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  1. #1
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    How can I check the weight of a webhost?

    Is there a way to find out how many sites are with a webhosting company?
    There are so many "good deals" who just seems to have only 1 or two costumers (resellers or not).
    Also, I'm interested to check the speed of their network (some of them offer themselvs this oportunity - like MatrixReseller - which I love it). Simple ping and tracer route are not a sure method.

  2. #2
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    There's no foolproof way, but there's a few things you can look at.

    Forums - If they have a forum with only a couple of registered users then they obviously don't have a huge customer base.

    Age - How long has the domain been registered? a host that's been around only a few months again (most likely) wont have any huge amount of clients.

    Example Sites - Ask if you can see a few sites that they host, any well established host with a good number of customers will always be able to find a few that don't mind you viewing their site as an example.

    As for network speed, any host should provide you with a test file if you ask for one, it doesn't take much effort to arrange.

    If in doubt post the url here, the WHT collective will soon pull it apart like a pack of wolves and you'll soon know if any claims the host is making turn out to be BS.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your suggestion, I was aware of them (although, for instance, some well reputed webhosters do not keep a forum at all or it is not very visited - my actual host, for instance has a forum, but last message on it is from november 2003. There are only 35 users on it - still, I know for a fact that they have more than 5000 sites hosted. And I didn't experience any problem with them, just outgrow them and the resources they offer are too small for my needs).
    I was thinking more like an third party solution. Someone has posted here sometime ago a lnk to a tool that could test the way a site respond when called from different places of the world. Unfortunately I didn't bookmark that site an now I can't find the thread either althoguh I have spend more than 1 hour searching. But that's only one part.

  4. #4
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    There are tools like the reverse IP lookup at http://whois.sc or http://webhosting.info where you can check the number of domains on an IP or set of nameservers, they not always accurate though, especially the webhosting.info one, some of their results a rediculous.

    And when many hosts have different sets of nameservers and numerous IP's it's not a reliable way to judge how many sites they have.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Loon, I think the problems with webhosting.infor is that they work only for com/net/biz domains. So a webhoster that has many .co.uk, or .ro (like mines) domains gets very disadvantaged. But it's only in betatesting so, perhaps will get better. Thanks for the tip.

  6. #6
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    Originally posted by Loon
    Forums - If they have a forum with only a couple of registered users then they obviously don't have a huge customer base.
    What if resellers didn't want to be part of a forum?

    I don't think an active forum is the sign of a good, nor bad host, it's just an active forum, that's it.

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  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Loon
    There's no foolproof way, but there's a few things you can look at.

    Forums - If they have a forum with only a couple of registered users then they obviously don't have a huge customer base.


    I completely disagree with that statement! Lordy!
    I know of several hosts, that do not offer forums...PERIOD!
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  8. #8
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    My company has no forum, yet we're still a bustling, busy company with 500+ customers.

    We tried the forum thing some time ago and very few users were really interested. We prefer handling support ourselves, rather than relying on our customers to do it. I know others feel differently, but that's just the way we prefer doing things.

    I think the best way, is simply to speak with the companies you are considering. If you have concerns, voice them. See what kind of response you get. Small or large, when you get a well-written response to your questions, it's a good indication of a company who is dedicated to providing good service.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Martie
    I completely disagree with that statement! Lordy!
    I know of several hosts, that do not offer forums...PERIOD!
    when i said:

    "If they have a forum with only a couple of registered users"

    Where did i say that a host with no forums indicates a low amount of customers?


    Originally posted by IHSL
    What if resellers didn't want to be part of a forum?

    I don't think an active forum is the sign of a good, nor bad host, it's just an active forum, that's it.
    Where did i say that an active or non-active forum was the sign of a good or bad host? i didn't.

    zaboss was asking if there was a way to find out how many sites a host has, indicating that he wants to stay away from those with only one or two customers, it was nothing to do with good or bad hosts.

    It's a pretty safe bet to say that a host with a decent sized customer base that does have a forum that's been up a while will have reasonable amount of registered users to reflect that, again i said registered not active, but if you have a large amount of customers you wont have a forum sitting there with just a few registered users, even if it's not promoted.


    Originally posted by Andrew
    My company has no forum, yet we're still a bustling, busy company with 500+ customers.
    exactly, no forum is not an indication of a dead host, it means nothing, i think you all misunderstood my post.

    The point was, if a host claims to have say 1000 customers, and you visit their site and they do have a forum, and there's 2 or 3 registered users, it's pretty obvious they don't have 1000 customers, that's all i was trying to say.
    Last edited by Ash; 03-14-2004 at 02:16 PM.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Loon
    Forums - If they have a forum with only a couple of registered users then they obviously don't have a huge customer base.
    So what's a huge customer base? While we may not be "huge", we do have 400 plus clients...not sites, clients, including resellers.
    We have only 6 registered members, 3 of which are staff. 0 activity on it. Our clients prefer to contact us via email or phone for problem resolution, I guess.

