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  1. #1

    Question Photographer researching web hosts

    Iíve searched these forums and found lots of info and most of it added to my confusion.

    Aplus.net was my host, but they're "migrating servers" which means that while my site seems to be up, I can't upload any files. (torture for a photographer!) So I'm slightly mad and would like to go somewhere else. Here's the list of stuff I THINK I need, but I'm only technical with a camera, not web stuff. I'll start with the overview, then proceed to what I suspect are my requirements:

    Overview:
    Iím in the process of deciding on a web programmer to create 2 super-cool websites that will utilize GD Graphics Library, AJAX, Javascript, MySQL, and Iím sure a whole other alphabet soup of stuff. SSI, PDQ, ASAP, SOS. Who knows? Both sites will have pictures that scale intelligently and itíll be ducky. As I said, Aplus.net is for the birds as far as Iím concerned, partly because they only offer squirrelmail and roundcube, and partly because I canít upload client photos for a whole stupid week. Down the road Ė like a couple of months Ė there will be other websites (donít know how many), that will have e-commerce. Itíd be awesome to host everything all in one wonderful place. The other use I have for the websites is that I shoot tons of pictures and a decent bit of video of my daughter for grandparents out of state. So having lots of storage will be lovely. I donít generate a huge amount of traffic, but a guy can dream. My photo business generates 50-100mb galleries from lightroom for my clients to view for every shoot. At any given time there will be 20 or 40 on the site. At the moment Iíve got 1.5 gigs of stuff of my daughter and thatís with me showing as much restraint as I can muster. If space allowed it, Iíd up that by a mile. So thatís me.

    Here are the requirements as far as I can tell:

    - 99.9% uptime. That should do it.

    - 24/7 customer service.

    - Iíd like to try Horde email Ė or something even more awesome. Squirrelmail and roundcube donít seem too awesome to me, and I want [email protected], not [email protected], or some such.

    - PHP?

    - MySQL Ė almost for sure

    - I hear unlimited bandwidth is a myth, but I want loads of it. Not Rapidshare loads, but loads nonetheless.

    - Same with storage space. Donít want a huge bill for going over, and would love to post some HD video of my daughter on a semi-occasional basis.

    - Gotta be able to password protect portions of the site

    - AJAX

    - SSL (probably, I think, maybe?)

    - CGI Bin Ė I donít even know what this is, but the name sounds so cool to me!

    - Pearl Ė ditto. Whatever it is, just has to be cool

    - FTP access Ė Iíll be using Dreamweaver and Fetch for stuff

    - Serious step-by-step support so even a moron like me can configure email on my computer and iPhone.

    - POP3 and IMAP emails. I donít need thousands of emails. - Who could possibly check that many? Ė but having a few for different things might be nice.

    - I was thinking a blog might be cool

    - I want my domains to be automatically re-registered if possible

    - Itís getting to where I need to filter spam.

    Iím sure anyone with any knowledge at all could correct me on some of these, and would likely add some more.

    Now for my questions


    Iíve heard about overselling hosts, but how big a deal is that really? I mean, as long as the uptime is good, how much difference will anybody notice. Itíll be pretty fast, right? Whatís the downside? If I went with Bluehost, or GreenGeeks, or some other, whatís gonna bother me about it?

    I assume Iíll want a shared server. The shared server at Aplus.net seemed plenty fast enough.

    MT said, ďIn 2006, shared server technology died.Ē What are they talking about?

    It all seems pretty complex to me, which it probably isnít. As to the budget? Hey, 7 bucks a month sounds awesome, but itís not awesome if itís not any good. I could drop 20 a month if itís way more terrific.

