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  #1  
01-06-2015, 04:28 PM
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I'm launching a WordPress site next month that I believe will grow faster than expected. I'm not sure what's the best choice for hosting. I currently have a VPS with Hostdime (who I really like as a host - they're local with killer support) and I'm not sure if that's the best route or not. My current VPS (2gb ram) has multiple failures a day with automatic restarts. It's hosting a one multisite install (with 3 active subsites, 4-5 inactive subsites and less than 100 visitors a day total on average), a second site with 60-70 visitors a day and 2 other sites that are lucky to get one visitor a day. The failures have me concerned that 1 site 300-500 members and 1000 hits a day will need a lot more resource-wise than what I have now. I don't think that there's that huge a load on it (though maybe the multisite is a resource hog?).

So I looked at managed WP hosting, thinking a 'cloud' option may let the site grow to 500 members or so & weather traffic spikes - and then I can move it to something more permanent. WPEngine is cool but I expect their costs to be much higher due to their per pageview bs. I'm trying Mediatemple's WP hosting, which is ok but supportwise they are slow (I'm spoiled by Hostdime and A2) plus they screwed up when installed an SSL cert and it's been a week and they have yet to reinstall it. They don't have my confidence.

So I'm really not sure which way to go - and perhaps it's because I don't understand hosting that well. A distributed grid sounds cool, but does it work in practice? Is eventually getting a dedicated server unavoidable? What the hell do sites that have a lot of members and traffic do?

All advice will be appreciated - I'm planning on launching my site on Feb 1 and I need to get this squared away ASAP. Thanks!

- merged -

I'm going to research EuroVPS, Stablehost, Codero, Rackspace & Linode. The geek in me likes the idea of a true cloud - and to tide me over til I can afford a dedicated server. What kind of sites are you happily hosting at EuroVPS & Stablehost?
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  #2  
01-06-2015, 04:48 PM
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Alright, there's still 25 days until Feb 1, so you have plenty of time. Don't make any sudden decisions. Let's talk this through carefully.

EuroVPS and Stablehost are both excellent hosts.

- EuroVPS has actual cloud infrastructure based on VMware. Their setup is impressive! If you want an example of a site using EuroVPS -- you're looking at it. However, this is a managed dedicated server, not cloud. But our two primary dev VPS are on the cloud. We've been with them ~9 years now.

- Stablehost is not cloud. My personal stuff is all on a Stablehost shared account, and has been for the past ~6 years. We also have a dev VPS there as well.

Rackspace is so 1990s. They have a mostly modern infrastructure, but pricing and policies are stuck in the past. It's stupid expensive.

Linode is not cloud, and is unmanaged.

Codero is blah.

I have a list of some more cloud hosts at work, and will get back to you tomorrow with a list.

However...

(1) I don't think you need cloud hosting right now.

Cloud hosting is really just redundancy, and the actual hosting is still shared, VPS or dedicated. Cloud also does NOT guarantee you 100% uptime or problem-free hosting. Nor are all clouds made equality, ie OnApp = crap, VMware = good. Finally, lots of "cloud" hosts are raping the term cloud (example = Linode, Digital Ocean), and they're simply use "cloud" as a synonym for "online". (Well, duh! All hosts are online!)

All you really need is a reliable host.

WPEngine does indeed have ridiculous traffic limits.

(2) Nor do you need a VPS. As you've learned (the hard way, sadly), even a "managed" VPS is still not really managed like a shared account.

Two main questions:

(1) Support. What do you expect from support? What sort of questions do you typically ask? How fast do you expect a response?

(2) Traffic. Why do you expect the new site to gain that much traffic?

I have some options, but let's start there to narrow them down for you.

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  #3  
01-06-2015, 07:47 PM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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Support: I'm spoiled because HostDime & A2 have awesome support, with responses & solutions usually within a couple of hours. MediaTemple is crap in that regard. Just yesterday I woke up and all my sites were down. I left a ticket with Hostdime, they figured out it was some config error on the VPS & fixed it within 30 minutes. They make MT look like fools - though how something got unconfigured or whatever is sketchy.

Even if we ignore support speed, waiting more than a week for a reinstallation of an SSL cert is unacceptable. I was already annoyed that my existing SSL cert couldn't be migrated (after of course sales lied to me that it could). I don't believe they know what they're doing with their WP managed hosting.

