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  1. #1

    Choosing a Host -- My Short List

    I started a thread last week about finding a web host for the website my small company is preparing to launch. Since then, I've put together a short list of hosting companies that appear to be the best candidates for our project. The plan is to start off with an affordable shared or VPS plan and scale up as we grow.

    Here are our hosting requirements:

    IMMEDIATE
    *Budget: $20-$50/mo to begin
    *Managed Hosting on a Linux Server
    Monthly Bandwidth: 300-400 visitors/day on PHP/MySQL CMS to start
    No or High Email Limits -- need to send several (hundreds?) script-triggered emails per hour
    Data Storage: 5 GB to start
    *PHP 5
    MySql 4+
    PHPMyAdmin
    CPanel (or other Control Panel)
    Cronjobs
    Minimal Downtime
    Seamless Scalability (see below)

    NEAR TERM
    https certificate
    seamless upgrade of bandwidth
    seamless upgrade of storage
    eventually, a managed dedicated server

    Here is my short list of hosting companies:

    asmallorange.com
    futurehosting.biz
    hostgator.com
    liquidweb.com
    myriadnetwork.com
    westhost.com

    I am putting the finishing touches on a letter of introduction I will be sending these companies next week. In the meantime, I'd welcome any comments on these companies or recommendations for good companies I may have missed. I only ask that you provide solid information (either details of personal experience or links to other useful threads or websites.)

    I am documenting my search on my blog -- you are also welcome to comment there (see signature).

    Thanks,
    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  2. #2
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    It's nice to see someone that has a reasonable budget for their project on here - this is such a rarity on here, unfortunately. Good luck in your search!
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  3. #3
    I recommand adding servint
    http://servint.com
    ArzNet.com
    Providing Hosting & Domain Reseller since 2001
    Clientexec and Directi Domain Reseller with every Reseller Plan - 30 Day Trial Now Available!

  4. #4

    Re: servint

    "I recommand adding servint"

    Thanks for the recommendation, but again, per the original post:

    "provide solid information (either details of personal experience or links to other useful threads or websites)"

    To support your comments or recommendations, that is.

    So why would I wish to ask servint to my list?

    Thanks,
    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    1,571

    Cool

    I would suggest looking at Host For Web mainly for 2 points you mention (you would have to see how well their plans fit everything else) they have excellent upgrade ability, unequalled support and management, and when you move from shared to VPS to dedicated or VPS to dedicated, install certs, or whatever they will handle it all seamlessly as long as you are clear on what you want done, how, and when.
    New Idea Hosting NO Overselling-Business-Grade, Shared Only! New-In House Design Team.
    High Speed & Uptime; , DIY Pro-Site Builder-Daily Backups-Custom Plans, All Dual Xeon Quad Intel servers w/ ECC DDR3 RAM SCSI RAID minimums.
    We Concentrate on Shared Hosting ...doing one thing and doing it VERY well

  6. #6

    re: hostforweb.com

    the specs on their VPS plans look promising, but they get mixed reviews here:

    t=543130&highlight=hostforweb (sorry, not enough posts yet to link directly)

    Someone mentions switching to futurehosting.biz because of security issues. This was about a month ago.

    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    1,904
    Well - i throw my 2 cents in for A Small Orange (ASO).


  8. #8
    Well - i throw my 2 cents in for A Small Orange (ASO)
    Again, please provide some evidence to back your claims. Even if it is only your personal experience, some details will help.

    I did read a lengthy thread here knocking ASO.

    For the record, I currently have a shared hosting plan with A Small Orange and am happy with it. However, it is very low impact so I'm not sure how good a bellwhether it is for this project. And I notice on their site that many of their VPS plans are currently sold out.

    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    1,904
    Sorry for the lack of details. I can say however on this forum you will find a negative review about every company because some clients tend to believe WHT is a place to come to voice thier opinions - but normally is just heated rage about nothing serious.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Chattanooga
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    Just a note that Hostgator limits outgoing e-mails per hour to 200.
    You would need to setup your script in such a way that it 'queues' them -- several hundred per hour won't work on their 3 lower shared packages.

  11. #11
    Out of those I have used www.myriadnetwork.com for a while and they are as rock solid as they get, good luck they are awesome

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    756
    Quote Originally Posted by klenwell
    And I notice on their site that many of their VPS plans are currently sold out.
    Actually all their VPS plans are available - http://forums.asmallorange.com/index.php?showtopic=7924

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Dormouse
    Actually all their VPS plans are available - http://forums.asmallorange.com/index.php?showtopic=7924
    My bad. Thanks for the correction. I was thinking of their dedicated servers:

    http://www.asmallorange.com/services/dedicated/

    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by klenwell
    *Managed Hosting on a Linux Server
    Why not FreeBSD ?

