I have to say that I worked in Unix Systems in the Enterprise before I started my own company. I have tried some low-end boxes and I find you can't trust them for anything but learning.
We've actually stopped selling boxes with less than 2GB of ram, due to complaints about performance.
"I though a VM would be faster than shared hosting" was the usual complaint.
When you run out of RAM your server is dead, so 2GB is a minimum.
I've also stopped selling VMs are "bare VMs" now and sell them as a service, so you get the control panel on the VM
Just the same service you get on shared, but you can hammer the living daylights out of it.
We can all remember hostrail!