Tag Archives: web-hosting

Best and Worst Web Hosting

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One caller on the live stream recently wanted to know which web host they should choose. I honestly hate being asked that question. The answer is that there is no GOOD answer. Every web host – in my humble opinion – sucks, and here’s why: their skin isn’t on the line. They still make money if your site is down. They still make money if you configure something incorrectly. They still make their dollars – no matter what. If their own skin and bottom line were out there along with yours, I feel that web hosting would be a much different environment.

I’ve been through a lot of different web hosting companies in my days online. I’ve struggled with uptime issues. I’ve dealt with poor customer service. I’ve had to wind my way through the maze of service problems and back again on more occasions than I would like to count. Each company I’ve worked with has had their strong points – and their weaknesses.

Right now, I’m pretty happy with Atlas Networks here in Seattle. They respond quickly to any downtime issues, and there have been very few of them. However, they aren’t perfect. That’s the problem, folks… none of these companies are perfect. When your livelihood depends on your website working properly and always being “up,” the company hosting it has to be perfect.

I’m not sure we will ever find the right hosting company. When the day comes that a business will throw their money where their mouths are, then I will be more than willing to work with them. If I have downtime – I shouldn’t be getting charged! If I have an issue – it should be responded to at any time of the day or night. It’s that simple, folks.

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What Will the Internet Look Like in Ten Years?

I came across an interesting question on Lockergnome earlier this morning: What will the Internet look like in ten years?. The author states:

… the idea of adverse changes, in my mind, is anything that would change the complete freedom that we have to do just about anything. Certainly crime should not be allowed, but anything that is not criminal should be fully allowed.

That’s an interesting thought. Sure, I agree that crime shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. However, how the heck are we ever going to stop it? Thousands upon thousands of people fight hard every day to try and curb the growth of crime online. Sadly, for every criminal they take down, more are waiting in the wings to step up.

The author states at the end of the article:

The internet policy is something almost as important as health care, and no matter where you stand on health care, you can see that much twisting of the truth is coming from all parties. How much like that will the fight over the progress of the internet be?

Chilling to think about, for sure. It’s also likely very true. Everyone wants to control the Internet. How ugly do you think that fight for control will get? What direction do you see the Web going in over the next ten years? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

This wasn’t the only great article I read today. If you have something you want to share that I haven’t already highlighted here, please pass it along. I’m always looking for something interesting, funny or thought-provoking to read.

In our downloads center, you’ll find tons of great software and applications for anything and everything you could possibly imagine. Keep your eye on what’s new, what’s hot, what’s on sale, and what may be completely free.

Web Hosting

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There are a million places out there to buy your web hosting from. How do you know which is the right choice for you? What things should you keep in mind when choosing? These tips sent in by a community member should help ease your mind a bit.

  • Don’t buy what you don’t need. When buying a product, you buy it for what you want it to do, right? Hosting is no different. If it’s going to be an image hoster, why do you want a phpBB Board, or MediaWiki included? Consider how much traffic you expect to get, and look around.
  • Don’t be afraid to move your hosting around often. If there’s a better offer around in the short run, chances are you’re best taking it because by the time you roll around to needing to pay for hosting, you’ll still find some options which, for one year, are either hysterically cheap, or just plain free.
  • Look on the internet for voucher codes. If you think you’ve found the host for you, looked at their reputation, and decided ‘Yes, that’s who I want to go with’… take a look at their competitors again. A prime example of this is Dreamhost; their voucher codes can turn $100+ a year into $20 for the first year, with a domain name included.
  • If you’re getting free email, USE IT IF YOU CAN. Too many people still use hotmail addresses when they have hosting that provides them with email addresses. If you’re making a small business venture, a domain-name based address will say a lot more about your professionality than a hotmail, yahoo or aol email. I personally have one for Mail, MSN, Ebay and my Wii, so as to filter the unnecessary stuff as much as possible.
  • Always pay for your hosting up front initially. There’s nothing worse than changing providers and then realizing that your subscription payment is still recurring. Not only does it cause stress, but the problems that arise while getting the money back can make you wish you never tried them.

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The Reasons I Chose Rackspace for Hosting

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In the years I’ve been online, I’ve had a few email hosts (that is, I have my email services hosted apart from my Web servers). When I was looking to start working in an Exchange environment, I asked for recommendations from friends. The choices were either affordable or stable… and I wanted both. It’s the reason I ended up with with Rackspace for managed Exchange hosting (and thanks to Greg for walking us through the process).

