Review of MicroLXC : Free VPS Service

In this post, we will take a look at MicroLXC service, specifically its Japan location. This is a free service offered by user neoon on the Low End Forums like LowEndSpirit, and is based similar concept as the nanoKVM project. 1

What is MicroLXC service all about?

As the name suggests, MicroLXC is a LXC based ‘free’ service that provides you with a 128 or 256 MB VPS. LXC is a type of virtualization for servers, you can read more about this technology here. I have previously reviewed a LXC based VPS by Terrahost on this blog.

Definition of LXC, a type of Container based server. Blog of Amar Vyas
Definition of LXC- compiled from Wikipedia and other sources.

These are NAT based servers across multiple locations including Australia, Japan, US, Switzerland. Singapore appears in the latest edition.

Update January 2021: Antwerp, Belgium location is also available for MicroLXC.

You have the option of using the VPS for a variety of purposes including running of scripts monitoring tools, or use it for your own small scale content management system or CMS. Some people use it as a relay; others set up a VPN.

Sponsors for MicroLXC. Blog of Amar Vyas
The MicroLXC project is supported by a variety of VPS providers including StarryDNS, Bakker IT, TerraHost, FlowVPS and Nexusbytes. Incidentally, I have VPS services with three of the five supporters this project. 

How to sign up for this service? 

The requirements for signing up for MicroLXC are pretty simple: You should have an active account on LowEndTalkLowEndSpirit or Hostedtalk for atleast six months. In addition, you should have least 50 posts and likes each. Requirements can be found on this post. 

Packages offered include:

  • Single core processor with 128 MB of RAM, 1.28 GB SSD drive and 200 gigabytes traffic.
  • The higher package has 256 MB of RAM and 2.56 gigabytes of SSD space. Bandwidth is capped to 200 gigabytes of traffic.
  • There is also an option to use this VPS as a storage.

    The service provides a dedicated ipv6 address, as well as the usual, 20 ports for a shared ipv4 address, similar to a typical NAT service. 
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Registration Process

The registration process is rather interesting. You have to visit the main site, i.e. microlxc.net, and select your username. This should be the same as your handle on the three sites mentioned above. The user has to select the location, type of service, etc. A token or a public key will be generated during the registration process, which you have to post on the forum you frequent. (In my case, I used my handle from LowEndSpirit, and posted the code there in the relevant discussion thread). 

Once approved, you have to go ahead and use it and add your ssh key. Note that from the available locations, typically Japan, and Switzerland often seem to be out of stock.

Logging in and setting up the service

The login portal and the menu have a simple interface. Simplicity works, and works well in this case. In the main account panel, you will see your account ‘quota’ and any active service you may have. I already have a VPS so the status shows that my quota is exceeded. In other words, I cannot create any new servers.

Coming to the functions offered in the server control menu: users are able to start, stop, reinstall or delete the server from the menu. And add your domain or subdomain using HAproxy. You can also set up a small website and configure a service like Cloudflare to enable access to this site via web browser. There is a storage option as well which I have not tried or used.

First Impressions

The system is pretty stable with high uptimes. I recently recreated the server for the purpose of this blog post. For my test site, I used Debian 10, which uses about 400 megabytes. This leaves about 2 GB of space free. I used the stock Debian install image, and virtually no bandwidth has been utilized so far. But then it is a nice option to have a NAT in Japan, in case there is some traffic coming from that region or you need to load balance or move some things around.

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Under The Hood

The below image shows the disk space, processor and memory details. I have also included results from YABS for network speed (iperf).

Parting Thoughts on MicroLXC Free NAT based Virtual Private Server

A hat tip to user Neoon and the hosting companies who have donated their servers and resources for this project. Managing multiple sites, multiple locations, and server configurations whilst fighting off abuse from unscrupulous persons sounds like a taxing job. On a personal note, now that I have been able to set up a web server, PHP and SSL on this server, time to put it to use for a project in the coming days!

Reinstalling Operating System on VPS Image courtesy: Neoon

Update January 8, 2021:

You can follow the status updates, including service additions, interruptions, updates and more by following this discussion on LowEndSpirit. 

A quick note about the Freemach project

The Freemach project is similar in its philosophy as MicroLXC, though it differs in nature. Ten (1o) VPS each are offered by Virmach and AlphaVPS respectively, in the US and Bulgaria. Instead of NAT technology, these offer ipv4 address. You can learn more about this project here.

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