    Anyone have any input? Iíve looked around and havenít found a single place that compares different hosts and everybody can give feedback. (Itís probably out there but Iím maybe searching wrong.) But given that I know more than nothing but not much more, the opinions of others definitely influence me.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16,087
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Iíve searched these forums and found lots of info and most of it added to my confusion.
    That tends to happen to newer people to the industry unfortunately.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Aplus.net was my host, but they're "migrating servers" which means that while my site seems to be up, I can't upload any files. (torture for a photographer!) So I'm slightly mad and would like to go somewhere else. Here's the list of stuff I THINK I need, but I'm only technical with a camera, not web stuff. I'll start with the overview, then proceed to what I suspect are my requirements:
    Beyond the transition of servers have you been happy with their services? How long is the transition supposed to take?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Iím in the process of deciding on a web programmer to create 2 super-cool websites that will utilize GD Graphics Library, AJAX, Javascript, MySQL, and Iím sure a whole other alphabet soup of stuff. SSI, PDQ, ASAP, SOS. Who knows? Both sites will have pictures that scale intelligently and itíll be ducky.
    The GD, PHP, MySQL are all common server-side technologies where as AJAX/Javascript are client-side technologies that have nothing to do with your provider.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    As I said, Aplus.net is for the birds as far as Iím concerned, partly because they only offer squirrelmail and roundcube, and partly because I canít upload client photos for a whole stupid week.
    Ah, a week is quite some time so I don't blame you for being frustrated.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Down the road Ė like a couple of months Ė there will be other websites (donít know how many), that will have e-commerce. Itíd be awesome to host everything all in one wonderful place. The other use I have for the websites is that I shoot tons of pictures and a decent bit of video of my daughter for grandparents out of state. So having lots of storage will be lovely. I donít generate a huge amount of traffic, but a guy can dream. My photo business generates 50-100mb galleries from lightroom for my clients to view for every shoot. At any given time there will be 20 or 40 on the site. At the moment Iíve got 1.5 gigs of stuff of my daughter and thatís with me showing as much restraint as I can muster. If space allowed it, Iíd up that by a mile. So thatís me.
    I would suggest going with a Reseller Plan or a VPS so that you can have multiple control panels and have separation between your sites. If you go with a Reseller Account and one of your sites really gets hit hard that site may end up suspended but if you're on a VPS nobody will suspend it ... on the negative side it may cause performance issues for all of your other sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - 99.9% uptime. That should do it.
    I don't know of many hosts that don't promise this but keep in mind it's usually just a monetary promise (i.e. they will just credit you if they don't maintain it).

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - 24/7 customer service.
    Most reputable providers offer this.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Iíd like to try Horde email Ė or something even more awesome. Squirrelmail and roundcube donít seem too awesome to me
    As long as you have PHP and MySQL you could install Horde in your account if you wanted even if the provider didn't offer it - it's just a PHP/MySQL front-end for accessing a mail server.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    and I want [email protected], not [email protected], or some such.
    Pretty standard for most providers as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - PHP?
    I would hope so - aim for PHP5

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - MySQL Ė almost for sure
    Common among providers again... I would look for 5.0+

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - I hear unlimited bandwidth is a myth, but I want loads of it. Not Rapidshare loads, but loads nonetheless.
    Define loads... 10gb, 100gb, 1,000gb? What are you *actually* using right now? Bandwidth isn't free.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Same with storage space. Donít want a huge bill for going over, and would love to post some HD video of my daughter on a semi-occasional basis.
    What are you using now and what would you like the limit to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Gotta be able to password protect portions of the site
    This is available to just about any hosting provider that allows .htaccess files (most do).

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - AJAX
    This is a client-side feature ... it usually requires php/mysql on the server if you want it to do anything useful

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - SSL (probably, I think, maybe?)
    You would need a dedicated IP and an SSL Certificate if you didn't want to use a shared one from the provider (something such as https://servername.hostname.com/~youracct/index.php)

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - CGI Bin Ė I donít even know what this is, but the name sounds so cool to me!
    Most providers offer a /cgi-bin and many even allow you to run CGI scripts outside of the /cgi-bin

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Pearl Ė ditto. Whatever it is, just has to be cool
    Common to hosting as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - FTP access Ė Iíll be using Dreamweaver and Fetch for stuff
    Basic feature of most shared hosting plans.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Serious step-by-step support so even a moron like me can configure email on my computer and iPhone.
    It's pretty simple but I think as long as you tell support what you need that they would be able to help you.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - POP3 and IMAP emails. I donít need thousands of emails. - Who could possibly check that many? Ė but having a few for different things might be nice.
    Check the plans you are considering - some have a limit on how many accounts you can have and some do not.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - I was thinking a blog might be cool
    So install one - I suggest WordPress

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - I want my domains to be automatically re-registered if possible
    So register them at GoDaddy or NameCheap.com and select auto-renewal

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    - Itís getting to where I need to filter spam.
    Most providers have spam filtering in place. If you really wanted good spam filtering you could use the free version of Google Apps where you still get [email protected] but you check it via the gmail interface and you get to take advantage of the gmail spam filters (which are great).

