The Host with the Most

Among the problems in my life that I’d like to do something about sooner or later is server performance for and the various domains that I host along with it, including A Brief Message. These are all hosted over at DreamHost which, as I and many people have mentioned before, is less than ideal; it’s slow, slow and slow.

I’m told, though, that the performance I get from DreamHost is unfortunately about the level of performance I should realistically expect from any shared hosting plan. It’s consumer hosting, after all, and even if I move up-market a bit and pony up more money, consumer-grade hosting is never going to be as responsive as my fondest daydreams hope it can be.

It’s Not Nice to Share

Friends much more knowledgeable than me, then, are pushing me towards a virtual private server plan. It’s a kind of intermediate level between consumer and dedicated hosting in which I am afforded a partitioned slice of a physical server that, for most intents and purposes, acts as if I had a server entirely of my own.

That option sounds just right, and some quick comparison shopping shows that a VPS plan is even in the price range I’m considering. There’s one major stumbling block, though: I clearly don’t have the technical chops to handle the configuration or ongoing maintenance. The relatively dumbed down level of do-it-yourself management implicit in shared hosting is just the right sort of hand-holding for me. I’m loathe to take on anything more technically challenging, both out of lack of time and simple ignorance.

Running to Stand Still

On the other hand, given the time investment and complication of switching to a new host provider, I wonder if such a switch is what I really need after all. Maybe I’m better off sticking with DreamHost — where, speed problems aside, the features and configuration are very agreeable to me — and moving away from Movable Type, instead? It’s not implausible to guess that most of the slowness that irks me can be laid at the feet of that publishing software, and not my host. Perhaps a switch to WordPress or Expression Engine is a better use of my time.

Anyway, the point of all this is: help! I’m eager for whatever insight and recommendations readers might be able to share. I’ve looked at a few potential vendors such as Pair, Host My Site and Slicehost, and I have to admit, neither the brands nor the technical details are resonating with me. Show me the way out of this wilderness, please!

  1. I’m told, though, that the performance I get from DreamHost is unfortunately about the level of performance I should realistically expect from any shared hosting plan.

    I don’t think that’s quite accurate. What you get from Dreamhost is probably what you should expect from any shared hosting plan that sells for $6/mo. But, you can certainly get good, reliable shared hosting, up in the $25/mo range, that outperforms Dreamhost by a very wide margin. I’m probably not the best person to make recommendations, as the host(s) I’ve been using recently are heavily optimized for Django, and might not be so appropriate for MT, EE or WordPress — but, I know you can do a lot better than Dreamhost for shared hosting, if you’re willing to pay more than a few bucks a month.

    As with most things, you get what you pay for.

  2. I have used about a half dozen shared hosting services over the years and am currently considering moving a number of client sites. Two that seem to have fast access times no matter when I check are and They’re roughly $50 and $100 a year, respectively (cheap!). I’d be very interested to see what others recommend.

  3. For what it’s worth, I switched to MediaTemple with my current MovableType installation and have found the speed increase to be pretty remarkable. I was planning to switch to EE myself, but decided to stick with MovableType since it evened out after the hosting change.

  4. I would also recommend the VPS options from MediaTemple. I moved there from the same Dreamhost situation you are in, and found the default server setup just about perfect and the administration tools were just as easy to use as Dreamhost. And of course, there was the speed! I didn’t realize how low-end Dreamhost was before I moved.

  5. Though I’ve only just begun using it, ExpressionEngine is a fantastic CMS. I tend to think of it as a super-blog. I hesitate to use it for some client work because the lack of a simple FCK style editor, but for my own personal projects it is perfect. Very flexible, very powerful.

    I’ve also recently switched to Media Temple. I had a few issues with my email, but their support staff was great in sorting it all out.

    LunarPages is who I was using for hosting before MediaTemple. Their service is terrible. The last straw for me was when they decided to throw ads on my error pages. Of course, I should have taken the time to create custom error pages, but I think it’s terrible that they decided to advertise for other web designers on my error pages- with no warning, no less.

  6. As a Ruby developer, Slicehost is a great option, you won’t have to worry much about scaling you blog for mass traffic, etc. Although, it’s really better for sites that you are actively developing, rather than a blog ( just because of the technical things involved ). Mark Allen is right on with Media Temple, that would be a great solution for your situation.

