Topic: Choosing a host

Hi, I've spent the past two days researching rubyonrails hosts and have almost gone insane. I don't want to host with Dreamhost or Site5, anyone who promises the moon. I looked at Textdrive as well. My primary criteria is that the site loads up quickly. I like Geoffs nubyonrails site, it's really fast and I know he hosts with rimuhosting. But I can only really afford the first VPS plan which costs 19 dollars and it only comes with 96MB RAM. Can anyone recommend a good host? I'm thinking of Planet Argon but I haven't found any mention of mongrel on their site but at least it's clear to me that the sites which host with them load up pretty quickly.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not hosting google.com or anything which is very popular, but my client is a very big corporation (BIG), I still don't know how I got my first job with them but here I am. And they complained about the last project they had, saying it was a bit slow. So I'm trying to make a really good impression but don't want to go over budget (20 bucks a month) although I must acknowledge that they are not paying me millions of dollars or anything like that. I just want to make a good impression.
Can anyone help moi? Merci.

Re: Choosing a host

RobbyOnRails of Planet Argon seems to know his stuff.  I think Argon has enough of a committment to Rails (two of their staff are now authors of Rails books) that I can't imagine you wouldn't have a great time with them.  Plus, one of their plans comes out to $20.83/month.  Ask him for an $0.83 discount if you want.
They use lighttpd on request and I imagine they're seriously considering a mongrel transition (isn't everyone?).  If you're looking for reliability, I recommend sending those folks and email and letting them sell you on it.

Re: Choosing a host

Why not Site5?  That's where this site is now hosted, and I've had sites on there for awhile now with very few problems...

Another host I usually recommend is ASmallOrange.  I've had an account there for about 6 months now with virtually no problems.  They don't "promise the mooon" in terms of space or bandwidth--though their offerings are very, very fair--but neither do they impose artificial limits in terms of things like domains and mysql databases. They're pretty big RoR supporters, though I personally have no experience with their Rails implementation, so it might be wise to post on their forums and get feedback from other users before deciding.

Josh Catone helps run this place
Rails Forum - Rails Jobs

Re: Choosing a host

Josh this forum is pretty fast but it's running PHP not ruby so I'm not sure I should judge from here. I've been reading a lot of articles and some people are complaining about 500 errors on their typo blog. Same goes for dreamhost and I'd really like to avoid that. I'm really leaning towards Planet Argon but I'm not sure if they like being on the edge like Textdrive seems to be.
Danger could you tell me where your site is hosted?
:-)

Re: Choosing a host

I'm a new customer of railsmachine.com.

They are very helpful and have top-notch equipment.

their first VPS starts at $65/month but if you really want to host a good web site for a BIG corporation, they need to adjust their budget to their ambitions.

Re: Choosing a host

Looks like one of the owners of Rails Machine is the author of Mongrel.  If you're going to be using Mongrel, I guess they'd be a safe bet to go with.

Their $349/month dedicated seems pretty well equipped for the price.  But if you're going with a dedicated server or VPS and you know what you're doing you have a ton of options to explore.  You don't have to just stick with rails-centric hosts since you'll really have full control over your box.

Josh Catone helps run this place
Rails Forum - Rails Jobs

Re: Choosing a host

If you're working for a BIG company their hosting budget should really be something more than $20/month. If speed is important it's best not to go with a shared host that has a propensity to oversell.

vinnie - rails forum admin

Re: Choosing a host

daibatzu wrote:

Danger could you tell me where your site is hosted?
:-)

LOL - Well, I'm on Dreamhost :-)  I really wanted a cheap test environment that was publicly available.  I don't mind a tiny percentage of 500 errors (though my annoyance is growing) and I feel like I'm just counting down the months until I have my own dedicated server somewhere (though I've been doing this for years).

If I were to choose right now I'd probably go call up one of the guys at Planet Argon and have them sell me something.  Their Portlandians, I'm a Seattleite - we see eye-to-eye I'm sure.

Re: Choosing a host

If you look around locally you might be able to find a cheap colo.  I'm co-locating a server for $40/mo here is KC.  Depends on how much you like sysadmining though wink

Re: Choosing a host

Hmmm... I like sysadmining a lot.  Thanks Benksta - I never really gave that a thought before but I will now.

Re: Choosing a host

Well at the very least there aren't going to be too many users. Maybe 150 users per day. I will upgrade to RailsMachine or Rimuhosting later but at least for a start, I'd like to try something small with good quality.
Wonder when railsbase will be launching since they claim they will scale according to your needs.

Mmm, Planet Argon is prob. the best right now since they are small. Don't think they'll have so many users just yet so it should be just right.

12

Re: Choosing a host

I have about 7 Rails apps on Planet Argon and am very pleased. On their home page are links to their blogs. David Gibbons describes how some of the systems are configured. I'm using lighttpd, but on new apps will probably switch to mongrel. It seems others have already made the jump.

What I like about PA is that they aren't afraid of how fast Rails is changing and they change with it.

