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Reliable Web Host Versus DIY Hosting


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I launched my new website about a month ago.  I switched from one web host to another due to poor hosting performance.  Now I'm running into the same issue again -- poor web hosting performance.


My first web host was Hostgator.  My current web host is AT&T.  I hate the thought of switching to a different web host every month trying to find one that will reliably host my site.  Does anyone here have a reliable web host that they use and would recommend?


My question is relative since what is reliable for a simple web site, may not be reliable for one that is more complex.  For this reason, I can't simply trust web host reviews.


My website isn't overly complicated, but it's more complex than just basic HTML.  It uses a lot of PHP, as well as a MySQL database that only has two small tables.  The website uploads and downloads small text files regularly.  It also sends E-mail attatchments quite often.


Because I just launched, my website isn't getting a ton of traffic -- about 10 users per day.  However, I'm beginning to run into the same problem as before.  My web host's server is starting to show itself as being unreliable.  As with my first web host, it seems as if it may be due to overcrowding on the shared server.


Do any of you run any moderately complex websites?  If so, who do you use for a reliable web host?


I've considered setting up my own server with a LAMP configuration and hosting the site myself.  However, I don't know a lot about Linux or Apache, and so would like to avoid this.  But because the computer would only be hosting my own website, and no one else's, I have to believe that a LAMP setup would be more reliable than a shared server that is overcrowded.


A reliable web host is really what I'm looking for.  But I don't want to keep going down the road of trial and error.  If anyone uses a web host that reliably supports their moderately-complex website, then I would love to hear from you.  I'm sick of my site failing due to server issues.  Like the Duracel commercial says, "It just has to work!"


Please forgive me if you feel that my post doesn't correctly fit the forum category.  I tried to figure out which category best fits this topic, but none of them seemed to be perfectly suitable.


Thank you for your time, as well as for any suggestions.

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Thanks for your response, requinix.


What I mean about the web hosts being unreliable is that my website would stop working from time to time.


When I was with Hostgator, and was building my website, I eventually started getting server error messages.  Instead of my pages loading, I would get an error code 500 general server error message.  It's something that would happen intermittently, so I knew that it had nothing to do with the way that I had written my web pages.  Sometimes the error message would pop up when using my site, and sometimes it wouldn't.  This was extremely frustrating when I was trying to debug the website.


So I performed some web searches pertaining to the error message, and I also did some searches about Hostgator.  I found that some people were saying that Hostgator is known to cram a lot of accounts on a single server and that this would bog down the server and cause sites to get error messages.  So I eventually decided to switch to AT&T.


AT&T was working well until now.  I was able to get my site up and running and finally officially launched it.  Everything was working fine until today.  I'm not getting error messages, but my site isn't working correctly.  It's designed to send out E-mail attachments -- but this aspect of the site has stopped consistently working.  I have also been having trouble using my control panel.  While in the control panel, their site keeps timing out as I try to view file contents in my folders.  Sometimes it times out, sometimes it doesn't.  I have to keep closing the page and reloading it in order to get it to work.  I know that it's their site, and not my connection, because I can visit all other websites flawlessly.


This is the first time that this has happened to the point where my site has started to malfunction, but I really want to avoid things like this.  People are just starting to visit my website, and it's terrible when they can't get it to work because my web host's server is acting up.


When I say "reliable", I'm talking about a web host that will host my website without any of these issues.  I'm still on a shared server, but I want to believe that not all web hosts function this way.  I just need a server that won't keep messing up, and will run my pages when people try to use my website -- A web host with none of this kind of drama.


I just tried using my website, and it's still acting up.  I have changed none of the programming for my pages, and the site has been working fine until today.  I wrote a test page that uses the E-mail function so that I could test the E-mailing capability directly.  I have to reload the test page several times (usually around 5 times) before it will actually send the E-mail.  My website can't work without the E-mail function.


I tiried to cotact techincal support via chat earlier today, but I couldn't get through.  If it's still acting up tomorrow, I'll have to call them.  I just want a web host that will consistently host my site with no server issues.


Thanks again for your response.  If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear more from you.  I really do appreciate your time.

