weblog of rommel talavera pascual

Web Hosting Experience

Since I started subscribing to a web hosting service, I have moved my website 3 times. Perhaps I should commercialize the method of moving sites already. From a basic GeoCities Plus account, to GeoCities Pro, then MD Web Hosting, then Servage.Net and now Host Monster.

GeoCities Plus – at US$4.95/mo I thought was good enough. I was hosting a static HTML website on a free site courtesy of our ADSL Provider. The space quickly run out when more photos for the Family Tree were added. The thought of having no ads was the appeal over a free site that comes with a Yahoo Email account. I have a problem when you don’t have any control over what get advertised as you might be endorsing a product you are absolutely against.

GeoCities Pro – at US$8.95/mo – I am now able to call my website www.rommelpascual.com instead of a geocities with a ~ and my Yahoo ID (Yooo hooo – SCORE, now I can ego surf in Google and find me in my own site 🙂 ). It was great, until I realised I was paying too much for too little . They don’t even offer MySQL or PHP support for this. It was also a rude experience when they simply closed my Plus instead of copying it to my Pro. I had to rebuild everything all over.

MD Web Hosting – Introductory Price of A$59.40 for the first year, Australian based – which means I get a very responsive site. This site is my first taste of the cPanel and learned how to move domains from one-host to another. I also learned that it is better to register your domain in U.S. (US$10/year) vs. here in Australia (A$35/year). This is also my first time to use the rommelpascual.com domain, it was given to me as a gift 2 years prior to this – the registration was just about to lapse when I became interested in using it. MD Web Hosting offers a meager 5GB space and 10GB bandwidth per month. I hosted my PMWiki in this site and basically got addicted in anything PHP.

At this point – I was already learning how to use the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (LINUX for Human). Playing with a test website locally before I release it to the world. Then we subscribed to TPG’s ADSL2 which also gave me a static IP. This allowed me to host a 80GB Gallery2 site from a room in our house. However, Jeanne and I has always been backing up our photos in Webshots and pay a yearly fee for the space we used. This was my ‘excuse’ to go and shop for a hosting company which will give a bit more space.

Servage.NET– At A$8.35/mo giving as much as 500GB space and 5TB bandwidth. I thought I was dreaming when I saw this flash on my screen. This is also a rare time when I responded to an annoying pop-up. They also allow porn – so now I can also host and make online all those smut I’ve been collecting for years 🙂 Just kidding.

I’m still a customer of Servage, but I’m not happy with the speed of my website. Specially the Gallery2. It has become unusably slow. I’ve optimised the database, uninstalled all unneeded plugins, applied caching etc. Eventually, I created a test Gallery2 site with less than 100 photos – the response was no better than the site with over 10,000 photos. The lesson is – look for a hosting company which offers space, bandwidth and reasonable CPU time slice. There’s no point having a 5TB bandwidth if you can’t get any processing time.

Servage is based in Germany. It was a concern as it takes 20 hops to get there. As I read more reviews about them – I’ve confirmed my suspicion that it is their site that is really-really-really slow. Perhaps it’s all those porn site that they are hosting. Not that I have anything against it – but I’m standing in their traffic, it’s time to move out of the way. This week – I decided, was time to consider another site.

Host Monster – at US$6.95/mo you get 1.5TB space and 15TB transfers – it simply has become ridiculously cheap – compare this to the GeoCities Pro. The allure to me is that it has SSH access. It gives me unprecedented control over my website – almost as good as hosting it myself – except that I can’t install any software. I can use emacs to edit my files (Yoo hooo – no more point and click editing).

FFMPEG – is still not supported which means that the video section of our Gallery will remain to be icons.

I was right though – this Host Monster is super-super fast. There are times when you can’t make a discernible distinction between the site inside our home network to the site hosted all the way to Utah. Incidentally, it takes 18 hops to get to the server in Utah – not much less than Servage in Germany, so the number of hops perhaps does not have quite a bearing on speed as I have thought.

They also have very good and knowledgeable support staff – I login to a support chat at 5am Saturday and they are there – alive and kicking 🙂 . I hope it remains this way – they have policy not to allow porn to be hosted in their network, so I guess the odds are good.

I’m now officially a Net Junkie – not that I never was!

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4 Responses »

  1. wow. Host Monster offers not G but TB?! that’s so cool for one who wants to have his own photo or video blog.


  2. i am currently hosted by a Pinoy webhosting service as advised by a nephew that it’s ‘safer’ to have a Philippine-based web host. i am keeping my fingers crossed that everything will be A okay. so far, i am enjoying and learning little by little.

    • I still keep a stand alone website at home where I restore my WordPress backup. The safest really is to have it at home just in case the hosting company goes under – your blog goes with it.

      Now that your hosting your own blog – you have a bit more control on the plugin you use. I suggest you look into wp-db-backup plugin and start a regular back up of your wordpress database. You can even email the backup to yourself (I do it every week). Don’t worry if you do not know how to restore it. It’s easier to find someone who can, if the need arises (hint: me 🙂 ). Warning though – this plugin does not backup your upload directory – this is important if you do a lot of images/multimedia uploads for your blog.

      Another must have plugin (in fact it comes with WP install) is the Akismet. It filters a lot of spam comments and track backs.

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