In search of new hosting

DMZ · December 7, 2004 at 11:37 pm · Filed Under Site information 

As you may have noticed today, it hasn’t taken long for us to grow out of this hosting solution. I’m tired of the constant outages, so — we’re looking for new digs. If you think you can help us find a new home and want the specs for what we’re looking for, read on.

Must have:
– seriously beefy power to support the kind of database load we put it through during peak hours and on days with news (and beyond that, the beefy search queries users throw at it)
– pre-installed Apache, MySQL, etc, including appropriate modules I need to run stuff like Derek’s Amazing Comment Spam Retaliator (hee hee hee)
– seriously powerful web-based admin tools (phpMyAdmin, control panel interface)
– ability to build and prototype the site before I change the domain over
– much better uptime
– support
– cool

– cheap
– quality stats (bandwith/access/error/referer) accessible by multiple users (ala all three of us)
– already hosting a high-traffic WordPress site without falling over all the time and is prepared to take on another one

If you’ve got suggestions, drop us a line or add comments below.


46 Responses to “In search of new hosting”

  1. J. Hagglund on December 7th, 2004 11:55 pm

    I’m with Hosting Matters myself, who have been great for me and, it would seem, probably meets most of your wants.

  2. Jimmie on December 8th, 2004 12:02 am

    Have you looked into RackSpace? Check out and see if this looks like something you’d be interested in. They don’t have prices listed, they make you call or contact them (I hate that, personally).

    Also, hosts ScubaBoard is a very high volume/high traffic site, albeit using vBulletin as opposed to WordPress. ThePlanet does have their prices listed… ouch!

    I used to be really up on this stuff when I worked in the ISP business. Now that I’m sucking the Government teat I’m out of the loop anymore, sorry.


  3. Jimmie on December 8th, 2004 12:05 am

    I think I’m being Spam Retaliated! My comment did not show up. ๐Ÿ™

  4. Jeff in Fremont on December 8th, 2004 12:08 am


  5. DMZ on December 8th, 2004 12:12 am

    You’re not — WordPress has built-in functionality that puts posts with more than a couple links into a moderation queue.

    I’m reluctant to use RackSpace because of their past spammer-hosting ways, and will avoid if it I can.

  6. err0r on December 8th, 2004 12:18 am

    I would reccomend as they provide pretty flexible deals, heck you can email them what you want and they give you a price range. I’ve been using them for over a year now.

    I’m sure you guys have used Cpanel, which is what they provide.

    Btw, are you guys looking for a dedicated plan or shared hosting? I’ve never tried their dedicated plans but I’m sure they are fine.

    Best of luck

  7. err0r on December 8th, 2004 12:21 am

    Also, I always reccomend doing a search on the host your looking into on to get an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

  8. Jimmie on December 8th, 2004 12:26 am

    DMZ, I was not aware that RackSpace has hosted spammers. I rescind my recommendation of them.

    It is funny you mention that though, as I was just going to post again about avoiding hosting services that also host “questionable content” (aka pr0n). I know that the Web filters we use at work block legitimate sites because they’re hosted by the same service that hosts pr0n or gambling or stuff like that.

    I have no idea why I’m posting this, as I’m sure you know all this already. I think I’ll go to bed now…


  9. Shoeless Jose on December 8th, 2004 12:30 am

    I’ve heard good things about 1and1. I use myself, and though I have very modest needs they host like Tom’s Hardware.

  10. Shoeless Jose on December 8th, 2004 12:31 am

    Ack, that was supposed to be “they host some high volume sites like Tom’s Hardware”
    Time for bed.

  11. DMZ on December 8th, 2004 12:49 am

    Dedicated vs virtual: I don’t care, so long as it doesn’t fall down under load. At some point, that’s going to mean dedicated hosting, but generally they’re way more expensive than our budget has room for.

  12. Roger on December 8th, 2004 1:16 am

    I’m pair customer #30 or something like that. Signed up in 1995, when they had one box and a pretty good idea. They’re much richer than I am now, and with good reason.

    My site has never been down. Very reasonable prices and good service and support.

  13. Chris Spangler on December 8th, 2004 1:18 am

    You might want to check out They’ve been highly recommended for a while and have a variety of dedicated server plans that might work for you.

  14. Rob on December 8th, 2004 1:20 am


    I think if you guys had a donation drive for the webhosting costs, plenty of people would donate. Im tempted to donate some money, I think a lot of people would love to chip in to keep this site up and running without putting a huge burden on you guys.

    I mean without this site I would kill myself reading jim street and the crappy times everyday.

  15. John in L.A. on December 8th, 2004 2:04 am

    What is the ballpark cost for hosting a site like this? I have literally no idea.

  16. Jose on December 8th, 2004 4:46 am

    You guys should go with
    Not only do they have great plans at good prices but their customer service is the best on the web. Just recently they added one click WordPress installations.

  17. Zzyzx on December 8th, 2004 7:49 am

    Have you looked into

    It’s a non profit (I’m on the board) that already hosts and oodles of cool mailing lists.