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I would say that most webhosts don't have the issues you are talking about.  I have a client on Hostgator that gets a faira mount of traffic and has never had a problem.  I honestly didn't know that AT&T offers webhosting and even if I did I wouldn't use them, they know phones NOT webhosting, bad choice there in my opinion.  I personally use ixwebhosting.com.  Other than like 3 times where China was attacking their servers I have never had any down time period.  I have also used networksolutions.com and bluehost.com, both of those seem reliable to me.


But if you switch to any of those and you continue to have issues, it's not the host, it's your code!

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Thanks for responding, fastsol.


What's the URL for your website, if I may ask?  Would you consider it to be a moderatelly complex site?  You said that you use ixwebhosting.com.  May I ask which plan you have with them?


I just contacted AT&T and the representative seemed to have no issues performing the same tasks that I was trying to perform.  She ran my test page for sending E-mails, and it worked on the first try.  Things seem to be working well on my end now too.  So it seems as if this may have been a temporary issue with their server.  Hopefully, it won't happen again, or at least very rarely.  If it becomes a consistent problem, I may have to try your web host.


I decided to try AT&T because I know that they have a boat-load of money, and would, therefore, most likely have great infrastructure for web hosting.  It's not as if they wouldn't be able to afford it.  They have no real reason to be penching pennies, and thereby compromising performance.  I also figured that most people wouldn't think to use them as a web host, which makes me think that they probably would have less of an issue with overcrowding on their servers.  Their control panel is crapy, but as long as I'm able to access my files and get my site running, I wasn't too concerned about that.  I just figured they'd likely have a robust system because of their abundance of funds.


I'm interested in finding out how complex your website is.  If your site is similar in complexity to mine, and you rarely have problems, then ixwebhosting.com may work for me as well -- should I continue to run into issues with AT&T.


I'm confident that my programming is solid.  My site is only moderately complex in the sense that it works with a lot of files on the web host's server.  There's a lot of file transfer, but there aren't a lot of pages, and not a lot of programming.  The site's been running for a month without incident due to programming, and problems are quite easy to spot and fix because there isn't a lot of programming to look at.


I greatly appreciate your insight and suggestions.  Should I run into consistent problems with AT&T, I'll definitely give ixwebhosting.com a try.

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My main site is very complex.  I have to say the shared hosting control panel from ix is also fairly weird compared to most places, but it works fine.  There are also minor tweaks that need to be done is you want to use your own php.ini file but it's fairly simple to do and they can help with that.  I have just the standard expert plan I think they call it.  It will work fine for most site unless you are trying to do some heavy duty email things, which then a shared hosting plan is not sufficient from anyone.  Only dedicated IP's and dedicated servers can do that well, but cost a lot more to use than your standard shared servers, but that's a whole other subject.


You can find links to a couple of my sites in my signature and from there you can find all the other sites in my portfolio.

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Thanks, fastsol.

After looking at your sites, I'm fairly confident that ixwebhosting.com would be able to handle mine with no problem.  If it couldn't, then you may be right about a dedicated IP or dedicated server.  I thought about a dedicated server for two seconds before I found out the typical cost.  You're right that it's expensive.

The site is working fine now, so I'm hoping it was just a temporary thing with AT&T's server.  But if this keeps happening, then I'll give ixwebhosting a try.  If that can't handle it, I'd probably look more into hosting the site myself with a LAMP setup.  I tried this once a while back with a different site.  It took a while for me to set it up and then it didn't work well because my pages took forever to load.  This was mainly because of the images.  However, I probably wouldn't run into that problem with my new site because the new one is nearly all text -- which makes a huge difference.

Anyway, I want to thank you again for your help and insight.  You've been very helpful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After a while you'll end up using a lot of hosts, and then you'll find one that works well, has good technical support, etc. I tend to prefer smaller hosts because I think you get more for your money. Most of these smaller hosts end up becoming larger over time, and I switch if necessary. That said, I switched to MDD Hosting a few years ago, and am still very satisfied with everything. Technical support is all tickets/emails, but they are always super fast to respond. They are very transparent when it comes to server issues, where I've found a lot of hosts will just give you a lame excuse (if you notice). MDD is worth a try.

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