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Can I run Virtualmin with under 512mb of Ram?

One of the most popular trends we have been seeing at OpenVZ.ca as of late is the huge incoming flow of orders on which our customers are choosing Virtualmin GPL as their desired control panel. As an alternative to cPanel or DirectAdmin it has some advantages. The first and foremost is that it is free (There is a paid version with more features) and it accomodates the more advanced users giving access to such things as apache configuration files and named zone files.

So why am I writing about this? Well, majority of these new orders are placed with the most minimum VPS package we offer, “Small.” Weighing in at 128mb of ram and 2 CPU cores at 1.0ghz this configuration will create errors even before you try to run Virtualmin GPL.

In order to run Virtualmin GPL properly you will need a “Class A” supported system which is on the Virtualmin Website, and at a very minimum 512mb of ram.

RAM Usage on OpenVZ Virtualmin CentOS Fresh Installation

RAM Resources during/post Installation on CentOS 5 in OpenVZ

We have done some experimenting and the installation script will fail with errors unless you have approximately 490mb of ram available. This is on an OpenVZ VPS (XEN may be different).

At 512mb of ram, the installer will complete and you will be able to run the panel but when you go through the setup wizard do not select any options which require more ram or you will max out the guaranteed resources for your VPS.

In short, if you want to run Virtualmin GPL on a VPS do so with at least 768mb of guaranteed ram and if possible go for 1gb to accomodate for future growth. Always use a “Grade A” supported system and make sure that you scatter virtualmin’s default cron job’s throughout the day so that you do not max out all of your CPU time at midnight.

4 comments. Leave a Reply

  1. There are a few factors at work in Virtualmin memory usage. On a 32 bit system, I’ve never seen an install require more than 256MB (and Ubuntu 10.04LTS requires the most I’ve seen to date, and was the first to require 324MB just to install). But a 64 bit system requires even more (but there’s usually no reason to run a 64 bit OS if you don’t have more than 4GB of RAM, making this a moot discussion). This may also be a bit different on systems that don’t have any swap available. I think all of our test VMs have a 128MB swap file, which for systems that can’t use or don’t have swap, would add 128MB to the minimum memory requirement.

    Once installed, Virtualmin can be configured to run successfully on as little as 128MB (but 256 is probably the lower bound for a full-featured system, and I wouldn’t want to do anything with less than 512). I do want to point out that Virtualmin isn’t the biggest memory user on a hosting system (it’s usually fourth or fifth, after ClamAV, MySQL, Apache, and BIND, but it depends on a lot of factors)…it’s just that a full-featured hosting system with all features enabled takes a pretty good chunk of memory.

    Anyway, we have a guide for low-memory installations of Virtualmin here:

    http://www.virtualmin.com/documentation/system/low-memory

    On the latest Ubuntu version (without tweaking of the stock install), you probably have to substitute “256MB” for “384MB” or maybe even more.

    Oh, and we’re ecstatic to here that Virtualmin installs are so popular! Y’all don’t hesitate to come see us in the Virtualmin forums if you run into any problems.

    Finally, one thing you (you, as in, admins at Openvz.ca) might consider is creating a Virtualmin image with Virtualmin pre-installed and with all but web service features disabled; you could create it while running with enough memory to install easily. This image could then be spun up in the future with as little as 128MB (maybe 192MB with no swap), though it wouldn’t be able to process mail (a mail processing stack is huge, by the time you factor in ClamAV, and to a lesser extent SpamAssassin), or do much more than serve websites, maybe with a small MySQL configuration or applications that can use SQLite instead.

    • Hey Joe!

      I’m excited that you of all people commented on my post.

      I can show you some examples of when the installations have failed. I can even give you a “test” environment of our “Small” VPS package.

      Even when enabling 256 bust RAM to allow for additional memory allocation and running 32bit CentOS it will fail.

      In a whole though, you are right… Virtualmin the program doesn’t require the 512mb of RAM to run. It’s definitely when you enable Spamassasin, ClamAV, MySQL, Apache etc..

      But as a web hosting platform as a whole, majority of our customers expect to run the whole suite. And that’s where the problem lies.

      Everything runs so much smoother when you’re above 512mb. This is the reason why we choose not to support it with less because there are so many things to play with.

      I am open to creating an OpenVZ pre-made template to see if we can get it to run with limited features in 128mb or 256mb environments, if you’re willing to help out.

      Again, thanks for your comments!

      Joseph

  2. since hours, their page can not be shown up, seems to be a serious problem

  3. fred

    This info is outdated. Virtualmin runs just fine on 256MB now.

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