows defender for peace of mind and this also chew some of that ram
Occasionally NT will become unstable and if the ram usage gets too close to 100%, but this rarely happens.
CPU usage hasn't been a problem. That being said the VPS isn't a workhorse and you can't really run anything else beside NT.
I am considering upgrading to the ECO 2 VPS later this year. I am waiting to see how much RAM NT8 will use to make the decision.

Feel free to ask any questions.

UPDATE on may 30th 2015 :
I have been frustrated with the lack of competitive upgrade path with Softsys and I am potentially looking at jumping ship in order to upgrade at a decent price. See this post for more details:


UPDATE on oct 12th 2015 :
Now testing Zerone hosting in the hope of ditching Softsys by the end of this month. I am not recommending Softsys anymore due to not so competitive price anymore (especially for existing customer wanting to upgrade)

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  #3 (permalink)
 banf42 
Dallas TX
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Ninja
Broker: IB/IB
Trading: 6E CL EMD
 
Posts: 9 since Feb 2010
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Christophe -

Thanks for the info, softsys looks like one of the cheaper solutions for running an IB/NT automated setup.
I'm trying them also, and have a couple of questions for you-
1. Do you find that installing SW, or running windowsUpdate is super slow?
(after installing .net 3.5, it needed ~130 updates, and that took overnight for me)

2. Can you give details on running NT with IBgateway, vs with TWS?
I saw this info, which is old: IB Gateway - NinjaTrader Support Forum
Maybe you have a newer solution, which I've not yet seen?

3. Did you see any slowdowns during the trading day, or does the vps seem to have equal speed all the time?

4. Do you use VPN or anything to secure the RDP connection to the vps? I'm not sure about the security of just a plain RDP connection over the internet.

Thanks again for your post.

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  #4 (permalink)
 Magiklair 
Alexandria, Minnesota
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja trader
Broker: IB / IQFeed
Trading: Forex
 
Posts: 135 since Jun 2014
Thanks: 30 given, 37 received


banf42 View Post
Christophe -

Thanks for the info, softsys looks like one of the cheaper solutions for running an IB/NT automated setup.
I'm trying them also, and have a couple of questions for you-
1. Do you find that installing SW, or running windowsUpdate is super slow?
(after installing .net 3.5, it needed ~130 updates, and that took overnight for me)

2. Can you give details on running NT with IBgateway, vs with TWS?
I saw this info, which is old: IB Gateway - NinjaTrader Support Forum
Maybe you have a newer solution, which I've not yet seen?

3. Did you see any slowdowns during the trading day, or does the vps seem to have equal speed all the time?

4. Do you use VPN or anything to secure the RDP connection to the vps? I'm not sure about the security of just a plain RDP connection over the internet.

Thanks again for your post.

I've used this hosting company over the years (For digital currency trading And other non-trading purposes). I can confirm they are a solid host with good uptime and speed. As for your first question, I would suggest going with A SSD Drive. That will speed up your Windows updates and other features.. Perhaps others can chime in on the other questions.
Regards,
Brian

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  #5 (permalink)
 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: CL, ES, AUD/USD
 
Posts: 51 since Apr 2013
Thanks: 27 given, 31 received

@banf42 I only noticed your message with your questions today. Sorry for the very slow reply.


banf42 View Post
1. Do you find that installing SW, or running windowsUpdate is super slow?
(after installing .net 3.5, it needed ~130 updates, and that took overnight for me)
.

Windows update is slow but I usually do this less than once a month. I disabled automated windows update to avoid having my VPS rebooted at random times. It never took that long personally. maybe 1 hour max.

banf42 View Post
2. Can you give details on running NT with IBgateway, vs with TWS?
I saw this info, which is old: IB Gateway - NinjaTrader Support Forum
Maybe you have a newer solution, which I've not yet seen?

I do not use TWStart. I do not like putting my login details into a 3rd party software that isn't widely used. plus my anti virus flagged it as potentially malicious.

To connect the gateway the way I do, please follow those steps:

1- Set IB gateway connection in NT. and use a differant port than for TWS connection (make sure it matches the property in the IB gateway settings)
2- Set a TWS connection (if you haven't one set already)
Make sure that "connect on startup" is not ticked for both connections
3- Launch TWS and log in.
4- Launch IB gateway and log in and let the IB gateway connection take over the TWS connection but do NOT close TWS
5- On NT, connect to the IB gateway using the IB gateway connection. (it will only work if TWS is still running in the background.)
At this stage you should have a NT properly connected to IB gateway but might experience issue with live data feed and historical data.
6- To solve this you need to go back to the disconnected TWS and take over the IB gateway connection (IB gateway will get disconnected, but do NOT close it)
Your IB gateway connection status in NT should turn red.
7- Connect NT to TWS using the TWS connection. That will initiate the live data feed and historical data.
8- Once NT to TWS is working with data feed, go back to IB gateway one last time and get it take over TWS
Your NT to TWS connection will turn red and the NT to IB Gateway should turn back to green. This final trick should enable historical data and live data through the gateway. (you should see two extra lines in the gateway console : Market data and historical market data)
9- Once you are sure that everything is running fine with the IB gateway, disconnect the TWS connection in NT and close TWS.



banf42 View Post
3. Did you see any slowdowns during the trading day, or does the vps seem to have equal speed all the time?

