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Shared hosting, a very bad idea.

Posted on | September 25, 2007 | 1 Comment

I’m going to describe a horror story. It might not be scary for you, Mr. I own 20 servers, however it is scary for many people who rely on their web site for income.

Let us make a test / meta case, . Joe likes, .. (hmm) baseball. So, Joe spends the time needed to learn PHP programming and develops a community that focuses on baseball. His favorite team is the .. (hmm) wilderbeasts.

Joe purchases hosting from xyz host, which promises ‘superior’ everything. He develops a custom web presence that does very well, he spends lots of time marketing his web site. Joe now has 1500+ users who view his site daily, some of them click on his advertisements which helps to fund Joe’s monthly paycheck.

Joe is an out-of-work IT guy. No job, he’s too old, his job was sent to India.

Joe pays the $35 that xyz host wants, uploads his stuff, everything is going well. A month later, the Wilderbeast team makes it into the world series. Joe publishes a commentary which is picked up on Out of the blue, Joe’s web site gets 2 million visitors, because of Digg and how many people use it.

Sadly, Joe’s host terminated his account, wiped all of his data and databases and sent him packing because his web site was over-using server resources and interfering with the 500 other domains hosted on that server. Now Joe’s 1500 users go somewhere else. Bah, why must this be?

Sound familiar? Joe became a victim of his own success. He needed an influx of cash to build a better network and his efforts were shot in the foot by single server mentality. Now, we must wonder, who is at fault?

The problem, folks, is C-Panel, and other non free proprietary control systems that refuse to give web hosts the ability to modify their offerings, not xyz host. These software companies refuse to admit that ‘single server mentality’ just does not cut it, that’s why I’m working to develop a completely free alternate.

Web hosts can only do what their software permits. C-Panel does not permit major modifications of their software (nor does Plesk, H-Sphere or Virtuozzo). This handcuffs your provider forcing them into providing you with 10 year old thinking, how stupid is that? We won’t even touch on e-mails from advertisers that Joe missed (which feed him) due to his host over-selling a server. Why do I say the server was over-sold? Any decent host has 4 cores with 8 GB of ram, such a beast should handle a “digg” rather well, despite (anything). Many hosts opt for cheap (old) dual Xeons or Opterons which just can’t keep up with the load. Layered Tech delights in selling them.

If you are starting up a new business or venture and want reliability, look for a Xen VPS host. Get the resources that you pay for despite your neighbor’s activity. What I did not talk about was the other accounts on Joe’s server that went dark due to the surge in traffic (that killed Joe’s server), they suffered a similar fate. Hosts pay about $120 / monthly per server and make roughly $1200. I know this, I’ve worked for some of the largest in the industry. Demand your fair share.

Ask your host the following questions before spending money :

  • Can you modify your control panel if my needs change?
  • How easily can my web site scale to meet demands?
  • Can I pay for only what I use?
  • Do you use proprietary software that will prevent you from meeting my unique needs?
  • You sell the use of free software, where are your contributions back to the GNU project?

Joe, in our example effectively became a victim of his own success. Don’t let this happen to you!


One Response to “Shared hosting, a very bad idea.”

  1. GNUPanel - Poised to replace C-Panel/WHM? : Echoreply
    September 29th, 2007 @ 9:39 am

    [...] Most of us know, one server is simply not enough. The emergence of social network and social bookmark services have added a new ingredient of unpredictability in the hosting industry. Out of the blue, Digg or Slashdot can and will drive millions of visitors to a web site, usually crippling the servers hosting the web site. Web hosts must be able to ’scale’ to meet demands for their customers in such a way that customers pay for only what they use. I talk about this need more in another post. [...]

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