    Originally posted by Loon
    It's a pretty safe bet to say that a host with a decent sized customer base that does have a forum that's been up a while will have reasonable amount of registered users to reflect that, again i said registered not active, but if you have a large amount of customers you wont have a forum sitting there with just a few registered users, even if it's not promoted.
    Originally posted by Loon
    The point was, if a host claims to have say 1000 customers, and you visit their site and they do have a forum, and there's 2 or 3 registered users, it's pretty obvious they don't have 1000 customers, that's all i was trying to say.
    I would still have to disagree with you... it happens
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  11. #11
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    Put him on a scale.

  12. #12
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    Why does it matter if someone has little customers? It's their reliability, support, and honesty that counts right? Ya, someone with a ton of clients can speak for itself how good the company is, but someone without a huge amount can have just as good of service as any other. I started my business only 2 months ago, have a few clients, and I'm online almost 16hrs a day to support them, not including my staff wich extends this period.

    What I'm trying to get at, is my staff and I provide just as good of service any other host does, if not better. Every day we work to get bigger and better, constantly working on ways to improve the business.

    A host doesn't have to be the biggest to the best.

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by RH Robert

    We have only 6 registered members, 3 of which are staff. 0 activity on it. Our clients prefer to contact us via email or phone for problem resolution, I guess.

    Robert, in my opinion, this is a mistake:

    http://forums.rockethosts.net/

    A dead forum is only going to harm you more than help you. People surf in, see a dead phpbb and they think "dead cheapo host". It doesn't exactly inspire alot of confidence and gives the wrong impression.

    If I were you, I'd yank the forum until such a time that clients will start to participate. In the future you can drum up interest on your mailing list, talk about plans for it and incentives for participating. We have always had a post for credits scheme - members post and get credits that can be exchanged for extra space etc. It doesn't entice people to participate really but it rewards the die-hard faction that keep the community trucking along (and every community has one).
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  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Loon
    . . . If in doubt post the url here, the WHT collective will soon pull it apart like a pack of wolves and you'll soon know if any claims the host is making turn out to be BS.
    You got that right!

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by IHSL
    What if resellers didn't want to be part of a forum?

    They can be anonymous. HTTPme has a fair few resellers who are anonymous on the forum. They're the ones who really make use of a community forum.
    I don't think an active forum is the sign of a good, nor bad host, it's just an active forum, that's it.
    An active forum is a definate asset. HTTPme is living proof of that. Folks can access most parts of the forum, before they purchase, then that's more power to the potential client.

  16. #16
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    I agree with NexDog - Robert, yank your forum or promote it to your 400 clients. Get some action happening. People like to communicate and connect. It's basic human nature.

    Right now, your forum is screaming n00b host, imo.

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by Aussie Bob

    An active forum is a definate asset. HTTPme is living proof of that. Folks can access most parts of the forum, before they purchase, then that's more power to the potential client. [/B]
    An asset to some, yes, I agree.

    An asset to others? maybe not.

    It can be used as a selling/keeping tool, but at the end of the day, you're a hosting company, not a forum admin.

    Just because one company was built around that model, does not mean it should be used by everyone else.

    Running a succesful web hosting business, and a succesful community portal are two very different ball-games as you very well know. I for one would never tell a member of staff they must go check the forum to see if someone posted about an issue. That's what phonelines, email, and helpdesk's are for.

    Whilst it has it's advantages, it also has it's major disadvantages. A genuinely small 'problem' can be turned into some kind of horror show, i've seen it on many forums.

    User's problem: can't configure outlook
    User's thread title: EMAIL SERVER "X" DOWN!!!

    Now, picture a pre-sales lurker just passing an eye over the forum, of course you know what that guy is most probably doing in the next six seconds. It involves passing your mouse cursor up to the top right of your screen, and clicking.

    I'm all for forums in general, and I think HTTPme was a great model, but I think it was an exception to the rule. You had no site, per se, so the user was forced on to the forum, and the mere gimmick (possibly not intentional, but it is/was a gimmick) of everything being on a forum passed HTTPme through until it gained a good reputation based on it's own merits.

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  18. #18
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    Yep, running a business out in the open like the HTTPme model, would terrify most hosts. I wouldn't call it a "gimmick". It was just building a communications platform, and distributing a product over that platform. It also helps to standout from the other 5,000 "me too" hosting sites.

    Most hosts would crash and burn with such an out in the open model. Too much accountability, and the non ability to control everything. I loved that kind of platform, as it's what I would have wanted as a client of HTTPme, and it keeps you on your toes and extremely sharp.