It slows down at time.


banf42 View Post
4. Do you use VPN or anything to secure the RDP connection to the vps? I'm not sure about the security of just a plain RDP connection over the internet.

I use plain RDP. I however changed the default port and don't store the IB password on the server.

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  #6 (permalink)
 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: CL, ES, AUD/USD
 
Posts: 51 since Apr 2013
Thanks: 27 given, 31 received

I just want to add that since my review I have been trying to see what are my upgrade options with softsys and my online chat with the sale representative was very frustrating.

Their ECO 1 VPS is just ok for NT7 but NT8 will have a much greater footprint and the 1.5GB of RAM I have right now won't be enough.

2 weeks ago Softsys had an amazing deal with free double RAM. This however was only available to existing customers providing that they do not cancel any existing service or the free RAM would be removed upon cancelation of previous service.
As a trader I do not have a use for more than one VPS. Which made this deal completely useless to me. I was only offered to upgrade my VPS for twice the price of the promotional price.
I must say I am very frustrated with the lack of upgrade deals with softsys.

Unless the situation changes I will be then looking at moving to a differant VPS provider for the release of NT8.
I am looking for any suggestions for a budget self-managed VPS with good reliability. I was personally looking at Windows VPS | ZerOne Hosting at $400/year for 4gb of ram, 2 VCPU and SSD.
I couldn't find any reviews but their data centre (Incero) has a a great reputation online.

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  #7 (permalink)
 banf42 
Dallas TX
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Ninja
Broker: IB/IB
Trading: 6E CL EMD
 
Posts: 9 since Feb 2010
Thanks: 1 given, 0 received

Thanks for the info, I have some comments -

I'm just using twsstart as a wrapper to start IB GW (and NOT storing any credentials therein).
The related tool IBGW4NT pops up and changes the window title of IBGW to appear as TWS - this works great.

I got the 'double RAM' deal by luck, thanks to your initial review posting (thanks!)

I see that several times (during busy loads on the 'real' hardware underneath?), that upon NT7 order execution, the NT windows can 'hang' for up to 10s. In one case, I'd already been stopped out, unable to do anything while the windows were frozen. During this time, Windows Task manager showed the load on my VPS to be <50%. If this happens frequently, it will be a deal-killer.
Maybe if it were on SSD, or a faster core (this appears to be a 2GHz AMD Opteron), I might not have the problem.

The ZerOne hosting does look like better hardware. One concern would be that it's Dallas based, so the ping times to Chicago/NY may be higher than for softsys. (note: there's a 10% discount at the moment, maybe better deals pop up as well)

I haven't seen the details on NT8 being higher footprint - I just had heard them saying it's altogether improved vs NT7, so would have hoped for a smaller footprint for the same load.

Hopefully others can be helped from our discussion here.

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  #8 (permalink)
 Magiklair 
Alexandria, Minnesota
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja trader
Broker: IB / IQFeed
Trading: Forex
 
Posts: 135 since Jun 2014
Thanks: 30 given, 37 received


banf42 View Post
Thanks for the info, I have some comments -

I'm just using twsstart as a wrapper to start IB GW (and NOT storing any credentials therein).
The related tool IBGW4NT pops up and changes the window title of IBGW to appear as TWS - this works great.

I got the 'double RAM' deal by luck, thanks to your initial review posting (thanks!)

I see that several times (during busy loads on the 'real' hardware underneath?), that upon NT7 order execution, the NT windows can 'hang' for up to 10s. In one case, I'd already been stopped out, unable to do anything while the windows were frozen. During this time, Windows Task manager showed the load on my VPS to be <50%. If this happens frequently, it will be a deal-killer.
Maybe if it were on SSD, or a faster core (this appears to be a 2GHz AMD Opteron), I might not have the problem.

The ZerOne hosting does look like better hardware. One concern would be that it's Dallas based, so the ping times to Chicago/NY may be higher than for softsys. (note: there's a 10% discount at the moment, maybe better deals pop up as well)

I haven't seen the details on NT8 being higher footprint - I just had heard them saying it's altogether improved vs NT7, so would have hoped for a smaller footprint for the same load.

Hopefully others can be helped from our discussion here.

They are a good economical host. I would suggest upgrading to SSD. That will dramatically increase performance. Yes disable Windows updates..

