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Author Topic: Good beefy Web host?
uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 13, 2007 23:02            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As may be obvious to anyone who read my topic on Globat, I want to move my late friend's site away from them and over to a new host. He'd selected IX, but they have such awful reviews, I don't fancy them.

We need a new host to handle a growing site that is presently 15 GB in size and eats 200 GB transfer per month! i.e. not a tiny site. One positive lead is Lunarpages, although some of the comments I've read are worrying, such as credit card overcharging that smells a bit fraudulent, heavy handed dealing with exploits and reported deletion from their forums of any topic that they cannot answer. The majority of responses to it at http://www.webhostingjury.com/ are extremely positive, although not the overwhelming feedback ICDSoft get (not a single serious complaint and hardly a minor one).

Host Gator cost a bit more, but get a more positive review from the populace, transfer your site for free (to merely upload 15 GB from my connection would take four solid days), but the name "Gator" is pretty scary ...

Anyone have any other suggestions?

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ZER
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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 22:26      Profile for ZER   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Go Daddy is pretty good, nice cheap hosting, fast ftp, etc...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 14, 2007 22:29            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have heard way too many horror stories about GoDaddy to want to go near them :)
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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 07:00      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Re, GoDaddy: Hellllllllll no.

Personally, for no frills web hosting, I like NearlyFreeSpeech.net. However, in your case, I can't honestly say that they'd be the best value - you'd really have to run the numbers.

Otherwise, regardless of where it landed in that survey, I'd recommend Dreamhost, solely based on the words of others whose opinions I value.

And don't forget about Ackoo! [Smile]

(I recall 1&1 didn't seem to do so great in that survey, but they do have a damn cool data center, and seem to offer some fair deals - it may be worth a look.)

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 07:04      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Does NearlyFreeSpeech have Sun Java on their systems and how kindly would they take to running other services? } [Smile]

Same question for any other hosting suggestion posted. I'm looking for a home for something.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 07:16      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, to answer the question about Java:
https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/about/faq.php#WontGo -- No. :-/

Do you know who I forgot to mention? Linode
...a name I haven't really heard in ages. I don't think they're quite as 'beefy,' but they give you a user-space kernel, and full control of your 'server.' To me, the winning point was that they let you run your own Debian virtual box! However, I couldn't justify the cost, as I really don't have much need for web space / remote server stuff these days.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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GameMaster
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 07:26      Profile for GameMaster   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's sweet.... I can't aford it at the moment, but that is where I think the server will eventually land. Thankyou!

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 09:32      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
GoDaddy is evil. That is all.
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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 18:52            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ackoo are years overdue bothering to put any plans on their site. This bodes great, eh what?

One or two people will know what this site is. Someone from the community recommends me The Mothership, at ($75/GB)/month, who host a lot of similar sites for the community. The argument is that cheap hosts (Dreamhost, Globat, Lunarpages, Site5 etc) cannot offer a good service for that price and you'll always have problems. If you check up on reviews, every cheap, beefy host has complaints of unpleasant dealings; it seems that they just can't offer a good service and stay in control when trying to offer that much traffic and space for such low prices.

Time is running out for us to work out how to solve this dilemma: it's a particularly troublesome one (for reasons I've not gone into).

Dreamhost look promising, but I just have my doubts now given the reviews.

There is something to be said by comparing the reviews of DreamHost and ICDSoft ... And what scares me is that I'll be one of the unlucky customers.

And I don't want to mess about. As I've said before, we have 15 GB of files to move and that's four solid days' uploading on my connection. We have a database-driven live site that will get messed about as the DNS propagates and database writes are being bounced between servers. I don't want to make a wrong decision, but it seems that almost by definition, $6-10/month "cheap" high-traffic and space hosting is flaky and troublesome, because they can't afford any decent staff and management at such low margins, or just aren't interested enough in a good service. That's why I am considering The Mothership as some people are recommending ...

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dragon34
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Icon 3 posted February 15, 2007 18:57      Profile for dragon34     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A friend of mine raves about Dreamhost, He's extremely happy with them
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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 19:17            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Sure. Some people get lucky, some don't. But does he use as much traffic, space and database queries as we do?

The problem is whether there is a guarantee of success. DreamHost's reviews at the Web Hosting Jury are pretty dismal. I've seen no signs of any actual dishonesty or billing fraud (as I've seen with others) but reliability is, as someone put it, a crap shoot. I tend to get all the bad luck in life with IT -- everything goes wrong for me, so I want to reduce the odds, and good support when I cannot avoid it [Smile]

I'm still seriously considering Lunarpages, as they do get much better reviews and their support seems decent and, this part is very unusual, jovial and friendly. They're the first host where I've found support with a sense of humour. Most support staff are humourless and sub-human, and it's nice having support who at least truly understand the problems you face.

