Hosting Considerations and Policy

Hosting is one of the most variable and volatile parts of having a website. Every host that we’ve ever worked with has had problems of one sort or another. As a result, our policy is that we do not endorse any hosting company. What we will do is consult with you and determine a recommendation based on your particular needs, matched with our understanding of the recent hosting landscape. This is NOT an official endorsement, or in any way a claim that you will not have problems with the hosting company. It’s our best guess based on our extensive knowledge of the current hosting landscape and the hosts we’ve worked with or know by reputation. It could change tomorrow.

Hosting Recommendation Policy

Recommendations on hosting are based on our best knowledge at any given point, and are provided as a courtesy to our clients with no warranty of any kind. Medium Rare Interactive assumes no responsibility for the services of third party service providers. Clients are encouraged to do their own research, and bear sole responsibility for the selection of a hosting provider.

Rackspace

High end managed hosting for clients with demanding support needs, mission critical sites and big budgets. Managed hosting for Cloud Servers starts at $190/month. They also offer lower end non-managed hosting, but seem to have some premiums attached to the price based on their general reputation as high end providers.

A note regarding the scalability of Rackspace Cloud

Many of the major companies offering “cloud” hosting have a process where you can add and remove resources on the fly, making it possible to scale up or down as needed with relative ease. Rackspace’s marketing material indicates that they offer this type of service, but in working with them, what we’ve discovered is that it’s anything but “on the fly.” You have to request an upgrade, they migrate you over to a new setup, then reroute your traffic. With other services like VPS.net and Amazon EC2, you simply allocate more power via a control panel, and voila, you get more power. So if you’re going into a setup where you will actually need to quickly scale up and/or down, it’s worth considering other options.

Hosting.com

Formerly hostmysite.com (they still have hostmysite as a service). Wide range of services, generally good support, including phone support with quick answer times. We had a dedicated server with them for a long time, and had mostly good results. We left them when we got out of the sub-hosting business. One of our clients was using them pretty happily for a while and decided to move to VPS.net to save a few dollars. They wished they had stayed put.

Dreamhost

Budget hosting option. They provide good, stable performance for lower end needs. We run several of our clients’ sites on Dreamhost’s shared hosting and VPS solutions. Support-wise, you get what you pay for: minimal phone support options, and decent live chat support, spotty documentation.

BlueHost

Another budget provider. These guys have a good reputation, but we have no direct experience with them.

HostGator

Another budget provider. These guys have a good reputation, but we have no direct experience with them.

Hostway

We recently tried to get a simple WordPress site going with them, and had significant trouble. PHP was not enabled or was misconfigured, database wasn’t recognized, all kinds of issues. WordPress is a one-click install for many hosting companies, so it’s baffling that it should be so difficult to get a WordPress site working here.

Media Temple

Media Temple is a mixed bag. They have great support documentation and an exceptionally good account control panel interface, and even pretty good response via an active twitter team. Unfortunately, their offerings are either horrible in terms of stability (grid server, aka gs) or overpriced (dedicated VPS, aka dvp). The two clients we have on the mid-range dv plan seem to do ok with them though. Their support is hit or miss, and frequently subject to very long response times for ticket support, long hold times for phone support – but they actually DO have phone support which puts them a cut above some of the bargain basement hosts. When you do get to someone, our experience is that the quality of support you get varies greatly between exceptionally helpful to nearly useless. We are currently actively steering our clients away from the (gs) service due to the ever present stability issues on that platform.

VPS.net

We were extremely gung ho about VPS.net for a while. They offer very inexpensive VPS scalable cloud solutions, as well as incredibly cheap integrated CDN. Unfortunately, they had some major stability issues recently, and we found the support we received to be extremely lacking. We’re now steering our clients away from them.