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Things To Look For In a Web Hosting Company? 456

Posted by timothy
from the secret-underground-layer dept.
v1x writes "I have had an account with my current web hosting company for a few years, with 3 domains being hosted there (using Linux/PHP/MySQL). Recently, all three of these websites stopped functioning, and upon checking the site, all my directory structures were intact, whereas all of the files were gone. Upon contacting their technical support, I was given the run-around, and later informed by one of their administrators that none of the files could be restored. Needless to say that I am looking for a different web hosting company at this point, but I would like to make a more informed choice than I did with the current company. I have read a similar Slashdot article (from 2005) on the topic, but the questions posed there were slightly different." Reader mrstrano has a similar question: "I am developing a web application and, after registering the domain, I am now looking for a suitable web hosting provider. It should be cheap enough so I can start small, but should allow me to scale up if the web site is successful (as I hope). The idea is simple enough so I do not need other investors to implement it. This also means that I don't have a lot of money to put on it at the moment. Users of the website will post their pictures (no, it's not going to be a porn website), so scalability might be an issue even with a moderately high number of users. I would like to find a good web hosting provider from day one, so I don't have to go through the pain of a data migration. Which web host would you choose?"
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Things To Look For In a Web Hosting Company?

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  • Things I look for (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:40PM (#31224900) Journal

    Do they use Linux only? I only want Linux hosting, and mixed providers are always trying to push you over into Windows hosting because they're being incentivized to do so. I've been around and don't need to hear that pitch again.

    Effectively unlimited domains, bandwidth, storage and MySql databases, email accounts, FTP accounts - multiple user accounts I can lock down to one domain or folder for these because I might want to job out management for a domain or subdomain. Because I never know today what I'm going to be using it for, and this is a long term relationship that's challenging to get out of.

    Cheap domains - under $15 a year. As many as you want on one hosting account, because I collect them as a hobby.

    PHP, Perl and Python of course.

    Ease of migration away. I figure if there's a button on their interface to release my domains to another registrar they'll try and keep me with good service rather than difficult migration.

    Reasonable policies about certificates and dedicated IP addresses. Because I might want to open a store.

    Reasonably easy and flexible setup of web apps, because I might want to run a package. Self-help configuration because I'm always fiddling with things after business hours.

    I like BlueHost. No, I don't work for them but they've been making me happy for quite a while.

    • Re:Things I look for (Score:5, Informative)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:47PM (#31224946)

      Effectively unlimited domains, bandwidth, storage and MySql databases

      Be somewhat realistic. Not even Google provides unlimited storage space for their services. You get what you pay for.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by symbolset (646467)

        It's not actually unlimited, but it's effectively unlimited storage for hosting purposes. You can't use it for backup. But there's no cap - if you're using it for your website it's permitted. I guess enough people pay the full ride for their mini websites to make up for the piglets. Anyway, it says unlimited right on their home page and nobody's ever bothered me about storage. If one day their word is no good I guess I'll take my business somewhere else. But for now, no worries.

        Likewise you don't get

        • I'm just saying, don't be pissed when "unlimited" suddenly turns into not-so-unlimited. It's not like they're going to let you eat up hundreds of GB of space for $10/year.
        • by soundguy (415780) on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:42AM (#31226272) Homepage

          If you really expect "unlimited" resources for a trivial amount of money, you're a clueless cheapskate and no reputable hosting company wants you as a customer. Companies that advertise "unlimited" anything have mountains of fine print in their TOS. If you become inconvenient to host because you actually believed their line of bullshit on the front page and attempt to use large amounts of disk space or bandwidth, your account will be deleted for any number of petty excuses like excessive CPU cycles or memory usage.

          Also, domain registration and web hosting have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Any hosting company that tries to tie the two together as one product is scum and should be avoided. Go register your domains with any Enom or WildWest (GoDaddy) reseller and then go get your hosting somewhere else.

          Remember, shopping for hosting on price is a fools game. SLAs and quality service cost a shitload of money. If you don't pay for them, you won't get them.

      • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:05PM (#31225146)
        Yep. All hosting resources are finite, so anybody offering anything "unlimited" is clearly overselling what they have. I'd look for somebody who quotes a higher-than-I'll-ever-need number as proof that they're limiting potential hogs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by symbolset (646467)
          1TB of storage costs $150 including the server. If even 10% of the userbase was such a hog it would still work out fine for them. Apparently they don't have that sort of problem that I know about - it's been advertised unlimited for years now and if they were capping people we'd have heard about it. There would be posts to that effect right here in this thread.
          • by Anpheus (908711)

            1TB of storage at $150 is not including any redundancy.

            If quoted less than 20 cents a GB (using 2010 prices) then it's almost certain there is no redundancy, let alone a dedicated storage infrastructure to provide failover if the server dies.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by poptix_work (79063)

              You're absolutely correct. I work for a hosting company (though our typical customer is in the gbit/s range), all I can say about $150/TB is that it's the kind of thinking that lead to the OP losing his data and having no backups.

              Even our shitbox bottom of the barrel machines (top of the line a couple years ago) we blow out at $99/mo w/ 10mbit come with a 4 disk RAID5 array, typically using Adaptec or LSI (real LSI, not 3ware) controllers. That alone is $400+, add 4x disks, cost of spares in inventory, etc

            • We offer centralized storage to faculty, staff and students. It is highly fast and reliable. We've got a couple of NetApp 2020s that have multiple disk redundancy, will e-mail NetApp to have a disk overnighted if one fails, and take snapshots every couple hours. That is then backed up to a tape library nightly, which has its tapes rotated out to an offsite location. The idea being we can survive some heavy shit and get your data, including you doing something like deleting it (hence the snapshots).

              However,

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796)
            Amazon S3 charged $153.60/month to store 1TB of data. That doesn't count the cost to get the data into S3 or to get it back out. Storage (disk) is cheap. Power, network, and cooling for that storage costs something, as does redundancy (1TB is really 2TB of storage if you want it redundant).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mistlefoot (636417)
          Unlimited means that a few heavy traffic websites who try to utilize "unlimited" will cause your site to load like molasses. You ARE going to be on a shared box.

          Buying into a host that offers unlimited is only setting yourself up for dealing with that. Unless you expect your provider to deal with it by limiting those heave traffic users (and if they do while trying to maintain high profits, well there goes unlimited).
      • Dreamhost (Score:4, Informative)

        by illumnatLA (820383) on Monday February 22, 2010 @12:55AM (#31225982) Homepage
        I've had great luck with Dreamhost after I switched to them from 1 and 1 (god they sucked)

        Dreamhost is based in Southern California and even better, their tech support is based in Southern California. They're also an employee owned company.

