I do some work on the side for a small non-profit organization that is in need of a new hosting company. They are currently on iPowerWeb, but we've had nothing but problems over the past year. Mainly, these problems stem from the fact that they have repeatedly upgraded the mysql database server (which corrupts our database and takes down the site) and then a couple weeks later take the mysql database server back down to the previous version (which again corrupts our database and takes down the site). I can't even get iPowerWeb support to admit they have done this despite having screenshots showing the database versions before and after. And I can't get any kind of advanced warning out of them before they do any upgrades or changes. They also don't allow ODBC / outside administration of your mysql database and you have to use phpMyadmin and it always times out 20 times with every attempt to run the periodically needed database update scripts.
Anyway, I need a new host for this non-profit that has mysql database support (preferablly with odbc access enabled), has (or can run) menalto Gallery v1, and php. While I'm comfortable enough using shell &/or ftp, the users at the organization will need some sort of file management/editing console. I would also really, really, really like to receive notification (email/newsletter/rss feed/forumn) about upcoming and emergency maintenance so that I can know to go check the site PRIOR to the angry call from the organization after their site is down on the weekend the local newsletter does a major story featuring their web site address (this has happened twice).
OS would need to be linux / unix since I've already tried to get menalto Gallery to run on my own Windows host (viux) with far less than satisfactory results. I need to move the site with as little down time as possible, so will need to setup the site before transferring the domain. I presume that would mean I'll need (at least temporarily) a dedicated IP. Real support (phone & email) on American soil would be a fabulous bonus. And the kicker would be that they are currently paying just under $7/month and as a non-profit I'm not sure how much higher on a pay scale I can get them. I'm hoping to be able to stretch them to $12/month but I'm not sure.
I've browsed around on WHT and various and sundry other places online but every time I find one place that looks good, I find some other person(s) giving terrible reviews of the same place. I'm honestly at my wits end and have to have this site moved to a new host by the end of October before their iPowerWeb contract renews. Any advice on where to (or not to) go would be greatly appreciated.
This should actually be very easy to accomplish. The thing about WHT flame reviews - is that most all major hosts have them, no matter how hard they try. Sometimes they have merritt, but most of the time it's just someone (typically pretty immature), that didn't read the host's policies beforehand, is quite the sociopath, and/or doesn't have functional knowledge of how hosting works to begin with.
No matter how ridiculous each flame review poster (or 'flamer') may be, they get dozens of sympathizers - empathizing with how horrible they were treated, and making it clear that their much less successful host (you'll find info on that in their flashy signature), would never do such a thing. I'd say it's best to ignore them too.
Corey Northcutt | Northcutt Competitive inbound marketing with a hosting industry competency. Social | Content | Optimization | Outreach
Most hosts can copy your site over instantly with no problems, so the downtime would only be very small (providing your currently using a *nix system).
There's lots of hosts about that can offer you what you want and more for your price range.
Just do some digging about, and as qwidjib0 said, don;'t be put off by users flaming a certain company, just because one user has had problems doesn;t mean you will.
You shouldn't have trouble finding a good, solid unix host for the price, although when you get in the under $10/month range you'll find that many hosts require an annual payment. View this as a sign that the host is trying to weed out the fly-by-night signups.
So while getting reliable hosting should be easy enough, I think you'll have a harder time with ODBC access. I don't see this as a technical challenge but you might find that you have trouble getting hosts to agree to it...at least at $7/month. I think it would be reasonable for the host to ask about the ODBC clients you want to use. Are they something you rolled yourself or commercial or freeware? They'll also need to verify that your client will work with the database they're using. Some ODBC clients claim to support multiple databases and versions but in practice, database vendors have so many "enhancements" in their products that you really need to look for a client driver that's tailored to a particular database product and version. (This is probably not a showstopper but something to keep in mind.)
Finding shell access at $7-$12 a month is going to be tough.
Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
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