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  1. #1

    Question Looking for a better shared host (USA) with current software and room to grow!

    I'm currently using HostGator (shared hosting, nothing special, but it was a step up from what I had before). Since EIG gobbled them up and moved everyone from the Dallas DC to Provo my service has gone from usually OK to pretty typically awful. My currently-low-traffic sites (I only have two - one is currently an "addon" domain to the other) load slowly, despite their attempts to add caching and so on (never needed that before, and now even WITH caching it's still slow as molasses more often than not).

    I'm overdue for an upgrade... I'm here looking for opinions and options (and what to avoid), not a price quote. Thus, what I'm looking for in my next host:

    • Not owned by EIG. Period.
    • Shared hosting that is not ridiculously oversold.
    • Doesn't need to be "unlimited": reasonable limits are reasonable (as long as they keep abusers under control).
    • Decent pricing. I'm certainly willing to spend more than I do now, up to a point.
    • Hosted in the central part of USA e.g., Dallas, which has always been curiously reliable.
    • Apache2 (some offer "LiteSpeed" which I do not want.)
    • Cpanel 11+
    • SSL shared cert available
    • SSH available (also SFTP)
    • Cron jobs allowed (that would come in handy once in a while!)
    • MySQL 5.5 preferably
    • PHP 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, later? (Ideally multiple versions available)
    • Python 2.7 preferably (at least 2.6 but that's EOL now!)
    • Perl 5.10 or greater preferably
    • Linux kernel 3.2.x or later preferably (2.6.x is pretty long in the tooth now too)
    • Deals promptly with blacklistings by Spamaus, etc. (I've been through that thanks to spammers on the shared host... some places are proactive and some ignore such things in the hopes the customer will go away - which I finally did.)


    Some places I've pondered so far:

    • A Small Orange (Oops, EIG ate them too! I'd probably have moved there months ago... the ASO people seemed nice. Software versions were not as current as I hoped when I checked though. And, EIG... I really don't want to have to move the next time they force their subsidiaries to "consolidate").
    • Site5 (Very interesting but the opaque "resource points" calculation thing gives me a whole lot of pause as I read stories about it here and elsewhere.)
    • A2 Hosting (Intriguing... kudos for having a full list of dev package versions! They don't appear to offer a "business" tier though, and that plus "unlimited" worries me. DC is in Michigan.)
    • Arvixe (User reviews are mixed, but they have a "business" level of service that might have fewer users per box. Lacking a lot of details though.)
    • iWF Hosting (Looking into their offerings, gathering details.)
    • GeekStorage (LiteSpeed = non-starter, otherwise kinda interesting.)
    • MDD and StableHost (LiteSpeed = non-starter, otherwise they seem very similar.)
    • ... there are others, but the ones above came up most frequently.


    Footnote: VPS is probably overkill for what I have. I've thought about doing my own hosting for web and email but frankly I don't want to play sysadmin at that level for this - that's a lot of time and effort. I've also thought about splitting out the email hosting part entirely... any thoughts on good email-only hosts?
    Last edited by MartyMacGyver; 11-13-2013 at 12:29 AM. Reason: formatting

  2. #2
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    Firstly, welcome to WebHostingTalk

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    • Not owned by EIG. Period.
    • Shared hosting that is not ridiculously oversold.
    • Doesn't need to be "unlimited": reasonable limits are reasonable (as long as they keep abusers under control).
    • Decent pricing. I'm certainly willing to spend more than I do now, up to a point.
    • Hosted in the central part of USA e.g., Dallas, which has always been curiously reliable.
    • Apache2 (some offer "LiteSpeed" which I do not want.)
    • Cpanel 11+
    • SSL shared cert available
    • SSH available (also SFTP)
    • Cron jobs allowed (that would come in handy once in a while!)
    • MySQL 5.5 preferably
    • PHP 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, later? (Ideally multiple versions available)
    • Python 2.7 preferably (at least 2.6 but that's EOL now!)
    • Perl 5.10 or greater preferably
    • Linux kernel 3.2.x or later preferably (2.6.x is pretty long in the tooth now too)
    • Deals promptly with blacklistings by Spamaus, etc. (I've been through that thanks to spammers on the shared host... some places are proactive and some ignore such things in the hopes the customer will go away - which I finally did.)
    Doesn't seem like your asking for much and any provider will have all the above. You might find it hard to get Kernel 3.2 since most providers have CloudLinux and on 2.6...

