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  1. #1

    Need a reliable, fast, responsive (cust service) host. Willing to pay for quality!

    I've been reading these forums a lot to aid my search for a host that will fit my needs. I must say that I have learned a lot! Thanks everyone!

    One thing I've noticed though is that most people are looking for 'cheap' hosting. I don't mind paying for a quality host with a proven track record on the following areas:

    1) Up-Time
    2) Ability to scale
    3) Ability to handle big traffic spikes and maintain access speeds
    4) Tech Support responsiveness, knowledge, availability
    5) Consistent lack of billing problems
    6) Up-Time
    7) Consistent lack of tech issues
    8) Up-Time Up-Time Up-Time

    I was recently using GoDaddy's shared hosting service and ran into tons of problems. Not even mentioning their customer service and tech response, I had trouble keeping my site up in general. I've been getting spikes in traffic/hits and the site would just craaaaaaaaawl. GoDaddy moved the site to new shared hosting servers, but that didn't help much. I eventually "upgraded" to their grid-hosting, which seems to be handling the increase in traffic better, but I still want to move away from them due to their lack of quality customer/tech support services and their slow resolution times.

    What I host is not anything fancy, mostly static pages with php and images, but I need it to be available at all times. We've been steadily growing the past year and the last 3 months we've seen spikes up to 300k+ hits in a day. We average much less, but want to be ready for the days when we'll see high traffic.

    I'm looking for a host to be able to provide me with some good SLAs on resolving issues, should there be any. The ability to scale up if needed, and one that always has a healthy stash of INSTANTLY REACHABLE knowledgeable techs on the support team. And of course, above all, the ability to stay UP at all times!

    Any recommendations on the type of hosting I should go with would be appreciated. Any recommendations on specific hosts would be much appreciated as well!

    Thanks in advance for anyone who provides good information!

    -Jay

  2. #2
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    Some things you should consider:

    -What level of flexibility do you need?

    Many hosts provide "load-balancing" clouds which are great in terms of being highly scalable; the down-side to this type of setup is that someone else is in control of your environment and you can't have full-root access. If you're okay with the downside this is probably your most affordable and scalable bet.

    If you need the flexibility of full software access a failover-protected VPS/"cloud server" might work for you.

    -What is your budget?

    There are a lot of great, reputable managed VPS hosts with reasonable prices -- look into knownhost or wiredtree for hosts with excellent reputations.
    Last edited by e-Sensibility; 11-19-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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  3. #3
    e-Sensibility, thanks for the quick response!

    Yes, a managed environment is what I'm looking for. A company with the technical knowledge and skill to keep a site up and running. As long as they have a responsive crew that will work with me and keep me informed as to problems and resolutions as the arise. Quick resolutions and lack of problems are what I am concerned about.

    Budget - good question. I'm willing to pay for quality, so I don't have a set budget as of yet. I'm still shopping, looking to find out what it would cost (average among quality hosts) and decide from there.

    Thanks for the suggestions on Knownhost and Wiredtree. I'll look into them!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    e-Sensibility, thanks for the quick response!

    Yes, a managed environment is what I'm looking for. A company with the technical knowledge and skill to keep a site up and running. As long as they have a responsive crew that will work with me and keep me informed as to problems and resolutions as the arise. Quick resolutions and lack of problems are what I am concerned about.

    Budget - good question. I'm willing to pay for quality, so I don't have a set budget as of yet. I'm still shopping, looking to find out what it would cost (average among quality hosts) and decide from there.

    Thanks for the suggestions on Knownhost and Wiredtree. I'll look into them!
    If I'm understanding you correctly a company like rackspace might suit your needs. They host WHT, so they must be doing something right. Look into their "cloud sites" packages; those are the ones that they manage for you.
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  5. #5
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    try hostgator they are good with support

  6. #6
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    Jay,

    1) What's your budget?

    2) How much disk space and bandwidth is your site currently using?

