Topic: In Search of Good Host

I'm using a shared host who have been good until the last month. During the last month, I've had sporadic outages of up to several days and that's painful for me, my clients, and everyone.

I have 5 Rails sites, each running as a 2-server Mongrel cluster and I'm looking at RimuHosting VPS. Obviously, a shared hosting scenario is far easier for me because people who know how to be sysadmins do just that. Moving to a VPS, I'm concerned that my bandwidth will be sucked into sysadmin sorts of tasks.

The plus side to my current host is that deployment is a snap. If I need a new site, I have a range of ports available. I just add it. Everyone else I've looked at wants to sell "containers" of static memory, and at 50MB per Mongrel, that can get expensive very fast.

Does anyone have recommendations regarding keeping it simple while at the same time keeping it stable?

Thanks,

Steve

[All I want for Christmas is a stable server]

Re: In Search of Good Host

for a basic run-down on Rails hosting you can check this out:
http://6brand.com/rails-hosts

Out of curiosity, what host are you using right now?

Re: In Search of Good Host

I'm more likely to recommend someone who's good than badmouth them for having server instability, so I'd prefer not to say who is hosting my sites right now. I know they're trying hard, but I'm coming to the conclusion that the "bad neighbor" situation on shared hosting causes much more serious issues with Rails than it did for PHP or other platforms.

Re: In Search of Good Host

That's probably a wise idea.  Every hosting provider has downtime and 100% availability is impossible.

Keep us in the loop as you search for a host.  This is still pretty unfamiliar territory for the Rails community and it'd be good to have some more stories about things that go well with hosting.

Re: In Search of Good Host

If you're looking for a VPS, but don't wanna have to do any setup then you're looking for Rails Machine.

They setup everything, including mysql, mongrel, mongrel cluster and apache.  All you really have to do is configure capistrano.  Then all of your administration can be pretty much handle by their cap recipe.

The best part is that if you do need some help with sys admin stuff, their always eager to help point you in the right direction.

Read my Rails Machine Review

Last edited by thabenksta (2006-12-24 00:33:21)

Re: In Search of Good Host

Damn I want a Rails Machine...

Re: In Search of Good Host

I recommmend bluehost.com. They have great shared hosting and you really cant outpace their 7 dollar plan. You get everything you need (btw that is the only plan they offer) and you get great ror hosting using apache and it supports FCGI very well. If you want to get a site live than you can easily use bluehost.

One thing is you gotta fax in your DL for SSH so do that as soon as you get your plan wink.

Founder of the Open Education Software Foundation (oeducate.org). PHP migrator swimming across the PHP straits to get to the promise rails. (im cuban it was the only thing i could think of >.<)

Re: In Search of Good Host

I've actually settled on RimuHosting and it's a very different ride from a shared host. So far, I'm quite happy with their performance and their customer service, but let's see what the next couple of months are like.

Re: In Search of Good Host

When I began this thread, I thought my problem was a server that was experiencing some intermittent issues. That turned out not to be the case and I lost 4 sites, my svn repository, and a couple of days' email. Well... because email servers try hard to deliver the mail, I probably didn't lose any mail but here's what I came up with:

Traditional shared hosting is suboptimal because it leaves a lot of random decisions in the hands of (probably) well-intentioned developers who don't realize the repercussions of their decisions. For example, a site that is serving 3000 pages/hour probably can get by with a single instance of Mongrel instead of a cluster. Why is this a good idea? Because you save the memory of one or more extra Mongrels and the database connection each has to keep. The same is true for lighty, by the way. Each fcgi has a cost and a database connection. On a shared host, you have no idea how your own usage impacts the rest of the machine so you just party on. Probably not the way you would behave if you really could do a free -m and find out what kind of memory usage you are responsible for.

Container-based shared hosting is better because it guarantees you a certain amount of memory and slaps you on the wrist if you exceed it. This would be Media Temple and the like. You buy a container and off you go.

VPS is an interesting alternative, and as I said earlier in this thread, it's the one I chose. Being able to log in as root may put me in a fool's paradise, but if something screws up, I know exactly who did it and why. I'm a big fan of letting developers develop and sysadmins sysadmin, but getting into the other role for just a bit really helps make me think about the code I'm deploying.

I decided on RimuHosting because they've gotten many good comments in the past. In two days, I had configured my three domains, a subdomain, WebDAV svn, and email. I've dialed back a lot of what runs by default, installed a few RPMs and basically gotten things to a baseline level. It's too early to issue a report card on this, but initial impressions are:

- RimuHosting are not hands-off. They really will dive in and help when you have a question. Pretty much whatever day or time you have a question. So their reputation for customer service appears to be well deserved.
- Uptime is 100% right now. Nothing has gagged, spit up chunks, or made any awful gurgling noises. I've even mixed a PHP app (Wordpress blog) in and upgraded to PHP5 without anything more than a graceful restart.
- I have pound installed, but am not experiencing sufficient load to want to cluster the servers just yet.

The price is several times what you might expect from a shared host but I feel much more in control of this. If this pans out as I hope, I'll begin moving larger client sites over to VPSs because I feel pretty snakebit on shared hosting right now.