June 15th, 2006
I’ve been using Memset for many years to host my websites, Darcs repositories, etc. They provide virtual private servers. I’ve been happy with them overall, but as my RAM needs increase, things have been getting slower. As adding RAM to VPS plans is expensive no matter who the provider is, I decided to look for some other options.
I decided to try Dreamhost. They are a web hosting company with a clue. I don’t get root on the box, but they do give me the next best thing. ssh access, a decent suite of preinstalled packages, and clueful admins. I signed up earlier this week and started rsyncing some things over. They have a $10/mo plan which gives 1TB of monthly transfer and 20GB of disk space. Much nicer than the going rate of about $40 for 40GB of monthly transfer and 5GB of disk space for a VPS.
The web side of things worked fairly smoothly, and the system seemed to perform well. Until today, that is. I noticed my site being extremely SLOW this morning. I logged into the system to see if it was some problem with my configuration. It wasn’t, but the system load was — get this — over 100. I watched it for awhile and then fired off a support request. The load had been hovering between 20 and 80. It’s now 9.5 hours later, load is hovering between 11 and 30, things are still somewhat slow, and I’ve not heard back from them.
Then, later today, their server started refusing connections on port 80. Turns out this was a sitewide outage, and seems to have lasted for 30-60 minutes. I signed up to receive an e-mail when it was fixed, but I never got it.
Also, their e-mail hosting has never worked for me. At first, it was bouncing my mail. I sent a support request about that, and the next morning they said they fixed it. Well, it was no longer bouncing mail, but it wasn’t actually *delivering* it either. I told them that this morning, and still haven’t heard back from them.
Now, with my memset account, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had downtime. I’ve had slowness — rivaling what dreamhost is having — but actual downtime is exceedingly rare. And they seem to respond to trouble more quickly.
And the scary thing is that from all I’ve read, Dreamhost is really one of the best web hosting companies out there.
So, what do you all think? Should I continue going the “do it myself” route and host my site with a VPS (either with Memset or with JohnCompanies, another clueful host I’ve dealt with)? Or try to stick it out with Dreamhost? Or are there other clueful web hosting companies out there?
Right now, I’m of the “if you want it done right, do it yourself” mindset. Being able to save money, and also time by trusting someone else to keep the host patched and working only saves me angst if I can actually trust them to do that. Right now, I’m not so sure I can trust Dreamhost — or any other web hosting company.