Web Hosting - Help End My Pain!

Posted by Aaron West at 9:07 PM in ColdFusion, Personal

I'd like nothing more than to be typing this blog entry directly into my Web site. Unfortunately, due to my site being up and down and up and down again, I'm typing it in TextEdit on my Mac. For the last 6-8 months it seems my site's uptime and performance has dramatically decreased. I pay pretty close attention to my stats, I have a pretty good error tracking system in place, and for the last 4 days I've "caught" my site throwing 500 errors at least once a day. I think it's safe to say I'm pretty fed up with shared hosting.

With that said, I'm curious what people would recommend in the way of hosting. Should I go with VPS, dedicated, co-lo, or some other option? What about providers? HostMySite has been great in regards to their support staff, but the performance of their shared servers flat out sucks. I've even been switched to other "less busy" servers and things were only better for a short while. Their response has always been: shared hosting is made for one or a few domains only. That's just a load of crap. I help run a technology department that hosts over 1,800 Web sites on just a few servers. I can't believe they would spew that marketing crap to me to try and get me to upgrade to a different plan. If that's their opinion on shared ColdFusion services why are they offering the service? Are there providers that offer GOOD shared hosting? Or should I investigate some of the other options at places like CFDynamics, VivioTech, or SozoHosting? Incidentally, the Nashville CF User Group site is with CFDynamics and I've never ever seen the site go down; granted it gets very little traffic.

In order to help folks recommend something that would actually be viable here are my basic requirements:

  • OS must be Linux (preferably RedHat Enterprise)
  • ColdFusion 7 (pre-installed or available and few, if any tags disabled)
  • MySQL 4+
  • Performance should rival dedicated servers
  • Must support 500,000+ page views/month
  • Must support 30GB data transfer/month
  • Must have a great stats package
  • Must provide e-mail services
  • Must have some sort of control panel
  • Must have responsive, knowledgeable support


In reference to the release of twitterAIR, Simon writes:

Hi Aaron, as much as I'd love to see your code for the AIR app, I won't bug you for it. But I did want to ask why you packaged it as an AIR app. It's the second Twitter app done in Flex but shipped as a wrapped AIR file and I'm wondering if both developers (that's you as well) ran into some kind of browser limitation.
While I currently don't have plans to share the code for twitterAIR in it's entirety I don't have a problem with discussing how things were done. In fact, I plan on posting a few blog entries on working with the file/directory API, creating custom form validators, and other features.

To answer your question, I didn't even consider building twitterAIR to work in the browser. If someone wants to post tweets using a browser I'd recommend using the twitter.com Web site. My focus was building an AIR application right from the start. To me it just makes sense to use a desktop application to post tweets, just like it makes sense to use the desktop for instant messaging. I tried a few Twitter applications that run on the desktop including Tweet-r (another AIR app) as well as Twitteriffic. I wasn't completely satisfied by any of them (though both are very good) plus I wanted to build an app that showcased a few of the things you can do with Flex-based AIR applications. A detailed list of these features can be found at the bottom of this entry.


Several weeks ago I became hooked on Twitter and the ability to keep up with what my friends are doing. Since then I spent some time building an Apollo application that integrated with the Twitter services. Shortly after that Adobe announced AIR and I scrapped what I was working on and started over. My goal was to not only build something that worked with Twitter but to use some key development aspects of Flex 3 and AIR. Along the way I hoped to learn more about Flex development.

Today I'm making the application (twitterAIR) available for the general public to try in the hopes of getting comments and suggestions. I'd like for twitterAIR to become an application people enjoy using on a daily basis but in order for that to happen I need to know what works well, what doesn't, and what features folks would like to see.

So, if you use Twitter and you'd like to try twitterAIR on Mac or Windows you can download it via the Downloads pod to the right or using this link:

Download twitterAIR!

If you're interested you can also read about some of the features of Flex/AIR development I used to put the application together. Just click the "more" link below.

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