We’re getting SEB ready to move to a new home.

I’ve mentioned before that I was looking to possibly switch hosting providers for SEB and the other blogs I maintain and now it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later, but for a different reason this time. Previously it was due to the need for more storage as we were eating up most of the 250MB of disk space we have allocated to us, but the switch to ExpressionEngine helped in that regard as it allowed me to get rid of a lot of HTML files which was responsible for most of the usage.

Now it’s bandwidth and a lack of signs of life from my current provider that are prompting the move, but mainly bandwidth. I happened to glance at my bandwidth log for some reason the other day and noticed that we’ve hit a high mark this month of over 23GB of transfer which is a good 10GB over what my account is supposed to allow. So far the folks at BlogOmania haven’t complained, but that’s where the whole “signs of life” statement comes in as I’m worried about the future of this service. I haven’t paid for hosting in the last six months, though not because I haven’t tried to, and the BlogOmania forums are seeing more posts from folks who have asked for assistance or information and received no reply. I will talk more about BlogOmania in the extended entry, but for now suffice it to say that I’d rather not wait until the day that I suddenly can’t access my sites anymore because I’ve eaten up too much bandwidth and haven’t made a payment in months before I think about moving to a new provider.

Previously I talked about possibly switching to Dreamhost which is the company I originally hosted my anime sites on and they seemed to be offering a good deal at the time, but I’ve gotten a couple of comments from folks that seem to indicate their quality of service may have declined in my absence. Doccus recommended Liquid Web in part because THE John Romero had recommended it to him and he was happy with them and their level 3 plan seemed like a pretty good deal (2GB storage, 50GB transfer, unlimited mySQL databases, etc. for $25/month or $21 if you pay 6 months at a time). Since then a friend of mine recommended a company he uses called Resiware that offers a deal that seems too good to be true: 3GB of storage and 50GB of transfer with all the expected goodies for $3.75 a month.

I’ll wait while those of you who pay for hosting proceed to pick your jaw up off the floor.

I had the same reaction when he told me and I went to their site to check it out and there’s the offer in black and white. It definitely appears to beat the hell out of the 250MB and 13GB I get through BlogOmania for $12/month ($10 if you pay quarterly, which I do). Being the skeptical sort that I am I wanted to check out the details for myself so I went to their website to take a look and it’s a very pretty website at that, but lacking on the details. The description for the base package lists off all the goodies you’d hope for such as mySQL and PostGRE SQL databases, Perl, PHP, cPanel, subdomains and so on, but it doesn’t say what limits, if any, they have on those features. Under BlogOmania, for example, I’m allowed 4 mySQL databases at my current hosting level and the LiquidWeb site specifically mentions that you can have an unlimited number of mySQL databases on their service. Resiware doesn’t say if there’s a limit or not on mySQL databases or anything else. Well, I have been able to determine that the basic package allows up to 2 domain names which is something I would need.

So I thought I’d take advantage of the button on the site that allows you to chat live with their support people, except I’ve yet to see it ever list anyone as being online to chat with. I’ve tried calling their 800-number a couple of times only to get an answering machine regardless of the time of day. All I want to do is confirm whether or not I can move my sites as they are currently to their service without running into limits on number of databases or not being allowed to run ExpressionEngine for some reason. It’s a helluva deal and if I bump up to the next level I’d only pay a $13.75 for 8GB of storage, 70GB of transfer and up to 5 different domain names. Resiware is run by two ex-AOL Technicians and has been providing services for the past 4 years and I can’t seem to find too many complaints about the company on the various web hosting discussion forums so that bodes well, but I’d feel a lot better if I could contact someone at the company to verify some of the details. The price is very tempting though. Still, if any of you guys know of any great deals at other places please drop me a note and let me know.

OK, now let me talk a little about BlogOmania…

I don’t want anyone thinking I’m trashing BlogOmania as that’s certainly not the case. I’ve been hosting with BlogOmania ever since I first decided to get back into running a website in 2001. Previously I had run two anime related websites for five years, something I’ve mentioned more than once, and I took some time off after shutting them down before launching what would eventually come to be my own little web-empire starting with Jenkins Online. Blogs were just starting to capture the attention of the mainstream as I recall and like many such things I hadn’t given them much thought until I came across the MovableType website while looking for scripts to run the backend of my website on. As I did more research on what blogging was all about and decided it was something I wanted to get into I started looking for a webhost provider that was affordable and had plenty of room. I came across Christine Selleck of Big Pink Cookie who had just launched a hosting service for bloggers called BlogOmania right around that time period. Christine has always struck me as being one of the better known bloggers out there in part from all the time she spent in the MT forums answering questions as well as just having a popular blog so I figured signing up with a service run by someone who was a blogger herself and very familiar with MovableType was a logical choice to make in case I needed help and the price (at the time) was more than reasonable especially compared to what I had paid in the past at Dreamhost.  Turns out I don’t need that much assistance as I’m petty capable of figuring a lot of this stuff out on my own so I’ve only had to call upon tech support at BlogOmania a handful of times over the years.