  18. B. David on December 8th, 2004 8:44 am

    I use Surpass Hosting, one of the lower level packages, but they’re cheap (I’m paying less than 5 a month) and have all the bells and whistles you want. Support isn’t fantastic, but it hasn’t been much of an issue, ‘Cause I haven’t had more than an hour’s worth of downtime since I’ve signed up.

  19. Ryan on December 8th, 2004 9:01 am are the best bang for the buck and their IM support is pretty good. I have three accounts with em and they seem to do well.

  20. Simon on December 8th, 2004 9:13 am

    I’m going to second Roger’s nomination of They aren’t the cheapest, but they host a ton of high volume sites, and they are literally never down. They have incredible facilities and hardware. I’m not sure what amount of traffic you guys get, but in my old website’s prime, it was getting 15,000 unique visitors a day, and the server never even hiccuped.

  21. Jimmie on December 8th, 2004 10:19 am

    Ohhh cool… uses FreeBSD, too. FreeBSD is considered by many the best *nix platform for web/ftp/ircd servers. Added geek chic factor. ๐Ÿ™‚


  22. PositivePaul on December 8th, 2004 10:23 am

    A secondary question — is there a requirement that WordPress run under MySql, or is there a hack for SQL Server? I know of good cheap reliable hosting on Win2K servers, and there’s no bandwidth limitations. I’ve used them for 4 years now, and have not been down once. Of course, in conversations offline with you, Derek, I’m sure you’re probably wanting to stick with non-Microsoft stuff, but in this case, the value is really there (500 megs of web space, 50 meg SQL Server, ASP/CF/PHP support, no bandwidth limits, etc). I’d be willing to hack a bit to see if there’s a way to use SQL Server instead of MySQL, if that would help.

  23. Tyler on December 8th, 2004 10:50 am

    I would highly, highly recommend using the Planet. Their uptime and high volume are top-notch.

  24. Ryan on December 8th, 2004 10:54 am

    I recommend Vortexhost. I use them and L43 does as well. They’re very responsive and helpful and offer a variety of accounts. I deal with a guy named Justin.

  25. Dave on December 8th, 2004 11:29 am

    Just don’t have Derek’s grandma pay, right Ryan?

  26. Evan on December 8th, 2004 11:36 am

    I’ve basically sent your specs to every techie I know scattered across the globe. This is the first response I’ve heard back. I’ll add more as I get them.

  27. DMZ on December 8th, 2004 11:46 am

    I think part of the problem is that it’s hard to know ahead of time what site performance will be like for a given hosting package. Our users pound our database hard, with large mallets. Bandwith isn’t as much an issue as “if someone searches for Ichiro! does the database catch fire?”

    Which makes comparison a problem. Hosting companies all say “20 GB of bandwith! 500 GB of storage space! 3 mySQL databases” and none of them say “blows up if you make 2,000 database calls in an hour”.

    Or, to put another way — how do you establish suitability without setting everything up and letting it run?

  28. Ryan on December 8th, 2004 11:57 am


    Indeed. And touche.


  29. DMZ on December 8th, 2004 11:58 am

    What the heck are you guys talking about? Is this a paypal gag?

  30. Ryan on December 8th, 2004 12:01 pm

    Or, to put another way รขโ‚ฌโ€œ how do you establish suitability without setting everything up and letting it run?

    Hard to do, I would imagine. Asking that question will probably just get you a related sales pitch instead of a suitable answer. Probably a reason why many sites host locally.

    Maybe it’d be good shoot an email off to some of the larger blogs like dailyKos, Kottke, and others to see who/what they use.

    In fact, I can probably ask Jason Kottke for you. He and I are Internet acquaintances of sorts.

  31. Ryan on December 8th, 2004 12:05 pm

    What the heck are you guys talking about? Is this a paypal gag?

    …lost wallet…borrowed credit card…forgotten charge…reversed charge…website down…humiliation…

  32. PositivePaul on December 8th, 2004 12:16 pm

    Hence my suggestion to look into a SQL Server hack for Word Press. MySQL is quite underpowered when you’re dealing with high-volume database hits, from what I’ve ready anyway. In doing a bit more research, though, it appears that this may not be the case. Still, I’m going with the common knowledge that SQL Server is more for high-end, high-volume databases whereas MySQL is more for smaller, lower-volume database transactions, with the willingness to accept the fact that I may be underinformed.

    Still, web hosting with a Win2K Server/SQL Server 2000 (with no bandwidth limits) can be had for $150 a year (or less), and that’s very reasonable in my book…

  33. Andrew on December 8th, 2004 12:22 pm

    MySQL should be fine for any web based app. uses mysql and their site works just fine with it, and I gurantee you aren’t going to have the kind of database utilization that they do. The hardest part is getting it all set up right and how much control you have. MySQL scales well if it is setup will, but often times it isn’t. I would never choose a win2k/SQL server solution. If you really need more power go with someone who offers postgresql.