        They offer a pretty wide range of services from shared hosting on up to your own servers. Their tech support is fantastic... once when I had a problem with my shared hosting account, their tech support person emailed me back about the problem BEFORE I received the automated "someone from tech support will get back to you as soon as possible" email. (the automated email came about 15 minutes after I submitted the ticket.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I like BlueHost. No, I don't work for them but they've been making me happy for quite a while.

      I also like BlueHost. No, I don't work for them either, but they've been making me happy for quite a while too.

      There was one month when my site got a lot of traffic. Over 100 GB of bandwidth. It was handled smoothly.

      I also like that they offer ssh access to your VM.

    • Re:Things I look for (Score:5, Interesting)

      by samkass (174571) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:24PM (#31225316) Homepage Journal

      For $15 a year you're not going to get a world-class hosting service. If you look at the hosting providers that mon.itor.us show above 99% uptime, you tend to see similar names every year. Pair.com is my favorite-- they always have great performance and near-perfect uptime. I've been using them for 12 years or so and I've never seen my site down for one minute. They're not the cheapest, but the poster didn't sound like he was looking for the cheapest-- he wants the ones that's reliable and that he won't have to worry about, ever.

      (I don't work for them, just a happy customer.)

      • You'll also notice (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        That the good ones have higher prices. Yes, Pair is expensive. You can literally find companies that'll give you a year of hosting for what they charge for a month... Think there might be a reason for that?

        I've also used them for a long time, and there's a reason I keep paying their prices. They are solid, fast, and they don't get hacked. Getting hacked is something many people don't think about but I've had problems on other hosts. A site gets owned because the hosting company didn't keep their servers up

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fm6 (162816)

      I gotta tell you dude, you have some very strange priorities.

      Do they use Linux only? I only want Linux hosting, and mixed providers are always trying to push you over into Windows hosting because they're being incentivized to do so. I've been around and don't need to hear that pitch again.

      That's not my experience. And in any case, choosing a host with such a minor issue as your prime criteria... jeez.

      I just bailed on JustHost, which is a Linux only company. They pulled all kinds of sales gimmicks on me. I would have tolerated them if they provided better service.

      Cheap domains - under $15 a year. As many as you want on one hosting account, because I collect them as a hobby.

      Are you under the impression you have to get domain registration and hosting from the same company? Because you don't.

      PHP, Perl and Python of course.

      They have these things. Installing them is not rocket

      • Just as an FYI, Dreamhost's uptime, at least in my case, has gotten much better. They even pulled off a server migration without a hitch.

        I was a customer at the time they were having all of the uptime issues. I didn't switch because uptime wasn't the most important to me as I wasn't trying to make money with it. There were several hairy months but, they were always upfront about the downtime and even took the unusual step of admitting that it was their fault. (This wins big points with me as I am sick o

    • by xous (1009057) on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:05AM (#31226898) Homepage

      Hi,

      As a systems administrator at a hosting company I'd suggest you do the following:

      * Use a 3rd party registrar. A real registrar not a reseller of a reseller of a reseller of a registrar. Do not keep domains that have any value with your hosting provider.
      * Use a 3rd party backup service. Do not depend on your hosting providers backups.

      Those are the two biggest mistakes I see customers make all the time.

      Since you haven't really given us anything to work with regarding bandwidth, space, and resource usage I can only provide generalized suggestions.

      Research the hosting company.
      * Real legal entity for the company.
      * Own their own data center (preferably date centers) or at the very least hosted in a respectable DC.
      * Read customer reviews. Your not looking for a perfect score. I'd find that suspicious. Don't heavily weight reviews either way as every hosting company pisses off some warez kid and some companies that I've worked for previously have paid staff to post good reviews. One in particular even owns and hosts their own promotional sites while setting the setup the site to appear as a happy customer's site.
      * Talk to their support/sales staff. Ask questions that are difficult.

      Pay more than $6.99/mo or whatever the current gimmick for unlimited everything plus the moon.

      Do you really want to know why?

      Average hosting company pays front of the line employees around $8/h. Most of these are horrible techinicians.

      Let's say you put in 6 tickets a month. You've effectively cost them $1.01 for that month.

      Now lets say this company has semi-competent technicians at $16/h which you buy you about 25 minutes of tech time per month. This doesn't even factor in hosting costs which aren't cheap.
       

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:42PM (#31224918)

    You're going to run a *chan site..

  • by eld101 (1566533) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:44PM (#31224930)
    100X better than simply web hosting... Linode [linode.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gadny (1097657)
      I just got a Linode account and I like the service a lot. I also use Slicehost [slicehost.com] for several small sites, which is almost identical in terms of service offernings (although a little more expensive bang-for-the-buck-wise), but reliable, and you get snapshot backups for $5 extra/month.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by wdsci (1204512)
        I was going to say the same, that Linode looks good but there are other VPS companies worth considering. I've been with Slicehost for a year or so and I'm quite happy with it, except for the fact that their cost per unit {RAM,disk space,bandwidth} is a little higher than Linode and Slicehost seems unwilling or unable to completely close that gap. There's also the possibility of using a cloud server, which typically lets you be more flexible in paying for only the resources you really need. Regardless, a
        • by gadny (1097657)
          Yeah I second this caveat –you DO have to install everything from the ground up, but frankly it's worth the time to learn to install a LAMP or Rails stack, and doubly worth the time to optimize away all the stuff you don't need. Besides, Apache administration is fun!
    • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:57PM (#31225060)

      Second the linode recommendation. The staff are responsive and even proactive if there is a potential issue with their servers, and the management system is simple without being restrictive. We recently started using our own kernel, because you can.

      They score highly in performance benchmarks as well, which I can verify from over a year of managing 6 linodes, they're really fast.

      http://journal.uggedal.com/vps-performance-comparison [uggedal.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by duguk (589689)

      100X better than simply web hosting... Linode [linode.com]

      Agreed. Though running services can be bad for beginners, its a lot more adaptable than getting someone else to do it. The amount you can do with any VPS is far and beyond what any shared hosting will do, but keeping it secure is important.