  7. I am a new customer of Slicehost and recommend them very highly. A $20 per month slice is very capable and costs around the same as you’d pay for top-tier shared hosting. I suspect the performance issues you’re experiencing are almost certainly due to a large number of requests on your shared server’s MySQL daemon. A dedicated server (virtual or otherwise) would not have these bottleneck issues as the only demands placed on MySQL would be yours. Additionally, Slicehost’s community and official documentation is excellent and should give you an idea of what to expect setting up your slice. I suggest you have a look at Slicehost’s VPS Tutorials and Articles if you decide to go with a VPS.

  8. I have accounts with Dreamhost and Media Temple, and to my eyes, your suspicion is correct: every brand name shared/VPS/DV/etc has its problems. Whether it’s Dreamhost, Media Temple, or anyone else… shit happens. The lackadaisical general upkeep at Dreamhost is a headshaker, but at least I haven’t lost mail on there like I have, multiple times (as recently as two weeks ago), at Media Temple.

    This is not to denigrate either Dreamhost or Media Temple. They are both perfectly fine for what I pay, and I like the people who run and operate both companies. BUT, they both have their issues. Don’t expect otherwise.

    On the issue of MT vs. WordPress/ExpressionEngine, however, that’s a lot clearer to me. MT has simply been lapped by both WP and EE and it’s hard to imagine not having a better overall experience after you switch. I converted to WordPress a few months ago — quite silently — and all of my speed and maintainability problems are gone as a result. It wasn’t the host… it was the software. 🙂

  9. Switching hosting companies will be better for performance. By default Movable Type just generates static pages, unlike Expression Engine or WordPress which (again, by default) serve everything up dynamically. EE and WordPress (I think) can use caching to serve pages up statically, which is what you want on a high-traffic site like this, but it’s a default on Movable Type. In short, DreamHost is the problem here.

    My MT-powered blog has been hosted at Joyent/TextDrive since 2005, and when it’s been good it’s been very very good. But I’ve had to do a lot of hardcore server management there, even on a shared plan, that I wouldn’t have had to on Pair (my old host) or DreamHost.

    If I were shopping for shared hosting right now, I’d probably go with MediaTemple’s GridServer offering, which (I’ve heard) is plenty fast and easy to set up. It wouldn’t be quite as speedy as a cheap VPS from Slicehost, but that’s the price of easy server management.

  10. I use EE and love it. I have Dreamhost as my current host and I can tell you that my wordpress 1.something install took forever to load compared my ExpressionEngine sites.

    I have some clients that love ExpressionEngine and find it very easy to use with the only complaint of having to insert the target=”_blank” themselves.

    Most of my clients are on hostrocket and I have been very unpleased with the service and with customer service. I am currently looking for a host to recommend to clients as well and feel like no matter how much research is done I ll still be pulling a name out of thin air and hoping for the best.

    But yes EE is the way to go. It does have a learning curve like all CMSs do but this one I feel is worth it.

  11. I use Rackspace for all my clients – because I think they are just the best at what they do.

    But I can’t afford to run my blog on a Rackspace server, so I use I know they get some dings for support, but the truth is, I have only had to call support once. It is unfortunate that it is outsourced, and that anyone running their owner server probably knows more than the person answering the phone – but that being said, the server just works. I have both a Linux and a Windows box at 1and1. Both work well.

    My Linux box hosts my blog, 4 other blogs, and 3 utilities (CMS, Defect Tracking and Webmail).

    Even with that many apps, my server speed isn’t an issue (normally it’s plugins and javascript that slows my sites down)

    But I do prefer WordPress over any other blogging platform – try it!


  12. Two words: Media Temple. Besides the fact that they’re reliable and I’ve never really had issues with them before, I would switch (in an instant) just based on their customer service. You can call 24/7 (which I’ve had to do in the past) and they’ll help you with whatever you need.

  13. I wholeheartedly recommend Mosso. It gives me as much power, flexibility and control as a VPS without having to deal with server maintenance tasks or support issues. The control panel is really sweet; very attractive, lots of features and easy to use.

  14. Isn’t Mosso just a reseller account from Media Temple? I think it’s also something like $100 a month, right?

    For just a blog, I’d say MediaTemple’s grid system is sufficient, and probably a lot cheaper.

  15. I’d echo everyone elses’ comments here about MediaTemple. For highly experimental or transient projects I’d use something a bit more customized like Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, but I’ve used both the (gs) and (dv) plans offered by MediaTemple and have seen concurrency levels go through the roof.

