What is a good website to host our flash file prototype?
March 12, 2009 3:10 AM   Subscribe

What is a good website to host our flash file prototype, such that it can be judged by a Venture Capital company? We don't need anything too fancy. Our default is going to be DreamHost, but we want to see if there's anything better before forking over approx $100.

We require:

(1) An easy control panel, such that we can simply upload the .swf file.
(2) Reliability.
(3) Privacy: ideally we only show our intended audience; we don't want it publicly available (yet).
(4) Cost: we probably only want to spend up to about $150 in total.
(5) Quick: we need to have our .swf up by Wednesday next week!

Besides DreamHost, some other web hosting companies we have considered (but haven't yet fully investigated) are:

(1) Amazon Simple Storage: this seems a bit messy...it seems you have to use a web service to upload files?
(2) Amazon Cloud Computing: overkill? And how much effort is required to configure the virtual servers (assuming we are both novices at web servers)?
(3) Photobucket: seems easy: but what are the privacy issues? We don't want random people stumbling across our .swf....
(4) BlueHost: seems as good as DreamHost.

All other suggestions welcome!
posted by tomargue to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the audience is limited - that is, no need for dedicated hosting - there's no need to spend more than $10 on a shared hosting account somewhere. I'd probably go with two or three hosting accounts, though, to be safe:

www.givememoney.com - Hosted by Dreamhost
www2.givememoney.com - Hosted by HostGator
www3.givememoney.com - Hosted by NearlyFreeSpeech

If one is down, you don't have a massive black eye - Just have them go to the next one. It'd take a spectacular failure of the Intertubes as a whole for all three hosts (regardless of if you go with my picks or not).

Don't pay setup fees - Even Dreamhost has ways around this. I (or any other Dreamhost member) can setup a referral code that will prevent you paying setup fees.

Now, if you're looking for dedicated or semi-dedicated hosting, that's outside my field, but I also feel it's overkill for what you're doing - The truly frugal could just e-mail the swf itself to the VCs if they're not in your office, and if they are in your office, you could just play it locally).
posted by Rendus at 4:06 AM on March 12, 2009

Thanks Rendus. Good point about having redundancy.

Money isn't too much of an issue...in fact, I've nearly got it running on a web server in the Amazon Cloud now, $0.10 per hour (I think!) which would round out to about $40 for the next couple of weeks...which is not *too* expensive, a bit of overkill, but it works (nearly). And that's all that matters right now.

And thanks for the offer of the DreamHost referral code. May hit you up for one if the Amazon cloud doesn't come good.
posted by tomargue at 5:21 AM on March 12, 2009

Agree with Rendus.

I think Amazon Cloud is a little too much for what you require. Just get a monthly shared hosting account and set up your files like

http://yourdomain.com/358634867346436/ (some random number for each VC and/or campaign)

Just make sure your website talks about Intellectual Property before you give it the link to anyone. You don't want your swfs to be used by someone else. Let me know if you want a DH referral too. If you search for dreamhost promo codes etc, you'll find a lot of cool coupons for getting into a good plan.
posted by bbyboi at 6:02 AM on March 12, 2009

If you have a SWF file that doesn't need any backing services at all, why not just email it to your VC?

If you really want to host it, S3 is probably a better solution than EC2.

If you do need backing services, and plan to ultimately deploy in EC2, then it makes sense to continue setting up EC2 so that you can transition smoothly once you get your funding round locked down.

AWS is pretty hot among VCs these days, so it might be a good idea to host there just to demonstrate that you know about it and are learning the ropes.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:13 AM on March 12, 2009

Thanks bbyboi for the offer of DH referral. Without referral, it's looking at about $70 for the basic three months (setup costs etc). As I understand referral brings it down to about $20?

Good point b1tr0t about ultimately deploying in EC2. I forgot to mention that in my initial post: that's always been in the back of our minds: to host the ultimate product in EC2.

At any rate...update: in the last half hour, I've got my .swf in IIS on a Windows Server 2003 running in EC2. Overkilled! At the end of the day, I'm happy letting it run for the next 2 weeks or thereabouts and pay $0.25 /hr * 2 weeks ~= $84.

However...that's now. I'll probably wake up tomorrow, look at the growing Amazon bill and reassass....

Thanks for the suggestions.
posted by tomargue at 7:39 AM on March 12, 2009

Keep in mind that you can turn your EC2 instance on and off at will. Once you get your project up and running, spin down the instance. Then spin it up to be sure it starts up the way you expect. Then back off. Then schedule a demo with your VC, and spin the instance back up for the demo. Then back down.

You could probably manage your costs down to less than $10.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:44 AM on March 12, 2009

Take another look at S3.

When uploading to S3, you don't have to use a free webservice like S3Browse for uploading. There are several clients that will allow direct uploading to S3. CyberDuck (Mac) and Amazon S3Fox (Mac, Win, Linux) are both free.

If you're only hosting a static SWF and HTML files, then S3 would work very well. You only pay for the cost of the actual bandwidth used. My bill is pennies a month for a hundred or so SWF, JPG, GIF, and CSS files.

As for privacy, you can name your S3 bucket some obscure name, or point your own DNS at the bucket.
posted by joe vrrr at 8:08 AM on March 12, 2009

Use NameCheap Their pro hosting package can be had for about $7 a month (you can pay monthly and cancel once you need it).

I've been using them for years. Easy control panel and no commitment.
posted by 913 at 2:23 PM on March 12, 2009

Interesting joe vrrr re the direct uploaders. I'll check them out.

Yeah, I'll check out NameCheap, 913. This is one of the cons of DreamHost/BlueHost etc was that they scaled very badly for short periods.
posted by tomargue at 11:17 PM on March 13, 2009

Okay, update, this is the solution I've got currently in place:

Amazon S3 + S3Fox firefox plugin for the interface. Cheap and simple. The S3Fox plugin is very easy to use.

Thanks for all the advice!
posted by tomargue at 11:43 PM on March 15, 2009

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