Traffic: This is the tricky part. I'm launching a tutorial site. I've got 7 people making tuts and they will be marketing to their social media followers. I know one has 5000 followers total, another has 14000 (just Fb, not sure where else) and another is a published author with 6 million books in print.

The one w/ 5k followers can give us an idea of what's possible. He briefly launched a tutorial site of his own. He got 2600 hits the first day. He added a mailing list w/ a free something to entice people. He didn't update the site past the first week and only had 3-4 posts. 90 people signed up to his mailing list over 30 days, despite him hardly doing anything.

If he can pull in numbers like that, the two with larger followings might really pull in people. And if the site grows fast or people are interested about it, I can see it getting good press. It's a little scary but super exciting too.

That's why I think that shit can ramp up fast and I need to be prepared for it. I know I'll need a dedicated at some point but I want to be prepared to be able to grow before making the leap. If my site goes from 500 members to 5000 in a month, I'd like to be able to be able to accommodate them. That's why I find the cloud idea interesting, that I could adjust the settings and add more cpu/ram/whatever as needed. Ideally, I'd like to make the move to dedicated once (if once is the norm; I'm not sure).

My MT account re-ups on 1/11. My ideal would be to move my site off them by then so I don't give them any more money. However I don't mind eating another month's bill in order to make a reasoned decision.

Also, I got a VPS because I didn't want to be affected by someone else's performance on shared hosting. Is that a reasonable assumption?

I'd also like to consolidate all of my sites into one host. I'd like to keep the tutorial site separate if that's a sensible choice.

From reading through the posts here, it seems that each website should be in its own Cpanel - is that right? I'm getting the feeling I don't know jack about hosting!

I'm chatting with EuroVPS - they're selling me on their VS3, which seems a bit much. My sites total take up less than 30gb and while there are 52 mysql dbs, a bunch of those are old defunct dev sites. I think they picked it because I told them my current hosting costs are around $100.
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  #4  
01-07-2015, 06:00 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Where to begin...

Traffic

Unfortunately, I think you're vastly overestimating your traffic numbers. At best, you'll get about a 10% response from a direct* email campaign (and yours is not direct* but 3rd party, so about half of that at best). It can be as low as 1%. How high a response range really depends on the topic of the tutorials, and the demographic of the audience of those mailing lists. If the book author, for example, has books on kitty cats, and your tutorials are on engineering, that response won't even be 1%. How directly the demopgrahic overlaps determines the usefulness of the campaign (for you, not him).

You may send many emails, but then many won't be delivered. At least half will never be opened by the recipient. Of those that do visit your site, most will leave after 1 page view.

You traffic will be in bursts -- it won't be sustained. As a new site, you'll have no SERP rankings on Google, and that takes time. The best case is many months, but more realistically it takes years. Email traffic won't be much different than the "Slashdot effect" -- large spikes that only last a day or two. It quickly subsides, and traffic returns to normal.

Social media is much worse than email. I think you need watch this:



20,000 Facebook followers will yield a pittance of traffic.

You also need to very careful with your metrics. "Hits" are not the same as unique viewers. A single visitor can rack up dozens of hits, meaning the actual traffic is far lower.

I have to step away for a bit. More later...

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  #5  
01-07-2015, 06:21 AM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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The tutorials and the creators involved are in one industry - art. I'm going to handle the onsite & offsite SEO, they create the content and promote it to their followers (I promote elsewhere). The demand is there (that's why Skillshare was trying to attract creative instructors with this contest: http://blog.skillshare.com/teach-to-win-the-ultimate-creators-packet/).

As far as FB goes, I know that without paid ads the organic reach of a post is down to less than 1% of an audience. Still - I don't need huge numbers to make this worthwhile. And each of these instructors has people waiting to learn from them & asking regularly. Skillshare, Udemy etc doesn't provide the community that fosters art. Artists are inspired by other artists.

That being said, I don't doubt that you are correct in your assessment of the reality of it but my gut tells me to be prepared. The worst thing would be to not be able to keep up with the growth. EuroVPS noted that increasing server specs on a VPS is pretty easy, so that's a plus. It's what I expected of Hostdime but I suspect EuroVPS will be better.

I hope you reply soon because I'm about ready to pull the trigger today and get started moving my Cpanels over.
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  #6  
01-07-2015, 08:13 AM
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Again, you have some time. Wait at least another day or two while I help you figure some things out.