    They respond to any problems/queries within 20 minutes in my experience, too.

  16. I can happily recommend’s services. They specialize (and are some of the oldest in the game) in managed VPS solutions at a very reasonable price. Their staff are *top notch*, as is the quality of their service. They will take care of your VPS so you don’t need to hassle with any of the administration details.

    Further, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a substantiated negative review — I’ve never really been able to.

  17. I have used Liquid Web ( for a couple of years. I have their VPS1 plan and it runs $60/month. Support is excellent though rarely needed. You can open support tickets like everyone else or actually talk to a real human being (not outsourced) via phone.

  18. Hey khoi,
    I will echo some of the Media Temple (mt) comments above. I have been with them for about 8 yrs now. Their service has been impeccable. I host about 31 clients on their servers and don’t have any problems.

    Their shared (gs) platform has gone through some storage segment hiccups in the recent past, when they first set it up, but the VPS has never let me down, especially customer/admin service.

    Good luck with your hunt.


  19. I recently set up a virtual dedicated host with Rimu Hosting, and I have been just ecstatic with the performance and the caliber of customer service I’ve received. I have an excellent plan for $29/mo. including 384MB of dedicated RAM. Their virtualization over Xen is top-notch.

    Again, the support staff has been just unbelievable. From setting up Postfix mail support to Rails instances, there just hasn’t been anything I’ve thrown at them that they haven’t come through on with sage advice.

  20. Using ExpressionEngine for many client projects, host on a (dv) at Media Temple.

    I gave up on Dreamhost long ago. They DO NOT take their customers’ business seriously.

  21. I’ve been using Media Temple for both personal and professional sites and have generally been impressed. For personal websites even relatively high traffic ones Media Temple’s grid service is great. I host several personal sites on MT and have several client sites there as well. It handles traffic, static pages, and even heavy mysql use with aplomb. If you are doing ajaxy stuff or have custom cgi on the grid Media Temple starts to complain about processor usage. With one of my sites, 20× we ran into problems very quickly and had to upgrade to their Virtual Private Server. The tools Media Temple provides to manage their VPS are nowhere near as friendly as the tools provided for their Grid service (they offer Plesk for the VPS). The VPS service is certainly full featured and powerful, but it requires much more geekery to get running smoothly than the grid (which is similar to dreamhost in it’s ease of use)

  22. ps. Re speed I don’t think you’ll be gaining much if anything with a move to wordpress or expression engine. Much depends on where you are looking for speed… speed of rendering dynamic pages, speed of the backend, etc… but ultimately all are pretty equivalent speedwise. So the bigger question with a move is whether you want to spend the time porting over your templates…

  23. Kyle: Actually, at least two people have mentioned Joyent. I was one of them.

    And I would actually recommend not going with Joyent if you’re not experienced with at least the basics of server management, or willing to deal with the occasional bout of downtime. Joyent’s shared hosting gotten way, way, way better since they switched from FreeBSD to Solaris last year, but it’s my feeling that a typical shared hosting customer (like Khoi) doesn’t need to be in a situation where things have gone from “intolerable” to “pretty good” because of a switch from Server Platform A to Server Platform B. Shared hosting should Just Work. DreamHost Just Works, but is slow and their customer service sucks.

  24. I have no idea whether or not it’s any good, but DreamHost does have a VPS offering if you want to upgrade your existing account. Details are under “Enable DreamHost PS” in your panel.

    I’ll echo others in having good success with MediaTemple’s gridserver shared plan. I’m also just now kicking the tires on their entry DV plan, but so far, so good.

    On the Mosso comment earlier, yes it’s $100 per month, but no, it’s not affiliated with MediaTemple. It’s a company funded by Rackspace, built on their infrastructure. It’s a unique option for mixing server technologies, and for designer/developers who want to resell hosting without supporting it directly, but not ideal as a low-cost VPS.

  25. I’ve heard all the DreamHost horror stories and have braced for them to affect me, but (knock on wood and all) I’ve had a fine experience so far. I have three WordPress sites with them and I’ve enjoyed decent performance since 2006. There have been issues, of course, but no worse or more frequent than the issues I’ve experienced maintaining another site with Media Temple. I’ve even survived links from some fairly large sites (Deadspin, Seth Godin).

    I think the thing with hosting is that people who have problems are very, very vocal because of the incredibly potent effect even a short amount of downtime can have. I’d wager that our perceptions would be different if we actually heard from all the people willing to say “yeah, it’s been fine.”