    Shared SSL, I take it you mean their hostname is SSL or do you want a SNI ssl on the server so you can get SSL on your domain as-well? Don't think I've heard of many hosts using SNI yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    • A Small Orange (Oops, EIG ate them too! I'd probably have moved there months ago... the ASO people seemed nice. Software versions were not as current as I hoped when I checked though. And, EIG... I really don't want to have to move the next time they force their subsidiaries to "consolidate").
    • Site5 (Very interesting but the opaque "resource points" calculation thing gives me a whole lot of pause as I read stories about it here and elsewhere.)
    • A2 Hosting (Intriguing... kudos for having a full list of dev package versions! They don't appear to offer a "business" tier though, and that plus "unlimited" worries me. DC is in Michigan.)
    • Arvixe (User reviews are mixed, but they have a "business" level of service that might have fewer users per box. Lacking a lot of details though.)
    • iWF Hosting (Looking into their offerings, gathering details.)
    • GeekStorage (LiteSpeed = non-starter, otherwise kinda interesting.)
    • MDD and StableHost (LiteSpeed = non-starter, otherwise they seem very similar.)
    • ... there are others, but the ones above came up most frequently.

    If I was in your shoes and looking for webhosting out of that list I would look at:
    - MDD Hosting
    - StableHost

    Out of my personal experience I recommend:
    - FreshRoastedHosting
    - CrocWeb (LiteSpeed powered)

    Good luck and most providers can cope with most of your requirements.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by CW Mike View Post
    Firstly, welcome to WebHostingTalk

    Doesn't seem like your asking for much and any provider will have all the above. You might find it hard to get Kernel 3.2 since most providers have CloudLinux and on 2.6...
    Yeah, it's apparently a big, unavoidable minus when it comes to CentOS and its derivatives: Python 2.6 is EOL yet there it is, still staggering around in the "latest" releases, as is the 2.6 kernel, Perl 5.8/5.10 (anything below 5.16 is EOL), and on and on... neither "stability by obsolescence" nor "security by obsolescence" is reassuring. Having modern interpreters would be a plus, if just as optional versions.

    Quote Originally Posted by CW Mike View Post
    Shared SSL, I take it you mean their hostname is SSL or do you want a SNI ssl on the server so you can get SSL on your domain as-well? Don't think I've heard of many hosts using SNI yet.
    Their hostname. Actually, I can get to MY hostnames via the same shared certificate on my host, which is better than nothing at all (or a convoluted server-specific redirection that still uses the same shared cert anyway). I get the usual cert warning for email and such but at least I have that available.

    Quote Originally Posted by CW Mike View Post
    If I was in your shoes and looking for webhosting out of that list I would look at:
    - MDD Hosting
    - StableHost

    Out of my personal experience I recommend:
    - FreshRoastedHosting
    - CrocWeb (LiteSpeed powered)

    Good luck and most providers can cope with most of your requirements.
    Thanks again. The first two are LiteSpeed-powered so probably not, but I'll read up on FreshRoastedHosting just the same.

    The irony is that HostGator has most of the specs I seek (even a relatively current kernel!) but that doesn't address the poor QoS.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    [*] A2 Hosting (Intriguing... kudos for having a full list of dev package versions! They don't appear to offer a "business" tier though, and that plus "unlimited" worries me. DC is in Michigan.)
    Thanks for considering us! May I ask what concerns you about our unlimited offering?

    We don't have a business tier specifically, most people in need of something with a little more power will go with our Managed VPS product.

    As far as overcrowding, we run our servers with fairly low users as compared to what we've seen/heard about other companies doing.

