A New Host

I’ve decided the time has come to move several sites out of my spare bedroom and off this box and onto a shared host somewhere. I probably should have done this years ago, but there’s something nice about having a server you can personally reboot or stick a CD into when necessary. I need to be able to serve three sites:

These sites are not mission critical, but I would like them to stay up. Reliable backups that I can download periodically are a must. I would like them to respond much faster than they do currently. (Xom.nu is pretty fast, but the two blogs can be dog slow at times.)

Traffic is not too heavy, though I don’t track hard numbers. I would like to be able to quickly ramp up to withstand a Digg effect if necessary.

These sites can all live on the same IP address. (They do now.)

I’d like the flexibility to install my own Apache modules and custom PHP extensions and modify the various config files such as httpd.conf and php.ini. Ideally I’d like to be install other frameworks such as Ruby on Rails or eXist if I feel like playing with them. That is, root access to the box would be very helpful, even if it’s virtualized. However I can probably live without that if it raises the price too high. Alternately, I could perhaps live with 24/7 phone support from a reliable sys admin who can make changes like that for me. However the ability to install and manage my own WordPress extensions and modified code is a must.

Any suggestions? So far here’s who I’ve looked at:

Dreamhost is the cheapest, but may also be the least reliable. Anyone else I should consider?

7 Responses to “A New Host”

  1. Jason R Briggs Says:

    I’m using WebFaction for my main website, which I’ve found really good. It has shell access (not root though), and you’ve got the flexibility to either use their tools to install apps or (as I’ve done with WordPress) install them yourself. Another site, I’m running on Linode, which you might want to consider if you want virtualized root access. Not sure about backups though. I tend to write scripts to backup stuff myself…

  2. Chris W Says:

    I have Dreamhost and while it is nice to play with, I wouldn’t put up a website that needs good uptime.

  3. Joseph E. Davis Says:

    We used DreamHost for a while, but the reliability wasn’t there. Switched to HostMonster in the summer, and so far, it’s been much better.

  4. Paul Brown Says:

    Why not go with a virtual server? I’ve been happy with Linode and JohnCompanies for different applications, both running Linux on virtual machines. Both have good support, and both have a 100% success rate in terms of no one that I’ve made the recommendation to coming back to complain to me about it…

  5. Matt P. Says:

    I’ve used tektonic.net for three years and it has been great. Fifteen bucks gets you a virtual server with root access. Also, I hear slicehost.com is also very good…

  6. Tim Says:

    I have used Dream Host for a couple of years now, and they’ve really only had 1 or 2 outages that were aggravating. But for the price they can’t be beat. You can actually browse through their outage notices at http://status.dreamhost.com/ to get an idea of what you’d be dealing with, the staff posts about them there.

  7. Clarence Odbody Says:

    I’ve had no trouble at all with asmallorange, and their rates are very good. I believe they meet all your qualifications, including rails and root access.
    Support is quick to respond. Two days before Chrirstmas, at 9 o’clock at night, I decided to register a new site and set up hosting there. Before 10pm it was completely set up and active, and the domain reachable. It cost me $25 total for the year(!)
    (That’s their Tiny plan, which is for small, low-traffic sites.)

Leave a Reply