    If that is an option, I recommend adding pair.com to your list, however I'm not sure what their e-mail policy is. The shared server I'm on has been up 248 days and counting.

    One of the sites that has a lot of traffic and I visit frequently is hosted with them, and I've never noticed it down. ( www.dcresource.com )

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Texas, where else?
    Posts
    1,571

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by klenwell
    the specs on their VPS plans look promising, but they get mixed reviews here:

    t=543130&highlight=hostforweb (sorry, not enough posts yet to link directly)

    Someone mentions switching to futurehosting.biz because of security issues. This was about a month ago.

    Tom
    I found the post you mentioned...kind-of huh? If you have security problems with Root on your VPS that's your issue, also was complaining about spam. Probably didn't ask for any spam blockers to be installed or know how to secure their own "root" and didn't ask support for help. They haven't had any issues with CentOS on the one I have.
    I have known them to be very security pro-active and they have a few users on their forums who have helped others with specialized security needs on their particular VPS with particular programs they are running etc.

    I have a "play" VPS with them I use for playing with beta stuff on my own (so I crash it on a somewhat regular basis ) and know they will do all the stuff many people consider "hardening" simply on request. They do not do it all by default since some "security" setting would cause some users problems for their particular apps but their support people will lock down one as tight as you ask them too so I don't know why anyone would complain legitimately about HostForWeb security. Never seen anyone complaining on their fairly active forums.
    I just know they are one of the few mid to large hosts who do all their own support 24/7/365 with their own staff. Not outsourced, really are there at 3am and on New Years Eve, and they bend over backwards in terms of what most hosts call "managed".
    Last edited by DDT; 09-29-2006 at 06:28 PM.
    New Idea Hosting NO Overselling-Business-Grade, Shared Only! New-In House Design Team.
    High Speed & Uptime; , DIY Pro-Site Builder-Daily Backups-Custom Plans, All Dual Xeon Quad Intel servers w/ ECC DDR3 RAM SCSI RAID minimums.
    We Concentrate on Shared Hosting ...doing one thing and doing it VERY well

  16. #16

    re: pair and hostforweb

    Thanks for the detailed posts on the above.

    I checked out pair.com. The immediate warning flag for me with them is the fact that they are using PHP 4. I think the latest version of PHP 4 would be ok for us, but there is an annoying bug in most pre-v5 PHP that really wrecks havoc with our scripts. So we've decided to require PHP 5. I'll give them a closer look, however.

    Thanks, too, for the comments on hostforweb. Here is the actual comment I was referring to (now that I can link):

    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showpo...81&postcount=7

    I take all the comments here with a grain of salt and try to compensate for cranks. But this did sound credible, though true this person may have reacted hastily.

    Both will be added to my "long list" of web hosts.
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by klenwell
    I checked out pair.com. The immediate warning flag for me with them is the fact that they are using PHP 4.
    I'm still using PHP 4, but I'm pretty sure pair.com offers PHP 5.1.1 on the Advanced and above plans. E-mail them and they can tell you for sure.


    Update : Just found this after I posted http://www.pair.com/services/compare.html

  18. #18
    For what it's worth, the most common phrase out of my mouth when I launched our re-designed Web site 3 years ago was "The site's down again." I went from host to host and finally resolved the problem when I moved to Pair. Their custom control panel is kind of kludgey, and they don't allow PHP scripts to access POP3 accounts, but as far as reliability, I've yet to find a better host.

    Our site's been running on the same server for over 3 years now... and the only downtime I've ever seen was a 1-minute connection outage to our MySQL databases. Yes... that's ONE issue in 3 years. They're phenomenal when it comes to reliability.
    Make money in your jammies!
    6 Steps to Starting a Home Based Business. Get them at:

    http://www.tophomebasedbusinessideas.com

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by PHP_Guru
    For what it's worth, the most common phrase out of my mouth when I launched our re-designed Web site 3 years ago was "The site's down again." I went from host to host and finally resolved the problem when I moved to Pair. Their custom control panel is kind of kludgey, and they don't allow PHP scripts to access POP3 accounts, but as far as reliability, I've yet to find a better host.

    Our site's been running on the same server for over 3 years now... and the only downtime I've ever seen was a 1-minute connection outage to our MySQL databases. Yes... that's ONE issue in 3 years. They're phenomenal when it comes to reliability.
    Two votes for pair.com. Thanks for the suggestions.