  5. #5
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    LiteSpeed is a good thing, so not sure why you don't want it. But given your requirements, I'd look at Arvixe or Stream101. They have the resources and server density you're after, and use Apache. Not sure about jailed SSH, however. Ask them.

    You're not going to find hosts that shared their SSL.

    EIG was the only that doesn't have crons that I'm aware.

    Multi PHP versions means CloudLinux. I'm not sure that either of the hosts above has this. Read the sites, ask.

    Pretty much everybody is going to be on stable kernel 2.6 right now.

    Honestly, given your requirements, you just need to get a VPS. That's what those are for -- control, to do what you want.
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  6. #6
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    I agree with @kpmedia, it sounds like you would be happiest on a VPS with full control.

    One thing to keep in mind with Centos is that software security updates are backported, things aren't always as outdated as they first appear.
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  7. #7
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    Welcome to WHT hope you enjoy your stay and use all the great features they have here to the fullest extent. If I were you I would totally go with geekstorage. I've used them for reseller hosting and now for VPS and boy are they a great host. I just finish replying to a topic about how great their services are. They are defiantly reliable and have decent servers.

    Let us know who you choose and how their services are.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by a2andy View Post
    Thanks for considering us! May I ask what concerns you about our unlimited offering?

    We don't have a business tier specifically, most people in need of something with a little more power will go with our Managed VPS product.

    As far as overcrowding, we run our servers with fairly low users as compared to what we've seen/heard about other companies doing.
    As is frequently pointed out here and elsewhere, "unlimited" often means "overloaded/oversubscribed". Your note about overcrowding in particular is therefore reassuring.

    As for VPS, all the problems I've encountered have been because of other users hogging resources and so on... my own sites are low-traffic so VPS would be overkill versus a well-managed shared server.

    Kudos, by the way: you're among the few that state the detailed versions of what you offer right on your site!

    On that point, can I expect that all the listed tools and versions are available on all the shared servers? Or is it more of a "some have this and some have that" deal? (I didn't see an option to choose a particular configuration so I'm hoping it's the "multiple options on each server" setup).

    Considering the DC in Michigan... I remember well the big blackout a few years back. How did this DC fare or how would it fare in that situation?

  9. #9
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    In this situation, VPS is not overkill.
    It allows you to do out-of-spec atypical things. And frankly, that's what you're asking for.

    It's why I use VPS for most things -- I want something typically not available. I want control.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    LiteSpeed is a good thing, so not sure why you don't want it. But given your requirements, I'd look at Arvixe or Stream101. They have the resources and server density you're after, and use Apache. Not sure about jailed SSH, however. Ask them.

    You're not going to find hosts that shared their SSL.

    EIG was the only that doesn't have crons that I'm aware.

    Multi PHP versions means CloudLinux. I'm not sure that either of the hosts above has this. Read the sites, ask.

    Pretty much everybody is going to be on stable kernel 2.6 right now.

    Honestly, given your requirements, you just need to get a VPS. That's what those are for -- control, to do what you want.
    I am not a supporter of LiteSpeed's unique TOS when it comes to legal activities they dislike. It's technically irrelevant... my content is well-within their bounds, it's just the principle of the thing.

    Server-wide SSL has always worked for me in the past... Just added that for completeness.

    The rest has been discussed elsewhere in the thread... Will read up on the services you suggested. I think I can get what I want from a shared host... There are a few that look worthwhile.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by DWS2006 View Post
    I agree with @kpmedia, it sounds like you would be happiest on a VPS with full control.

    One thing to keep in mind with Centos is that software security updates are backported, things aren't always as outdated as they first appear.
    As I said, I don't want to be the sysadmin for this purpose. I'm just trying to find the best bang for my buck, given certain restrictions.

    As for security, that's great (though if the product is EOL I don't expect the security fixes to be as robust as they would be during a normal lifecycle). But the "backport to the EOL version / we don't support that old version" games get old.

    That's a secondary concern though, as this is primarily for webhosting/email (but again, the more options and the more modern it is, the better).