    My advice? Stick with DreamHost until something happens (they piss you off, your traffic just gets too intense, etc) that forces you to change. Not because they’re the best, per se, but because they’re probably not measurably worse than your other options in the same price and feature range.

  26. Khoi you sure are opening a can o’ worms here! Everybody has an opinion on this.

    I switched from Dreamhost to Pair and pay a little bit more but I’m still on shared hosting. It’s been faster, more reliable and I get better service. The above comments are spot on. Not all shared hosting is created equal and you can definitely do better than Dreamhost. (for that matter, you can definitely do better than movable type too – I highly recommend Expression Engine)

  27. I do NOT reccomend Media Temple. We tried using them in the development of a chat room project, and our VPS exploded. Apache threads were taking up 6% of CPU usage EACH, and the site ran out of memory and CPU the minute everyone on our dev team logged onto our chat room (~35 people). Considering our chat room made 1 (one) mysql request / page load every 3 seconds, that’s pathetic. Dreamhost, although it ran a little slow, did not crash and die during in-house alpha testing.

    I’ve been nothing but happy with Dreamhost, but I mostly do personal projects there – nothing that would get even a thousand users a day. So your requirements are understandably different than mine. I wish you the best of luck.

  28. Man, mention hosting and everyone comes a-runnin’.

    Another vote for EE here. Use it and love it. And another vote to get off shared hosting. Every database-driven site I’ve had or worked on that was on shared hosting had problems. You get what you pay for, and all that. I currently have a VPS through WiredTree. It’s on the pricey side, but it’s fully and proactively managed, so they take care of everything. And the support and service is supreme. There is a learning curve, but if you already know WHM and cPanel, it won’t be a problem. I’ve also read good things about Crucial, but I have no first-hand experience.

    Re: the MediaTemple gs, I’d say hold off, since they’re killing it sometime this year. Hopefully the cs works much better.

    As a general rule, whenever I have any kind of hosting-related question, I go to Web Hosting Talk. Great info there.

  29. I have more than 30 WordPress sites hosted with Dreamhost (and a few custom PHP/Rails/Perl things), and for $6/month it’s a bargin. For my mom-and-pop clients it’s great, and for my busiest, randomly-dugg sites, it’s survivable.

    The way I see it, there are two types of slow with any type of hosting: infrastructure and sharing.

    And every host has its share of random infrastructure issues–from misconfigured switches and routers, to trucks hitting power sources. Rackspace, Peer1, and Dreamhost have all suffered from a similar number of these problems this year (I manage sites on each). I consider these problems constant, despite how much you spend on hosting.

    Sharing problems, on the other hand, are unique to vhosts (like Dreamhost). VPS hosts will have a small number of shared issues (you’re sharing with 4-12 people), but at a scale of 100x fewer than with vhosting. And dedicated hosting still relies on shared power, bandwidth, and support (so you really never escape it unless you’re google).

    In a few words: moving to a VPS will improve your uptime and performance for the cases where shared resources are to blame. It also gives you the magic power of root, which is really where vhosting falls short. If I had root access on my Dreamhost server, I could kick Apache when it needed it, instead of waiting for a tech to get to it.

    The problem with the VPS is that you have to manage the VPS yourself (or pay through the nose for support). Managed support isn’t different between Rackspace, Peer1, and vhosts like Dreamhost, despite the promises. We still wait 30-60 minutes for email support at Peer1 and Rackspace, unless we phone them directly (and even then we’re limited in what they will do without paying extra).

    I’ve been happy with Dreamhost, but have seen many users with experiences much poorer than mine. I plan to use both Dreamhost and Slicehost in the next few years, with a failover DNS setup that allows my busiest sites to fail gracefully.

  30. Yet another vote for ExpressionEngine. It’s great and it’s fast. I’ve been burned by Media Temple and don’t like them- don’t go there. Dreamhost has problems, but I’ve seen much worse.

    If you can budget $99/month, go with Mosso. It’s brilliant. Otherwise, I would echo the recommendations of Slicehost. They seem like they’d give you your money’s worth, and I’ve heard good things.

    Many of the other hosting companies named on here I’ve not had great experiences with (I’ve worked with a lot), but I’m not going to name names!