  7. #7
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    I would first do a search to find out which hosts meet your requirements. I would then do a wht and a google search for "insert host name here" + problems and "insert host name here" + reviews and read what you can find. Once you have narrowed your search, then I would submit a few sales tickets to find out how knowledgeable and customer-service-oriented they are and make your final decision.
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  8. #8
    It sounds like you need a very high quality shared solution (where the # of clients per server is highly limited and therefore costs more), a dedicated server, or a cloud solution.

    When you say manage your site... most providers will offer some kind of system management to handle technical issues. However, if you need someone to manage the actual website and its content, you will also need to hire a webmaster.

    I would go for a company that specializes in high profile websites. This will cost you extra, but 99.9999% uptime is certainly not cheap.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossMAN View Post
    Jay,

    1) What's your budget?
    Seems you missed this.

    Budget - good question. I'm willing to pay for quality, so I don't have a set budget as of yet. I'm still shopping, looking to find out what it would cost (average among quality hosts) and decide from there.

  10. #10
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    Learn the lesson and avoid hosts offering unlimited space/bandwidth, that's what happen when a host lie to you to get you as a customer, there's not such thing as unlimited space/bandwidth.

    Search for a host offering packages fitting your needs and not the biggest plan for the lowest price. Make a shortlist of 5-6 and then research about their names here.
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  11. #11
    I second this! But maybe a shortlist of 3-4 hosts would be more appropriate in most cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedito View Post
    Learn the lesson and avoid hosts offering unlimited space/bandwidth, that's what happen when a host lie to you to get you as a customer, there's not such thing as unlimited space/bandwidth.

    Search for a host offering packages fitting your needs and not the biggest plan for the lowest price. Make a shortlist of 5-6 and then research about their names here.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by dean1012 View Post
    It sounds like you need a very high quality shared solution (where the # of clients per server is highly limited and therefore costs more), a dedicated server, or a cloud solution.
    Thanks, that's what I'm looking for. Any advice on which hosting method fits my needs the best. Shared/Dedicated/VPS/Cloud/etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by dean1012 View Post
    When you say manage your site... most providers will offer some kind of system management to handle technical issues. However, if you need someone to manage the actual website and its content, you will also need to hire a webmaster.
    To clarify, content and site management is done in-house. I just need someone to manage the system(s) and network and keep them up running stable and secure.

    Quote Originally Posted by dean1012 View Post
    I would go for a company that specializes in high profile websites. This will cost you extra, but 99.9999% uptime is certainly not cheap.
    Any recommendations on on such a company that specializes in high profile websites?

    Thanks for your comments and suggestions so far, much appreciated!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by powerMonster-Scott View Post
    I would first do a search to find out which hosts meet your requirements. I would then do a wht and a google search for "insert host name here" + problems and "insert host name here" + reviews and read what you can find. Once you have narrowed your search, then I would submit a few sales tickets to find out how knowledgeable and customer-service-oriented they are and make your final decision.
    Thanks for the tip, Scott. I've been trying to do so but am hoping to get some personal feedback from people as well. I'm also looking to see if there's a unbiased review site available that compares different hosts as well. Any suggestions?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jedito View Post
    Learn the lesson and avoid hosts offering unlimited space/bandwidth, that's what happen when a host lie to you to get you as a customer, there's not such thing as unlimited space/bandwidth.
    Definitely know not to fall for that marketing trick!
    Thanks for the reminder and the heads-up!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Thanks for the tip, Scott. I've been trying to do so but am hoping to get some personal feedback from people as well. I'm also looking to see if there's a unbiased review site available that compares different hosts as well. Any suggestions?
    There aren't really any that are unbiased - WHT is probably the best place to find reviews but even some of the reviews here are bound to be fake.

    Search here and see what you can find - maybe you could even PM people who started the review threads and ask them how things are going and if they are still with the host and why or why not?
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  16. #16
    I don't have any experience with them personally, but I have been told that rackspace is very reliable.