Facebook ads don't help at all. In fact, your reach may actually go down with ads -- not up! Watch the Youtube video I embedded in the last post. That's not a video by a run-of-the-mill "expert" with a "Google degree", but an actual scientist (and he has some very interesting and impressive videos). It's a complete waste of money. I'd hate to see you throw money at it, and get a 0% ROI.

Now this is accurate: "I don't need huge numbers to make this worthwhile."

Forget about traffic numbers, and instead focus on having a viable business model. For an info site, it needs to have original quality content. If that's there, then the traffic will naturally accrue in time.

Being prepared is always ideal, yes. I agree 100%. But there is also such as thing as being over-prepared.

If you want a VPS, that's great. But also realize that there are hidden costs to having a VPS. And even if a host is "managed", you still need to have your management knowledge. A standard VPS, even managed, is easy to hack, and will go slow.

You should read this as well:
- The Myth of VPS Hosting: Reasons to Avoid It! Part 1
- The Myth of VPS Hosting: Reasons to Avoid It! Part 2

Since this is going to be a WordPress site, I have another option for you, that I'll pm you about. But failing that, yes EuroVPS would be the best option.

I just worry that you're getting in over your head right now, as you're not aware of simple issues such as the security risks associated with addon domains. You also need to ask yourself this: Do you want to focus all your time on the server (making a site work), or simply using a site (and leave the hosting aspect up to someone more experienced).

I'll PM in a bit...

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  #7  
01-07-2015, 08:25 AM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
Again, you have some time. Wait at least another day or two while I help you figure some things out.

Facebook ads don't help at all. In fact, your reach may actually go down with ads -- not up! Watch the Youtube video I embedded in the last post. That's not a video by a run-of-the-mill "expert" with a "Google degree", but an actual scientist (and he has some very interesting and impressive videos). It's a complete waste of money. I'd hate to see you throw money at it, and get a 0% ROI.
I've played with Fb ads already and they're an improvement over Google ads, by far. I'll watch the video today when I get a chance, I'm sure I'm going to learn something useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
Now this is accurate: "I don't need huge numbers to make this worthwhile."

Forget about traffic numbers, and instead focus on having a viable business model. For an info site, it needs to have original quality content. If that's there, then the traffic will naturally accrue in time.
That it will - I'm sure of it. Plus I will be using keyword research to make sure that people can find the material. In fact, keyword research is also going to dictate some of the content. I'll explain the model when I reply to your PM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
Being prepared is always ideal, yes. I agree 100%. But there is also such as thing as being over-prepared.

If you want a VPS, that's great. But also realize that there are hidden costs to having a VPS. And even if a host is "managed", you still need to have your management knowledge. A standard VPS, even managed, is easy to hack, and will go slow.

You should read this as well:
- The Myth of VPS Hosting: Reasons to Avoid It! Part 1
- The Myth of VPS Hosting: Reasons to Avoid It! Part 2

Since this is going to be a WordPress site, I have another option for you, that I'll pm you about. But failing that, yes EuroVPS would be the best option.
I hear you - and I don't want the needless expense of being overprepared either! But I do have to keep in mind all of my other sites, which are split between Drupal & WordPress.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
I just worry that you're getting in over your head right now, as you're not aware of simple issues such as the security risks associated with addon domains. You also need to ask yourself this: Do you want to focus all your time on the server (making a site work), or simply using a site (and leave the hosting aspect up to someone more experienced).

I'll PM in a bit...
I have no interest in managing a server. I just want great performance, reliability - and I want to prepared for success too

FYI I have a site I started in July that gets 40-50 organic search visitors a day - only due to keyword research and writing on an in-demand topic. The tutorial site will have a lot more content, much faster. Plus I will be promoting it everywhere I can - press releases, art communities/websites, startup stuff, etc. It will grow faster than a typical site.
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  #8  
01-07-2015, 08:49 AM
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Few more questions:

- How many sites do you currently have?
- Will there be any new sites?
- What powers each one?
- What is the monthly traffic of each one?
- What WordPress plugins are you currently using?