      I've now got two Linodes [linode.com], one in the UK and one in Atlanta, and they're both excellent. Great value for money and speed. Only had one 2 hour period of downtime and they were keeping everyone very well informed. Their support staff are excellent and I can't recommend them

    • 100X better than simply web hosting... Linode [linode.com]

      Far better, yes. But you have to know a little about the command line and some sysadmin kind of stuff, or at least have time to learn as you go.

  • NearlyFreeSpeech.net (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stile 65 (722451) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:45PM (#31224936) Homepage Journal

    I've had great luck with http://nearlyfreespeech.net/ [nearlyfreespeech.net] - they're security-conscious, anti-spam, pay-only-for-what-you-use, and I like their political pro-privacy and pro-free speech stance. I have a feeling most of the people here at Slashdot would be very comfortable with them. They run FBSD, not Linux, but it's really not that huge a difference for web development.

    Make sure you read the caveats about what will and won't work with their service. Things like Django and RoR won't really work because of the need for a persistent process, and they don't yet have support for cron jobs (but they're working on it - it's difficult because of the way they're set up). OTOH, MVC frameworks for PHP like CodeIgniter will work just fine, and they've got Catalyst installed for Perl coders. They do make it very clear about what they do and don't support, though.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Stile 65 (722451)

      And while I'm at it, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES go with aventurehost.com. Seriously shitty service, and they renege on what they promise their customers. A few years ago I paid them $200 for a "lifetime" hosting account that I barely used, mainly for DNS and mail and some dev work. As of the beginning of this year, everyone who had such an account was essentially SoL and they were charging $40/year (IIRC) to continue the subscription on the accounts. I told them in no uncertain terms I wouldn't be r

      • by seifried (12921)
        At least in Canada about the only type of company that can sell a "lifetime" membership or type of product is a cemetery (and they have to put aside funds to pay for upkeep/etc. to ensure that what you pay in will actually get you what is promised). Pretty much every other "lifetime" type of membership (gym, etc.) is a scam, this applies to online services as well.
    • I'd like to second this. I'm only using them for my personal sites, but their service runs fairly well, and their pay-for-usage model is neat. Their web interface for members is also elegant -- simple, not bogged down with graphics, works great in text browsers or from a phone.

    • by jadin (65295)

      I third this.

      While reading their FAQ explaining how and why they run their business, I was very quickly convinced that this was who I wanted to host my domain(s). I've never regretted that decision.

      I guess a thank you is in order to the "slashdot collective". I never would have found their site without a suggestion from here.

    • by gHT9 (1750954) on Monday February 22, 2010 @12:57AM (#31226018)

      Nearlyfreespeech is not for everybody. I used to recommend them, but not anymore.

      Here are the advantages:
      * low cost, especially for tiny sites
      * SSH included, no bullshit regarding that

      Disadvantages:
      * php and mysql performance is very slow. the servers are overloaded
      * ssh is very slow. there is lag between every command. This is especially noticeable when using sshfs
      * sometimes there is lag for simple page loads
      * no cron, no https, several little things you may have come to expect from a host are not provided by NFSN
      * reliability: a couple of times a year, NFSN will make some arbitrary change that may cause your sites to go down. The first time, the permissions on all of my files changed in such a way that the web server could not access them, and I had to manually change them back. The last time, symlinks stopped working, and I had to find every one, delete it, and recreate it.
      * reliability: I don't think NFSN even has 2 9's. (ie less than 99% uptime). When NFSN is down, they still charge you for storage, but not bandwidth. This is fine for them, but might not be for you.
      * NFSN is a one-man LLC, named Jeffrey Wheelhouse. If you ever need to deal with support, you will notice that this guy is a self-righteous asshole. Just look at the forums, and his responses. I wouldn't usually consider this a problem, but because NFSN is so buggy, you will have to deal with this man eventually.

      • by WK2 (1072560) on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:10AM (#31226106) Homepage

        I second the motion to avoid NFSN. Sometimes cheap can be really great, like Google search. But NFSN is just plain cheap. Also, NFSN has recently raised their prices, so even medium sized sites will end up paying the same amount they would for a decent service, but I doubt that NFSN has improved their service at all.

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Monday February 22, 2010 @04:09AM (#31226908)
      Read Error. Your request could not connect to the correct web server. This typically occurs as a result of a temporary outage or problem on our network....Generated Mon, 22 Feb 2010 08:06:41 GMT by vhost.phx4.nearlyfreespeech.net (squid/2.7.STABLE7)

      I'd expect my hosting company's website to be a bit more immune to slashdotting.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gHT9 (1750954)

        That's what I meant about nearlyfreespeech's reliability. This sort of thing happens to them all the time. I doubt that it has anything to do with linking to them in the Slashdot comments.

  • Hosts I use (Score:2, Informative)

    by turtleAJ (910000)

    I currently use 2 hosting companies for various things:
    1st - BlueHost.com
    I have the best things to say about BlueHost.com
    No affiliation, other than very happy with the service and support.

    2nd - Tech.coop
    Unlimited!

    The last one I want to mention is:
    PriorityColo.com
    http://prioritycolo.com/ [prioritycolo.com]

    Why? Because they have the balls to tell "big shot lawyer companies" to STFU when they send shaky take-down notices.

    Hope that helps! =)

    • by Stile 65 (722451)

      Man, Tech.coop looks awesome. Thanks for the suggestion, I might join it shortly!

    • by bendodge (998616)

      I second BlueHost. I've been a customer for several years, and i've been pretty happy. They keep rehashing their advertised bandwidth and storage (they both now say unlimited, vs 300gb and 2tb when i first signed up iirc). The important things, though:

      -Linux only
      -50 MySQL databases puts a realistic limit on the account
      -Servers are very beefy but slightly oversold
      -SSL costs $45 a year
      -SSH is available but requires some hoop jumping with faxing ID and whatnot

      I've been a bit unhappy lately with page load times

  • Free trials. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:47PM (#31224950) Journal

    It probably doesn't apply to either of your projects, but if you're starting from scratch, Google App Engine [google.com] might be a good candidate. Advantages: Starts out free, and it's by Google, so yes, it scales. When you have to start paying, it's pay-as-you-go like Amazon, but only for the cycles you actually use, since it's an entirely managed solution.

    Like I said -- probably doesn't apply. It won't run PHP (that I know of), and mrstrano didn't specify what his shiny new app is being developed in. But if it's early enough, and if you're willing to trust Google...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mrsteveman1 (1010381)

      You can insulate yourself from App Engine lock-in by developing your app for Django, which is then portable to a standard server if App Engine turns out to be a problem.