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    In this situation, VPS is not overkill.
    It allows you to do out-of-spec atypical things. And frankly, that's what you're asking for.

    It's why I use VPS for most things -- I want something typically not available. I want control.
    I have VPS already for non-web/non-email dev purposes... but there's a difference between administering that and administering multiple public interfaces. I may do that someday but not today.

    Right now I just want shared hosting with better service (!) and more options than what I currently have. I'm not willing to play sysadmin for this use case. Looking around it seems I can indeed get much of what I want from a few places... I'm just narrowing down who would be optimal.

  13. #13
    Out of the options you suggested, I would go with Site5. I use them too and I find their service to be excellent. I do agree with you about the resource usage though. The calculation is far from transparent and seems to be tailor made to make it impossible for anyone to compare them with other hosts. My site uses about 8% of the daily amount allowed, but I have very little traffic. I run 12 plugins and it's still pretty fast.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Burlo View Post
    Out of the options you suggested, I would go with Site5. I use them too and I find their service to be excellent. I do agree with you about the resource usage though. The calculation is far from transparent and seems to be tailor made to make it impossible for anyone to compare them with other hosts. My site uses about 8% of the daily amount allowed, but I have very little traffic. I run 12 plugins and it's still pretty fast.
    Are you able to use regular old CPanel at Site5, or is it fully replaced by their custom control panel? It's not very clear what versions of packages are currently available from them either, whereas A2 has an up-front list of what they offer (at least it's clearly indicated... and is one of the very few sites that actually lists that much detail).

  15. #15
    The cpanel they offer is the standard version of cpanel with a custom theme, just like Wordpress is still Wordpress even when you select a new theme for it. They do it to make cpanel feel more as if it's part of their site and don;t seem to understand that people hate this. But it is still the good old cpanel with all functions. The only difference is the "look" of the icons.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    [B]

    • Cpanel 11+

    • Linux kernel 3.2.x or later preferably (2.6.x is pretty long in the tooth now too)

    Supported Operating Systems
    (i386 and x86-64 ONLY)
    CentOS versions 5.x, 6.x
    Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® versions 5.x, 6.x
    CloudLinux 5.x, 6.x [3]

    So, for the moment, you will only Get Kernel 2.6.18 for Centos 5 based servers or 2.6.32 based kernels for Centos 6 based servers (* Centos/RHEL/Cloudlinux interchangeable)

    Everything is should be able to be met.

    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    Multi PHP versions means CloudLinux. I'm not sure that either of the hosts above has this. Read the sites, ask.

    Pretty much everybody is going to be on stable kernel 2.6 right now.
    No, Multi PHP does not mean cloudlinux at all. Multi -PHP means exactly that, but more often than not when Cloudlinux is installed so is the PHP selector via CPanel.

    It is possible to provide multi PHP versions WITHOUT CL.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by RRWH View Post
    Supported Operating Systems
    (i386 and x86-64 ONLY)
    CentOS versions 5.x, 6.x
    Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® versions 5.x, 6.x
    CloudLinux 5.x, 6.x [3]

    So, for the moment, you will only Get Kernel 2.6.18 for Centos 5 based servers or 2.6.32 based kernels for Centos 6 based servers (* Centos/RHEL/Cloudlinux interchangeable)
    Well, FWIW I'm on HostGator now and my kernel version = 3.2.45 according to cpanel... which is why I figure it's possible if not likely.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    Well, FWIW I'm on HostGator now and my kernel version = 3.2.45 according to cpanel... which is why I figure it's possible if not likely.
    HostGator, if I'm not mistaken, runs a custom compiled kernel for things like throttling users, controlling I/O, etc. They're large enough and have enough funding to be able to roll something out like that and support it for themselves.

    You can run 3.X too if you want but without it being formally supported any issues you run into - cPanel would likely not assist. Just as you can probably install Android on an iPhone but you wouldn't expect Apple to provide support for it.

    All of that said - I've spoken with executives at LiteSpeed and the spirit of the Terms of Service is that they do not want you running a dedicated server whose only purpose is explicit adult content such as pornography. If you're a hosting provider using LiteSpeed and you have a few clients with pornographic or adult-related sites it's largely a non-issue unless you police that content yourself.