Now the reality is that Christine didn’t go out and start up a whole web hosting service on her own. Rather she’s merely taking advantage of Hosting Matters reseller option so they’re the real hosting providers. She’s not making any real profit off the service as she’s selling her hosting at cost last I heard as a service to the blogging community so she’s not getting rich off of BlogOmania by any stretch of the imagination. In fact she’s even managed to work out a deal that provides the hosting at a lower rate than what Hosting Matters normally charge themselves. The plan I’m using, for example, normally goes for $16/month or 15.46/quarterly as opposed to the $12/month or $10/quarterly she offers. She didn’t start off using Hosting Matters, but some other company I can’t recall right now that had all manner of problems, and she moved us all over to Hosting Matters with a minimal amount of disruption when it became clear the previous provider wasn’t all that reliable. All in all I’ve been very happy with BlogOmania in my time with them and there’s at least three other folks out there using BlogOmania at my recommendation.

Now I don’t talk with Christine on a regular basis so I’m not filled in on why BlogOmania appears to have been put on the back burner as a concern of hers. What I do know is that she’s getting married this Saturday and that means she’s probably spent the better part of the last year planning and working on that as a priority. I also know she has a lot of other projects she works on in addition to BlogOmania so it could just be that she’s stretched a bit thin these days. The reason I haven’t paid for my hosting in the last six months is because of a change in my credit card number last year. I forgot to update my PayPal account that I had my “subscription” to BlogOmania through and they canceled the subscription when the old card expired and I didn’t notice for a few months. We got the bill caught up and were going to re-subscribe in December, but the request from BlogOmania never got sent and I totally forgot about it myself. I sent off a note through the help desk a few weeks ago and got a reply from Christine that we’d straighten it out, but that hasn’t happened yet either. Given the wedding that’s not at all surprising.

Now, for me, this isn’t a problem per se. I’ve had free webhosting for the past 6 months and have exceeded my bandwidth quotas without issue and if I were less scrupulous I’d be inclined to allow the situation to persist, but this can’t be good for Christine as someone must be paying for my hosting and given the fact that she’s not making a profit on this it’s probably her. The last thing she needs is me mooching off of her when she’s getting married. So I’m going to pack up my goodies and find a new home. Not because I’m unhappy with BlogOmania or Christine, but because I’ve outgrown it. The lack of attention BlogOmania is getting from Christine lately is a problem for some folks who have tried to sign up for service or get technical help recently and the grumbling is getting rather loud. I don’t know what the future holds for the service, but I would think that Christine will probably re-invest her time and energy into it once the wedding is over with and her life settles down a bit. Either that or she may want to consider turning her customers over to the folks at Hosting Matters and shutting down BlogOmania entirely if it’s grown to be more than she can devote time to these days, but I’d think that would be a shame if it were to come to pass. I think it’s a great service and I’ve been very happy with it and I just wanted to let folks know so they don’t get the wrong impression from my leaving it behind.

14 thoughts on “We’re getting SEB ready to move to a new home.

  1. I’m still happy with Liquid Web wink

    What impressed me (in addition to their price) was their tremendous technical support (turnaround measured in minutes for the two times I’ve contacted them), and speed of their host.

    I had originally removed all of my categories, because comment submissions under MT had stretched to well over a minute.  Removing them got me down to about 40 seconds.  Well, I turned category archives and date archives back on under Liquid Web, and comment submissions under MT take less than 4 seconds.

    Their mySQL server must have some processing power smile

    Anyway, I’m not affiliated with them in any way, other than being a happy customer.  If you find a better deal with decent service and speed, by all means jump on it smile

    D

  2. I would recommend going to WebHostingTalk.com and posting something in their offers forum. I’m sure you could get at least a dozen companies that could match that offer.

  3. I haven’t heard a thing about Resiware. However, the fact that they’ve been around for two years providing hosting service could be a good thing. They aren’t just a quickie fly-by-night outfit, or totally new. They also use cPanel, which is fairly easy to use, and it’s the same thing BlogOmania uses, so you won’t have a massive re-learning curve there.