    I think I've found my host (actually, there will be 2.) I'm going to post my picks some time this week.

    But I'll add pair.com to the "Plan B List" I've started.

    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

  20. #20

    Exclamation something to watch at pair

    For what it's worth, a buddy of mine fled the wreckage of MIS and started at pair.com just recently. He's not terribly happy. His gripes include that they don't offer an equivalent to WHM so he can't turn the keys over to a cpanel for a site to someone else. Also, they have per domain setup charges. No pushing a few buttons in WHM and voila. If you have a large number of domains you host, get ready for nickel and diming. He wasn't terribly impressed with their control panel either.

    If any of these issues is a sticking point for you, just make sure you know ahead of time. He feels like he didn't know the total cost of ownership going in because he must've glossed over the stuff about additional domains costing him a setup fee.

  21. #21

    Roger that!

    Quote Originally Posted by ad572
    For what it's worth, a buddy of mine fled the wreckage of MIS and started at pair.com just recently. He's not terribly happy. His gripes include that they don't offer an equivalent to WHM so he can't turn the keys over to a cpanel for a site to someone else. Also, they have per domain setup charges. No pushing a few buttons in WHM and voila. If you have a large number of domains you host, get ready for nickel and diming. He wasn't terribly impressed with their control panel either.

    If any of these issues is a sticking point for you, just make sure you know ahead of time. He feels like he didn't know the total cost of ownership going in because he must've glossed over the stuff about additional domains costing him a setup fee.

    Everything ad572 mentioned is true. They do have a lot of extra hidden fees when adding domains and such. I'm disappointed by this fact too. Everytime I add a new domain I sort of grimmace at the extra money out the pocket.

    But having said that, for us, the critical thing was ensuring our site was always up, and for that purpose, Pair has been the hands-down winner.
    Make money in your jammies!
    6 Steps to Starting a Home Based Business. Get them at:

    http://www.tophomebasedbusinessideas.com

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    checked out pair.com. The immediate warning flag for me with them is the fact that they are using PHP 4.
    It doesn't mean anything. It does not mean that they software is outdated or anything like that, if you visit php.net you'll see that they are releasing version for PHP4 and PHP5.
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  23. #23
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    His gripes include that they don't offer an equivalent to WHM so he can't turn the keys over to a cpanel for a site to someone else.
    He has a shared hosting account. A cPanel shared hosting account doesn't have WHM either.

    Also, they have per domain setup charges.
    They put each domain on its own IP. A big part of what you're paying is for that IP usage.

    If you have a large number of domains you host, get ready for nickel and diming.
    Some might call it nickel and diming, but I'm pretty sure that charging for these "little things" is part of what keeps them at the top of their game. It takes proper funding to provide high quality service.
    Last edited by ldcdc; 10-09-2006 at 09:11 PM.

  24. #24

    Pair.com resource usage restrictions

    Continuing the comments about Pair.com. Here's a list of other limitations to beware of... (again, I'm a Pair customer satisfied with them because of the fact our site has never gone down in 3 years). Still, beware of the following:

    • Run any process that requires more than 16MB of memory space.
    • Run any program that requires more than 30 CPU seconds to complete.
    • Run any program that "fork bombs" or otherwise uses child processes in a manner that disrupts performance of the server, or in order to attempt to circumvent resource restrictions.
    • Use the find command, or any similar tool which recursively explores directory structures, anywhere except in their own directories.
    • Send out mail to more than 25 addresses in one batch, whether sequentially or in parallel. Such batches must "sleep" for at least three seconds between each delivery attempt. Please consider using our pairList service for such mailings.
    • Send e-mail to more than 5 recipients by way of a Web-based script. (E-mail sent by any script may be monitored and or quarantined for analysis, in order to prevent Junk E-Mail origination or propagation through our servers.)
    • Send prohibitively large messages to any receiving system that cannot or does not wish to receive them. Large file transfers should be accomplished through FTP, not electronic mail.
    • Run their own mailing list software, whether custom or packaged.
    • Run any interactive chat application.
    • Run a banner exchange, remotely-accessible Web counter, or any other service that performs CGI services for sites outside our network. Please see the policy on misuse of account features.
    Make money in your jammies!
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  25. #25

    My Picks

    Just to wrap up this thread, I ended up selecting shared hosting plans with myriadnetwork.com and westhost.com (similar technical requirements but different audiences and different projected growth cycles.)

    I plan to summarize my experience with each of the companies on my short list and my decision-making process in a new thread after I have completed setup with the two I picked.

    Thanks to all who provided meaningful feedback and suggestions.

    Tom
    password by mushpup : m{this.domain}

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