Lawyer required disclaimer: This post is long and detail heavy... Feel free to skim liberally!
I've spent a fair amount of time digging through these forums looking for a new hosting provider, big surprise there eh?
In any case, I finally decided to lay out my situation and ask for your advice:
Our current site, www.ikeafans.com is a pretty basic site hosted with wowbb (forum software provider) which, quite honestly we have outgrown. We're in the process of rebuilding the site using Dreamweaver 8 and some wonderful Interakt (we got a full suite of their software including the AJAX toolkit JUST before their being bought out by Adobe) components. The new site is a LOT more complicated, including some moderately complex data driven functionality to allow members to compose articles, renovation progress blogs etc. We're also providing for both free and paid digital downloads of best practices and modification walkthroughs for IKEA cabinetry etc. We're just about done customizing our VPASP shopping cart to merge seamlessly with the PhP pages of the main site, but VPASP does need ASP to be supported by the hosting site.
The forum is a large part of the site and has grown by leaps and bounds, doubling in size about every 3 months for the last year. We currently have over 2100 members, with 27,000+ posts and an average concurrent users online of between 50 and 90 with a high watermark of 123 set a few days ago. As we have been growing mostly by google organic referals (with a few google ads) and mentions on other sites, we're a *bit* concerned at how hammered we could suddenly get if/when we first get any kind of press coverage. Our usage is:
Current Disk usage: 593.94 Meg
Current SQL Disk Usage 199.40 Meg
Bandwidth for last month: 20923361 Kb
Unique visitors: 972/day avg for this month
Visits: 1287/day avg for this month
Page views: 10144/day avg for this month
So with all that said, we're trying to juggle all the various plans, and provider restrictions. Frankly it's a bit bewildering...
I've been looking at hostgator, their "swamp" shared hosting plan would meet our current needs, though I read that they limit their concurrent DB connections to 25? Not sure if that would impact our current forum software(wowbb), or the vbulletin that we're looking at as a replacement, I'm also unsure how that will impact our VPASP sessions and the data driven pages we're putting together. Lunarpages is also a possibility, though I haven't seen as much recent good press on them here and on Sitepoint. I've been having trouble finding too many other linux hosts that support Chilisoft ASP, anyone know of any other good possibilities?
We've currently been hosting the new site on Sectorlink during development, but we've seen an LOT of downtime/slow connections there and I certainly don't want to start off on a bad footing.
We're throwing a LOT of time/effort into the new site and given that the current site's making $150-200/month just in some low profile google ads with a few donations it's not impossible to be looking at a semi-dedicated server? We have a lot of potential in this site, and have seen ever increasing interest from over 76 countries at last count...
Phew... So there you have it. Hope I'm not overstressing everyone's willingness to read extra details .
So what does everyone think? And TIA for any assistance/suggestions you can provide!
 table looked good in composition but MAN did it post baddly . So I've replaced the stats with an overview. [/edit]
Thanks for the feedback. Based on what I've found here and on sitepoint, I'm currently looking at a Windows VPS. zone.net has a very attractive offering providing 1024 meg of Ram with 15 GB storage and unmetered bandwidth, we'll have to see how it works in practice.
I'm *thinking* we'll start out using PHP under IIS. The vast majority of the (Forums and data-driven sections) website itself is all PHP though, so we'll have to see how effective PHP under IIS turns out to be. If necessary we can switch to apache PHP, though then we'd be right back in the chilisoft ASP boat... :igh::
From personal experience I can tell you that PHP under IIS is identicle to PHP under Apache if you can configure the permissions correctly. IIS has a lot more security restrictions, but you shouldn't have problems -- feel free to ask if you ever need with IIS admin!
I would look at VPS or even a dedicated server.... you have a successful web site.
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