  17. #17
    Thanks for the help so far everyone, keep them coming
    I've been doing a lot of reading and searching but could certainly use some pointers as to what sort of hosting I would need. Cloud? Dedicated? I'm just looking all over at this point and not sure which solution would work for me the best.

  18. #18
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    I don't see why you would need anything beyond standard shared hosting - getting anything else is just going to cost you more money. Make sure you go with a well-known/reputable provider with a history in the industry and then no matter what always maintain your own off-server off-provider backups even if your provider claims to do so for you. You never know what could happen where it would be good to have your own complete copy of your account just in case.
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  19. #19
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    I don't see why you would need anything beyond standard shared hosting - getting anything else is just going to cost you more money.
    Sound advice! I would look at the following for features you want etc.

    Downtownhost
    Cartika Hosting
    MDDHosting
    InnoHosting

    All of the above have a good reputation. Depending on your needs, budget etcetera you should be able to find what you need in one of the above.

  20. #20
    I think you need to define what level of involvement you want with the service.

    Better control and spare resources, but more involvement, get a VPS. Otherwise find the right shared hosting service that suits your site.

    Find a balanced solution that won't hurt your budget and will serve your site well. Some hosts might offer you a custom plan as well.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    I don't see why you would need anything beyond standard shared hosting - getting anything else is just going to cost you more money. Make sure you go with a well-known/reputable provider with a history in the industry and then no matter what always maintain your own off-server off-provider backups even if your provider claims to do so for you. You never know what could happen where it would be good to have your own complete copy of your account just in case.
    That's what I'm wondering myself

    Questions - My understanding is that shared hosting is multiple accounts on a single machine, correct? So if it went down for whatever reason, every account on there is down. VPS is a virtual machine on a shared server, offering more control and better allocation of resources due to less accounts on a single machine. This would be easier to bring back up on another server should the one it's on go down. Dedicated server is just as the name states, one machine dedicated to one account. So is Cloud hosting is like clustering where one account is on multiple machines and is load-balanced?

    Thanks, and sorry for the newb questions

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by VS-fam View Post
    I think you need to define what level of involvement you want with the service.

    Better control and spare resources, but more involvement, get a VPS. Otherwise find the right shared hosting service that suits your site.

    Find a balanced solution that won't hurt your budget and will serve your site well. Some hosts might offer you a custom plan as well.
    Here's the fear I've had with shared hosting and why I started looking at other hosting options such as VPS/Cloud. When I was with GoDaddy, they 'migrated' my account 3 times in less than 2 weeks, causing downtime to users and the inability to update my site content for hours and sometimes almost a full day. They claim this is because of usage to the site (although we were within the allotted bandwidth and disk usage). I had a dedicated IP with them, and but they took their sweet time assigning it to the right server after each migration.

    I don't want a repeat of that issue on a shared account. I assumed that a VPS or Cloud hosting won't have a need to be 'migrated' as they can be dynamically given more resources.

    Is my logic and facts sound here? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Questions - My understanding is that shared hosting is multiple accounts on a single machine, correct?
    Yes this is correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    So if it went down for whatever reason, every account on there is down.
    And a VPS is just a virtualized server on a dedicated server - if the dedicated server goes down for whatever reason all VPSs would be down as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    VPS is a virtual machine on a shared server, offering more control and better allocation of resources due to less accounts on a single machine.
    It also costs more, a lot more if you need it managed, usually offers less burst memory and cpu that you would get on a shared account at a quality provider. Unless you're wanting to pay $100+/month I wouldn't suggest going with a VPS.


