How do I use your API?

Please refer to the dedicated documentation for our cloud hosting API.

What can I do with your API?

Our API allows you to do everything you can do on our web control panel: the web control panel is actually implemented on top of the API.

When attempting to use the API, I see a ‘Bad operation’ error message – why?

If you see this error message while attempting to access the API, you are sending arguments which the API server does not accept. One possibility is that you are using a VNC password longer than eight characters. The API only accepts passwords with eight characters or fewer.


How do I create a backup copy of a drive whilst it's mounted on a running Virtual Machine?

Please read our guide for creating live backups.

What solutions do you recommend for backups?

You can easily create backups yourself, either via the Copy button on the control panel or an rsync cron job.

If you run your backup server in the same availability zone as the main server, you can transfer data between the two for free over a VLAN, but both would be affected by a catastrophic failure of the entire availability zone. On the other hand, you can survive such failures if you provision your backup server in another availability zone, but bandwidth between the two sites will be billable.

Can I make a backup copy of a drive?

We provide a drive copy function which duplicates a drive. You have to power down a server while this takes place, and it may take some time if the drive is large. We aim to introduce instant snapshots in the medium term, which will be possible while a server is running.

What redundancy does your infrastructure provide?

Our virtual drives are allocated on RAID1 disk arrays. These provide a similar level of reliability to RAID1 on a traditional dedicated server, and ensures that any failure on one virtualization host will not affect others. By contrast, many of our competitors use centralised disk servers (SAN/NAS) which act as a single point of failure.

What is your uptime guarantee?

Our Service Level Agreement (SLA) offers compensation whenever we fail to meet our 100% uptime guarantee. Please see our Terms of Service for more details.

Dedicated/Hybrid solutions

Do you offer dedicated servers and hybrid cloud/dedicated clusters?

In conjunction with our partners Peer 1, we can offer hybrid solutions in London Portsmouth and sat-p availability zones, with Peer 1/ServerBeach dedicated servers and our cloud servers connected together on a high-speed local network.

When would you recommend using dedicated disk storage?

If you have heavy IO requirements, or have a particulaly IO-latency sensitive application, we recommend considering Solid State Drives (SSD) for your server. These provide much faster throughput than traditional magnetic hard disks (HDD) and can be purchased with a server of any size.

If you have a requirement for high throughput and a particularly large amount of storage (usually more than 2TB) you could contact us to ask about a dedicated disk pair, either HDD or SSD. This is a custom arrangement and there is normally some lead time as we may need to purchase dedicated hardware for you.

When would you recommend a hybrid solution?

Hybrid solutions are particularly useful where you need a high-spec database server with high IO performance requirements which is better run on dedicated hardware, but want the flexibility of our cloud platform for your front-end web servers and load-balancing. A combination including dedicated machines is also worth considering if you need particularly low latency for compute-heavy jobs or are specifying servers with more than 16GB of RAM.

OS-specific questions

BSD - I am using a BSD system and it fails to boot normally. How can I fix this?

Some BSDs include a feature called ‘Machine Check Architecture’, which is intended to report hardware errors to the operating system. This is not suitable for use on a VM, as the machine does not see real hardware – only the virtual abstraction presented to it by the hypervisor – and may cause problems during boot.

We recommend you disable this in your VM’s boot options if you are experiencing problems. For example, you can do this on FreeBSD systems by adding “hw.mca.enabled=0″ to the file /boot/loader.conf.local. If you continue to see problems, some reports also indicate that it may be beneficial to disable TCP Segment Offload (TSO) by adding “hw.bce.tso_enable=0″ to the same file.

CentOS - I am running RHEL or CentOS Linux, and I have lost network connection. What’s going on?

There is a known bug within Red Hat Enterprise Linux and variants such as CentOS which may cause the primary network device eth0 to be renamed between reboots. To resolve this problem, users of affected systems should delete the following two files, if they exist, and then reboot:


Linux - I am running a pre-installed Linux image. How do I update the kernel?