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Iím sure anyone with any knowledge at all could correct me on some of these, and would likely add some more.
    They are all pretty common and I think just about any quality cPanel host should be able to meet your needs as all of these are inherent to cPanel servers.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Iíve heard about overselling hosts, but how big a deal is that really? I mean, as long as the uptime is good, how much difference will anybody notice. Itíll be pretty fast, right? Whatís the downside? If I went with Bluehost, or GreenGeeks, or some other, whatís gonna bother me about it?
    BlueHost will throttle your CPU usage down to near nothing if your site becomes busy which can be a pain from what I read - don't know anything about GreenGeeks. Beyond that - overselling is fine as long as you don't really expect to use 1,000 GB of storage for $5/month.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    I assume Iíll want a shared server. The shared server at Aplus.net seemed plenty fast enough.
    There are fast shared accounts and slow dedicated accounts and vice versa - it all just depends on the provider, the network, and what you are trying to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    MT said, ďIn 2006, shared server technology died.Ē What are they talking about?
    It's marketing ... saying that when they started their "Grid Service" that shared hosting became obsolete - it's almost 4 years later and shared hosting is still alive and well. I've seen more reports of the MT Grid being slow than I have of people being happy but do your own research on that

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    It all seems pretty complex to me, which it probably isnít. As to the budget? Hey, 7 bucks a month sounds awesome, but itís not awesome if itís not any good. I could drop 20 a month if itís way more terrific.
    $20/month for solid service on a shared plan sounds excellent - it is a *tad* low if you want a high quality reseller with a lot of space and transfer but you can probably find it with a good coupon.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Anyone have any input? Iíve looked around and havenít found a single place that compares different hosts and everybody can give feedback. (Itís probably out there but Iím maybe searching wrong.) But given that I know more than nothing but not much more, the opinions of others definitely influence me.
    This is about the best place - you just have to do some of the comparing yourself between reviews and companies. In the end the work will pay off.

    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Thanks in advance!
    No problem... Hopefully I've been helpful.
    Michael Denney - MDDHosting LLC
    New shared plans for 2016! Check them out!
    Highly Available Shared, Premium, Reseller, and VPS
    http://www.mddhosting.com/

  3. #3
    Thank you, Mike for your helpful reply. It seems like this whole thing boils down to bandwidth and disc space. Once I know what that will be it will help me make the decision. The problem with Aplus.net is that since they are migrating me for more than a week, neither they, nor I can find out what my usage is. I gotta tell you, the guy on the phone was either stoned or simply didn't care, but the "sorry..." he mumbled actually cracked me up. Definitely confirmed my decision to go elsewhere!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Ferenginar
    Posts
    4,156
    Aaron,

    What's your budget?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    969
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Iíve searched these forums and found lots of info and most of it added to my confusion.

    Aplus.net was my host, but they're "migrating servers" which means that while my site seems to be up, I can't upload any files. (torture for a photographer!) So I'm slightly mad and would like to go somewhere else. Here's the list of stuff I THINK I need, but I'm only technical with a camera, not web stuff. I'll start with the overview, then proceed to what I suspect are my requirements:

    Overview:
    Iím in the process of deciding on a web programmer to create 2 super-cool websites that will utilize GD Graphics Library, AJAX, Javascript, MySQL, and Iím sure a whole other alphabet soup of stuff. SSI, PDQ, ASAP, SOS. Who knows? Both sites will have pictures that scale intelligently and itíll be ducky. As I said, Aplus.net is for the birds as far as Iím concerned, partly because they only offer squirrelmail and roundcube, and partly because I canít upload client photos for a whole stupid week. Down the road Ė like a couple of months Ė there will be other websites (donít know how many), that will have e-commerce. Itíd be awesome to host everything all in one wonderful place. The other use I have for the websites is that I shoot tons of pictures and a decent bit of video of my daughter for grandparents out of state. So having lots of storage will be lovely. I donít generate a huge amount of traffic, but a guy can dream. My photo business generates 50-100mb galleries from lightroom for my clients to view for every shoot. At any given time there will be 20 or 40 on the site. At the moment Iíve got 1.5 gigs of stuff of my daughter and thatís with me showing as much restraint as I can muster. If space allowed it, Iíd up that by a mile. So thatís me.

    Here are the requirements as far as I can tell:

    - 99.9% uptime. That should do it.

    - 24/7 customer service.

    - Iíd like to try Horde email Ė or something even more awesome. Squirrelmail and roundcube donít seem too awesome to me, and I want [email protected], not [email protected], or some such.

    - PHP?

    - MySQL Ė almost for sure

    - I hear unlimited bandwidth is a myth, but I want loads of it. Not Rapidshare loads, but loads nonetheless.

    - Same with storage space. Donít want a huge bill for going over, and would love to post some HD video of my daughter on a semi-occasional basis.

    - Gotta be able to password protect portions of the site

    - AJAX

    - SSL (probably, I think, maybe?)

    - CGI Bin Ė I donít even know what this is, but the name sounds so cool to me!

    - Pearl Ė ditto. Whatever it is, just has to be cool

    - FTP access Ė Iíll be using Dreamweaver and Fetch for stuff

    - Serious step-by-step support so even a moron like me can configure email on my computer and iPhone.

    - POP3 and IMAP emails. I donít need thousands of emails. - Who could possibly check that many? Ė but having a few for different things might be nice.

    - I was thinking a blog might be cool

    - I want my domains to be automatically re-registered if possible

    - Itís getting to where I need to filter spam.

    Iím sure anyone with any knowledge at all could correct me on some of these, and would likely add some more.

    Now for my questions


    Iíve heard about overselling hosts, but how big a deal is that really? I mean, as long as the uptime is good, how much difference will anybody notice. Itíll be pretty fast, right? Whatís the downside? If I went with Bluehost, or GreenGeeks, or some other, whatís gonna bother me about it?

    I assume Iíll want a shared server. The shared server at Aplus.net seemed plenty fast enough.

    MT said, ďIn 2006, shared server technology died.Ē What are they talking about?

    It all seems pretty complex to me, which it probably isnít. As to the budget? Hey, 7 bucks a month sounds awesome, but itís not awesome if itís not any good. I could drop 20 a month if itís way more terrific.

    Anyone have any input? Iíve looked around and havenít found a single place that compares different hosts and everybody can give feedback. (Itís probably out there but Iím maybe searching wrong.) But given that I know more than nothing but not much more, the opinions of others definitely influence me.

    Thanks in advance!
    There are a lot of things to keep in mind here, the most important being the terms of service of any provider you are interested in. Keep in mind most shared providers do not allow file storage or streaming video on their servers, so this might cause you some problems. Most of your other requirements are easily accommodated by the majority of shared hosts.

    As for overselling, consider this. When a host offers an unreasonably high amount of storage and transfer, or even "unlimited" storage and transfer, eventually some person who thinks they can actually use that much resources will sign up, which will either overload the server or cause downtime. In addition, usually oversellers pack as many people as physically possible on a server, so if one guy/girl suddenly hits a traffic spike or a script issue, he/she will easily overwhelm the server and take it down.

    Now I know most people will jump at me for recommending a VPS to you, but honestly it will give you the freedom and power to do everything you want, and is especially good if your needs grow or change over time. But if so far you've been fine on shared hosting, then your best bet is to stick with it

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indiana, USA
    Posts
    16,087
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    Thank you, Mike for your helpful reply. It seems like this whole thing boils down to bandwidth and disc space. Once I know what that will be it will help me make the decision. The problem with Aplus.net is that since they are migrating me for more than a week, neither they, nor I can find out what my usage is. I gotta tell you, the guy on the phone was either stoned or simply didn't care, but the "sorry..." he mumbled actually cracked me up. Definitely confirmed my decision to go elsewhere!
    No problem, I try
    Michael Denney - MDDHosting LLC
    New shared plans for 2016! Check them out!
    Highly Available Shared, Premium, Reseller, and VPS
    http://www.mddhosting.com/

  7. #7
    I'm currently spending 20 bucks and it's no big deal. 40 would seem excessive to me, but if that's the only way, I suppose I could get used to it. I mean, it's just a couple of portfolios and some pictures and videos of my daughter. No big deal right?