    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    This would be easier to bring back up on another server should the one it's on go down.
    If you have an image of your VPS that is off of the node then it wouldn't be hard to do - but then again if you have a full backup of your shared account it wouldn't be hard to bring it online at another host very quickly either so I wouldn't really call this a benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Dedicated server is just as the name states, one machine dedicated to one account.
    Exactly and it's much more expensive than shared and if you want things that most shared accounts come with such as Quad Core or Dual Quad and Raid10 with 15k SAS drives you're going to have to pay extra for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    So is Cloud hosting is like clustering where one account is on multiple machines and is load-balanced?
    It depends on the provider and how they have their "cloud" configured. There is cloud hosting and then there are cloud servers which are two entirely different products. Realistically I don't know that you would have any benefit to going with a cloud over not but I'm sure there will be cloud providers in here telling me that I'm wrong and suggesting that you sign up with a cloud from XYZCompany.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Thanks, and sorry for the newb questions
    No problem - ask all the questions you can - better that you know than wonder.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    That's what I'm wondering myself

    Questions - My understanding is that shared hosting is multiple accounts on a single machine, correct? So if it went down for whatever reason, every account on there is down. VPS is a virtual machine on a shared server, offering more control and better allocation of resources due to less accounts on a single machine. This would be easier to bring back up on another server should the one it's on go down. Dedicated server is just as the name states, one machine dedicated to one account. So is Cloud hosting is like clustering where one account is on multiple machines and is load-balanced?

    Thanks, and sorry for the newb questions
    For a simple answer, it would be YES.

    VPS is like a small dedicated server, so its management is somewhat similar. Both could feel like shared hosting if you get a fully managed solution, but still you will need greater skills than shared hosting.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Here's the fear I've had with shared hosting and why I started looking at other hosting options such as VPS/Cloud. When I was with GoDaddy, they 'migrated' my account 3 times in less than 2 weeks, causing downtime to users and the inability to update my site content for hours and sometimes almost a full day. They claim this is because of usage to the site (although we were within the allotted bandwidth and disk usage). I had a dedicated IP with them, and but they took their sweet time assigning it to the right server after each migration.

    I don't want a repeat of that issue on a shared account. I assumed that a VPS or Cloud hosting won't have a need to be 'migrated' as they can be dynamically given more resources.

    Is my logic and facts sound here? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    This is not always the case, nor for shared hosting, nor for VPS.

    Shared hosting reliability resides basically on what hardware do you use and how many account do you stock in it.

    A non to little oversold shared environment on top notch hardware could work very well.

    Same happend to VPS comparing to dedicated servers. It's not a rule of thumb that any dedicated server will beat any VPS.

    What you have been through with godaddy I would blame it on godaddy, not on the shared hosting environment per se.
    Last edited by SaaSMX; 11-20-2009 at 05:02 PM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS-fam View Post
    For a simple answer, it would be YES.

    VPS is like a small dedicated server, so its management is somewhat similar. Both could feel like shared hosting if you get a fully managed solution, but still you will need greater skills than shared hosting.
    Can you explain how it would be easier to bring an entire Virtual Machine online on a different machine when the node it was previously on has failed as compared to simply restoring a shared account to a new machine (which is extra-ordinarily simple).

    Unless you're keeping up to date off-server copies of every VM I think it would be difficult to migrate a VM off of a failed node onto a new one before repairing the node (and thus nullifying any need to move the VM).
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  27. #27
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    Questions - My understanding is that shared hosting is multiple accounts on a single machine, correct? So if it went down for whatever reason, every account on there is down.
    You cannot compare GoDaddy or any budget host with the offerings of companies catering to a different crowd.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcstatic View Post
    You cannot compare GoDaddy or any budget host with the offerings of companies catering to a different crowd.
    This is true - some companies will cram 2,000+ accounts onto a single server (which will cause stability issues and no "wiggle room" for burst traffic) where as others will only put 50~150 on a server meaning it is *much* more stable and has room for users to burst resources but it's going to be quite a bit more expensive as the provider's ultimate goal is to turn a profit
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  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    Can you explain how it would be easier to bring an entire Virtual Machine online on a different machine when the node it was previously on has failed as compared to simply restoring a shared account to a new machine (which is extra-ordinarily simple).