      I did recently drop AE for one of my projects because their urlfetch service was returning odd results, and database operations were failing multiple times per day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        You can insulate yourself from App Engine lock-in by developing your app for Django, which is then portable to a standard server if App Engine turns out to be a problem.

        That works, to a point. Similarly, you can develop your app in Ruby, for Datamapper, with the dm-appengine plugin -- and yes, it'll even run Rails.

        But ultimately, you're going to want to use some Appengine-specific features. But even then, people have made Appengine-compatible APIs for Hadoop.

        their urlfetch service was returning odd results,

        That would be interesting to know about.

        database operations were failing multiple times per day.

        That's actually normal, and by design, which is part of why it'd be hard to develop something truly portable.

        See, appengine uses optimistic locking. That means if two instances t

  • I've moved around Web hosts a few times for similar reasons, most of which amount to general incompetence on the part of the hosts. Often the host would start out fine, seem great, and then after a while the outages, increased latency, and other problems would mount. By the time I found myself getting in touch with the host's tech support regularly, I would realize how bad it really was. Eventually I felt I had no choice but to go elsewhere, and I was back in the same boat as before. I've come to believe th

  • ...so I use Hosting Matters [hostmatters.com]. Been using them for years, they're cheap, provide MySQL and cpanel access, sftp, and ssh (if you ask). Their rates are reasonable, and -- bonus -- every time I've filed a help ticket, I've gotten a response in hours*, and it's always been knowledgeable.

    *Once it took 12 hours (essentially overnight) and the support rep apologized for taking so long.

  • Transparency (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Xeoz (1648225)
    Personally, I have to look for a hosting company with active public forums and public conversations between users and the staff. This makes all of the difference in the world. You don't want a company that is trying to hide from you. The more public communication and discussion the better. IRC is always a plus. Other key points: Good contact information, good references on the web... and a good web site. After all a hosting company should be web savvy enough to not be using tables and HTML 4 frames.
  • I have been VERY pleased with Webfaction. They are basically a bunch of geeks that make web hosting a pleasure for other geeks. Their servers have all the latest tools, dev packages, and they have an automated application install for over 20 different applications (PHP, Ruby, Python, etc etc). Their support system is fast and competent, and I've learned a ton on their community forums.

    If they don't have a particular app that you want, it's not that difficult to download and install it yourself.

    http:// [webfaction.com]
    • by rotide (1015173) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:59PM (#31225600)

      I'm a random slashdot poster and just an fyi.

      Your whole post was pretty much void after you linked your referral link. The fact that _you_ get benefits from people signing up makes me think your review might be biased.

      I mean, if you don't sell me on their service, I'm not going to give you your referral bonus.

      Simple point, if you really want people to trust your review, don't post your referral links.

      Again, that was just my opinion on your post, I'm not saying you're wrong.

      • by Mantic (115217) <mikey DOT whitaker AT gmail DOT com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:29AM (#31226216) Homepage
        That wasn't a review in some non-biased comparison between multiple hosts. It's my biased opinion.

        I'm not a professional critic trying to be as non-biased as possible. I rather like Webfaction and think it's worth a shot. If you shared something really cool that I ended up purchasing, I wouldn't hesitate to give you credit. That's what the whole referral business is for.

        A snake-oil thing to do would be if I tried to trick people into clicking the link. Instead, I offered the referral option AFTER posting a direct link to their site.

        "I mean, if you don't sell me on their service, I'm not going to give you your referral bonus." Exactly, hence my disclaimer "If you DO decide to join, don't be afraid to use me as your referrer." Besides, I believe the bonus is only for those who register an account. Clicking does nothing for me.

        Anyway, thanks for your honesty!
  • LowEndBox (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Secret300 (637258) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ogidnix]> on Sunday February 21, 2010 @10:57PM (#31225054)
    LowEndBox [lowendbox.com] is a great website that compares low-end virtual private server providers.
  • Your hosting company must offer 24x 7 telephone support. If they do not, go elsewhere.

    They must offer full access via SSH. Obviously PHP, MySQL, unlimited email accounts and as much bandwith as possible is also required.

    I'd also recommend you register your domain names with a registrar unrelated to your hosting provider, so you can quickly and easily swap hosts.

    I use godaddy for domain names, and liquidweb for hosting. Both are large enough not to disappear overnight, and are very responsive to queries.

  • Isn't it a (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:01PM (#31225092)

    Good thing you had back ups. Right?

  • DreamHost (Score:5, Informative)

    by agrif (960591) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:01PM (#31225094) Homepage

    I have had a good experience with DreamHost [dreamhost.com]. Their support is snappy and helpful, and the people who work there seem generally kind. They have a fine set of dreamhost-specific howtos maintained on their wiki, and a powerful but easy to use panel for administration.

    They run linux boxes with the full complement of command line tools (with compilers and everything!), and the only restriction is no persistent processes. If you want to do that, you can buy their pricier private server option which gives you your own private server instance.

    They have some great terms of use (as far as storage and bandwidth are concerned), and their prices are reasonable. I got a great deal a while back on two years of hosting, and now I'm hooked on the service.

    • by EggyToast (858951)
      I have used Dreamhost for a few years now and have also been very pleased with their service. Not only are their prices reasonable but they provide plenty of tools to either help you set stuff up or to let you do it yourself completely. And not only are their prices reasonable, but their overage prices are still reasonable. My wife recently discovered that some big PDFs and images she had were being hotlinked to a forum and was getting perilously close to going over our bandwidth, and she found that it's
      • by tomhudson (43916)

        My wife recently discovered that some big PDFs and images she had were being hotlinked to a forum and was getting perilously close to going over our bandwidth,

        And you didn't do a "cp goatse.pdf interesting_stuff.pdf", after adjusting your local links to point to another copy of interesting_stuff.pdf?

        It would have saved you a ton of bandwidth (its not just the cost, which as you point out is minimal, but also the server load, which affects all your users).

        Is it too late?

    • by HazE_nMe (793041)
      Another Dreamhost user here. Right now you can get a $97 discount with a promo code (ccc97).
      Your 1st year works out to a little over $20 and $120 per year thereafter.
      Unlimited bandwidth, storage, and domains.
      Shell access is a plus, although I only use it for pulling files from other sites with wget or lynx.
      So far I am very pleased with them.
    • Seconding Dreamhost.

