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Virtual Dedicated Servers vs Shared Servers

Need help with a tough decision



7:33 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ok, brief summary, I tried 3 seperate hosts in the past. They were the <$10 type hosts and the service and support were a joke. They were completely useless for running anything but maybe a personal family site or resume page.

In my disgust over the bad service and endless too good to be true deals I signed up with <hope its not agains TOS?> pair hosting. As most already know they charge an incredibly high price and offer very little in comparison. I have been using them for about 6 months and they have been, not perfect, but almost completely flawless. My problem isn't with pair it's with shared hosting. For example when I check my error logs I get logs from a guy with a similiar user name as me and even though I added a cgi script to stop other users from viewing sensitive files like those with password files, I have browsed the other sites on my servers and easily read others passwords. A possible malicious person could possibly bypass the cgi script and in one clean sweep steal my entire website and content.

For the type of site I have I just don't want to use shared hosting, I don't think its worth the risk. Now my problem is that to get a dedicated server at pair would cost $250/month. Maybe someday I will have that kind of money but not yet. I honestly don't have enough money for any dedicated server at this time.

Although reluctant to go back to any cheap domain for fear of the same service problems I recieved before with all the recent hype over godaddy maybe they have the money to keep a decent website going. They also claim membership with the BBB which is at least something.

They offer a package on Virtual Dedicated Servers for appr./$40 with extras. Here's my questions,

1) How good is a Virtual Dedicated Server compared to shared?

2) Am I just setting myself up for the same type of security flaws?

3) Does virtual dedicated mean I mandatoraly get a reserved amount of CPU and RAM reserved for my site that the others can't use unless it is dormant?

4) I fear the sheer amount that godaddy is offering at the price, of course I would only be using a small fraction of the packages availability, should I accept this on that premise?

In any account, I am not trying to start a thread on pair vs godaddy. I am trying to decide if it would be better to stick with a solid shared hosting account or move to a, potentially not-so-good, virtual private server? I also ask that no one suggest any other hosting companies, I am not interested and I am sure that it is against the TOS.


8:01 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

1: Virtual Dedicated Server (or Virtual Private Server - VPS) generally means you get a specific amount of resources that are guaranteed to your application. Some VPS hosts do 4 sites per server, others do 5, others do 200.

2: If using Windows, I doubt it. A lot depends on the company though as well. We've used MaximumASP's VPS solutions for 3 years now for various projects and they have been flawless -- and they take security very serious. Countless others are just as good.

3: It should be the case, yes.

4: Not sure.



8:55 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm in the same boat, I would like to move to a dedicated solution. Can anybody share their experiences on what to expect as far as maintenance and upkeep? My main concern is keeping the email services running smoothly...

I'm planning on moving to a Virtual Dedicated server with Red Hat 9 and the Plesk control panel. I will only use it to host email and basic web hosting. This is mainly for my "entry level" client that have very basic needs.

Any advice or suggestions?



9:48 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've been testing various dedicated server offerings lately. Price is secondary to me, because if the site isn't working, I'm not making money and I have clients screaming.

With that said... ev1, which I've seen recommended has been pretty good thus far. I've had to add a few ip addresses and have put up multiple "worker" domains (domains that do work for our primary domains) and use this server for "worker bee" processes (we have lots of applications that are used to generate daily reports, download and distribute data, etc). With 4 months behind me, I haven't had any problems yet, but I also don't use this server for "mission critical" stuff. We have to maintain patches and server hardening, which is why we don't use it for critical stuff.

GoDaddy now has dedicated servers that are full of power, and cheap on price (if you pay for a full year up front). In a month, the server has performed flawlessly and their support has been pretty good (I've been a fan of GoDaddy's for years now though).

Note that both of the above are for Windows offerings, without any addons. Dunno about linux based offerings.