    LiteSpeed, last I checked, doesn't look at your virtual hosts or domain names to determine what type of content you're serving nor do they audit it. I imagine the only way they'd have issues is if you paid for support and, when they logged in, they found you were running a server dedicated to explicit adult content.

    I do understand the principals you are trying to stick to - so I won't fault you for that.

    Best of luck.
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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    HostGator, if I'm not mistaken, runs a custom compiled kernel for things like throttling users, controlling I/O, etc. They're large enough and have enough funding to be able to roll something out like that and support it for themselves.
    Fair enough, I didn't think it was such a stretch for them to have a more recent kernel. Kinda goes with the "everything's an antique, bugs and all" theme they have going on. :-/

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    I've spoken with executives at LiteSpeed and the spirit of the Terms of Service is that they do not want you running a dedicated server whose only purpose is explicit adult content such as pornography. If you're a hosting provider using LiteSpeed and you have a few clients with pornographic or adult-related sites it's largely a non-issue unless you police that content yourself.

    LiteSpeed, last I checked, doesn't look at your virtual hosts or domain names to determine what type of content you're serving nor do they audit it. I imagine the only way they'd have issues is if you paid for support and, when they logged in, they found you were running a server dedicated to explicit adult content.

    I do understand the principals you are trying to stick to - so I won't fault you for that.
    I kinda doubt they'd audit in that way but who knows? They might prevaricate when speaking vendor-to-vendor but their TOS certainly isn't ambiguous, and that's all that really matters when push comes to shove. It's like buying a car and the subcontractor who makes the ignition control module can and will repo your car if they catch you driving to $stateYouDontLike. Tomorrow they could add more legal activities to their list of Things You Mustn't Host... perhaps blogging about alcohol becomes verboten, or certain common flavors of politics or religion are disallowed. Therein lies the principle and the risk IMHO. (And IMHO sums it up pretty well... it's just not a trend I want to help support.)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
    LiteSpeed is a good thing, so not sure why you don't want it. But given your requirements, I'd look at Arvixe or Stream101. They have the resources and server density you're after, and use Apache. Not sure about jailed SSH, however. Ask them.

    You're not going to find hosts that shared their SSL.

    EIG was the only that doesn't have crons that I'm aware.

    Multi PHP versions means CloudLinux. I'm not sure that either of the hosts above has this. Read the sites, ask.

    Pretty much everybody is going to be on stable kernel 2.6 right now.

    Honestly, given your requirements, you just need to get a VPS. That's what those are for -- control, to do what you want.
    We have CloudLinux, Jailed SSH, multiple PHP versions too. We do not do Shared SSL however.

    But as KP is saying, I think a VPS would be best suited for you.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Stream101 View Post
    We have CloudLinux, Jailed SSH, multiple PHP versions too. We do not do Shared SSL however.

    But as KP is saying, I think a VPS would be best suited for you.
    I will look into your service as well (more detail on the actual versions of things like Python that are available would be handy).

    As for what I termed (mis-termed?) as shared SSL, it's probably intrinsic on any cpanel host. Basically if I go to my email via SSL, I get warned that the certificate is for a for a different host (that being the server itself). Which is fine by me. It seems to be pretty common - every cpanel host I've used worked like that (because they all have SSL handling for the host itself).

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    As for what I termed (mis-termed?) as shared SSL, it's probably intrinsic on any cpanel host. Basically if I go to my email via SSL, I get warned that the certificate is for a for a different host (that being the server itself). Which is fine by me. It seems to be pretty common - every cpanel host I've used worked like that (because they all have SSL handling for the host itself).
    You'll always get that for a shared host. Dovecot has to load one SSL certificate. Because every user of the server will use the same one, it will be the one that belongs to the host's name, not to your own domain.

    You don't need to have the warning, though. You just configure your e-mail client software to connect to the fully qualified server name, or you use webmail through the server's FQDN and port 2096.

