Shared Hosting Providers

Ryan Simpkins plug at ryansimpkins.com
Thu Aug 3 14:29:03 MDT 2006


On Thu, August 3, 2006 13:41, Jared Bellows wrote:
> The company I work for is looking for a shared hosting provider. We are
> looking for 99.9% uptime (nothing too special). I've been looking at
> site5.com. They seem to be pretty good, but was wondering if anyone has any
> experience with them or if they can recommend another shared hosting
> provider.

I would recommend reviewing any recommendation with http://webhostingtalk.com/ -
it's not perfect, but it can be a good starting point.

I would encourage you to carefully consider the risks and costs of shared hosting
with other hosting options. Perhaps you have already done this. You might also
consider a VPS or dedicated server for security/privacy reasons. The extra cost
could be worth it.

You may also consider checking out a local company like xmission (or the many other
Utah based web hosting companies).

I would caution you against 'discount' hosting companies. They very rarely offer a
'true' 99.9% uptime SLA. Read the fine print carefully. Many only provide an SLA for
the underlying network, not the server. Or they may only provide a maximum 10%
discount. They may also indemnify themselves somewhere stating that if their
employees "mess up", that isn't covered either (I have seen this at least once).

Choosing a hosting company wisely is very important as it can be time consuming and
costly to migrate e-mail, web files, and settings from one provider to the next.

For example, let us consider someone who has gone with a discount hoster with a
pretty control panel. They use the panel to insert many e-mail addresses, custom
Apache configurations, databases, different applications automatically installed
from the provider, etc. Then, due to a major problem a decision to leave is made.
How do you get all of those important settings out of the custom control panel and
in to a different system? Will your site even work at the new host? How long would
it take you to fix it in an emergency (like at 3am on a Monday)?

Perhaps your web site is not as critical, or your e-mail is hosted elsewhere. I
offer this merely as things to consider if you have not done so. I do not know your
exact situation. Keep in mind that "non-critical" things have a way of becoming
awfully important when they interact with your customers.

I remember one case where a company suddenly discovered that their web site was
pointing to a very embarrassing page. It was pointed to a "joke site" of a flash app
that insulted its visitors. What a great first impression! the site was owned by
another customer hosted on the same server. The issue was a simple server
misconfiguration, but it took several hours to work itself out. Such is the life of
shared hosting. Never underestimate the issues you could have.

-Ryan



More information about the PLUG mailing list