  4. Can I have the bedroom with the walnut wainscoting and the balcony attached? It’s good, too, because I’m kinda’ noisy and it’s away from everybody.

    I called it first, didn’t I!

  5. A lot of people seem to be happy with Totalchoicehosting.com

    I don’t use it (I am under ICDSoft), but their prices and features are very tempting indeed. I’ve been happy with ICDSoft, but I don’t know if they’re as fast (their servers and connections) as I want them to be.

    Although Totalchoicehosting doesn’t allow you multiple domains on one account unless you purchase their reseller option. But maybe take a look at that?

  6. I still have my blog on BloggerZone (another subset of the Hosting Matters empire), but when I needed more space, I looked to see what was out there for cheap, no frills hosting. I found lots of them. I finally settled on WebHostingBuzz. 20GB bandwidth, 1GB disk space for $4/month. I’d move my blog over there, but they don’t allow Movable Type to be run on their servers, as it is a “resource hog.” But the service and uptime has been great.

  7. Yeah, most of these mentioned so far wouldn’t cover what I need. LiquidWeb comes closest, but I just checked with them and in order to have a second domain name it’d cost me another $5 a month on top of a $15 setup fee so that rules them out as a consideration.

    Ironically it’s looking more and more like Dreamhost may be my best option if I don’t want to risk trying Resiware.

  8. I’ll throw my 2 cents in.  In the interest of full disclosure, however, I’ll note that we run our own hosting company, so take my comments with the appropriate salt.

    When considering a host to run a PHP/MySQL application make sure they run PHP as a module, not as a CGI process.  Dreamhost and a fair number of others run PHP as CGI.  I won’t go into the details here but if you’re interested in understanding why CGI is a really bad choice you can see my explanation here on the second post.

    It’s also important to find a host in which dynamic systems like EE are routinely run.  Database driven systems are more processor and resource intensive than static sites.  To get performance that is on-par with static sites you have to configure your server a little different and you can’t host as many sites on any given box.

    The old-school approach to hosting is to put as many accounts on one box as possible, for two reasons:  1.  Hosting is a commoditized industry with such low margins that you make money through volume.  2. Most accounts will never even be a blip on the server since most sites generate little traffic.  With the demand of dynamic systems, however, hosts are having to readjust their approach.  You can’t host as many sites per box anymore.

    It is also common to make each server an island unto itself,  meaning that everything from email to database access are run on the same server hosting the site.  Most people don’t realize that sending and receiving email chews up a significant amount of bandwidth, affecting the performance of the server.  And if your server goes down, email does too.

    On our own systems we’ve found that the best approach is to run systems that are dedicated to each task.  We run dedicated email servers, database servers, DNS, etc.  That means that no single system has to do it all, and each system can be performance tuned to a particular task.  DNS, for example, is not resource intensive at all, so we can use a modest system to manage it.  Conversely, a busy email server requires not only a very high-performance system, but total redundancy and constant data archival.  We host a lot of business users who will not take kindly to loss of email or even an interruption in service.

    Lastly – and this is very important – make sure your host does database backups.  Backing up MySQL is not commonly done, and even among ones that do, many do not do it daily.  I would ask any prospective host what their database backup policy is.

  9. Duh! Sorry, I meant to add that I switched from Dreamhost to Hosting Matters because DH was giving me grief about MT rebuilds. I could never do a complete rebuild on DH without it timing out. Kinda important info, eh? Sorry.  red face

  10. I was at BlogOmania until the lack of support drove me away. Switching away was h! and trying to get any sort of response to my assistance request emails was like trying to make sense of anything Shrub says. I’m on TotalChoice now, which works for my needs. That other one with the way cheap prices … pick jaw up from floor is right!

  11. Adam, that does look like a nice setup, but the bandwidth limits are below my current monthly usage.

    I did finally get ahold of someone from Resiware and he assures me his service can handle my sites without issue though I’d have to go with the $13.95 level to have the extra domain names. PHP is run as a module and not CGI and all the other questions I had he was able to answer. Though in talking with him it does sound a bit like a two-man operation, but they’ve been around for four years and my friend thinks they’re great and the price is hard to beat.

    Hmmm. Decisions, decisions…

  12. Just a quick one; we use hostrocket.com to host. 1Gb disk space and rollover bandwidth (30Gb per month) with all the usual goodies (unlimited email addresses, unlimited subdomains.) I have been very happy with them for over 3 years now. Pricing is less than $10 a month

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.