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

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This entry was posted by Aaron West on July 2, 2007 at 9:07 PM. It was filed in the following categories: ColdFusion, Personal. It has been viewed 4934 times and has 10 comments.

10 Responses to Web Hosting - Help End My Pain!

  1. Aaron, I left HMS for the same reason and they could never seem to fix it (it was fine for many months and then I suspect someone who didn't know what they were doing got on my server). Anyway, I have been with Vivio's VPS service ever since and loving it. They include BlueDragon JS but if you want ColdFusion obviously you need a copy - though they installed it for em at no charge. Anyway, it has been great and you can't beat the price.

  2. I also left HMS for Vivio VPS and it has been good for me. It's CentOS and you can use BD or CF - just choose what you want to pay for (you can rent CF just like BD, but it costs a little more). Since it's VPS no tags will be disabled and you'll get full access to the admin to do whatever you want.

  3. The most comon answer to CF hosting questions seems to be "Go with HMS and you can't go wrong". I've been pretty quite about it, only slightly mentioned it a couple of times, but I was with HMS - with a dedicated server I payed $400 pr month for - and it went really wrong. The reason I've been quiet about it is that I think that I was extremly out of luck with my case.

    I was just so fed up with the whole thing that I deceided to quit my hosting services, and now I am with hostingatoz.com for my personal sites. Now - there is the ocational downtime, and support can be slowish at times, but for that price I'm not complaining - now atleast I get what I pay for :)

    I aint got any answers for you on where to go, just wanted to second you on that HMS is not always the answer - because I think maybe sometimes they get a bit more credit than they deserve.

  4. dc

    I'll third viviotech, top guys who always try and help out. I rent CF and it works well

  5. I moved a bunch of my stuff to a VPS "slice" at SliceHost.com. It's not quite the same as a VPS at a hosting company as you have a "blank" install of your OS of choice (Ubuntu, Fedora 6, and some others) and then you build onto it what you want. As with some of the other options mentioned, you have to bring your own CF license. I installed the WebMin package and love what it does for me. I can SSH to my slice or I can use their customer tools to get console access via an AJAX tool on their support page.

    It took me a couple of weeks to get everything up and going, but that was because I was pretty new to this level of supporting Linux.

  6. Thanks for all your comments. I thoroughly believe HMS is "talked up" too much in the CF community. I heard people singing their praises, and decided to move to get better support and be on a CF7 server. I've been with HMS for nearly two years and in the beginning it was awesome. I honestly don't know what happened, but they just can't seem to get things running and it's always the same excuse: someone else wrote crappy code that affected your server. Enough is enough.

    VPS seems like a pretty good option at this especially considering I've had my own CF license for years. Those of you using VPS would you mind telling me what you pay? If you won't want to post the information here you can always e-mail it to me. aaron AT trajiklyhip DOT com.

  7. Personally I love HMS. I've been with them since it was Lou and Neil and 3 employees in a 1000 sqft room. They always been great but I have to lately that the shared hosting server have been really screwed up. In their defense they have started installing SeeFusion on all their servers and they are calling customers that they see have a problem with their sites. Most of the time all the problems that they have are because of the code on a site taking down the whole server.

    I think the best thing about them though is that at 2am you can get someone on the phone within 2 minutes and they can get the problem resolved quickly. I've dealt with other hosts in the past (ipowerweb) and it just wasn't worth the headache of trying to reach a support person or once you finally got a support person on the line they were complete idiots.

  8. I grant Tony that as shared hosting goes, HMS wasn't bad - I have a few complaints (like a tendency to get defensive and blame the user in support calls - though every other shared host I have used has done this) but in general they were the most responsive of the companies I have dealt with (with CT in close second). I will also say that I didn't notice any appreciable improvement when they installed SeeFusion, though it is a commendable move...in fact all it seemed to lead to was the same slowness and downtime with a lot of killed threads.

    Honestly, I have come to the conclusion that shared hosting may be inherently flawed as a concept because you can have 199 sites that all work fine and only 1 that kills it for everyone. Considering the volume on these servers, the likelihood that someone eventually screws it up for everyone seems rather high. I understand the pricing and other considerations, but if you get frustrated by downtime, that is something to consider when going with shared hosting.

    Aaron, Vivio's VPS accounts currently start at $19.95 though I pay a bit more in order to get extra ram and such - http://www.viviotech.net/hosting_vps.cfm

  9. Cozmo Trouble

    I just got out of the hosting business after 4 years. I have had several dedicated boxes, resellers accounts and several VPS's. I agree with Brian. All I can say is that if you share a machine with others you are at the mercy of others. If they get Dugg, Farked, Slash Dotted, hacked or throw an infinite loop you go down with them. If you have a dedicated machine, it is up to you to lock it down, and maintain it and keep it patched. It is more work than you think. And with a dedicated box, two words: Eternal vigilance. I just read how PHP code can be imbedded into a Gif file and be used to compromise a machine. And remember, if you box goes down, or a hard drive fails or something breaks at 4 AM (and it will) it is *your* arse that gets dragged out of bed. And God forbid your mail server gets back listed. Getting hacked is the worst. All it takes is one kid getting lucky with a zero day sploit and there goes your next 24-72 hours, right down the crapper. My servers were constantly getting probed. Bombarded is a more apt term.

    Unless you are willing to take the time to *properly* secure, administer and maintain a machine my recommendation would be to get managed dedicated server or VPS. It is pricey but worth the lack of aggravation. In any event, put you box behind a physical firewall. If I were to do it over again I would get a professionally managed dedicated server. Or I would work out a deal with a local ISP to resell their hosting.

  10. Cozmo Trouble

    If you are looking into dedicated hosting, the last dedicated server I had was from cari.net. It was the best bang for the buck, their tech support was better than most and they offer firewall services, switches, and clustering and load balancing. I was very pleased with their services. No I dont work for them nor do I have any interests, vested or other wise, in their company. Just sayin.

    I prefer H-sphere and Plesk for hosting control panels. Plesk has an API for automating hosting. I set up a system (using CF) with the Plesk API that allowed people to set up hosting accounts online. DNS, ftp accounts, email accounts, the whole nine yards. Powerful stuff.

    Avoid Aplus.net by all means.