Good web host?
June 3, 2006 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Dreamhost has become unacceptably slow and down. We're trying to grow a MT-based site. Any host suggestions? Requirements: shell access, php, Movable Type (perl, etc), most importantly: good uptime and responsiveness.
posted by xmutex to Technology (30 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I have several domains with Dreamhost and a couple of them have had SMTP problems lately. I also have domains with Netfirms and it is SUPER. They have fast TELEPHONE support 24/7 and right now you can get 2 domain names for free and a years worth of full-blown, extra generous hosting for only $10. Just use the coupon code PCMAG or the same deal is available by going to and using coupon code MAX2. these are promotions being done with PC Magazine and Maximum PC. Great deal!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 2:41 PM on June 3, 2006

I forgot to mention - that's $10 for the first YEAR. With the 2 domains that come with it, it's like free hosting for a year. This is no ragtag company either. Netfirms is huge.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 2:43 PM on June 3, 2006

xmutex-can you administer a server competently? Check out unixshell. Really cheap, really high performance virtual private servers (I did benchmarking comparisons with a non Xen-based VPS and it's really light years beyond).
posted by evariste at 2:47 PM on June 3, 2006

MT is problematic on any shared host because spam attacks will totally rape the server, even if it's not you specifically being attacked.
posted by evariste at 2:48 PM on June 3, 2006

Well if you're interested in taking matters in to your own hands, Johnscompanies is very nice, you always get a system admin when you ask for assistance and well, it's price competitive.
posted by iamabot at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2006

Response by poster: Wow - anyone used Tektonic? unixshell isn't accepting new customers, but TekTonic offers virtual private servers for $15/month with 320GB outbound traffic. That's really tempting.
posted by xmutex at 2:55 PM on June 3, 2006

Tilted Planet is excellent but not cheap. I've recommended their service to nonprofit organizations (they used to offer a *huge* discount), and they have a very clear online control panel, as well. I've called them on the phone for tech support once before, and they were responsive and answered on the first ring.
posted by hooray at 2:58 PM on June 3, 2006

Response by poster: Never been in a VPS situation- do you have to configure your own DNS as well?
posted by xmutex at 3:06 PM on June 3, 2006

I swear I'm not recommending Modwest just because I work there--I was a customer from 2001 until last month when I became an employee. Over 99.9% uptime and the user support staff (I'm in web design not support) is fantastic--whenever I had problems, they'd respond almost immediately (sometimes within minutes of me sending an email).

But I'd also say evariste couldn't be more right about shared hosting using a MT site--I'd go with WordPress instead. I used MT for years with and when I switched to WordPress recently, I was impressed. I haven't had half the spam problems. MT can be configured to fight spam, but MT's methods seem to be the ones spammers eventually figure out how to circumvent. But I'm no expert.

Okay, I've linked both to my place of employment and my own web site. If I pour more Pepsi Blue on myself, I might never get out of this chair (in other words, sorry if this post seems shameless).
posted by josephtate at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2006

One more thought from me...sorry...whatever you do, stay away from 1&1 Internet. I know there are awful anecdotal stories about any webhost, but their very business model of auto-renewal of domain names and then selling their accounts to collection agencies is just wrong. Google it. They are really, really bad. They make cancellation damn near impossible without a computer science degree.

Here's one guys experience that mirrors mine:

This company uses very unscrupulous tactics to prevent users from cancelling their services. The first time I attempted to cancel my services with them was in April 2005. I contacted them and said I wanted to cancel any further renewals of my domains. I got a confirmation from a rep named Erika Allen that the account was cancelled. However, in December 2005 they charged my credit card for the account that I thought was cancelled. So I cancelled my credit card and attempted to cancel my account again. This time on 12/22/05 they confirmed that my account was once again cancelled. To my surprise on 01/26/2006 they attempted to charge my already cancelled credit card again and ofcourse they did not get any money. I contacted them again about this and they said that my account was still active with them and I am responsible for the charges. But the fact is that they already deleted my account and I have no access to the services that I did not order. They have threatened to send my account to a collection agency and tacked on another $20 supposed "service charge". I then searched on the internet to see if other users of 1and1 had similar experiences and it seems that many of them have experienced the same thing, 1and1 lies to them about their account being cancelled, and then charges them again. I really would like the FTC to investigate this unscrupulous company. Thank you very much.

and on and on it goes.

Sometimes finding a good host is knowing who to stay away from.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 3:12 PM on June 3, 2006 [2 favorites]

Good info and reviews here
posted by parallax7d at 3:17 PM on June 3, 2006

I ditched DH for and I have never regretted it. Their customer support is so fast and thorough that I sometimes wonder how they get enough rest.
posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 3:27 PM on June 3, 2006

Does anyone know what the deal is with Dreamhost? I signed up for a 2 yr subscription about half a year ago, so I'm not terribly happy about it lately. They seem to be down right now.
posted by kensanway at 3:50 PM on June 3, 2006

Response by poster: kensanway: DOS attack. They seem to get them once a week lately.
posted by xmutex at 4:07 PM on June 3, 2006

Jeffrey Zeldman explains why he went with WordPress for content management and why he went with MediaTemple for hosting.
posted by boost ventilator at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2006

I found SiteFlip to have very cheap deals and a good control panel (link is to a special-offer page).

