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Looking for better web hosting

 
 
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:22 pm
I'm dissatisfied with some of the web hosting I've been paying for, and hoping some of you know some good companies that make you happy. Or maybe what I'm about to post is better than what you have. Wink

My first web hosting company was a little Mom and Pop operation out of Henderson, Nevada called www.activewebhosting.com. They offer unlimited web space, but they restrict the type of files you can have on their servers (GIF JPG HTM WAV are okay but ZIP MOV AVI EXE are not, for example). They allow you unlimited email addresses, but you can only send email to 20 people at a time. They have php and mySQL, but you have to do almost everything manually to configure that. And once when I hit "reply to all" on an email, and one of the addressees was a piece of text that read "Undisclosed Recipients," they shut down my whole website for "spamming." So I'm dissatisfied with the email situation there and looking for something better.

While searching through a Google directory of hosting companies, I made it all the way through the "0" category to "1," and found www.1uhost.com. They offer a Gigabyte of web space for $6.75 a month. But it was their Control Panel that convinced me to give them a try (Oooh, look - shiny!). So I paid for a year of hosting and set up a couple of subdomains, and was also hosting three other domain names, plus a phpBB board that I set up as an emergency sanctuary for a board that was losing its hosting. Everything was working smoothly, except now and then the website would go offline for a few hours. It happened four times over a few months, but I only got explanations about what had happened for the last two. The first explanation was "Sorry for this inconvenience.Our server was under DDOS attacked and it was repulsed.and also, problem was fixed already.All sites was backed up." The second explanation (after the site was down for a whole day) was "Sorry for this inconvenience.Our datacenters ups was losted at this time.They are saying to me "All servers will be up monday morning".This is not our fault.Again, sorry for this." So I'm thinking to myself that even with a little downtime, this is still pretty cheap to get a gigabyte of disk space and to be able to do so much with it. And I could ignore the broken English (I suspect the company is located in Istanbul, Turkey) and the promise on their front page that I could have 50 mailing lists but actually I couldn't even have one. Then last Thursday afternoon, the website went offline again. I wrote a help desk request about it first thing Friday morning, and kept watching as it stayed unavailable all weekend. Then on Monday evening the explanation came in - "Our colocation firm was terminated our server, becouse of our some clients fraudelent activity.This is not our fault.Our server was migrated to new place at this time.We have already sent to all clients three messages for these.Our new server is ready.You can use your hosting are with your new password is ......, your username is same.Also, you must upload your content again.Becouse, our ex colocation firm was losted our backup server too. Really sorry for this inconvenience." Well this time it is more than an inconvenience, because they trashed our whole message board and we have to start from scratch. I want to take my business elsewhere now. It's like the old proverb, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." What is the correct response for "Fool me five times?"

So I started looking again, and right away I found http://www.5gbhosting.com/. They have even cheaper rates than 1uhost.com, but they have a monthly data transfer limit and don't promise the availability of an email list, and their list of features seems incomplete, as though they just built the web page last week. After 1uhost, I'm not so willing to jump in with both feet right away.

Here's the Google directory of hosting companies, and here's a Yahoo page that is comparable. What I'm looking for is:

1. Mailing list availability. I want to send emails to about 40 members of our Sheriff's Posse, and I want to make one mailing list available to the Search and Rescue guys who are now using Yahoo Groups to send weekly emails to probably a couple of hundred Posse members.
2. Lots of disk space for 1uhost prices or better.
3. A nice control panel with plenty of control over the details.
4. Ability to host several domains and create several subdomains on the same account.
5. php, mySQL, CGI optional, and ASP if at all possible (ASP is rare).
6. Support for message board creation like phpBB or Invision Power Board.

So it might be a tall order, but maybe someone here is using the perfect hosting company.

* crosses fingers *
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 1,802 • Replies: 12
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:32 pm
Actually, what you want is really easy to find.

The control panel you liked is called cpanel, it's very common (for e.g. all my hosting plans come with it).

Bandwidth shouldn't be too big of an issue for you. Unless you are streaming media like videos less than 1% of the sites on the net use more than you can get at the basic prices.

Any host that supports php and mysql can enable a phpbb install but any that have cpanel will ahve one button installs unless they disable it.

What I recommend would be a host that offers between 500MB - 1 GB (above this and you'll probably be on an overquoted box).

You can get around 30GB of bandwidth for the prices you mention.

PHP and around 3-5 MySQL databases is common for that price.

ASP is rare, and a host offering ASP and PHP on the same account is even more rare.

Then you get to the issue of stability of both the company and the individual servers.

