What's a good heavy duty webhost?
November 7, 2005 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I need a webhost that will give me 100gb of bandwidth and a gig of storage for relatively cheap (budget is about $80/mo USD), and be reliable with goood support. I need mySQL and PHP5. Basically I'll just be running MediaWiki on it, but my site is getting so much traffic it's actually killing my current hosts servers. Who should I use?

I'm getting over 100,000 page views per day, and it's seriously getting bad hosting-wise. They've actually had to shut down the site because of the CPU spikes.
posted by zerolives to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
EV1 rocks, but i hardly push much traffic. EV1servers.net
posted by joshgray at 9:46 AM on November 7, 2005

Dreamhost does 120gb a month and 2 gigs for about $10/mo (and thats their low end). Also, they've treated me and those I know quite well so far.
posted by 31d1 at 9:46 AM on November 7, 2005

You should try hurricane electirc. I know they support PHP4, but if you call them (you'll have to anyway to set up the account) they have the most knowledgable staff ever, IMHO. Price for 100gb is $25/month.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 9:51 AM on November 7, 2005

The Clan HQ. They're oriented toward gamers, but the hosting package prices are stellar, and I've been using them for about six months now with no complaints. They are very responsive and professional. And they offer a whole bunch of stuff with the accounts that cost extra at other places. Good luck.
posted by TeamBilly at 9:55 AM on November 7, 2005

I'm a fan of 1and1. A root server with 1,000Gb of traffic starts at $69; a managed server starts at $79.
posted by littleme at 9:56 AM on November 7, 2005

You can rent a dedicated AMD 2000+ with 40GB hard drive and 200GB bandwidth for $30/month from serverpronto.com. Unless you have very simple needs, shared hosting blows. You can't change the configuration of the server, you have RAM and CPU resource limits to worry about, and you are limited by the plan to a certain number of domains. All of that goes away with a dedicated or VPS. On the other hand, if you don't have the inclination or desire to mess with server configuration, then having someone else take care of it with a shared plan is not a bad idea.

(Note though that serverpronto seems to be single-homed with Cogent, or at least with their low end dedicated servers. Cogent transit is not the most reliable.)
posted by Rhomboid at 9:57 AM on November 7, 2005

posted by libertaduno at 10:00 AM on November 7, 2005

You'll have lots of people coming in to recommend Dreamhost. Please ignore them if you're after a serious webhost. I've only been with them for 3 months yet during that time I have experienced 4 major outages - the longest of which lasted for three days. No email, no websites, nothing. Just recently, all of the MySQL databases on the server I share went down and it took them two days to get them back.

Support is knowledgable as long as you don't mind waiting 48 hours to get a reply. OK, they're astonishingly cheap, but there are some pretty significant corners cut. Fine for a personal website, not for anything (email or web) that you need to rely upon.

I've also had a VPS2 with Verio for about 2 years. It's uptime is exemplary: no downtime longer than 10 minutes in all that time. I'm using some pretty strong server monitoring tools so can verify this with my own eyes. Yes, they're overpriced but if you're serious about hosting - and you don't want to go co-lo - they're who I'd recommend. $100 /month will get you 2Gb, unlimited bandwidth and full root access.

I've also heard good things about Bytemark but can't vouch for them myself.
posted by blag at 10:11 AM on November 7, 2005

You might consider a dedicated server. There are a handful of companies that will lease you an entire unit, complete with gobs of bandwidth for $80 or less.

I'm a satisfied customer of Layered Tech, which leases me a pair of machines that serve about 250,000 pages per day, each. I'm paying $75 each. I'm serving The OEDILF and Underheard.org from there.

I was an unsatisfied user of AIT.net, and I was a happy customer of Valuenet/Affinity for a while.

All dedicated machines will give you full access. If you want to run PHP5, you can install it yourself.
posted by toxic at 10:22 AM on November 7, 2005

i second dreamhost. i've gone through my share of hosting providers and they're pretty high on the bang-for-buck scale, especially in terms of tech support. their knowledge base is very comprehensive and, failing that, i've never had it take more than 4 hours after submitting a ticket to get a response and a fix. their hosting packages come with PHP4 by default, but you are able to turn on PHP5 with a buttonpress or two in your domain control panel.

you can create referral codes, too, with $97 to split between yourself and whoever redeems the coupon. i went ahead and created "ASKMETAFILTER" as a code that should give you $97 off of most any plan. i think uses are unlimited for new users, so anyone else wanting hosting should be able to use it, too.
posted by soma lkzx at 10:26 AM on November 7, 2005

WebHost4Life. I've been using them for years. My $9.95/month plan has 2GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.
posted by tom_g at 10:41 AM on November 7, 2005

You see a problem and I see an opportunity. Put some ads on your pages and generate more cash than you spend on hosting. You won't be able to retire, but it should more than cover your costs.

Now, as to your question--I recommend a dedicated server. I've used LayeredTech, and like them. With root and CentOS you can install what you need and they include 1200GB monthly traffic. (I also use valueweb, but I wouldn't recommend them for your needs--Fedora Core 3 and PHP5 is not something I would attempt)

If you don't fancy yourself a sysadmin, you might consider a business partner for this venture. But I really think you should move beyond the shared hosting plans arena and move to a dedicated server.
posted by phildog at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2005

You absolutely need a dedicated server for that kind of traffic.