      I also use Lunarpages. They've never given me any trouble. Great host. However, you get way more from Dreamhost, including Ruby on Rails and (IIRC) Subversion.

    • by weston (16146)

      ... unless you know you're going to be using them to operate a website that isn't ever going to see real traffic and will never have critical uptime needs.

      Here's why: DreamHost accounts have two sets of rules: the ones they sell you on, and the other ones they're counting on you adhering to. That's right, they oversell. On purpose. They know it, and they admit it, and they have their little rationale as to why it isn't a problem, but it is.

      Here's an example: their "unlimited" storage offer. They make this k

      • by griffjon (14945)

        I am a dreamhost customer. Their shared hosting service is as described above. They also have this habit of killing your php scripts if they go over certain memory/cpu limits, which can make debugging a real pain.

        Pros: Cheap service, responsive and geeky tech support, good documentation on where their systems are wonky. Free hosting for non profits, and they don't nickle and dime you for crap like per-site fees, subdomains, etc - if it's free to them, it's free to you. When you outgrow their shared host

    • Not just that, they created their own file system.

      I've had minimal problems, you do get what you pay for. Don't go in expecting 6 nines. But I've had relatively minimal problems plus they have quite a few 'goodies'.

      MySQL, Subversion, Cron, Media streaming, one click installs of a ton of apps, htaccess/webdav.

      I've never had a problem compiling what I needed. (gcc is available). I've updated php, perl and pear. Ruby on Rails....

    • by schwep (173358)

      I have been using them for nearly a year & also like their service.

      Things I need in a webhost:
      1. ssh access & my machine is linux - my business is a linux only shop (except for the occasional VM with WinXP as a work-around) for a number of reasons
      2. Allowing me to install whatever I want/need. Some parts of my site are PHP, others are Ruby on Rails
      3. 'unlimited' space/bandwidth - I realize it's not, but I don't have to worry about my normal usage.
      4. ssl certificates/hosting for a reasonable amount
      5

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dreamhost was pretty good for most of the time I used them (~5 years) and I liked some of the extras they provided, like XMPP hosting for your domains. I wasn't as happy with the excessive Google integration toward the end of my use, but it was optional, so it was not a deal breaker. Unscheduled downtimes happened occasionally but were dealt with promptly. SSH access was nice, and they didn't mind http-related cron jobs (if I remember correctly).

      However, be wary of their referral program. I got a few ref

    • Been using Dreamhost for several years now. On the plus side, the shared hosting is dirt cheap. By and large, the servers stay up and available on the Internet. There have been hiccups, but between support and customer service, I'm mostly satisfied.

      Down side: shared hosting is shared hosting. My instance is on an old server, and they're trying to incentivize people to move off of it by not upgrading certain software (i.e. Rails is stuck at version 2.2.2). I could move to a newer server, but my client's

  • Good support. It seems obvious to me, but anyway....

    I had two Movable Type sites hosted at two different companies At the first one suddenly my PHP includes broke. I went back and forth with them for a week with them denying any knowledge or problems, and ended up having to rewrite the includes. No matter how many times I explained to them that I'd made no changes, the answer was the same...

    A couple of months later the same thing happened at the second one. Five minutes after emailing support they told me t

  • by efalk (935211) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:03PM (#31225112)

    Hoo boy, the stories I could tell. Actually, I can't, because the hosting provider threatened to sue us if we named them publicly.

    OK, first, if there's more than a couple of servers involved, and your business depends on it, use two or more different providers. If you only have one provider, it puts them in a position to screw you. When we terminated our relationship with our provider, they held our data hostage until we paid them an additional $15,000 to put our servers on line again long enough for us to copy our data.

    Which brings us to: DO YOUR OWN BACKUPS. Service providers either don't do them, or they don't do them right. The world is full of horror stories of customers paying the data center extra for backups, and then finding the backups were never actually done. And even if they do do backups, they maintain control of them, which puts them in a good position to extort you.

    Remember, the practice of holding your data hostage goes back a long way. Happened to my father's company back in the 70's mainframe days. It still happens.

    Most important of all: have a professional go over your data center contract with a fine-tooth comb. The default contract they'll give you (or at least the one they gave us) is highly abusive.

    For instance: if you don't explicitly terminate a contract at the end of its period, it's automatically renewed for another 18 months. You need to give 2 months notice before the end of the term before canceling. There is no early termination. If you so much as upgrade a single disk drive, the contract is automatically renewed for another 18 months.

    Here's a doozy: our contract specified that if a server went down, they would either fix or replace it within two hours of determining the problem. The catch: they merely have to say that they haven't determined the problem yet, and then they don't have to replace anything. Our main server was kept off-line for a month this way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Yert (25874)

      Sounds like something AffordableColo / DTI would do when I worked for them (by them I mean him, the one guy who ran it and would _unplug_ servers just to reap fees for "rebooting crashed servers".) I quit after less than two months working for Mr. Charles Baker, and I've offered to testify in the class-action, should it come to fruition. Search webhostingtalk.com for cbaker17 if you really want to see how many customers he abused this way before the company folded.

      Always research your hosting company befo

  • by maiden_taiwan (516943) * on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:03PM (#31225118)
    No matter which provider you choose, never depend on them for backups. Keep your originals locally and copy them to the webserver. Rsync is a great, effortless tool for this kind of synchronization. If you're maintaining SQL databases on the webserver, back them up at least daily with cron and download the backups. A few simple scripts will work wonders for your protection and your sanity.
  • slicehost (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ya really (1257084) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:05PM (#31225142)

    I like slicehost for a number of reasons, but you have to be willing to use a command line because there is no GUI unless you install one (because you're getting a virtual server with full root access).

    Though they do not offer cpanel or anything like that, they do have a minimal admin panel that you can use to configure DNS, MX and set up your server (as well as automate backups, which start at like 5 a month or so).

    For 20 a month, you get a 256mb ram virtual slice and around a dozen linux distros you can select from with their admin panel for the slice. If you dont like any of the ones they provide (very unlikely) you can opt to install your own with a set of directions they provide on their wiki (the wiki is also very helpful when setting up your server for whatever you might want to do).

    Whenever I need help with a server issue, they email fairly quick (same day) or they have a chat room with people who actually speak English as their first language (or know it well enough you would assume they do). Generally, the people helping you are the same ones who maintain their website or their servers as well, not outsourced help.