Our pre-installed systems use the extlinux bootloader instead of the more common GRUB. If you have just installed a new kernel but find that you are still booting into the old version, it may be because your distribution has attempted to update GRUB instead of extlinux. To fix this, simply update the ‘vmlinuz’ and ‘initrd.img’ symlinks extlinux uses to find the kernel. Depending on your distribution, these will either be in the root (/) or /boot directory. For example, if they are in the /boot directory you can update them by running:

ln -s /boot/[new kernel image] /boot/vmlinuz
ln -s /boot/[new initrd] /boot/initrd.img

When this is done, simply reboot to start using your new kernel.

Windows - I set a system time check at 5 minute intervals, but my system time is not correcting itself. Why not?

Your Windows system time may not be running. Ensure you have set the Windows time service to start automatically, or you will not be reaching an NTP server.

Windows - My Windows Server 2003 is very slow, with slow disk i/o and extremely high CPU use. What can I do?

This may be because your server has started using PIO transfer for disk, not DMA, which we have seen happen to Windows 2003 servers. To change this back you will need to uninstall the IDE driver and reboot the server. In Device Manager, uninstall the IDE channel from the IDE controller, then restart.

Windows - Why can’t I connect to my server using RDP?

If you’ve never used the server before, try logging in over VNC, as our pre-installed images require some setup (such as the initial password creation) to be performed before RDP can be activated. If you can login over VNC but cannot connect over RDP, you may need to disable Microsoft’s ‘Network Level Authentication’ (NLA). This offers an additional layer of security on top of normal RDP authentication, but is not compatible with older clients such as those included in XP or older versions of Windows.

See How to change the RDP authentication settings (Microsoft article).

Windows - How do I extend drives on Windows Server 2003?

Here is the procedure to extend drives on Window Server 2003:

  1. Install server (this will create single System partition, which you cannot extend)
  2. Switch off server and increase disk size on EH control panel
  3. Start server again

Create new partition:

  1. Open up the disk management window (Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage)
  2. Right click on the unallocated space and create a new partition
  3. Follow the wizard to create basic primary partition formatted with NTFS – this will create a second partition that you will be able to extend

Extend new partition:

  1. Switch off server and increase disk size again
  2. Start server again
  3. Open up disk management as in stage 4 to see unallocated space
  4. Open command prompt
  5. diskpart.exe
  6. List volume
  7. Select volume
  8. Extend – this will extend the selected volume to fill the available unallocated space
  9. check disk management window to see extended partition

See Microsoft Support for further instructions.  We also recommend setting the virtual NIC in the advanced server configuration settings to Realtek RTL8139, rather than the default Intel PRO/1000.

Windows - Why is the system time consistently off by a number of hours?

The issue here is the emulation of the hardware clock by the virtualization system. On Linux and other Unixes, the convention is that the hardware clock is permanently set to UTC (i.e. GMT without DST), and the operating system adjusts this for display. On DOS and Windows, the convention is that the hardware clock stores local time, and that the operating system adjusts this when DST starts and ends.

We cannot support both of these behaviours, since our virtualization layer does not know what operating system it will boot when it sets up the virtual hardware to start a server. We have chosen the UTC behaviour.

To fix this on Windows 2008 and above, we recommend that you tell Windows to use the Unix method as follows:

  • Open an administrative command prompt. In Windows 2008, this can be found in the ‘Accessories’ section of the start menu – you’ll need to right click and select ‘Run as Administrator’.
  • Set the boot manager to use the platform clock: C:\Windows\system32>bcdedit /set {default} USEPLATFORMCLOCK on.

This should instruct Windows to use the PM timer for the primary clock source. The system UUID ({default} in the example below) should be changed if the system UUID is different than the default boot device.

Older versions of Windows (2003 and below) handle this differently: one recommended solution involves a registry setting of:RealTimeIsUniversal=1, which you can apply to make Windows adopt the Unix behaviour.

Windows - I am having networking problems – what should I do?

We have known some customers have problems with the default Intel network cards if using Windows 2003 or below. As a first line of attack against networking problems, we recommend trying the Realtek network card, which is an older model.

Windows - What should I do if my Windows Server hangs on a restart?

Shut down your server and click the Edit button to go to the configuration page. Then click Expand on the Advanced section. Set the number of CPU cores simulated to 2 (or 4 or 8 if your total core-MHz is greater than 5000).

Windows - I purchased my Windows licence from ElasticHosts – how do I activate my server?

Go through the normal activation process and leave the product key blank. The product key is already built into the system and will be picked up automatically.