Be willing to put up ads and make the revenue (google adsense is great as far as making this painless/easy for you) to pay for a dedicated server, or a colocated server if you have some sysadmin knowhow.

I colocate with ServerCentral and I love them.
posted by twiggy at 10:49 AM on November 7, 2005

If you want to take responsibility for everything and run your own server, Servermatrix is very good. Excellent hardware, Tier 1 bandwidth (sitting right on several huge providers), 1200 gigs of transfer, and no long contracts. Their lowest-end systems are about $120/mo. That's more than your budget, but you might want to consider it anyway.

Even their low-end hardware is decent. They use Intel chipsets (for the Intel servers, at least) with Intel networking, which is very solid and eminently suited to being used in a server. The EV1Server hardware is TERRIBLE, or at least it was last year when I was looking. And ServerBeach uses absolutely bottom-of-the-barrel cheap crap. I had a server with them for one entire day, realized it was a piece of shit, and gave up on them. I don't remember the chipset anymore, but they used an 8139 network card (terrible) and had me hooked up 10 megabit half duplex. Servermatrix is 100megabit full duplex... and you get 5 IPs included, even.

Of the three I have experience with, only ServerMatrix offers the combo of a reasonable price, lots of bandwidth, and solid hardware. If your site is very disk-intensive, you might want to go SCSI, which is a lot more expensive... if you're mostly CPU- and RAM-bound, then the $140 range is kind of the sweet spot with those folks.

They offer some kind of security service, where they'll keep your system patched up. I don't think that even costs extra...it's in their own best interests to keep their network clean.

I don't do that myself...I have full root on my system and do all my own maintenance. But I believe they will do that for you if you don't want to bother (or don't know how.)

This kind of thing involves more work on your part than it does with a simple webhost, but if your site is getting that popular, it's something you might think about. If you don't have the knowledge yourself, you may have technical people in your rreadership that would be willing to help you get set up on your own machine.

You have a lot more responsibility and things to worry about in this scenario, but you also have total control over the machine... you can do anything you like with it.
posted by Malor at 10:52 AM on November 7, 2005

No matter what hosting company you go with, listen to folks who tell you that for the kind of traffic you get, you definitely need a dedicated server. No shared hosting plans are going to be enough, especially ones that promise shitloads of bandwidth and space for peanuts.

Remember: you pay peanuts; you get monkeys. 100+ GB of bandwidth costs a fair bit more than $10 per month to provide (excluding making a profit for the hosting company.)
posted by madman at 10:56 AM on November 7, 2005

Response by poster: I should note that, yes, I am looking for colocation or dedicated server hosting solutions as well. EV1 looks very interesting, but I'm not sold on their hardware.

Any dedicated servers should have FreeBSD installed on them, as well. No windows or Red Hat or whatever.

Thanks for the excellent responses so far.
posted by zerolives at 11:20 AM on November 7, 2005

Hmmm... I was going to recommend mediatemple.net. Their virtual dedicated server for $50 a month (if you prepay) Has 100 gigs of bandwidth and 4 gigs of space.

I'm on that plan and it has been good. They run redhat though I think. Any reason for wanting FreeBSD? I also like the o.s., but that requirement will make the search more difficult.

Maybe you should consider a collocation service in your area.
posted by meta87 at 11:57 AM on November 7, 2005

I second the 1&1 recommendation.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2005

I third the 1&1 recommendation.

I somehow got a 3 year free starter deal, and I've never had a noticeable outage in the first 2 years, and that's for a site that hasn't paid them a dime yet.

They even reply to my emails quickly. If they take such good care of the non-paying customers, I'm sure they take care of the major customers well too.
posted by Jomoma at 3:25 PM on November 7, 2005


250gb/month transfer, 5gb space. i got 3years hosting for $100usd. $5 off with discount code "alex". $95 USD total.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 3:38 PM on November 7, 2005

If you're looking to handle the basics of your own server, ServerMatrix really is the way to go.

They're incredible—affordable servers, amazing technical support, and they're "managed" in the sense that they'll help you get up and running, check your logs for problems, examine other issues with you, and work to make things better.

Make sure you select their Silver managed hosting plan, and you'll be happy. 1200 GB of bandwidth and uncomparable uptime is something you'll grow to enjoy very much. And I say this as a hosting provider myself.
posted by disillusioned at 4:09 PM on November 7, 2005

I've got ev1servers myself for a dozen or so busy sites on two servers, and I won't buy another server from them. If you've never managed a server before, you want something where the patches and upgrades are going to be handled for you. Otherwise the hackers will come after your server once the installed software gets old enough that exploits are common for it.

My biggest complaint with ev1 is they offer no patch service, you're going to need to log in as root and keep it patched yourself. I have a server that is fairly old now, and getting quite unreliable. The installed software no longer supported. My option is to re-install everything on a newer server. Why should I bother to stay with them in that situation.

Their support is ok, but nothing great.

I looked at ServerMatrix, but they claim to be only selling to existing customers at the moment. Not sure what is up with that.
posted by inthe80s at 7:05 AM on November 8, 2005

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