    Some dont like that they dont have any sort of guaranteed uptime, but eh, I've never really had any servers I have go down for more than an hour or so and it's generally sometime at night if they do. The downtime is generally planned or even if its an emergency, they notify with enough time you can migrate files to another server.

    For 20 a month and the freedom of having full server access to install what you want, I'd gladly pay. I still loath when I have some clients who only want to pay 3-5 or whatever a month at some lame shared hosting site and have to deal with cpanel or whatever else, because once you've used the command line and had full control on a remote server it's hard to go back to the panel interface, lol.

  • what to avoid (Score:2, Informative)

    by ckdake (577698)

    Things to avoid tend to be better indicators than things to go for. I'd avoid:

    * Companies that aren't open about issues. If there isn't a public forum, status RSS feed, status twitter account, etc. BAD NEWS
    * Companies that offer unlimited anything. By definition, unlimited means that they are overselling and while things may be great now, they'll suffer in the long run
    * Linux hosts that don't give you SSH access. CPanel/Fantastico/Whatever do plenty of things, but there is no substitute for having shell

  • Finding a web host (Score:2, Informative)

    by Scott Swezey (678347)

    I usually check out webhostingtalk.com to find reviews of web hosts, offers, and more. I would definitely suggest you check them out. I personally chose mddhosting.com for my website.

    Some other things to keep in mind: you get what you pay for... So unlimited of something means they are skimping elseware. Also remember to always keep your own backups. Even if your host does keep them, which they probably don't, it is a pain to get files restored for you. It also is nice to be able to leave without begging fo

    • Mod this guy up ... webhostingtalk is the best place to do research on your hosts. If there is any dirt to be found, you'll find it there. Also, a lot of hosts will offer deals to the community which aren't listed on their site. I found my dedicated server there for only fifty bucks a month. Ask for the same thing through the sales team or even spec it out on their own site and you'd get a quote at least double that.

      The key thing ... do research before you select a host. Never go with a host on blind f

  • From experience I have learned even a great webhost can go downhill quickly. I was orignally with Globat for a number of years without issues then they started doing things like signing you up for addons that charged you more money if you did not opt out. Their customer support was worthless and barely could speak english. The worst was when I tried to cancel my subscription. They had a dedicated cancellation phone line only open for certain hours and when I called on three occations it was not staffed! Aft
  • I've had a Linux server here at the house for upwards of 6 years, using DynDNS for a free name and a couple paid ones. Obvious potential issues off the top of my head:

    • ISP TOS violation. I'm not using it to run a business so we're in the clear here.
    • Availability. If our ISP connection hiccups, the server gets cut off from the outside world. Usually only a couple minutes at a time.
    • Security. I have telnet turned off, SSH/FTP blocked except for some work clients whitelisted in /etc/hosts.allow, and run
    • by bsDaemon (87307)
      Sometimes the availability due to connection isn't controllable by the hosting company. We had half our blocks taken down for about 2 hours a few months ago when Mzima started offering more specific routes for no good reason and fucked it all up. it got fixed, but its not like there was anything we could do about it. Glad I don't work in hosting anymore (and no, I'm not unemployed)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rarely do I go negative on the Internet. Things said on the internet stick with you forever, but maybe just a warning.

    The company 1 and 1 seems to be using a collection agency to leverage money out of previous customers. While they may not be breaking any laws, but they are definitely taking advantage of their customers.

    Google: "1 and 1" nco

    There are pages of people who have fallen victim to this company.

    A good narrative that describes almost exactly what happened to me...
    http://www.complaintsboard.com/co [complaintsboard.com]

  • Low cost hosting providers rarely guarantee backup and restoration services as part of the low cost package. It is often a separate item entirely that must be paid for in addition to the standard account. Not only this, many of the shared/virtual private server type providers do not offer any guaranteed recovery period if the server you happen to be on goes down. If you are experiencing an outage due to another user sharing your hardware being compromised and they take the server offline, often times the

  • My choices (Score:2, Informative)

    by phpsocialclub (575460)

    For small LAMP sites (less than 10K visits per month)
    Bluehost, ($7 per month)

    For Medium LAMP sites (20K-50K visits per month
    Media Temple Cloud ($20 or more per month)

    For Bigger LAMP Sites (50k+ visits per month)
    Rackspace Cloud ($150 per month)

    The last two have their issues at times, but they are way better than managing your own server. If you like sysadmin work (and I don't) get a Rackspace cloud server or Media temple DV server, but I like the cloud and grid options. They scale automatically.

  • by Huntr (951770)
    According to the Go Daddy commercials, that is.
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:23PM (#31225312)
    I was a system admin for a while at a web hosting company, though I left in December for another company in a different sector. Quite frankly, the experience of the OP isn't that unusual. Hell, some of people on my team would accidentally nuke fully-dedicated servers and then tell the customer that it was "russian hackers" or a "raid failure" instead of just owning up to it. More often than not, I was the one getting stuck taking the call and trying to make things right, which is one of the reasons I got out of there.

    We all know shit happens, and accidents can occur. That doesn't excuse not owning up to it when they do. In the case of the russian hacker excuse, the admin who came up with that gem tried to tell the senior admin that's what happened, too. When he found out that he was lied to, he pretty much went ballistic.

    That said, check the following stuff:

    1) if they are advertising "unlimited bandwidth," what's the actual throughput that they're allowing -- especially if they phrase the actual offer as "unlimited data transfer." Bandwidth usage is tied to memory usage, especially in the monitoring tools that come on cPanel-enabled servers, and so if you're pushing a lot of data it can spike your memory usage and

    2) if they'd advertising "unlimited disk space," what are the limits at which their backups stop, if any? whats the amount of disk space? if you're doing shared hosting, which hopefully you're not, then that affects whether or not your account ends up getting moved, at least where I worked, a lot of the job on overnight rotations was moving accounts for disk space management.

    3) what are their resource policies? On shared servers, we'd kick people for using more than 1% of CPU, generally. On a VPS, it could get a little higher.

    4) if you're looking for a VPS, check what platform they're using for hosting, whether its Xen, VZ, etc. VZ doesn't track memory internal to the container, or really allow for swap space, etc. So, if you were buying a 256M plan from us, you'd really get 1024M memory segmentation which was the "burstable," but memcached would leak out and suck up RAM from the whole server if it weren't installed right (and a lot of people in my department didn't know this or didn't care). If you plan on using something like memcached, you'll want a hardware dedicated server, or a sufficiently large Xen container.

