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Where to Research Hosting Companies For Larger Sites

9:17 pm on May 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I realize we cannot post names of hosting companies on this site. If someone does have a specific recommendation post me offline since hosting names are not allowed in the forum.

But I am really looking for a way to do research.

My problem is this. I want a host for larger sites. For the purposes of this discussion lets say that is 500k - 8M a month in page views. So large but not apple.com large.

Most of the review sites are for small sites. So if you have a site with 20k a month pageviews and you want to pay $10-15 a month there are 1000's of place to find reviews.

Where do you go to research hosts that work well for larger sites. My experience has been that some hosting companies are great for small sites but have no plan in place to deal with larger sites.

I know of a few hosting companies for larger sites. But I would like to look at a bunch and compare strengths and weaknesses.

Also I am not looking to be a server admin which removes some possibilities. With everything else going on I am not looking to perform server updates and security fixes. I don't mind paying extra for the hosting company to do that.
9:45 pm on May 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I do not depend on any third party review. I'm not saying that hosting forums and hosting review sites are biased, but let's face it, it's a competitive space with lots of money involved. So if you want this discussion to live, put aside mentions of other forums and blogs etc.

I have about that many page views and in my search for a host it came down to what I needed.

American support
Not a reseller of someone else's data center
Monthly Bandwidth allowance that meets my needs
32 Gigs RAMS
Exponentially more disk space than I currently need in order to future proof for growth

Lastly, they need to have a clean IP reputation. Many popular servers are compromised, their servers used to run forum/blog spam bots. Run a sample of their IP addys by a blacklist to see how they fare.
9:51 pm on May 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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these days there are lots of cloud services that seem to be popular ... personally i prefer my own dedicated server ... so it depends on your skill set and what kind of work you want to do.

i wouldn't bother looking at review sites they are mostly affiliates or fake reviews (in my opinion)....

i think the place to research is twitter, it's a good place to check for complaints and customer service. the company i'm currently with let me talk extensively to their technical support before i moved there and the way they answered my questions gave me a lot of confidence. they also willingly gave me a list of customers i could ring up and talk to - although doubtless they were all known to be happy customers.
10:05 pm on May 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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They don't have that sort of plan because they generally don't want a site with 500K - 8M pageviews per month on their shared hosting clusters. That's a very broad range, by the way, and it depends on the site. 8M might be fine on some plans and with a mostly static site, but 500K requests that require a bit of horsepower (standard WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc) won't make your host (or your neighbors) very happy, and you could be given the boot in no-time. Ask some hosting companies upfront, with details about your site, if they have a suitable plan for you. Chances are they'll refer you to their VPS or dedicated server offerings, simply because you need some dedicated computing power to reliably serve your users, and a host will want a reasonable fee for taking care of that. If you don't want to bother setting up and managing the server yourself, then a managed VPS with a control panel and perhaps a few extra hours of technical support (if required) will be a good fit. Unfortunately, you're likely to pay 10x the cost of an unmanaged server (virtual, that is -- you can usually double that for managed dedicated servers). To keep the costs down, you could also get an unmanaged server and then find someone to set it up and manage it for you; could be cheaper than a managed plan where you have to shell out every month even when there's not much management required.

Or reconsider becoming a sysadmin (join us! join us!). I enjoy it and the savings are huge, but I realize it's not for everyone.

Maybe try to cut a deal with your (potential) hosting provider. "Hosted by...". 8M pageviews is a lot of eyeballs.
10:51 pm on May 3, 2017 (gmt 0)

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500k - 8M a month in page views
I am not looking to be a server admin

I'm having trouble reconciling these two elements. If your page views are 1million+ then you definitely can and should pay someone to handle the technical aspects. Nobody expects you to do it yourself; if you enjoyed that kind of thing you'd be doing it already. But your server administrator should be someone who works for you and has your interests in mind, not the hosting company's. (Can you even get hosting at that level? Maybe the word means something different to you than to me; I'm thinking you should long since have been looking at colos and buying or leasing your own server.)
1:29 am on May 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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What software will you be running for your site? This makes a difference.

500k-8M page views/month
17k/day - 267k/day
694/hr - 11k/hr
12/min - 185/min

That's pretty heavy.

[edited by: TorontoBoy at 1:36 am (utc) on May 4, 2017]

1:32 am on May 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I like the twitter idea. I look at other sites to see where they are hosted and that is helpful to get ideas. But twitter would provide some more feedback.

A managed cloud server is interesting. I think I am going to look around and see what is offered. I found managed dedicated but my problem with dedicated is scalability. I would rather be able to instantly upgrade when the time arrives instead of waiting for a new server setup.

I did sys admin back in the day. But at this point I am out of practice so I would prefer to pay more and have the host manage. I could hire someone that that would seem to cost way more based on what I am seeing.
6:36 pm on May 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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>Can you even get hosting at that level?

Yeah you can certainly get hosting at that level. Its just obviously more expensive than hosting for lower traffic websites.. I can see the benefits of having in house sys admin. But there are drawbacks too. I have consulted with companies that did in house hosting that were around that level.

The problem I saw is you are generally paying way more to go in house. And frequently the sys admin doesn't have that much to do. And if someone doesn't have that much to do they generally can do more harm than good as they search around looking for something to do. And its one more person to manage. Plus if you go in house that person is at work 9-5 or whatever. So if things go down and you are doing managed hosting there is generally someone you can call at 2am that is fully awake. If you go in house you have a half asleep sys admin trying to figure out whats wrong.

All that said I am not discounting the pros you listed of going in house. Those are valid. In certain situations going in house makes sense. But I don't think It always makes sense to go in house.
8:58 pm on May 4, 2017 (gmt 0)

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For shared and VPS, the concern you'd have is with any overselling they do on the resources they have, which is quite common. i.e. they may allocate 512MB memory to 1000 customers but only have 256GB memory on the server.

At least with dedicated you can bypass all that for a few extra dollars a month, which seems an obvious choice for a valuable site. You'd then be concerned what hardware would be suitable, level of customer support, connectivity to peers.

You said you don't want to be a sysadmin, I'd say that there is only a bit of groundwork to be done with an unmanaged dedicated server, the rest is really to ensure software is kept up to date for security reasons. Someone who knows what they're doing can set everything up for you reasonably in a day. For managed stuff the majority of cost is the managing part... you can get some very powerful dedicated servers for <= $30/m.
9:23 am on May 5, 2017 (gmt 0)

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It's tough for low-priced dedicated servers to compete with virtual private servers these days. The cheaper dedicated boxes tend to have Atom, Pentium or Celeron processors and spinning rust for storage, whereas most (reputable) VPS providers will put you on an SSD-powered node with very powerful Xeon processors that, even when shared, have much better performance, and (depending again on the provider) you can also get better protection against various types of failures (with RAID10 storage, for example, and live migrations at the first sign of hardware problems). Being able to scale your virtual server proportionate to your growth is also very convenient. Unused resources are expensive.

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