    Terms of service have me very concerned on a lot of these sites. Apparently you'll get kicked off if there's too much traffic to the site! It seems unlikely I'd get any sort of spike, but it's just not comforting to know this.

    I definitely see what you are saying about overselling. But how do I know if a shared host is doing this? All I want is a square deal. I'd rather have a limit that I know about, rather than some undefined boundary I might cross without knowing.

    I really appreciate the input. Anyone have any personal experiences they wish to share?

  8. #8
    That is not big deal.
    As for the experiences: WHT is the place where web hosting providers and the customers are.
    I suppose you'f better read something on the forums related to you. Some of them have small hosting sections
    In that case you will have the suggestion from the people which are using the same

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronkneile View Post
    I'm currently spending 20 bucks and it's no big deal. 40 would seem excessive to me, but if that's the only way, I suppose I could get used to it. I mean, it's just a couple of portfolios and some pictures and videos of my daughter. No big deal right?

    Terms of service have me very concerned on a lot of these sites. Apparently you'll get kicked off if there's too much traffic to the site! It seems unlikely I'd get any sort of spike, but it's just not comforting to know this.

    I definitely see what you are saying about overselling. But how do I know if a shared host is doing this? All I want is a square deal. I'd rather have a limit that I know about, rather than some undefined boundary I might cross without knowing.

    I really appreciate the input. Anyone have any personal experiences they wish to share?
    Is your budget monthly or yearly? Maybe I missed somewhere if you said that, you did post quite a bit and I apologize if it is there. If you are planning on spending 20$ a month that should be well more than enough, although 20$ a year seems rather low.

  10. #10
    Sorry, that' 20/month. Not etched in stone or anything. I don't know the difference between windows hosting or other kinds. I personally run a mac, but suspect this has little to do with it. Plus I'm not the one building the sites, just updating them. Thank you to all for your kind advice.

  11. #11
    With 20$ a month you should have no issues finding a host, take a look at the offers section, or search for some reviews, there is a great list of good hosts to choose from and your budget is great.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Kepler 62f
    Posts
    14,877
    I've a photographer too. Not the "I just bought a camera from Best Buy" kind, but one with newspapers and agencies on the resume.

    I run a mix of
    - WordPress for a marketing gallery,
    - customized Lightroom web galleries (images watermarked) for customers to view and submit orders,
    - and store customer orders in password-protected folders per order.
    I'm not full-time photo, so it works for me.

    The site runs on a VPS, where I can allocate more RAM to the PHP, etc. Shared was like torture, especially on those cheap crap plans. FutureHosting has good plans for $20, for a VPS.

    If I were to do this full-time, I'd skip self-hosted and get a SmugMug Pro account. Still have a domain and all, WWW DNS set to smugmug. For e-mail, I'd probably just use my Yahoo Plus account. Self-hosted photo galleries -- especially if you charge per image -- just really suck compared to the modern services that run about $100 year.

    If you need/want any more advice, feel free to PM me. I may not see follow-up questions if posted. Don't come to WHT as much as I used to.
    || Need a good host?
    || See my Suggested Hosts List || Editorial: EIG/Site5/Arvixe/Hostgator Alternatives
    ||

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    530
    I am a tog in my spare time

    I personally would recommend HostGator, they are a good all round host
    Host to avoid at all costs - Real Web Host

    Mouse potato - The online generations version of a couch potato

  14. #14

  15. #15
    I think you should consider a host using litespeed as medialayer, although their plans may be low on storage for you. Maybe precisioneffect ?

  16. #16
    thats nice aplus came up . thats why I like wht. you get allot here

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