    Out of curiosity, what are your bandwidth requirements? and what is the price range you are looking at? I’ve found it’s often times cost effective to run your own server. It’s what I do.

  34. DMZ on December 8th, 2004 12:27 pm

    Like at home? Colo?

  35. colvet on December 8th, 2004 12:47 pm

    I’ve been using go-dedicated for a while now, and it’s great. AFAIK it’s a one-man outfit but he handles hundreds of people and is really quick to address any issues that comes up.

    You should find his rates decent too

  36. Roger on December 8th, 2004 2:03 pm

    DMZ, drop me a line if you like, and I’ll link you to my PHP/MySQL site on pair.

    Probably not a direct comparision to this one, but it might give you an idea. I get about 25,000 – 30,000 hits a day on a site hosting 17,000 photos (referenced via mysql) and an additional 5,000 records, plus about 7,000 comments on those 5,000 records. On an average day I move about 250MB of data.

    Probably small cheese compared to USSM but performance has never lagged, despite my need to clean up my mysql queries.

    I’m considering moving from “developer” level to pair’s “quick-serv” or whatever it is they call it. You then get your own box, but the operating system, etc., are still maintained and upgraded by pair. For $175 a month or whatever it is it’s a way better deal to my eye than a traditional colo where you pay for the box AND then have to maintain it, too.

  37. Nat Irons on December 8th, 2004 2:55 pm

    2000 database queries/hour is a rounding error. Even if you meant 2000/minute, you’re well covered with MySQL out of the box.

    I’ve used Pair for years. The only area in which they fall a bit short is logging — full apache access logs (including referrers) become available at midnight for the previous day, but error logs are only available in a tail-like window through the web UI. Aside from that, they offer beefy FreeBSD machines with shell access, perl, php, flawless uptime, generous disk and bandwidth allotments, qmail, decent phone/email support, etc.

    PositivePaul: If Windows makes such an adequate hosting platform, how come you’re using Blogspot (on Linux)? Also, “no bandwidth limits” is a legal term meaning, “We will shut down your site without notice after it becomes popular.”

  38. PositivePaul on December 8th, 2004 4:09 pm

    Nat — I was working on developing my own blog app using Microsoft technologies (what I’m most familiar with as a web developer), and decided to use Blogger to get up and running quickly on the blogosphere. My personal web site, though, is hosted elsewhere, and gives me cheap development capabilities using Microsoft technologies. It doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic, and I’m fine with that (I use it more as a developing/testing environment). As far as the no-limits to bandwidth thing, here’s directly from their web site:

    We don’t meter the amount of traffic you use. You won’t get a surprise bill for additional bandwidth. This means that unless your site compromises the performance of the web server (which, by the way, probably won’t happen), or the performance of our network – we don’t care how much traffic you have. Your site should be successful.

    Keep in mind that we don’t allow Adult, mp3 download, or software download sites.

    I’ll admit that this is a bit open-ended, and allows them an out if your site gets REALLY huge, bandwidth-wise. But that they don’t allow high server-load sites and adult sites is pretty cool. Another cause for concern, I suppose it could be argued though. I’m not sure of their clientele, and I would suspect that they’re likely to have more guys like me than high-volume sites, due to their price and other reasons.

  39. Chas on December 8th, 2004 4:17 pm

    try this one…pmachine
    dont know much, it supports what you need

  40. Evan on December 8th, 2004 4:40 pm

    The worry with that no-limits bandwidth passage is this line:

    “unless you compromise the performance of our web server”

    Without knowing a lot about not only their server, but also all the other sites they host, you can’t know when that might happen. They’ve also protected themselves against a lot of bandwidth by excluding the formats that produce most high-traffic sites (just on principle, I won’t use hosts that restrict what I can do).

  41. PositivePaul on December 8th, 2004 5:33 pm

    I have several MP3s on my site that I allow people to download, so in that sense they don’t restrict me directly. I’m not sure about EXE files, but ZIP files are OK, too.

    On second thoughts, after doing much research, I might only recommend them for a low-volume, hobby-to-small business type site. Just fine for my personal site, and sites I host for friends’ businesses…

  42. djack on December 8th, 2004 5:34 pm

    excellent support

  43. djack on December 8th, 2004 5:36 pm
  44. Chris S. on December 8th, 2004 5:43 pm

    You’re getting a lot of suggestions. It might be helpful to go the other direction and get a quote for acceptable specs (though I know this is hard for you to quantify, perhaps you can get guarantees), then seeing if your readership can get the same or better specs at a lower price. Efficient use of the hounds…

  45. Tammy Munsch on December 9th, 2004 1:07 pm

    I work for Isomedia, we are a webhosting company along with all ISP services, I would love to talk to you about a quote. I can call you and or you can give me a ring at 1.877.476.2660 X:108. Thank you! I look forward to speaking with you soon.

  46. Evan on December 10th, 2004 3:03 am

    I’ve heard good things about these guys, but they might be based in Ireland (which could make support hours a bit odd).