Here's the main question about cheap hosting though, sort of a derail -- what happens if you sign up for a 5GB-per-month transfer deal and you go over 5GB?

Either they shut you down, or they charge you extra. How much extra?

And when I say "charge you extra" do they have the power to take further charges from your credit card, even though you signed up for a one-off yearly fee?

I can see how this could turn very bad for someone who got slashdotted, for instance.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:02 PM on June 3, 2006

Wow - anyone used Tektonic? unixshell isn't accepting new customers, but TekTonic offers virtual private servers for $15/month with 320GB outbound traffic. That's really tempting.
posted by xmutex at 2:55 PM PST on June 3 [+fave] [!]

They're actually the same company, but Tektonic uses Virtuozzo and Unixshell uses Xen. I would shoot them an email asking what the ETA on new datacenter space is, because Xen has far better performance than Virtuozzo. I'm talking an order of magnitude, according to my benchmark. If you just can't wait, the $15 Tektonic deal is decent.

Never been in a VPS situation- do you have to configure your own DNS as well?
posted by xmutex at 3:06 PM PST on June 3 [+fave] [!]

Yes and no. You can if you want to, but you certainly don't have to. I use 3rd-party DNS from DNS Made Easy, but I could just as easily simply point my GoDaddy domain to my unixshell server and things will Just Work. I figure I keep my server busy enough without running DNS on it as well.
posted by evariste at 5:09 PM on June 3, 2006

Like xmutex said, it's a big DoS attack the last two days.

*kicks his unresponsive domains* That's why I'm here on Metafilter instead of making a blog post.
posted by SenshiNeko at 5:10 PM on June 3, 2006

I recommend 1&1 Internet. Best bang for the buck.
posted by honorguy7 at 5:14 PM on June 3, 2006

honorguy7, did you even read the other comments?

1&1 is PURE EVIL. Do not use them. They're the fucking devil. Countless MeFites have complained about them on the blue and the green for years now. They are AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. Avoid. If you're a customer with them already, run. If they haven't fucked you over yet it's because you're not at the front of the queue. Give it time. They will.

I curse November 14, 2003, the day johnnydark mentioned them on the blue. *shakes fist at johnnydark*
posted by dobbs at 5:25 PM on June 3, 2006

Another vote against 1&1. They are Satan's illegitimate children.
posted by evariste at 5:29 PM on June 3, 2006

And a strong vote against GoDaddy's hosting as well. Domains, yes. Hosting, no.
posted by evariste at 5:29 PM on June 3, 2006

I've been happy with Pair Hosting these past 7 years. I have a rather large MT installation with that account and except for MT's notoriously slow rebuild times it works as it should. They will also install and maintain MT for you for a small fee.
posted by cmacleod at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2006

Carpathia Hosting
posted by fvox13 at 6:52 PM on June 3, 2006

I like site5 and have been very happy with them.
posted by jduckles at 7:32 PM on June 3, 2006

After bouncing around with several horrendous webhosts, I have to recommend Hostgator. They do lack SSH on their hosting plans, but I've been able to e-mail fairly complex instructions of what I've wanted done over SSH and their support--the fastest and most reliable I've seen--will do it for you.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 1:49 AM on June 4, 2006

stay away from 1&1 Internet

Another vote against 1&1.

i've been super happy with 1and1 for three years. ultimate services for a reasonable price, and the lowest i've found. if they did raid 5, they'd be perfect.

i don't keep domain names registered with them. have a separate registrar from your hosting *always*. if anyone ever charges things to your card you don't authorize, no matter whether it is a host or registrar or what, you can always have them blocked from your card. never depend on an accounting department to stop billing you.

anyway, the general theme in this thread is everyone doing anything intensive eventually discovers shared hosting/virtual private servers are a bad, bad idea. a place to start and learn why it's bad, but not where you want to stay. you do get what you pay for. if you are going to do business, get your own server. the question then becomes managed, unmanaged, or colocated.

i'd love to have the funds to colocate. it would be easy to get raid 5 then. but it's a deal-breaker for me. 3x to 4x the cost of unmanaged. managed couldn't deal with my esoteric software needs. so i became my own sysadmin with an unmanaged server. frustrating at times (the frustration is all mine, not 1and1's). rewarding at others. 1&1 lets me go month to month with leased unamanaged servers, which was perfect for me. i've actually increased the number of servers i lease from them. having continuous uptime and no server slowdowns has been great.

if i ever get to the point where a drive failure would cost me more time and money than i feel comfortable losing, that's when i'll co-locate.

if i didn't need specialized software, managed would be fine. is MT a user space install? i cannot vouch for 1and1's managed services. haven't used them. but then, i never want another company managing my software ever again.

disclosure: i don't participate in affiliate programs. i have nothing to gain by recommending 1and1. i have no discount codes to hand out.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:20 AM on June 4, 2006

I'm also very happy with Pair and highly recommend them.
posted by andrewraff at 9:34 AM on June 4, 2006

I'd say that meets all your stated requirements and I'll add my voice to those recomending them. Look around their site for their new-user promotions.
posted by Good Brain at 2:52 PM on June 4, 2006

I think people have a very good experience with MT on Pair and on Yahoo Small Business Hosting. I work with the MT team, so those are the ones that people most often mention working well. Feel free to get in touch if you want more info about scaling up MT.
posted by anildash at 2:02 PM on June 5, 2006

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