After a lot of shuffling, I’ve moved all of my sites, content and mail to two places. It was sort of fun, although took a while for DNS and other setups to be finalized.
For mail, I moved everything back to Google Apps for all of my hosted domains. I even went as far as paying for 2 mail accounts through Google Apps – an upgrade to the Premium version. This enabled me to use the IMAP import features which simplified moving my 2GB of email into Google Apps with a few clicks.
I had used Google Apps a while ago to host my personal mail, but wanted a bit more control over things. I ended up not being able to control what I needed, even running mail on my own, and didn’t like just using gmail.com because of some service issues. I’m very happy with Google Apps and won’t be leaving for a long time.
For the rest of the stuff, I chose Dreamhost. This was after evaluating Virtual Private Servers (Media Temple and WiredTree), Grid Computing (again at Media Temple, and also at Mosso), as well as shared hosting at over 10 other location.
Virtual Private Servers aren’t new to me, and were pretty slick at both MT and WiredTree. WiredTree had the best setup, and hands down the best support – usually I had responses in less than 5 minutes, even late in the evening. Unfortunately, for the price I wanted to pay, I wasn’t getting much of a server. Even just running Apache/PHP with MySQL and a few other things resulted in out of memory problems, which are expected by most of these places.
Grid computing is an awesome idea, and I wish someone would do it right. Mosso cost way too much, and is geared towards someone reselling services to clients. Their control panel is really dated, even their new one, and they do not allow SSH access, which was a huge problem for me.
Media Temple’s grid service is really frustrating – their control panel looks very well thought out, and has far more features and controls. By far, I liked Media Temple’s control panel more than anyones. But that doesn’t really matter if half of the features don’t work, and their support sucks, and the actual grid service went down 8 times in the first 24 hours. And did I mention that my first “server” that was provisioned was done incorrectly 3 times before it finally started working? But it didn’t matter because the cluster went down then….
The rest of the shared hosting providers were either really scary, really horrible, or mediocre. The only one that stood out was Dreamhost.
From the beginning, their control panel and options looked like they were setup by someone who wanted something reliable and easy to use, while still having control over enough technical areas to make it useful to someone like me who’s used to working on deep technical systems. The features, bandwidth, and options they offer include just about everything anyone would ever want, and then a few more nice features others don’t offer.
So far I have several web sites hosted under my simple account, and have no outages, no problems, and no issues. I have filed a couple of tickets about minor things that I needed some assistance with, and got prompt responses. I am very happy so far.
Now that I’m moved, I’m looking forward to getting my other sites working again, and all linked into this one main blog.