  31. I just today finished moving over 15 client sites and a half dozen of my own off of Dreamhost and onto LiquidWeb VPS (as mentioned by Blake above). About a year ago I jumped on DH’s excellent unlimited plan and its a great environment for running multiple sites. However, most of the sites I run are EE sites and the performance sucked. With every speed enhancing trick turned on in EE, I was still seeing 5 second page load times per page on most sites.

    I went through a progression from SBC > Dreamhost > Media Temple > Mosso > LiquidWeb with my last full time employer about 2 years ago and had to deal with Dreamhost’s epic outages, then MT’s faulty Grid rollout, then Mosso’s blacklisting email server problems and I know for a fact that since flipping to LW that that employer has not had a second of downtime. At the time I saw the Dooce was using them and I know she gets a ton of traffic- so I figured they must be good. As well, since I signed up, their support has been PHENOMENAL, and I am not a server guy either, I am a developer, and if I need something done (install GD2, what’s this error mean?, can you set up my Nameservers), they do it with pleasure, quickness, and excellent follow through. The best news is that every EE site is now running at the speed of a basic data-backed website, which is to say- slower than a raw HTML file and a hell of a lot faster then Dreamhost. I am very happy.

    Oh, and EE is the best thing since Zeldman.

  32. I lease a VPS with Verio, and haven’t found it at all difficult to manage, even though I knew nothing about handling it before I got it. I also have some stand-alone sites on Verio, and while their technical support is only average for those, they have a separate technical support line for VPS and they are really great – reachable, knowledgeable, and service-oriented.

  33. As far as I know, David Guillory is correct about Mosso – it is a Rackspace company and has zero affiliation with Media Temple.

    I run everything from high traffic news websites to mid-size personal blogs – both use ExpressionEngine by the way – under my Mosso account and the service, speed and reliability is top-notch.

    Sure Mosso costs a little more, but I get peace of mind, the ability to run Windows Server and fantastic tech support; which is especially important for us non-geeks. The command line scares me.

  34. I’ve used Tashosting for about 4 years and like the fully featured hand held approach they offer. Plus they’re economically competitive.

    Maybe someone who can offer that personal handholding is worth looking into. Has worked well for me, I even know a lot more about servers now than 4 years ago. 🙂

  35. Khoi, unless your readership is diminishing due to page load times (I doubt it is!), I’d stick with the existing setup until you know what you want to do with the site next.

    If you do plan to switch over to another CMS, make sure you’re doing it because MovableType definitely doesn’t have the capacity to do it.

    WordPress has been great for me, but I wouldn’t encourage you to swap unless you’re after a specific feature you definitely can’t get in MT. And, when you really need to make significant changes to the Subtraction CMS, why not just lump it all together, and choose the host with the best support for your new CMS?

    People don’t visit Subtraction because of the underlying code, be it Movable Type, WordPress or Expression Engine – or the hosting provider, for that matter. They visit because they love the presentation and the great blog posts.

    N.B. Everything above is based on the presumption that you weren’t automagically billed $30,000 for your DreamHost account to be extended to 2090.

  36. Assuming this need to change has been brought about by you wanting a better solution that makes your life easier – you need to be on MediaTemple. I’ve recently upgraded to their most recent DV server offering from the the previous one (which wasn’t nearly as good).

    Excellent implementation, simple to administer and includes the ability to load any goodies you’d like on your ‘server’. Databases, email addresses and most other things are very simple to set up. I’m not on the payroll, just find it an excellent way to manage the dark arts that make up server administration.

    Don’t forget: shared hosting is a ghetto.

  37. I can really recommend Dreamhost PS. It’s the easiest way to get better performance without having to switch hosts.

    A few months ago I signed up for MT but I must admit that I was very disappointed. Instead I went back to Dreamhost and upgraded my account to a virtual server.

  38. I don’t have experience with other hosts in the US, but I do know that Dreamhost has speed issues. From what I’ve gathered they severly overload servers with customers sometimes. This would affect database-driven sites (in our case, WordPress) and non-database-driven sites (Pivot) alike. I can’t comment on WP vs. MT performance, but you could always give it a shot. WP has been my platform of choice since it came out, and I’ve seen it improve incredibly.

  39. I switched my stuff (clients and personal projects) from dreamhost to Webfaction a while back.

    Webfaction have been great so far: when setting up more “advanced” web apps (i.e. stuff that runs on anything else than PHP, in my case Django/Python) you get your own apache instance, preconfigured with default settings that basically just work, and you’re free to tinker as much as you like. Fast too.

