Story of choosing a webhost

Sweet, got my thesis done and now I got time for my coding projects. I’ve been wondering for a while, where is should host my sites. Biggest reason is that the amount of sites I’m managing is growing; I see few sites in the future that I will need to manage. Well long story short, normal single website host for every site just isn’t very cost efficient, or even necessary since none of my sites get huge traffic, yet. So I decided to look into where to host several sites, with some room to grow.

I started from the giants and explored Amazon AWS quite a bit, but it is a slightly too much for my use, though I will certainly use S3-storage someday. Heroku looked fun, but again a bit too much server management for my purposes. Digital Ocean was super easy to start with and the comminty had awesome tutorials. I was able to set up a LAMP server with two different WP installations in different URLs in no-time!

After getting recommended of Mediatemple in Twitter, I remembered this nicely branded premium hosting provider, who offers slightly more expensive service, but with superior customer service. Being pretty easily drawn to products crafted with love and care for detail, I kinda felt in love. Their GRID sounded exactly the service I needed, they even had Git installed, sweet. The only draw back is that the servers are in the States and all my sites are in Finland… If any who reads this has super in-depth knowledge on SEO, I’d love to know if the location affects to results. I did some very basic speed test and I (mt) seemed fast enough.

I chose to give Mediatemple Grid a try, after all they have 30-day money back guarantee. At first I was super excited; setup was easy, account manager was nicely designed and easy to use, and the docs were helpful. Then I installed a Wordpress site (souvvi.com) to the server, page load seemed really fast (maybe because the increased computing power, since the Souvvi’s current theme is like 3 years old and is not the most efficient one, update is on the way…)

After rather qualitative tests, I did some ping tests and benchmarked the results to some finnish sites, and was pretty disappointed. I thought why I didn’t test this before. Average Ping was around 170ms, which is due to the server location of course. After studying the situation a while, I discovered that Cloudflare was included in the (mt) subscribtion. I turned it on, and voilá, the page was even faster thanks to CDN caching, pings dropped to around 40ms. However, since Cloudflare caches the requests, including requests with queries, this whole setup resulted to inability to upload anything to the server, or basically do anything with queries, since they were all cached. Though, it is possible to set Cloudflare to not cache certain URLs, the new problem was upload speed. Super slow… Well, after all this hassle, I decided that this is too much for just to have servers located in the states and have nice looking account manager. Mediatemple didn’t qualify.

Back in square one. I took another look on to the Shellit.org webhost -power (Webhotel Teho), and it seemed similar to the GRID, but there was not too much info on the features such as root access, and ability to install applications to the server. Well, I contacted sales, and turned out that root access and installing apps was possibe. Yeehaw!

So in the end, I ended up choosing the same finnish service provider that I had previously, but now with just slightly more powerfull setup. Souvvi.com has been on the new server for a week or so now, and is working super good. I now have good place to host multiple sites and I don’t need to have too much sysadmin work. Perfect! Plus I do have a test server in Digital Ocean, where I can play with python, node and sysadmin tricks…

Got my self hosted and now ready to do some serious coding!

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