Rackspace is renowned for their support. Their logo says right on it “Fanatical Support is the Difference”. They aren’t kidding. The support we’ve gotten from them since switching has been phenominal. Every support ticket we’ve had to open on their website has been quickly and professionally answered. In one instance, I needed help setting up the Exchange on my Windows machine. I called in, and the tech on the phone was so friendly. He connected to my machine and set it up while talking to me. I was able to watch him, so that I will be able to set it up myself in the future if need be. Their support is the #1 reason I recommend Rackspace.

My second reason is the price. For the level of service and support you are receiving, you can’t beat the cost. There is a 5 account minimum, and it runs about $15.00 per account. Since the email storage was just bumped up to 1GB per account, that made the price that much more economical.

Reason #3 is the name. Rackspace is a well known company, with an excellent reputation. I know they aren’t going to disappear on me next week. Sure, JoeSchmoe Hosting may be cheaper, but who’s heard of them? How long will they be able to stick it out?

The guaranteed uptime is reason four that I recommend Rackspace. “100% Network Uptime Isn’t Wishful Thinking, It’s A Guaranteed Reality”… that’s their guarantee. 100% uptime? It doesn’t get any better than that.

Finally, my last (but NOT least) reason for recommending Rackspace is that they are willing and able to expand with my needs. As our company grows, I needed to make sure that my provider can grow with me. They have excellent options and packages, and everything is customizable.

For anyone looking for web hosting service, Email Exchange environments, or even Database services… Rackspace gets my stamp of approval.

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Free Or Cheap Web Hosting

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Sad to say, there really is no “free” hosting if you want to own your Web site. You can buy your own domain name and secure reliable hosting at very good prices, though. Our sponsor GoDaddy provides domain purchasing services, as well as helping you to obtain hosting.

In order to actually own your own Web site, you must do two things. First, you must buy your domain name. This is what the name of your site will be. For instance, lockergnome.com is the name of one of my sites. If you visit our live chat, you can now use the GoDaddy bot. Simply type an exclamation mark, and the name of the site you want. You will then be given a clickable link within the chat room that will take you right to GoDaddy’s checkout. There are other sites, of course, where you can purchase a domain name. What sites have you used – or do you use – to buy yours?

The second thing you have to do is to get Web hosting. There are many good companies out there to choose from, with excellent pricing. Since you can take your domain name with you wherever you go, the market is highly competitive for hosting services. Since I have several sites that attract a lot of people, I choose to go the route of buying my own servers. This is something to look into for high traffic sites, but not for an average user. One reliable and inexpensive hosting company that I’ve used in the past is Laughing Squid. Our friend Scott there does an excellent job with photography, as well.

We’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your Web hosting company. What does it charge? Does it have good customer service? Would you recommend it to our other visitors?

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Media Temple (mt) Grid Server Outage

For giggles (and scalability reasons), we set up a Media Temple (mt) “gs” account – setting up some of our sites on their new Grid Server service plan. This morning, it all went to hell. By the afternoon, I started to get antsy – and blitzed a request in their general direction. I received a response quickly, which pretty much said that I wasn’t the only user having issues on the Grid today. Then, in the early evening, I received this update – which I share with you now, in case you’re also a Media Temple gs customer:

This update is intended to summarize the many smaller micro-updates and progress that has been made with this issue since 4:25pm.

– Issues were discovered with the new firmware patch that was provided to (mt) Media Temple this afternoon. This new patch, which was designed to solve the stability issues with our storage segment, introduced new issues. The patch solved the crashing issues, yet introduced performance problems and possible incompatibilities with our GRID technology.

– BlueArc impressively has responded expediently throughout the issue and has escalated (mt)’s issue to the highest level within the company. Constant communication between engineering departments has remained all day.

– During the diagnostic phase (mt) Media Temple found techniques to dramatically reduce disk I/O load from the web segment. This improvement has been scheduled to roll into GRID Master Release (v.1.1). This action has restored the web segment to full performance while the root is issue is discovered.

– Performance issues in the email segment continue to come and go, currently exhaustive work is being done in this area.

– Commitment has been made by both teams to work continuously until permanent resolution is made.

I’m not quite sure what all of that means, but… I sure hope it doesn’t happen again. I mean, I don’t expect much for such a small amount of money, but Media Temple (in my mind) has one of the best Web hosting reputations on the planet – which is largely why we’re dipping our digital toes in their waters. Things seem okay again, although my Comcrap connection has made the Internets close to unbearable.