Re: Choosing a host

Thanks cwd. I've had a good feeling about them for a while now. Good to see that they're moving to Mongrel and nice to see a recommendation from one of their users.

Re: Choosing a host

I think http://www.eleven2.com was in the midst of adding RoR on their servers.  Ive been with them a long time, great host.  I need to check on that cause I dont want to have to go buy hosting just to play stuff with.  Although I understand nothing about hosting for rails, so its not like I would know good from bad.

...

Re: Choosing a host

Media Temple has their Shared-Server 6 in beta (which you can have put on your account at your request) which supports Rails. I've just recently started with them and they're my first host that supports Rails (and probably my last, since I'll be getting a colo soon) but I've been impressed with them so far. Prices are pretty reasonable too.

Re: Choosing a host

Sorry, late to the conversation, I just joined.

The first thing is I have to put in my $0.02 against Site5.  I know that they have many happy customers, and in fact one of my clients is hosted there quite happily.  However, the company I work for has been trying out a ton of different shared hosts.  I recommended Site5 to my boss, and it's been a catastrophe.  Basically the server we are on is overloaded, and frequently goes down.  Every 2 or 3 days at least.  Somtimes it doesn't go down, but becomes unresponsive.  A lot of people probably don't even notice these problems, but we do because we have 20 clients on there and one of them always notices.  Now, shared hosting is always going to have issues like this (traffic spikes, etc), and some Site5 servers don't seem to have much of a problem.  But every time it happens they say they are 'working on making sure it won't happen again', and for 4 months there's been no change.  The problem is I don't believe they have proper profiling tools for solving usage problems.  Dreamhost is waaaaay ahead of Site5 on this.  Not only do they keep their database servers separate from the web servers, but if there's a resource utilization problem they automatically know where it's coming from.  Without this knowledge a host is unable to really solve these problems which are becoming more and more common every day as sites get more dynamic and open-source web apps become easier to install.

A lot of people on web design forums will say X host has been great!  But anecdotes are no way to judge a host.  Chances are an individual hosting a few sites won't even notice downtime unless they are working on the sites all the time.  Similarly, bad host reviews usually come from people with unreasonable expectations.  The infamous "Dreamhost shut me off for CPU usage, no fair, waa waa waahhhhh!" complaint is a perfect example.  Yeah they shut you off!  If they didn't the other 50 people on the server would have gotten worthless QoS.  Try turning off 20 of your WordPress plugins.

When it comes to RoR the whole situation got a lot more complicated because each site requires a minimum 30MB memory footprint (and that's with only one dispatcher!).  With PHP sites the only bottleneck is CPU because one Apache instances are shared by all the sites.  Since most sites don't get much traffic, this means that shared hosts can put quite a few customers on one machine.  With RoR the whole equation changes.  The primary metric is how many dispatchers you can host.  Hosts like Dreamhost have so far banked on the fact that only a small percentage of users will us RoR, but as the number increases, they face serious memory and will likely have to institute new policies.

So when it comes to RoR hosting I think you really are best served by going VPS or some other situation where you have guaranteed RAM.  When it comes to Rails hosting I think you need a host that's intimately familiar with the specific issues involved.  Railsmachine is my number one choice right now.  I wrote an article about the issues here

Re: Choosing a host

Hmm, thanks for the post.  We experienced just the opposite, though.  This site (Rails Forum) was going down a lot on DreamHost, getting a lot of random, unexplained 500 errors... we switched to Site5 and to my knowledge haven't gone down once. smile

I have sites at both (and at ASmallOrange, Dot5, and Serverseed), and they both have pretty good/quickly responsive support.  I think DH, S5, and ASO are all well-run hosts, in my opinion, and all are RoR early adopters.  There will be growing pains as they learn the nuances of Rails hosting, but I'll predict that all of these hosts will be ahead of the game in the years to come.

Josh Catone helps run this place
Rails Forum - Rails Jobs

Re: Choosing a host

Josh, oddly enough, when this site was on  Dreamhost I never got any 500 errors. I was pretty suprised to hear you guys were moving hosts.

dasil's article is very good and asks a lot of important questions about Rails shared hosting. Do I really want to be hosting a slightly dynamic site with Rails considering the memory requirements? Maybe we should have guidelines on exactly what kind of web applications should be built with Rails or maybe use Camping for that kind of site.

Re: Choosing a host

Nobody's said much about Textdrive.  I use them and although it seemed incredibly hard work to get something running reliably, it's all gone pretty smoothly since I got lighty running.  I have no issues with performance - some pretty hefty SQL runs very nicely on their servers.  And they're cheap.

However, this choice was made a year ago.  If I was looking around today, I'd probably not look any further than Planet Argon based purely on the people they have on board.

Re: Choosing a host

I use Linode.com for my VPS solution. They are pretty quick for support problems and questions but if you don't know how to setup your server they might not be as helpful as you would like. prices start at 20 or so bucks for the 100MB RAM server with 3GB of space. But you probably really need the $30 one.

If you want a cheaper solution, maybe try Rails Playground. They have an "advanced" plan that seems pretty decent for $11. www.railsplayground.com