    The biggest constraint is memory usage limits, which are kinda low, but the price is right… Their support have been awesome as well.

  40. I’ve a client’s site on eleven2 and I think they’re pretty good, with a nicely designed site as well (not that it has a relevance but for a designer like me it does make a diff). I moved this particular site from mediatemple which was kinda disappointing considering the reputation, we were on it’s gridserver which kept having issues and outages.

  41. Hi Khoi,

    I really can recommend EngineHosting, great service and they can handle the traffic as I am speaking from experience here. They also host Ellislab, EE etc. So they work closely together which it’s even better if you decide on running EE.


  42. i’ve used pair now for 10 years and never had problems. i love them so. i have a new freelance client that is using mediatemple so i’ll get a chance to feel out the hosting there too soon.

    as for switching CMS, i’ve gotta say that MT4 is pretty great. i just switched someone over from MT3 to MT4 and the performance is so much better as is the interface.

  43. Wow! I hadn’t expected such a robust response for a Saturday night/Sunday morning. Thanks to everyone for chiming in. The recommendations and tips have been very helpful.

    I hadn’t heard about the DreamHost Private Server offering before. If for no other reason than simple convenience, it’s the most attractive to me right now. I’d be very keen to hear more from anyone who’s using DreamHost PS right now: is the difference from shared hosting substantial?

  44. Another vote for ExpressionEngine and EngineHosting here. My own site is using them, and I’ve set up several client sites with them, and I’ve had no issues.

    Put simply, EE blows Movable Type out of the water, and I’ve found that it’s much more flexible than WordPress. As for EngineHosting, their service has been phenomenal, and I’ve had no downtime so far.

  45. I’ve used ServInt for several years now, and while they may not be flashy or all Web2.0’d up, they’re service and support is absolutely fantastic.

    You can email their tech support guys 24 hours a day and hear back within 10 minutes. No help tickets, no support queues. Just email with a question and they’ll email you back with an answer, or more often, email you back to let you know they went ahead and fixed whatever it was you were trying to figure out.

  46. If you can, get Verizon FiOS business-grade service (15Mbps upload speed, 50MBps download) at your home or office, with five static IP addresses, and do it yourself. I do, I recommend it. I can handle easily 3+million unique visits a month – all off a cheapo Linux box (1GB RAM, Ubuntu Dapper 6.06.1 LTS, standard LAMP stack, AMD64x2 CPU running at maybe 1.8GHz – in short, a $700 box, maximum.)

    And I may be overly geekish here, but I recommend Drupal over the other CMS platforms, with WordPress in second place.

  47. I’m in the same predicament at the moment, though speed was not my issue but a recent server problem with all of my PHP pages. I’m currently hosted with Lunar Pages and as far as the low-dollor shared packages, they really offer a lot and (did) have excellent support. Unfortunately, not one LP staff member could identify (or admit) the obvious troubles I was experiencing, despite the exhaustively thorough testing I reported. Like you, I’m on the search for an alternate host now and while DreamHost was my initial backup plan, I’m leaning toward investing the extra few bucks for Media Temple’s Grid-Service. Ideally, a VPS would be awesome, but it’s tough to swallow that bill after being on $6 plans for so long. Be sure to post an update on what you decide.

  48. I’ve tried them all from shared hosting to high-end dedicated. I’ve used Joyent (formerly Textdrive), MT, Rimu – the list goes on for projects I’ve inherited. Over the past few months I have moved them all to a Slicehost VPS. It’s simply a superior service: affordable, room for growth (should you need it) and an awesome community to boot. The only caveat is that you are the sysadmin, but once everything is setup it’s pretty hands off. Plus they have backup options if you screw something up. Good luck with your selection.

  49. I feel your pain. Although my sites get much less traffic than yours, I’m still troubled by the current hosting landscape. I want the reserved resources and reliability you get with a dedicated virtual server and the fool-proof operation of a control panel like dreamhost’s. Why is that so hard to provide?

  50. I just recently moved my blog to LunarPages and really love to value for the price. The only thing that I do not like about the service is the lack of AWstats.

    I don’t know if you considered caching? or if it is even possible on Moviable Type, but it could possibly help…

  51. I’ve always had good luck with Bluehost. Very affordable and they have 24/7 support, which always amazes me considering I’m paying 6 bucks a month. I’m pretty sure they have some tiered pricing depending on your traffic needs.

    As for a CMS, I like Joomla. Open source, really easy to use and to teach non-tech people to use, and of course, customizable.