    5) super-double check backup policy. We wouldn't back up dedicated servers, for instance. Backups could be configured to push to our array for a fee, or we could turn on local cpanel backups on the server, but if the disks really did go bad then you'd still be fucked if you weren't snapping copies back to yourself via FTP and keeping them local. If you're looking for a VPS or shared hosting, then make sure you know the backup rules -- how much data, and how it gets backed up. For instance, our setup used rsync over an NFS mount, which meant that we'd have a copy of the latest of everything that was there when the backup ran, but if something was corrupted before the backup, we'd have a backup of a broken file.

    Some recommendations of companies other than the one I worked for, which I've used for various things and liked well enough are Slicehost and RootBSD. They're both Xen-based, allow a really high level of autonomy, etc. Slicehost pretty much lets you do everything yourself. You can go from no server to vps with root in about 5 minutes with no human interaction. RootBSD takes a bit longer to get set up, but their support people were always really helpful to me, and the added benefit of not being Linux-based, but using FreeBSD though OpenBSD is also a custom option as well.
  • by RancidPickle (160946) on Sunday February 21, 2010 @11:28PM (#31225350) Homepage

    When you're going to get a new host, and it's not a name company (hostgator, dreamhost, etc.) do your research. There are a ton of resellers selling stuff from other resellers. It's like the Amway of the Internet. Look at the whois for your new host. If it's hidden behind one of those obfuscation services, it's a red flag. Look at the name servers. If it's the same as the host (ns1.host.com) it's a plus. If it's something else, go look at the website of the name service...you'll probably find it's where they're re-reselling hostspace. Try to get upline as much as possible, since if one of those people forgets to pay the bill, you're screwed with no (worthwhile) recourse.

    I would suggest not going with IXWebhosting. They've been hit with injection attacks for over two years on an almost daily basis. I was with them for years until they were compromised. They will also blame you, saying your website was insecure...except I had fifteen domains that were parked with a single HTML page that just said "go away" hacked.

    Make sure they're available 24/7, and that they answer the phones. My current VPS host (InMotionHosting) answered the phone at 1am and placed my order.

    Watch out for all the "review" sites. Do a whois and you'll find many are owned by the hosts that get top billing. At the very least, every host review should have some negative hits from a disgruntled webmaster. Look for the ones that lay it all out, warts and all.

    Never ever expect your host to back up your website. If it's not in your possession, it doesn't exist, unless you're lucky. Cron jobs are nice for dumping databases to a backup.

    I personally like dedicated IPs. Since it seems you're multi-hosting, see if shared or individual IPs are available. Also, check to see if wildcard or sub-domains (space.host.com) are available.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Start small. Shared hosting is probably fine unless you need the features of a dedicated Virtual Private Server. Some things that used to require dedicated VPS can now be outsourced to services like Amazon S3 and MySQL hosting. Shared Hosting: I like Dreamhost.com for all my PHP/MySQL related sites. They offer SSH accounts, unlimited number of domains for a shared hosting account, IMAP and preconfigured webmail, cron and a bunch of other goodies. Support is decent but not great. Using the promo code
  • Most web hosting companies don't backup uploaded content. Too resource and time consuming. We have always backed up customer data as well as config. We also host on real servers using real hardware raid. Backups are stored offsite and offline (tape). Not as cheap as some but then you get what you pay for. Your three domains would cost around $20 per month.

    http://www.cyberstreet.com/ [cyberstreet.com]

  • For not having backups. Mostly shared hosting does not include backups, and if they do it's very clearly stated and emphasized. Doing backups on that scale is very expensive.

  • 1. Back up your own damn site. Unless you're explicitly paying for backup and restoration services, be prepared to recover your own site if necessary. 2. Anyone offering "unlimited" bandwidth or disk is lying to you. If you dig around in the fine print they'll usually clarify that "unlimited" means something like "as appropriate for a small business growing at a reasonable rate" or similar bullshit. You'll never get a concrete number out of them. The real number is, "If you cease to be profitable, they
  • Get a vps and host yourself. I've been a very happy customer of linode.com for years... had one issue when their central routers were caught in the crossfire of a DDOS attempt... Great support, quick on help if needed, and the "machine" specs keep going up with no increase in fees...

  • mrstrano: use Google App Engine. Either Java or Python, doesn't matter. FREE to start, great value when the website takes off and scales beyond what you'll likely need.

  • ICDSoft (Score:4, Informative)

    by mariushm (1022195) on Monday February 22, 2010 @12:02AM (#31225630)

    The one company that I recommend to everyone when it comes to shared hosting is ICDSOFT.com It will be extremely hard for you to find a bad review on the Internet, simply because their service is impecable...

    I've used them for a year until I switched to a dedicated server and each time I had a question their tech support answered within 5 minutes with precise answers.
    The main think about them is that they're not oversold - each account can hold only one website, you get only about 100-500 GB of bandwidth, 10-50 GB of disk space and several databases and free webmail/pop3/smtp with limited number of email accounts, and each server had their own RAID 5 setup. When I had the website hosted there my server had about 120 websites hosted on it.
    This is actually great especially when you start your website as you'll know the server won't be overloaded, you won't have 10.000 websites on the server with all files being retrieved from a NAS (as Dreamhost does) and you won't have the accounts of 400-1000 people who abuse the "unlimited bandwidth and space" feature and stream music to their office from the hosting account or basically people that have Youtube clones on shared hosting accounts (as it happens on Dreamhost)
    Most people when they see they get only a few hundred GB of bandwidth they go on looking for hosting companies with unlimited bandwidth, but in reality for a startup website on a sharing account even 100 GB of bandwidth is enough. If your website becomes popular enough to go over 100 GB of bandwidth used, you'll afford to get a 60$ a month server with 2 TB of bandwidth and 200 GB of disk space.

    I've also used Dreamhost.com and Site5.com for a while, between ICDSoft and my own dedicated server, mainly because it was a good deal - used coupons to get one year for something like 10$. Site5.com was just slow, the control panel sucked....

    Dreamhost was slowish, overloaded (the server I was on had about 12000 websites on it), the quality of the websites is lower (blogs which are not optimized therefore abusing PHP and MySQL servers) and the NAS where this web server was retrieving from was shared between about 5-6 web servers so you can imagine a 1gbps link from a NAS was used by about 100.000 websites. Also, their servers and hardware have issues all the time - there's no single day where one of their NAS would not crash, or one of their websites would die or the email server shared between 20-30 web servers would fail and so on... you can check dreamhoststatus.com to see how often they fail.