    But it's not for everyone, nor is a forum for everyone. My next hosting venture won't have a forum. It will just be a product/service driven venture, aimed at a mass market.

    But you'll be surprised with the effect of negative threads on a new potential client. I call it anti-marketing, [it's a part of the HTTPme sales process], and folks see that there will be some issues, but they'll get resolved.

    HTTPme lets Joe Public go through all the forum - they can go through the Server Announcement forums, support forum, and see all the issues with servers etc. I'd rather filter all potential new clients through such forums, than have them come with unrealistic expectations that everything will be perfect all the time.

  19. #19
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    I totally agree Bob.

    However, I do not think HTTPme will be repeated, nor replicated (properly). It was (/is) as unique a company as there is, you should pat yourself on the back for that.

    I for one would/could never run a mission critical forum, it's just too far down the line to start bringing that option in. We have a forum, I think it has around 400 posts in it, but it's certainly not frequented, as we've never pushed it that way. It's more of an option, should someone wish to contribute to an open-ended knowledgebase, so to speak.

    I am starting a personal forum soon, but that's different (beatle mania forum ), and will be run by other people, with me just chipping in at times.

    Simon
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  20. #20
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    Originally posted by Loon
    There are tools like the reverse IP lookup at http://whois.sc or http://webhosting.info where you can check the number of domains on an IP or set of nameservers, they not always accurate though, especially the webhosting.info one, some of their results a rediculous.

    And when many hosts have different sets of nameservers and numerous IP's it's not a reliable way to judge how many sites they have.
    Both of the sites gave ridiculous results to more than a dozen hosts I personally know about very very well.
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  21. #21
    Originally posted by Techark
    Put him on a scale.
    That's the first thing that came to my mind too...
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  22. #22
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    Originally posted by Aussie Bob
    I agree with NexDog - Robert, yank your forum or promote it to your 400 clients. Get some action happening. People like to communicate and connect. It's basic human nature.

    Right now, your forum is screaming n00b host, imo.
    Bob,
    Yep, you're right, it probably is, even though we aren't. We have been considering removing it as most of our clients will never use it, no matter what. We probably will remove it, and replace it with a new FAQ center.

    Nexdog,
    We attempted to drum up some posters by doing that a couple years ago....nothing. Maybe the time wasn't right. We have been kicking around some ideas again, but frankly, unless we start marketing to a different type of client, it probably wouldn't work anyway.... I think it will be best to remove them as well, and provide something else.
    Last edited by RH Robert; 03-15-2004 at 04:29 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Originally posted by RH Robert
    So what's a huge customer base? While we may not be "huge", we do have 400 plus clients...not sites, clients, including resellers.
    We have only 6 registered members, 3 of which are staff. 0 activity on it. Our clients prefer to contact us via email or phone for problem resolution, I guess.
    Same here. Hundreds of clients, 5 years in the business, and 12 registered members in the forums. We took the forums down and will probably remove all traces of it soon.
    Going out of business in our 10th year.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by IHSL
    However, I do not think HTTPme will be repeated, nor replicated (properly). It was (/is) as unique a company as there is, you should pat yourself on the back for that.

    Thanks. I admire anyone venturing down that same path. Heaps of reward there, but also heaps of potholes and cliff edges to fall from.
    I am starting a personal forum soon, but that's different (beatle mania forum ), and will be run by other people, with me just chipping in at times.
    bah, you lot and ya rock'n'roll music!

    pssssst, the beatles broke up . . .

  25. #25
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    Originally posted by Aussie Bob
    pssssst, the beatles broke up . . .
    No, no, no.

    That is just a nasty rumour that has been going around. Currently, John and George are playing 'upstairs', awaiting the arrival of the rest of the group.



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  26. #26
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    By now I have experienced both type of companies. My first host has build a great community arround it (and they were kind enough to let me be part of it, although I'm not their customer now). I only left because they grow and their price range outpass my budget. They host more than 5000 sites and their forum is quite busy. Many great ideeas come up from that forum and also great help (not only for webhosting, but for programming, databases a.s.o.).
    My present host is quite the opposite. They do host about 1000+ sites and have at least 300 clients. But their forum is "dead". Only 35 users, last message on it was probably november last year. I'm with them since september and never have a prooblem with them. I have to leave them soon as I have outgrow them and need more resources.
    I guess, I was very lucky to have only good experiences with hosts. Now, hunting for another good experience I do not rule out a webhost just because they do not have a forum. There are places where one can get reviews. What I want to rule out are hosts with limited experience (and usualy this means they have just few customers). We have several critical sites and any troubles with them will hit us very hard. While 3 years ago we would gladly go with a small company and grow along with them, now things are different and we can not afford to deal with a start up. Also, unfortunately we are from Roamania, a country with high level of beaurocracy and making payments aborad can only be made by wire transfer. And since commissions for this are very high, we rather have 1 annual payment so we can not afford any mistake in choosing the right one.