    As for Python, cPanel seems to use 2.6.6 at the moment. cPanel are reluctant about people doing a manual installation to update it, because of the number of dependencies that cPanel components have on the Python installation. You may find a host who has updated to 2.7 manually and tested everything to ensure it still works - but that's pretty niche, so there won't be many!
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesOakley View Post
    You'll always get that for a shared host. Dovecot has to load one SSL certificate. Because every user of the server will use the same one, it will be the one that belongs to the host's name, not to your own domain.

    You don't need to have the warning, though. You just configure your e-mail client software to connect to the fully qualified server name, or you use webmail through the server's FQDN and port 2096.

    As for Python, cPanel seems to use 2.6.6 at the moment. cPanel are reluctant about people doing a manual installation to update it, because of the number of dependencies that cPanel components have on the Python installation. You may find a host who has updated to 2.7 manually and tested everything to ensure it still works - but that's pretty niche, so there won't be many!
    Some hosts offer other versions of Python and so forth as alternate installations which would suffice (e.g., in /usr/local - doesn't replace the system version but is still available for use).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyMacGyver View Post
    Some hosts offer other versions of Python and so forth as alternate installations which would suffice (e.g., in /usr/local - doesn't replace the system version but is still available for use).
    They didn't say it didn't exist - they just said it was niche and you wouldn't find a lot of them .
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  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    They didn't say it didn't exist - they just said it was niche and you wouldn't find a lot of them .
    I know. I was pointing out that one can have other versions of a tool such as Python while leaving the system-mandated version (e.g., 2.6) alone. And yes, such alternate versions are somewhat rare to find though not as uncommon as before (probably because one cannot sit still forever while a given language grows and innovates).

  26. #26
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    It could well be worth your while having a chat with BigScoots! Those guys really know what they're doing!

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    You can run 3.X too if you want but without it being formally supported any issues you run into - cPanel would likely not assist. Just as you can probably install Android on an iPhone but you wouldn't expect Apple to provide support for it.
    OP this is what I was getting at - YES, you can run any Kernel you want, but as CPanel only officially support RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux, using a non-standard kernel would mean you are on your own.

    The reality of this is that you are looking for Software versions that are a little outside of what is the standard and supported, so the best solution would be a VPS for yourself and install whatever you want/need.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRWH View Post
    OP this is what I was getting at - YES, you can run any Kernel you want, but as CPanel only officially support RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux, using a non-standard kernel would mean you are on your own.

    The reality of this is that you are looking for Software versions that are a little outside of what is the standard and supported, so the best solution would be a VPS for yourself and install whatever you want/need.
    Yeah, I was just thinking exactly the same thing.

    A VPS would better suit your needs.

    That way you can run whatever you like.

    Best of luck!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by XTremo View Post
    It could well be worth your while having a chat with BigScoots! Those guys really know what they're doing!
    Thanks Pete, appreciate the mention
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  30. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    275
    Sorry I'm late to the party here. I believe we've discussed our offerings in pretty good detail -- but if there is anything else we can do for you don't hesitate to get a hold of us.
    -Jacob
    iWF Hosting - 5 US datacenters offering shared, reseller, dedicated, VPS and Colo
    California | Oregon | Iowa | North Carolina | Nevada

  31. #31
    Followup (OP delivers!) - I ended up going with A2 Hosting (shared, SSD). The migration was pretty smooth and my site's back to working properly again. As a bonus I got the free shared SSL service which gives me a more secure way to access site services over the web.

    A2 has a pretty extensive list of software versions available (HostGator did as well I learned - surprisingly HG even had Python 2.7 as one of the optional Python packages which would've been ideal if not for all the service issues... I'll miss that option).

    Curiously the download speed (especially when downloading backups) is less than half that of HostGator... about 210 KBytes/s versus 570 KBytes/s. It's not being "throttled" I'm told so I don't know what's up with that. It's not *slow* per se, but I was used to it being more peppy.

    Overall, I'm far happier than I was with HG, especially since they consolidated to the Provo DC, and I'd recommend A2 to a friend.

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