  52. another vote for slicehost, i’ve had great luck with them and it’s amazingly fast compared to shared hosting. but you may need a nerdtastic friend to do (or help with) the initial setup for you (tho honestly, i wholly believe you could follow one of the great slicehost tutorials in an afternoon to get a basic LAMP setup on debian). once it’s up, you shouldn’t have to do much. not sure what sort of traffic you get (and i’m not the most skilled sysadmin), but i have a 1024 slice running a ~2.5 million pageview/mo site.

    i’d have a hard time recommending textdrive/joyent. i’ve hosted many sites with them for years on a lifetime plan, and there will be spells of stability, but then my server will go down for a entire DAY. then go down for an hour every night for weeks. that’s just no good. i *want* to believe in TxD, haha, but they seem to be in a looong transition period towards some sort of stability.

  53. I’ve been using slicehost for about 18 months now and I’m really happy there. I’ve hardly ever needed support and when I did need it, it was there instantly. Support is there through e-mail, forum and chat, and they’re available both in US timezones and EU timezones.

    Their vps management system is quite easy and straightforward and they give you lots of options to recover from your own mistakes (backup plan, rescue mode so you can mount your slice from a different slice, flash based console so you can still login through their site if you mess up your iptables for instance, etc).

    When setting up, you can choose between a couple of linux distro’s (debian, ubuntu, centos, gentoo) and you can even use your own distro of choice if you really want to.

    Upgrading and downgrading your slice is really easy and the difference in fees is automatically billed or credited.

    The only disavantage with any VPS solution is that you need to do all the server setup and maintenance (including security fixes and other patching) yourself. As far as e-mail, you’ll have to setup and maintain your own mailserver or pay for an external one.

  54. I’d add another vote for mediatemple – the support has always been exemplary in my experience and the level of control is exactly what I need.

    I’ve very recently decided to make a return to blogging and the easiest decision of the lot was where to host it.

  55. If you do end up going for a VPS system I’d recommend getting one that uses something like the Plesk Control Panel for configuration. Running a dedicated server or VPS via the command line is not for the faint hearted! Plesk may not be perfect but it’s pretty easy to use for configuring most things like email, databases etc.

    I can’t say too much in regards to recommending a host as I’m in the UK and we pay too much for hosting over here generally, compared with US costs anyway! I have tried MediaTemple’s grid server and Mosso though and both were good, I just don’t like hosting my clients on US servers or otherwise I would use them more regularly.

    I would probably recommend a VPS overall.

  56. I’ve hosted with several of the previously mentioned suppliers – most recently with MediaTemple on both their DV and Grid offerings. I had recurring problems with e-mail reliability with my sites hosted on the Grid and decided to move them all to Pair Networks. Although Pair’s control panel interface lacks the polish of MT’s, the reliability and speed have been very solid.

    Another thing to keep in mind regarding MT’s DV product. They will ensure that server is functioning optimally on their end but in the event you have issues requiring root access to the server, they will not provide support for you. Translation: If you want to go with the DV, you should be comfortable with root access or have access to someone who is. After arm-twisting, MT always “helped” me out with root issues but I was advised that they were not obligated to.

    If the root does not intimidate you, the DV product is great.

  57. It’s simply amazing how many people don’t seem to be able to read? Maybe everyone commenting are just following the direction of the other comments and not the original post?

    “There’s one major stumbling block, though: I clearly don’t have the technical chops to handle the configuration or ongoing maintenance.”


    “I’m loathe to take on anything more technically challenging, both out of lack of time and simple ignorance.”

    Honestly not all “shared” hosting is “bad”, and not everyone has the time, knowledge or desire to “do it yourself” as a server administrator. Imagine that, some people simply want to focus on their site, not the technology under it!

    I would recommend going with too. Great, and knowledgeable staff, and ExpressionEngine is a wonderfully powerful CMS too!

  58. I know the topic of this post if about hosting, but no love for Textpattern? I switched to Txp from WordPress for no other reason than to just try it out, and so far have zero regrets.

    I’m also halfway through Textpatter Solutions and am blown away by what you can get out of it. Worth taking a look at, if you’re planing on switching platforms.

  59. Hi Khoi,

    I’ve heard really great things about MediaTemple hosting, and was actually able to meet their CTO at a recent conference. They power TechCrunch among many other high-profile websites. They have a plan that starts at $20/Month.