    Unless you're keeping up to date off-server copies of every VM I think it would be difficult to migrate a VM off of a failed node onto a new one before repairing the node (and thus nullifying any need to move the VM).
    My simpler "yes" was just considering how he perceives the differences between shared, vps and dedicated hosting.

    But definitely it's a big NO for that point. For setup and restoration purposes a shared hosting account will be always easier.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by VS-fam View Post
    My simpler "yes" was just considering how he perceives the differences between shared, vps and dedicated hosting.

    But definitely it's a big NO for that point. For setup and restoration purposes a shared hosting account will be alway easier.
    Ok, thank you for clearing that up.
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  31. #31
    Hi Jay,

    It is good to see such a request, because most people either don't know what they really need or just don;t want to pay for a quality. I don;t think that you should consider Shared hosting. A VPS hosting plan provided form a scalable hosting infrastructure is probably the best you might get. Having one you would benefit from the guaranteed resources and you will always have an option to upgrade.

    The other option is any Cloud solution. However Cloud hosting might be more expensive for you. Another issue is that you will need to adapt to new technology environment. I do not consider a dedicated server because it is a relative expensive and less flexible solution.
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  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    This is true - some companies will cram 2,000+ accounts onto a single server (which will cause stability issues and no "wiggle room" for burst traffic) where as others will only put 50~150 on a server meaning it is *much* more stable and has room for users to burst resources but it's going to be quite a bit more expensive as the provider's ultimate goal is to turn a profit
    Thanks for all your insight here Mike.
    Now the question is, which are these companies that don't oversell and provide stable hosting Is there a comparison available for this? I'm trying to do my research here Again, I don't mind paying for this quality, so being more expensive isn't a problem (barring any absurdness there of course!)

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by tcstatic View Post
    You cannot compare GoDaddy or any budget host with the offerings of companies catering to a different crowd.
    Yup, I understand this. I'm just going off my on personal experience so far and why I'm here asking questions from people who have more insight and more experience in this field than I have.

    I know there's an area for budget hosts, and it's worked for me thus far, but I think I've grown behind the likes of GoDaddy. I'm looking to make a move to a stable, reliable host which will grow with me and stay there for years. (assuming they STAY stable and reliable, which is my hope here!)

  34. #34
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    You should avoid overselling and look for hosts who have good reviews. You should test their support service first and see how long it takes for them to reply !

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by HostColor View Post
    Hi Jay,

    It is good to see such a request, because most people either don't know what they really need or just don;t want to pay for a quality. I don;t think that you should consider Shared hosting. A VPS hosting plan provided form a scalable hosting infrastructure is probably the best you might get. Having one you would benefit from the guaranteed resources and you will always have an option to upgrade.

    The other option is any Cloud solution. However Cloud hosting might be more expensive for you. Another issue is that you will need to adapt to new technology environment. I do not consider a dedicated server because it is a relative expensive and less flexible solution.
    Thanks for your advice here!

    Here's where I get confused. Some are recommending sticking with shared hosting, and some are recommend a VPS. What's the standard pros/cons of each over the other? I can setup a linux system and manage it, no problem, so that aspect of a VPS isn't an issue.

    I agree that dedicated is overkill at this time, and doesn't allow for dynamic growth easily without downtime. (Correct? Assuming adding memory, etc would require system downtime.)

    Is there a service that allows dynamic growth without downtime? Again, drawing on my limited experience in this field, I went with GoDaddy's "Grid Hosting" because of such a feature. Multiple servers, dynamic growth allowing additional of more memory/hdd space as needed without downtime, etc. Again, they claim "unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth" and will "grow with the requirements of your site."

    Am I worrying too much about this? I'm beginning to think I'm over thinking this as I do with many things.

  36. #36
    The more you think, the better decision you're going to make.

    You said budget is not a problem, but it will help to set a top limit of how much you are willing to spend to (maybe) eliminate options.

    Also, what would you like to have for storage space ? maybe you want/need a lot for shared hosting, then you'll know shared hosting is not an option.