But there are always doubts ...

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 21:17      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www.squarefree.com/2004/12/23/why-i-love-dreamhost/

One of the opinions I cited. I've certainly read other good things about them, but that comes to mind. Oh yeah - you'll notice that he points out their suitability...ahem...to your situation.

If I was looking to shell out money for solid web hosting, Dreamhost would be in my shortlist.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 15, 2007 22:04            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the point that everyone is missing is that we routinely use up to 200 GB/month traffic. Jesse is only allocated 120 GB/month and uses nowhere close to that. DreamHost do now claim to offer what we need (more than that 120 GB), but the argument goes that these claims are false: they'll never give you what they claim if you routinely use it. Sure, if your site is Slashdotted and spikes for a bit, that might be OK (depending on the host) but routine high use might not be OK: they don't have the bandwidth to devote to everyone at once and just hope no-one tries to use it all. It's like cable contention ratios.

I don't want to know what a good host is for moderate sites: I want to know who will still tolerate us when we're using really heavy traffic ... hm, seems we do about 3-4 GB/day on average, peaking to 30; I felt like we'd peak to 100 GB across a few days but no ...

Only a really rotten host would mess you about if your site is small, but when your site is larger, how many will still cope? That's the real question.

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Doco

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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 06:46      Profile for Doco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just another data point - I switched to dreamhost just a few weeks ago. So far so good. Only one "issue" so far and tech support dealt with it nicely. It took a little longer for them to get to my ticket than I like, but I also didn't mark it as an uber-urgent problem.

Now - I have just three small domains and very low traffic, so I don't place big demands on their systems.

When I signed up they did have a $99 off sale - I think I used the code of 9999

If that doesn't work then use the code DEAM89 which gives you $89 off a year long subscription. (yes that is my code and I get a kickback)

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 07:18            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hang on ... the hosting will only cost us about $100, so $89 off is virtually free and they pay you on top of that? Nah, I'd rather pay and put money into the company!
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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 08:50            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OK, I'm not soiling my underwear but I do feel genuinely scared now:

http://www.webhostingunleashed.com/globat/review/5159

This is who we're with now. This isn't just one bad review: they have a bad reputation for this. I've already changed the credit card info to my old (expired but numerically valid) card number to stop the owner of the site being billed, although there are two points in my favour: a) if they get the debt collectors onto us, they'll be targeting a deceased man, and b) we own the domain, registered separately, so we can drop Globat instantly from a domain perspective.

DreamHost's reviews continue to reflect performance being a crap shoot (I am just not convinced by them -- too many people have problems) and Lunarpages are Nazis -- some very ugly horror stories about them, too.

I don't know if Tut would take our site on, but I've mailed Ackoo just in case.

See, ICDSoft get glowing reports everywhere *cries* -- 100% recommendation at the above site. I want a host as well-loved as them, but for higher traffic and space. All the recommended sites are just not giving me the feeling that they're reliable and not Nazis (mistaken beliefs of your wrongdoing get your site locked out, your complaints removed from their forum, you get banned from the forum and then your site shut down and your data confiscated... This is Lunarpages)

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Spiderman

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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 09:47      Profile for Spiderman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dreamhost. That is all. [Razz]

Ok, maybe not quite all. 3-4GB of traffic/day really isn't that much, and even your peaks are well within DH's capabilities. The only thing I'd say to watch out for is running code that eats large amounts of CPU time. They prefer that customers stay in the 30-50 minute range per day, or upgrade to a dedicated server.

I've been using them for about six months, and know people who are running high-traffic sites (20-25GB/day) with few complaints.

There has been a short outage (an hour or so) due to hardware failure since I've been using them, but that was all.

If your site is mission critical, go get a dedicated server or co-lo with someone, otherwise, Dreamhost is probably the best value for the money out there.

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 10:37            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, the reviews give me a "run away" feeling but y'all seem to like DreamHost. I can't spend all day every day trying to find someone good ...

I just wonder then, why everyone here seems to have better luck than some of the other poor slobs out there?

I'm not sure what you mean by 30-50 minutes -- total, raw execution time of scripts? I have no idea ... I'm not a genius programmer but my handiwork isn't slow and I don't have any background processing going on -- just lots of database access and knocking that up into pages.