    Also, if you are looking to host photos, videos, music, etc. on your blog or elsewhere we wouldn’t mind taking the load off of your server either for free:

    Best of luck with your hosting search,


  60. Like Adam above, I’m also on a VPS (VPS256) with WiredTree. Unfortunately, I’m not all praise. I’ve had a good experience with the company (they’re staff is friendly and usually attentive), but the server itself is slow as molasses.

    It crashes and times out several times a week (and I get about half a dozen cryptic error emails), cPanel/WHM access is so slow it’s almost unbearable and sometimes just stops loading a page halfway though, I am unable to terminate accounts (or anything that takes time, it seems).

    I’m told by their support that this is because my measly little sites (which certainly don’t compare to Subtraction in terms of traffic) are completely eating up my allotted RAM. So, the only way to fix these problems is to upgrade to the 512 at $90/month.

    I’m probably going back to A Small Orange shared hosting for a significant monthly savings and comparable server performance.

  61. Hi Khoi:

    I can also recommend Expression Engine paired with Engine Hosting. A BIG issue that I had was pairing Expression Engine with Media Temple on their (gs) plan. The slowdown was really bad, resulting in me switching my blog over to Engine Hosting, and I’ve been very, VERY happy with Engine Hosting’s service since (although it is a bit hands off in the configuration department – but that might be a good thing for what you’re looking for).

    In the end, I can give a nod for EE and the company’s Engine Hosting. I’m not sure if they’ve fixed the (gs) service at Media Temple, but I’ve personally had and read about very bad experiences with the (gs) service. I hope the new thing will be better, but until I read more, I can’t recommend it for full time.

    Good luck.

  62. I’ve been using since 2000. They have excellent support service and always answer my questions within the hour. I have about 20 clients, that I monitor from one control panel. I also use both the HK & USA servers and only once or twice in all these years, have I noticed the servers going down (you can easily access server info by typing your server IP number). On the other hand, I was in the process of migrating all my clients to (trying to save a buck), but the server goes down too much for my taste (clients usually call me to tell me their web site is not showing) and SITE5 tech support is too slow to respond. I used SITE5’s WebHostManager Reseller Hosting package and it was difficult for me to configure since I am not a sys admin type of person. As a result of the headaches and time wasted with other numerous issues with SITE5, I will stay with ICDSOFT. If you are looking for a virtual server plan, however, ICDSOFT does not offer that service. Also, once your have more than 7 accounts, add’l accounts are half price at $36/year for the 1000/MB Universal Plan.

  63. Another vote for Media Temple. I used to have a Dreamhost account and I’ve been happier with the (gs) GridServer plan. If you’re publishing static pages with Movable Type your site will hold up fine under heavy traffic with that plan. Might as well save the money you would otherwise shell out on a dedicated plan. If you decide to switch to WordPress, make sure you install the WP-Cache plugin.

  64. I’d just like to offer some follow-up info on my previous comment. I’ve since made the switch from LunarPages to Media Temple’s GridServer plan and could not be happier with the service I’ve received thus far. Customer support has been extremely helpful and dead-on in their answers, much more informative than what I used to get with LP. Not to mention, the web control panel is supremely better than what I previously had(CPanel) in that everything is organized and far cleaner.

    In short: I would still recommend LunarPages or DreamHost to anyone just starting out, but MT has proven to be a huge improvement for not that much more money.

  65. Finding a good host can be hard, I know I’ve been through plenty, but I’ve been with Liquid Web for nearly two years now and I love it. Granted, I have an entire server to myself, but I have never had trouble getting to an actual, helpful person within a minute of calling (usually they pick right up) and they’ve always been willing to do any techy bits I need (I’m by no means a server guy).

    The basics I need to handle (email config, setting up accounts, etc) are easy to do with the included CPanel software (pretty standard stuff across servers).

  66. hasn’t been mentioned yet, but I’ve been using them happily for about four years. I host about a dozen domains on one of their FreeBSD VPS setups. Very solid, with great technical support that’s actually technical.

  67. Not that you need anymore advice etc

    But I run my WP blog on Credithosting. Pretty damn solid, if you still want to do the ol Virtual Hosting thing. And cheap as stink to boot.

    I put my WP blog up there in a few minutes and it was a snap

    Not bad considering Im a totally moron.

  68. I like Engine Hosting. They’re load balanced and fast. Yet their shared hosting is cheaper than Media Temple. It’s like the best of both worlds.

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