Other than recommending my own company, I think the best ones for you will all be found here: Shared hosting.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:37 pm
There's one that advertises heavily around here, called "Hurricane Electric", I think it's at http://www.he.net. It's a U.S. based operation, and may be more expensive than what you are looking for. I have not used it and only know it from the barrage of radio ads.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:41 pm
Incidentally you seem to be falling for the scummy types who just overquote.

Thing is, over 90% of all sites don't even use 1 GB of bandwidth, so they promise a lot and boot you if you actually get popular. Don't fall for this.

Space is also oversold, they don't expect you to use it so they make "unlimited" promises and large promises. Thing is, unless you are storing video, you will be hard pressed to use even 100MB of space.

Don't just go for the hosts that offer the most for the price because then you'll end up with a teenager who will bring you tons of downtime and flakiness.

The companies in the link I gave you are the top of the line. Have a look at those.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:43 pm
Hurricane Electric seems to have more of a focus on dedicated boxes, their shared plans have some really really bad pricing (there are free hosting accounts that offer more space and bandwidth than they offfer).
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:46 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
Incidentally you seem to be falling for the scummy types who just overquote.

Thing is, over 90% of all sites don't even use 1 GB of bandwidth, so they promise a lot and boot you if you actually get popular. Don't fall for this.

Space is also oversold, they don't expect you to use it so they make "unlimited" promises and large promises. Thing is, unless you are storing video, you will be hard pressed to use even 100MB of space.

Don't just go for the hosts that offer the most for the price because then you'll end up with a teenager who will bring you tons of downtime and flakiness.

The companies in the link I gave you are the top of the line. Have a look at those.


very good points
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 May, 2004 02:46 pm
Thanks Craven, I honestly wouldn't know. I just know they advertise big time and often during Sharks games, which I watch.
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Tarantulas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 01:00 am
WOW! That's a big list. It took me several hours to go through all the websites and scratch down a few notes on each one. I had that list of things I was looking for, and it seemed that each host was missing a piece. That is, until I came to the second to the last one, Web Site Source. It lets you host four domains, and it has mailing lists available. 800 megabytes disk space and 20 gigabytes bandwidth per month. I didn't see any discussion group setup icon in the control panel but maybe that's somewhere else. Anyway, it looks like that's my baby.

Some of the websites seemed to be behind the times. They don't offer much disk space or many features, but they charge as much as the ones who do. And other websites offer the same features for a much higher price. Two of them didn't have any information you could use to compare to the others. And the "Definite Host" web hosting company apparently has been replaced by some kind of advertisements - their site is gone.

Craven, thanks for the advice and the link. It was pretty depressing losing everything like that. It's good to know there's a way out of this mess.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 01:15 am
Thing is, IMO, the fact that it might be a buck or two more or have a bit less space might be the difference between 99% uptime and 99.99% uptime.

It might be the difference between the quality and frequency of the backups.

It might be the difference between quality of the support.

All the problems you mention are in those "intangibles".

Ya gotta make sure you can gauge the host service. I've used a couple of those in the past. Just for an additional FYI, ipowerweb is the most popular host by far for the niche you are looking for (entry level shared hosting).

They might be the largest overall in terms of customers.

I've used them extensively.

The next thing for you to know is that if you have a bust database driven site they'll make you move it out.

They'll call it resource abuse.

Way before you hit any bandwith limit you'll hit the CPU/RAM use limit.

I've had several sites have to move to dedicated boxes because of that. Shared hosting means sharing the CPU with all the other sites. Decent forum traffic would require a dedicated box.

A2K lasted a very short time on a shared account. We went to needed dedicated servers and then more powerful and more powerful ones. Then clusters....

So remember, if you run a database driven site, the limitation you'll hit is resource use. And that will usually be covered in their TOS or AUP.

I paid too much attention to space and bandwidth the first time and got blindsided by the resource factor.
0 Replies
 
husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 08:17 am
Quote:
clusters....
what is this about?
TIA
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 09:17 am
It means using more than one server in a cluster. For example a database server and an http server. One server is handling http requests while the other hosts the database.
0 Replies
 
Tarantulas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 05:48 pm
And that is called the "three-tier client/server model."

Quote:
In the three-tier computing model, an application server is used to manage the business logic, a database server handles the data access logic, and the client manages only the presentation logic.

I was just reading that this morning in my Active Server Pages textbook.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2004 05:50 pm
Well, kinda like that. What you describe is a specific cluster setup. In my setups it would not have the "business logic" server and would scale like this:

1 Powerhouse DB server.
1 Powerfull http server.
1 weaker server to handle image requests.

Then to scale it would switch to 2 http se4rvers with load balancing and a more powerful DB server.

Of course, there need to be additional servers to use for backups and staging grounds.
0 Replies
 
 

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