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  1. #1

    HostMySite IIS CF VPS Review

    Let's begin with the story told
    The company I worked for needed a new web host because the old one was reaching it's limits with an ongoing problem which no one could figure out. Unfortunately, because of the mishmash of technology when the internet was still a fledging flier, our choices of technology were not the best. This resulted in the creation of a Coldfusion dependent site with several ASP/.Net add-ons.

    Because of the requirements, our choices were limited especially since we guessed based on the performance of our previous host (using a semi-dedicated account) that we required a slightly more robust system. We chose to do a VPS hoping that the being slightly more segregated than a shared semi-dedicated system would provide us with a better idea of how our site is running. In our previous host, neither us nor the host could figure out what was causing Coldfusion to crash and burn (either our scripts or someone else on the server).

    But we don't know much about managing a server. I know some but it was quite a learning experience and I doubt I figured everything out. Looking over our choices of Coldfusion with .Net (which unfortunately automatically crossed out BlueDragon on a Linux server), we decided upon HostMySite. Word around here says that they are one of the oldest web hosts that deals with Coldfusion which we liked (being not too fond of it myself). The presales questions were answered promptly (from several minutes but no less than 3 hours). The beta offerings allowed us to take a gander at the internal workings (it was a beta of CF8 on a free shared hosting plan). We took the plunge and picked up a CF VPS.

    Walking Lost In The Twilight Dark
    Let's just say that of all the 20 computers at our office, 17 of them are Macs. So plunging into Windows was nothing short of taking a dive into the deep end of the pool. Very silly mistakes were made and I was so pleasantly surprised at how HostMySite (HMS from now on) helped resolve it. We learned to remote connect to the VPS quite easily. One of the first thoughts we had was "omg, it needs a firewall!" so we activated Windows Firewall. A window popped up about exceptions and we were like "what?". Cancelled that. And then got booted from the VPS. Half hour later of trying to get back in, we called HMS and they fixed it. We got back in, repeated the firewall thing (cause we thought they would activate it but didn't). Booted again. Called. Fixed. Repeat once more. Then they told us what was wrong. We had to add in the exceptions for the Remote Desktop Connection so we could stay connected. Ooohhhh. They did it for us and explained it well. They also pointed out several things, being as we're new (and also other issues cropped up but let's not go very deep into our stupidity, cool?), that helped us like setting up CF memory management, where to put the logs, etc.

    So, after the initial setup, we were good to go. We started copying files over, cloned the database and made a fairly good 1:1 copy of the site. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Scrounging through settings, blue table of death (not a BSOD! but the ugly error page that shows up when there's a Coldfusion coding error), and finally giving up. We talked to HMS, they poked, they prodded, they did surgery and viola, fixed.

    A fairly good copy of the site was up and running. Now we started the major overhaul. We needed to do a ground-up rebuilding simply because everything was so cluttered. But we couldn't do a complete recoding because of legacy issues, links, etc.

    Besieged By The Shock And Shivering Cold
    Three months flew by and the next billing period came. But OMG! Apparently the credit card we've been using has been a victim of identity theft! We immediately contacted HMS about it (as we didn't want to have the VPS shut down). They were very professional and obliged us so much beyond the normal service. They gave us a two week extension to pay the bill. No fuss, no muss.

    Growing Up And Learning More
    After deving for a good few months, we went and bought a CF VPS+ to use as a production server. Unfortunately, we immediately ran into problems. MSSQL wouldn't run. Weird files were on the server. Old settings were still there. Apparently, they didn't wipe clean the VPS from the previous owner. Most issues were resolved quite quickly by ourselves except for MSSQL. We couldn't for the life of us figure out why it wouldn't start. Open ports checked. Service running. Checked. User name and password correct. Check. We contacted HMS. But like a fairytale boy lost in the woods, the light suddenly seeped through the fog providing direction. Apparently the folders where it stored the database and log files did not exist and MSSQL isn't smart enough to recreate it. We fixed it. Did some more checking around on the VPS, changed things to the appropiate directory/drives (logs on E:, content on D:, almost nothing but program files on C: ), deleted the old data (their database was still there as well as some old files).

    Other than the initial "it wasn't a good clean VPS and were missing/messed up directories or had old data", it was good. Better. We copied everything over. Launched. And it's running fine now.

    The New Becomes the Old
    So, now we have a CF VPS and a CF VPS+. We decided to upgrade the CF VPS. Unfortunately, it's not just a simple matter of changing a few values, they had to give us a new VPS (fine with us, we didn't need to copy anything over anyway). They gave us a new CF VPS+. Simply just added the remainder of cost of the upgrade (we were about 11 days in on the old CF VPS, they just took what we paid and applied it to the new "bill") and we were good to go. Some minor issues like the above concerning folders/directories but not as severe. Once we got the handle on it, it was fixed in less than an hour.

    Thoughts Lost In the Shuffle
    Issues, gripes and curse of the incoming New Year? I want to say no but I can't. They issued a notice telling us they were going to apply a security patch during the times of 2:00 am and 6:00 am and it will be down for approximately 15 minutes. On the dev VPS, after they applied the patch, Coldfusion failed to restart (it should automatically restart upon start up and attempt to restart if it fails). Now, this being our dev server it didn't matter much BUT if it was our normal server, having Coldfusion down (and thus the site down) until we saw it and relaunched it would have been a HUGE problem. It would have been nice, since a Coldfusion VPS implies that you will be using Coldfusion, that they would've checked to make sure it was running.

    Also, not sure at the moment what is causing it but sometimes GoogleBot has issues crawling the site. Pages show up under the Webmasters Account as inaccessible even though when we click on the link, it works fine. It's not timing out (we get an error email if it does) so it may be other minor issue. What it *may* be is that when Gbot crawls our site, it's crawling during the time when the IIS application pool is recycling (we set it to do so everyday at 3:00 am). If it happens at this time, then it may explain it but at the moment, this is not a pressing issue which we dedicated much time to look into.

    Of Polished Silver and Shimmering Gold
    We are now into 4 months on the production VPS, 5 months on our dev (3 for the old CF VPS and 2 for the upgraded CF VPS+). We are very happy with everything. Support has been wonderful. Reliability very good. Speed and bandwidth is great. We are very happy with HMS. Will buy again.

    Overall Rating: 9/10
    Support: 10/10
    Reliability: 8/10 (the Coldfusion failing to restart after patch made it lose some points)
    Speed and Bandwidth: 10/10

    Ingraye

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    34,797
    Thanks for supplying your domain that is hosted with this company
    If you donít like the road youíre walking on, start paving a new one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    EU - east side
    Posts
    21,913
    Now that's a really detailed review all right. Nice to see the good and the not-entirely-good presented objectively.

  4. #4
    A very well written and interesting to read review . Thumbs up
    Amd-Communications - Affordable and Powerful Web Hosting Services www.amd-comms.co.uk
    Toll Free: 0800 043 2336 E-mail: sales[at]amd-comms.co.uk Shared Hosting - Reseller hosting - VPS Servers - Fresh IT Solutions

  5. #5
    Thanks for the great in-depth review! If you get a chance please post the domain name you're hosting with us so everyone else here knows that I didn't just write the review myself. ;-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    530
    Quote Originally Posted by JakFetch View Post
    Thanks for the great in-depth review! If you get a chance please post the domain name you're hosting with us so everyone else here knows that I didn't just write the review myself. ;-)
    They have already submitted there domain name for verification.
    Host to avoid at all costs - Real Web Host

    Mouse potato - The online generations version of a couch potato

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