My main mistake was to leave the database connected during download pass-through, causing lots of concurrent execution exceeded errors. At first I thought it was some evil PHP execution limit (which research seemed to confirm); I asked Globat about this and they told me it meant database processes, and so I had that fixed pretty rapidly. They were Nazi-ish about it and didn't even interfere, and pointed me in the right direction immediately, allowing me to fix my code (close the database handle until the download is done, and then reconnect to count the transfer complete). So they're not all terrible [Smile]

At least DreamHost would be getting the tried, tested version of the code. That said, I did all the testing on my own domain, out of the way, with a test copy of the site, and then migrated it across and populated the live database.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 13:53      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not for nothing, but *ask* Dreamhost ahead of time about your situation. I've been given the impression that they're quite helpful about that sort of thing - about answering questions on what software packages are installed, etc. So why not...what does it hurt? Hell, if you're concerned about sales pitches, use a throwaway account. [Smile]

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 14:01            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've thought about asking sites, but they're going to say "yes!" -- they're hardly going to say "Sorry mate, don't look at us, wrong host". I'd rather have it from a more reliable source that they deliver on what they claim. I like their package; I mean, they have SSH! That's quite something. They have everything I need and so much more it blows the mind, but ... the issues with DreamHost seem to be reliability.

I ask hosts directly about issues like their support for Apache configuration that are not made clear on their site (and checked up on whether Lunarpages do or don't do site transfer -- not any more), but asking a company if they'll offer the service they claim they will ... Heck, if they said no they'd probably fire whoever told the truth :P

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 14:47      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"I like their package; I mean, they have SSH! That's quite something. They have everything I need and so much more it blows the mind..."

No kidding -- I am completely taken by their offerings...but right now I just don't need their services.

Still...if the bandwidth thing would be an issue for them, upfront discussion might reveal that you're not right for them, and would prevent you from taxing their resources. Having heard all the good things I've heard about them, I figure it can't hurt to ask, and there's a reasonable chance you'll get a frank response.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 16, 2007 15:15            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, if the front page of their site say "We offer X" and then I ask them "Can you handle a lot less than X", they're going to be like "wtf? n00b!"

It's a case of having a gift of expression, but I can have a go and see what they say. But if they say "yes", it may not be possible to tell an honest yes from a dishonest yes :)

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 17, 2007 22:48            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well ...

Had a look around the DreamHost site. They're honest enough to discuss the problems with their reliability in their blog, and believe that it's all sorted out now, so I think that matter is sorted.

But I have 15 GB of files to move across which, at my cable speed, would be over four days (more than 96 hours) not counting download time, and the old host is rather slow here.

So, do they do transfer for you? It's barely discussed on their wiki, but officially, no. However, they explain that you can set up your new site to mirror the old one, and that copies the files. The article was a bit of a mess (still is) but I gave it a bit of a clean-up -- layout, TOC, grammar/punctuation, HTML to wiki code etc -- so it's easier to read now.

I contacted their Sales dept and asked them about the mirroring process and asked for some details on how it would work, and asked about capacity.

Capacity is fine, but on transfer, their response was pretty much "no we don't do that". So it's back down to another host that doesn't bother reading what you wrote and answering your questions, or being too damn lazy to make any sort of clear point. *sigh* I hate this crap. I spent far more time fixing their wiki than they did trying to win me as a customer.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2007 13:05      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Um...you have shell access on their system - just run FTP or scp/SFTP the files from your existing server. That /should/ work, no?

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uilleann
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Icon 1 posted February 18, 2007 13:45            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I need recursive transfer, and it seems to be a very hazy area with FTP. I don't have anything more than FTP with Globat, so all the fancier solutions are out. The best solution looks to be wget -r, which seems pretty straightforward.

I don't know if I misread their wiki page, but the Mirror service doesn't transfer any files, regardless of what the page suggests or claims. I quote:

quote:
Click on the bottom to finish the Mirror Setup and then you just need to wait between 30 minutes to 1 hour for the sub-domain to start working. After that, the name.dreamhosters.com that you have created will grab the files that are in the directory of the domain that it is mirroring.
According to the mail I just received from Sales:

quote:
THe mirror feature does work, but it does NOT copy any files . Basically
it just servers the content that is under the other domain, without any
file moving.

That doesn't make any sense to me. Why would you mirror a site by just using a new URL to point at an existing site? That isn't mirroring. A mirror specifically takes a copy of all the files.

Clearly DreamHost have no idea what they are talking about. I was hoping to use a tried and tested transfer system in case I botch up the process with programs I'm not familiar with, but, I'll have to do it by hand anyway.

It would just be nice to have a company where the staff have a clue and/or the knowledge base is vaguely reliable.

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