As to email, we tried running it inhouse ourselves. After three years, multiple mail servers, multiple spam and virus programs and even a "pre-screener" mail server, we finally just gave up a month ago and outsourced the whole sha-bang to webmail. We investigated many of the offerings out there and WM seemed to be the best (plus their servers are hosted at rackspace, a big plus for us). The cost, I think, is pretty good, but there are certainly other offers out there that are even cheaper. We went with the reseller account, so had to pay a big fee up front, but we get 60% off email accounts -- I think we're paying about 70 cents a month per 25mb account and $1.50 per month for every 100 mb of storage over the base -- this means we can give some accounts 100mb of space and the rest at the default 25mb, which works well for us. If you're looking for IMAP, I would look elsewhere -- I think WM is overpriced for that.


11:18 pm on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks for the info lovethecoast, at least you didn't tell me to run to the hills when I mentioned a host name.

As for dedicated servers, I just don't, or don't want to, spend the money just yet. I would also be concerned of any extra maintenance I might have to do myself that I am unaware of using shared hosting.

This is also my concern with virtual hosting/private hosting, do I now need to know about deeper level things that I have never had to deal with using shared hosting? The deepest I really go right now is htacces and maybe htpasswd, what new things will I have to toil with?

As for email, I have completely given up on email. I have a comment/question section that just stores the comment/questions into a database and if people want replies I send them a "do not reply" email with the answer. Didn't mean to ramble, but anyway, I am not concered about email.

Since virtual hosting (in theory) should eliminate the worry of another on your machine of eating up all the cpu or ram then the only real concern about virtual hosting is making sure they deliver on the uptime. It would be pointless to have 50000GB of tranfer if my sight went down 4 or 5 times a day or took 30 seconds to load the home page.

On the other hand, pairs network has been next to flawless, but all it takes is one abuser on my shared computer to slow down my site, and I have experienced occassional slowdown, although not very often.

On the other hand, with virtual hosting, if I write a bad script I won't necessarily get punished or have my site removed from the server since (in theory) it should only effect my site and no one else on my virtual server. It would also give me a chance to see how well my section of the server is running and fine tune my website, something I simply can't do on a shared account (I don't think).

Im really at a crossroads here, I hate to leave pair because they are the first host I have ever used that actually delivered on what promised but just because I have had bad experiences with other hosts doesn't mean that all other hosts are necessarily bad.

My gut tells me that godaddy falls into the too good to be true category but my wallet says get the most bang for your buck.


9:44 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

twist, use your head and your experience:

"godaddy falls into the too good to be true category but my wallet says get the most bang for your buck"

You already have experience with various too good to be true offers in shared hosting. You've also already seen that pair is basically flawless. Given that their middle level account costs maybe $10 more a month than the junk cheapo stuff you were trying and found to be lacking, realize this simple fact:

Bandwidth + Diskspace + High end dual processor servers + enough ram + competent network admins + inhouse competent tech support + inhouse competent customer service cannot be delivered cheaply. Something in that has to give.

The reason you get flawless service from your current hoster is that you are paying for flawless service. You get what you pay for, it's very simple. Anyone who tells you they are giving you say 200 gB bandwidth a month for 6.95 are lying to you. Same for all the other 'features' you think you aren't getting with real hosting, the main difference is that they aren't lying to you, they are telling you exactly what you will really get, and what they can really deliver.

It's the same with dedicated hosting. If you use a cheapo solution, which your gut tells you not to use because your gut knows your experience with cheapo hosting, your gut will not only have the satisfaction of knowing it was right, it will also get to suffer the stresses and ulcers of dealing with cheapo hosting.

Pay what it costs to get what you need. Webhostingtalk forums have a lot of information, but a lot of blatant commercial junk, but they have the information you need to make an informed decision. You probably need a vps, I won't mention the names recommended due to TOS, but they are easy to find if you just read some threads there.


6:12 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks 2by4, I am very aware of that forum and spent months there searching for info, it's a terrible load of mess to sort through. I've decided just to go with my gut by the way.

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