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  #9 (permalink)
 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: CL, ES, AUD/USD
 
Posts: 51 since Apr 2013
Thanks: 27 given, 31 received

@banf42

From what I gathered from the recent futures.io (formerly BMT) webinar on NT8, it was said that NT8 will make better use of modern hardware than NT7 hence use more resources. It also use Windows Presentation Fondation framework which is more resource intensive than Windows forms used for NT7. So my guess is that to run NT8 properly you'll need more resources.
I also get those freeze in choppy markets with high volumes. Not too often tho.
Are you on ECO 1 or ECO 2 VPS?

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  #10 (permalink)
 banf42 
Dallas TX
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Ninja
Broker: IB/IB
Trading: 6E CL EMD
 
Posts: 9 since Feb 2010
Thanks: 1 given, 0 received


(sorry for the lagged reply)

I'm on the ECO 1 vps.

I have had another couple of ninja freezes occur, they're unnerving.

I saw my Task Manager continue to update during the freeze, so it was not the whole machine, just my NinjaTrader windows - I don't know what to make of that.

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  #11 (permalink)
 Magiklair 
Alexandria, Minnesota
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja trader
Broker: IB / IQFeed
Trading: Forex
 
Posts: 135 since Jun 2014
Thanks: 30 given, 37 received


banf42 View Post
(sorry for the lagged reply)

I'm on the ECO 1 vps.

I have had another couple of ninja freezes occur, they're unnerving.

I saw my Task Manager continue to update during the freeze, so it was not the whole machine, just my NinjaTrader windows - I don't know what to make of that.

Are you using a SSD drive? These are the plans for a SSD drive https://www.softsyshosting.com/ssd-windows-vps/
They're not really set up for trading, Although they should work fine. You may want to find a host that is in the trading business and understand your needs. It may come with a higher price of course.
Regards, Brian

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  #12 (permalink)
 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja Trader
Trading: CL, ES, AUD/USD
 
Posts: 51 since Apr 2013
Thanks: 27 given, 31 received


Christophe View Post
I just want to add that since my review I have been trying to see what are my upgrade
I must say I am very frustrated with the lack of upgrade deals with softsys.

Unless the situation changes I will be then looking at moving to a differant VPS provider for the release of NT8.
I am looking for any suggestions for a budget self-managed VPS with good reliability. I was personally looking at Windows VPS | ZerOne Hosting at $400/year for 4gb of ram, 2 VCPU and SSD.
I couldn't find any reviews but their data centre (Incero) has a a great reputation online.


Just to let people know, I am about to ditch Softsys and move to Zerone.

I have just got my VPS set up today so it's still early days. But so far the speed of the VPS is almost night and day in favour of zerone (At the same time the cost is also more than double of what I am currently paying).

Again it's too early to come to a conclusion but I will let people know in a new thread how things are going once I am up and running and after using their services for a couple of weeks at the very least.

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 Big Mike 
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Christophe View Post
Just to let people know, I am about to ditch Softsys and move to Zerone.

I have just got my VPS set up today so it's still early days. But so far the speed of the VPS is almost night and day in favour of zerone (At the same time the cost is also more than double of what I am currently paying).

Again it's too early to come to a conclusion but I will let people know in a new thread how things are going once I am up and running and after using their services for a couple of weeks at the very least.

Why are you not using @sam028's service?



Mike

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 Christophe 
Sydney Australia
 
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Big Mike View Post
Why are you not using @sam028's service?



Mike

Because it's 3 times the price of what I get with zerone hosting (specs for specs). The server location isn't as great. But I am not sure it would matter much for the type of strategies I am runing.

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 Big Mike 
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Christophe View Post
Because it's 3 times the price of what I get with zerone hosting (specs for specs). The server location isn't as great. But I am not sure it would matter much for the type of strategies I am runing.

Interesting.

Often times, you do get what you pay for. Cheaper hosting is rarely better hosting.

How important is a reliable server? If the cost difference is $50 a month for example, how much is your time worth?

Anyway, not looking for a debate. I'm sure you already have considered these things.

Mike

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 banf42 
Dallas TX
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Broker: IB/IB
Trading: 6E CL EMD
 
Posts: 9 since Feb 2010
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I just wanted to update what I'm using for VPS now.

As Softsys had the random freezes, I looked around, and switched.

I'm now on togglebox.com. VPS specs are:
- 1 virtual core at 2.5GHz
- 2G RAM
- 30G disk (20G was too tight)
- $15.05 per month (plus they had given a $100 credit at startup!)

This VPS has had no freezes, and am very happy there. Even though the location is farther from IB, the connection speed makes up for it.

Hope this is helpful for anyone looking around. I realized that I have not needed to worry about the service, so have not bothered comparing prices in ~5months.

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