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  #9  
01-07-2015, 09:28 AM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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# of sites: guessing 20-30 (including dev subdomains). One site is a WP multisite, the rest are either WP or Drupal
new sites: yes, but not more than a handful.
WP plugins: quite a few, a couple of sites have 30+ active

Here's some info from my two Cpanels:

Cpanel 1
CPU Usage 0 / 100 %
Virtual Memory Usage 0 / 8192 MB
Physical Memory Usage 123.1 / 1024 MB
Entry Processes 0 / 35
I/O Usage 0 / 2.4 MB/s
Disk Space Usage 6.04 GB / ∞
Monthly Bandwidth Transfer 348.17 MB / ∞
Email Accounts 1 / ∞
Subdomains 44 / ∞
Parked Domains 1 / ∞
Addon Domains 16 / ∞
FTP Accounts 43 / ∞
Mailing Lists 0 / ∞
All SQL Databases 44 / ∞
(this one claimed mysql disk space was 0.00)

Cpanel 2 (vps)
Disk Space Usage 19.05 GB / 97.66 GB
Monthly Bandwidth Transfer 794.76 MB / 97.66 GB
Email Accounts 2 / ∞
Mailing Lists 0 / ∞
Addon Domains 5 / ∞
Subdomains 6 / ∞
Domain Aliases 8 / ∞
FTP Accounts 5 / ∞
All SQL Databases 8 / ∞
MySQL Databases 8
MySQL Disk Space 184.8 MB

I watched the video - very useful, and sobering. I had to check the followers for a Fb page where I ran an ad to get more likes this year. I got 30 for around $1ea, all from the US. However I see that you can't see who likes your page anymore, except for friends, so that's BS. Plenty of room for chicanery there.

I don't doubt the followings of the people I've mentioned. Having 5k followers makes sense for the guy who's got 6 million books in print (and 20k on Youtube). 14k for the visual development artist seems high but her work is really, really, really good. I've been following a lot of artists on twitter, fb & IG and see how people interact, what they follow etc.

btw I'm shocked that Namecheap (my registrar) is a good host. I've always held to the 'don't host with your registrar' notion (hey - I got one thing right XD).

I want one that I can stay with for the long term, until that day I need a dedi. I'm leaning toward EuroVPS for that, if I don't have to manage a VPS. The benefit I'm seeing from a VPS is that I can start small and upgrade incrementally, and then make the move to a dedi. I'd rather not do shared and move at least two more times.
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  #10  
01-07-2015, 11:47 AM
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Yes, Namecheap is one exception to the "never use a registrar for hosting" rule. In general, yes, registrars are terrible hosts. Godaddy is a prime example of a registrar that also offers hosting, and does so quite badly. (Of course, their domain registration isn't much better. They have very anti-consumer policies!)

As to the rest, hmmm...

What is your monthly budget?

Is that art site a new one not yet made, or a current one to be expanded? (Is that the current WordPress multi site?)

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  #11  
01-07-2015, 11:57 AM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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I'm currently paying $100 across 3 hosts. I'd love to reduce that if possible.

I sent you a link to the art site in a PM. It's not WP multisite; that's a different site. The art site runs on the MemberMouse plugin, along with BBPress and some 30 other plugins. I'm guessing it should be isolated on its own Cpanel when all is said & done.

From shopping around, it seems like EuroVPS has good value - the VPS specs are better for the price than most other hosts.
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  #12  
01-07-2015, 01:36 PM
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I'm thinking...

Yeah, EuroVPS is awesome.

If you do get a VPS, with that many domains, you may want CloudLinux if you think there will be traffic growth issues that could overload the server. CL would prevent that. It costs about $15/monthly. EuroVPS has excellent backups, but if you want on-demand backups, that's another $30 or so. So I'm not sure that a $100 total budget would do everything you want. Usually the VPS itself is just step of of 4-5 steps to get fully online in a secure and stable way.

I'll PM you.

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  #13  
01-07-2015, 01:46 PM
echoleaf echoleaf is offline
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I keep backups of my sites individually with a WP plugin, so I'm not that worried about needing on-demand backups.

I'll have to google what CloudLinux is
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  #14  
01-07-2015, 02:48 PM
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Okay, PM'd you.

For VPS and dedicated, EuroVPS is easily one of the best hosts you'll ever find.

If you'd like another option, you can also look at LiquidWeb. That's another excellent VPS host. That one wasn't on your original shirt list, but should have been. (And some of them should not have been there!)

You have at least 3 solid options now.

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