  • This is why having a colocated server or a VPS (virtual private server) is so important; you can create backup scripts and run them via crond, and use scp to pull down your backups regularly. That way, if your hosting provider does go under or fudges up in a major way, you can have your sites back up and running in a matter of a couple of hours on a new host. Depending on how you configure your own custom backup scripts, worst case you might lose a few hours' worth of data (and possibly the server, but the

  • back up your data elsewhere, no?

    If not, you won't solve your problem (a lack of due diligence with respect to your own data) by switching hosts.

  • Tip #1: Don't have your domain registered with the same people who do your hosting. If you have some type of dispute with them, you're gonna be _especially_ screwed.

    Tip #2: Just say 'no' to GoDaddy, for either of the two above mentioned services.

    Tip #3: I've had good luck with Dotster for domain registration, but have had better luck with name.com recently, and moved all my domain registrations over to them.

    Tip #4: Dreamhost for the hosting, though I honestly don't have any experience with them for high-vol

  • To answer this question, it's best to understand some of how the webhosting world works. There are many tiers of them.

    At the bottom, where it sounds like you want to be, are the aggressive, overselling bulk hosters. They make only basic efforts to keep things running, offer little or no support, but if you know what you're doing you'll get good value... until something goes wrong or you reach their invisible limits.
    These guys are really cheap but the chances are you will have problems or have to change away

  • Linux with your own BIN, PHP5, MySQL5, lots of bundled subdomains, high (or no) bandwidth caps, lots of email accounts and aliases, 24/7 support, guarantied 99.99% uptime, nightly backups, etc.

    Yeah, yeah. Obvious, right? ...

    What most people forget to look for are a security certificate so you can securely check your web-mail and SFTP/SSH in to your site; secure email and IMAP. ...

    Oh, and they should have a status page showing ongoing maintenance. That saves a lot of headaches.

  • Web 0.2 (Score:4, Funny)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @12:29AM (#31225812) Journal
    So many buzzwords. What's wrong with just putting up a Geocities page like everyone else?
  • by stonecypher (118140) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .rehpycenots.> on Monday February 22, 2010 @12:35AM (#31225842) Homepage Journal

    1) Failures will happen. Design for them. Have at least two hosts, in significantly different physical locations. If a host gets hacked, if their backups were silently failing, if they go out of business without warning like RedONE did, if they get hit by natural disaster, et cetera; there just isn't anything you can do to isolate from that. Redundancy is key.

    2) Ask hosts about their backup policy and strategy, as well as their redundant disk setup, before you get started. It's not a perfect answer, but it gives you a decent sense of how on the ball they are - if they're spending for the extra disk space, then they're probably not cheaping out other places either.

    3) A week or two in, request a backup restore. You don't have to make up a failure or anything; just say you've had problems with hosts lying about backups in the past, and you want to make sure you're on good ground. Make some changes to your setup beforehand every 10 minutes on a cron, so you know how old the backup is when it's restored.

    4) Ask about gotcha policies like how they handle over-bandwidth (free day, shutoff, charge per unit, etc) and so forth. That'll give you a sense of how they'll behave if/when problems happen.

    5) Expect problems to happen. The engineering overhead of replication isn't that big these days, and the cost of not having it is immense. Furthermore, in addition to replication, which secures against failure, also have backup, which secures against attack. Backup can be by FTP to one of those cheapo shared hosts that don't care about disk space, but it needs to be at a distinct third location.

    Basically, don't try to find a host that won't have problems. You'll find Santa Claus sooner. Parts fail, people make errors, people do shady things, attacks are made, natural disasters and backhoes happen, et cetera.

    Just have a contingency plan in place. If you can handle a failure, it's no longer a critical problem. It's usually cheaper to have three normal hosts than one super duper bullet proof host. Leverage economy. The internet is designed for handling the failure of cheap parts through massive redundancy.

    Leverage that. It's the smartest thing in network history.

  • Go dedicated. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Pteraspidomorphi (1651293) on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:08AM (#31226098)

    Shared hosting is like like living in a small house with fifty strangers. All of you have a job that requires you to go in and out all the time. And there is only one door.

    Go for a cheap dedicated and unmanaged server and carefully manage your own backups. Watch out for 95% billing if you have any real traffic needs. Look for reviews in forums like webhostingtalk, not review sites. As recommended by an earlier commenter, look at the nameservers and make sure you are buying from the actual provider and not a reseller. Look at the upstream providers of your selected server provider, tier-1 ISPs are good, as well as lots of bandwidth between your chosen ISP and the internet, and a good SLA. Avoid "shared 100mbps". Look for extra costs you may have to pay before actually making a contract - For example, many providers will charge ridiculous amounts of money for extra IP addresses or extra domains in some stupid exclusive control panel (*cough*Plesk*cough*). A good domain name registrar is name.com. A bad domain name registrar is godaddy. Buying your domain name from your server host is unthinkably stupid.

  • Backups (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:09AM (#31226104) Homepage
    I used Webintellects - for several years. One day they had a hardware failure which took down my server. When they restored it - their backup process was found to be...lacking. They could only restore my site from a ONE YEAR OLD backup!

    Long story short - If the data is critical - trust no-one - use multiple different sources which you control for the data!

  • VPS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whysanity (231556) on Monday February 22, 2010 @01:45AM (#31226296) Homepage Journal

    You get what you pay for. If you want total control, man up and take it! Get a VPS from Linode or Slicehost and configure the server exactly how you want. They offer similar service for similar prices. To get you started, Linode has a LAMP StackScript available that can have you up and running in about 2 minutes. From there, configure Apache for multiple vhosts and you're all set.

    The downside is that ultimately, yo're responsible. The upside is that they don't touch your stuff and are expandable nearly instantly

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@NosPam.telebody.com> on Monday February 22, 2010 @02:17AM (#31226456) Homepage Journal

    I DEFINITELY recommend linode.com which gives you root and your own distro. They have kept expanding your hard disk etc. for free periodically for years, and keep developing new things for its users. You ssh in and can install anything you want, and can organize disk images, reboots and dns from dashboard.

    However you wouldn't want to host a simple very high volume site there, so I have hostgator as well. I haven't pushed it, but their baby account seems quite good. It is the opposite of linode, being high capacity and lower functionality but even then it has quite a lot of good stuff. Cpanel based but with ssh too.

Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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