  27. #27
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    And another thing... Someone suggested here that they would not have a forum because people would come and post there any litle trouble they have (like not configuring properly the Outlook and crying that The Mail server is down).
    Well, I pay a very good attention to all the threads that report problems and I'm not scared away when I read threads like Server Down, Pages Slow. Quite opposite, as I'm sure most of the experienced users do. I read them carefully to see:
    a) what the real problem was (perhaps was just a bad code, or an ISP problem, not webhoster fault)
    b) How it was responded
    c) Check the forum to see other posts of that user (perhaps is just a troublemaker)
    Usualy, when looking for a webhost, experienced people are thorough and spend a moth or so verifying the "shortlisted" candidates. Threads like that do not scared but only less experimented people who, generaly do not bring much business.

  28. #28
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    Originally posted by Andrew
    My company has no forum, yet we're still a bustling, busy company with 500+ customers.

    We tried the forum thing some time ago and very few users were really interested. We prefer handling support ourselves, rather than relying on our customers to do it. I know others feel differently, but that's just the way we prefer doing things.

    I think the best way, is simply to speak with the companies you are considering. If you have concerns, voice them. See what kind of response you get. Small or large, when you get a well-written response to your questions, it's a good indication of a company who is dedicated to providing good service.
    i saw google is hosted by you

    http://inetinteractive.com/services/clients.html

  29. #29
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    Were you born with those keen detective skills or did you have to hone those?

  30. #30
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    I think they mature over time.
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  31. #31
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    WRT forums: the httpme model is something that I don't think can be repeated. I'll echo the rest - unless you have the right mix of folks, it's *very* hard to have a forum. Ours has a small percentage of the clients signed up, but those that like it, *really* like it and I don't wanna take that away from them.

    RE Weight: I haven't seen any 'tool' that'll accurately show how many domains are actually hosted. I also really don't like folks pointing to them and trusting them as an absolute source of information (some do). Lots of hosts with private nameservers with resellers will be way off. Webhosting.info's procedure of the ability to add other nameservers to add to the number is flawed, imho.

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  32. #32
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    Yes, the david, there isn't any single fool proof method of weighting a web host. But putting pieces together you can get a good image of its activity.

  33. #33
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    Originally posted by thedavid
    WRT forums: the httpme model is something that I don't think can be repeated. I'll echo the rest - unless you have the right mix of folks, it's *very* hard to have a forum. Ours has a small percentage of the clients signed up, but those that like it, *really* like it and I don't wanna take that away from them.

    RE Weight: I haven't seen any 'tool' that'll accurately show how many domains are actually hosted. I also really don't like folks pointing to them and trusting them as an absolute source of information (some do). Lots of hosts with private nameservers with resellers will be way off. Webhosting.info's procedure of the ability to add other nameservers to add to the number is flawed, imho.

    180 pounds, all muscle

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    Even having experienced an active forum environment with Voxtreme, I've had to adapt to the HTTPme style where the business is based around it.

    It's definately a great model though, and as Bob said, it definately keeps you on your toes. We recently had a Perldesk bug which caused a ticket to go unanswered outside of our maximum acceptable time frame. This was duly noted in the community, and staff members had to explain what had happened.
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  34. #34
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    * Eddie Munster?

    The HTTPme forums are great but I'm immediately scared off by the freakish picture in the plans comparison. Could this be a picture of an older Eddie Munster?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails eddie-munster-me.jpg  

  35. #35
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    Originally posted by beachtrader
    That's the first thing that came to my mind too...
    The first thing that came to my mind was to send an email to the prospective host asking, "Do you weigh 1 pound?"

    Then just keep going until you get it right.

  36. #36
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    Ok, so, forum isn't an important factor. Back to the "Age" thing, I did some whois on some hosts and noticed that, for example:

    created: 2002-08-08
    expired: 2004-08-08

    or

    created: 2003-08-08
    expired: 2004-08-08

    should I be wary because the lives of the domains seem a little bit short?

  37. #37
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    Re: Eddie Munster?

    Originally posted by userBeavis
    The HTTPme forums are great but I'm immediately scared off by the freakish picture in the plans comparison. Could this be a picture of an older Eddie Munster?
    Oy!

  38. #38
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    Looks more like a young Rolf Harris to me...

    Do you play the Didgeridoo, Bob?

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  39. #39
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    Originally posted by fuse1982
    i saw google is hosted by you

    http://inetinteractive.com/services/clients.html
    LOL!
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