    Try first to narrow your options based on what you need and are willing to pay. Then focus on reliable options, make a list and talk to them about your needs and see who gives you the best solution for your money.

  37. #37
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    If you need the power of a vps, but dont want to deal with the management side of it, go with a semi-dedicated. I know mddhosting.com has these. Theyre very reputable and are hosted in softlayers datacenter. With my experience with softlayer. Its a top notch facility.

    With semi-dedicated hosting they only put a set number of accounts per servers. Yes they are more expensive than traditional hosting, but you know what you're getting.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Thanks for all your insight here Mike.
    Now the question is, which are these companies that don't oversell and provide stable hosting Is there a comparison available for this? I'm trying to do my research here Again, I don't mind paying for this quality, so being more expensive isn't a problem (barring any absurdness there of course!)
    There isn't a centralized/unbiased place to compare them - this is the hard part and the part that requires a bit of work on your part.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Here's where I get confused. Some are recommending sticking with shared hosting
    Mostly suggested by providers that focus on shared hosting if you look at signatures.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    and some are recommend a VPS
    Again, take a look at the signatures in the thread and you will begin to see why.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    What's the standard pros/cons of each over the other? I can setup a linux system and manage it, no problem, so that aspect of a VPS isn't an issue.
    Being able to set up and configure a linux system and then configuring/hardening a web server are a little different but if you know what you are doing and you really need something that cannot be done on shared then go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    I agree that dedicated is overkill at this time, and doesn't allow for dynamic growth easily without downtime. (Correct? Assuming adding memory, etc would require system downtime.)
    Generally you aren't going to have memory issues with a dedicated server unless you go to the bottom of the barrel on pricing which I wouldn't suggest to begin with. I know with SoftLayer for around $200/month you can get a dual core with 4gb of ram and 2x250gb drives if you talk to sales.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Is there a service that allows dynamic growth without downtime? Again, drawing on my limited experience in this field, I went with GoDaddy's "Grid Hosting" because of such a feature.
    If you go with a shared provider that offers a full range of products from shared to dedicated with steps in between you should be able to grow as needed with little to no downtime if the provider knows what they are doing. This I guess is one of the major benefits to being on a cloud server or cloud hosting but then again I ask you are you going to grow so fast that one day you are fine and the next day the server you are on can't handle it (not allowing you any time to make a transition)?

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Multiple servers, dynamic growth allowing additional of more memory/hdd space as needed without downtime, etc. Again, they claim "unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth" and will "grow with the requirements of your site."
    Who is "they" - there are several cloud providers out there all with their own marketing and definitions of the "cloud". I don't know how much of what they say is marketing and how much of it is true and it's hard to know since the cloud concept is so very new.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Am I worrying too much about this? I'm beginning to think I'm over thinking this as I do with many things.
    I think so yes, I would just find a quality shared provider and go from there - you can always move/upgrade as needed and as I said previously make sure you always maintain your own up to date off-server off-provider backups and make sure they include your databases as well.

  39. #39
    Keep in mind that overselling can be good if it is handled responsibly. A host can successfully oversell as long as they monitor the utilization of their servers proactively and take steps to ensure new servers are in place before overselling becomes an issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by black7 View Post
    Thanks for all your insight here Mike.
    Now the question is, which are these companies that don't oversell and provide stable hosting Is there a comparison available for this? I'm trying to do my research here Again, I don't mind paying for this quality, so being more expensive isn't a problem (barring any absurdness there of course!)
    Last edited by dean1012; 11-20-2009 at 07:27 PM. Reason: clarifying myself

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by dean1012 View Post
    Keep in mind that overselling can be good if it is handled responsibly. Overselling can allow you to provide more lucrative deals as long as you do not place 2,000 customers on a single server.
    There is a difference between "being good" and "being not problematic".

    Overselling can't ever be good for the client, whether it is controlled or not. It just can be controlled to avoid issues, which is different.

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