Website Hosting

Our on-ramp to the information super-highway!

After hearing about Dangerous Prototype's search&move to a new hosting provider, we thought we'd post up about our hosting experiences!
We currently use ServInt for our hosting provider. They're what we would classify as a 'full service' provider. Basically they own the computer, the pipe and do all the management including backups. We get root shell access and install whatever we'd like. When we have any problems (including stuff like upgrading software or installing something) we open up a ticket.

We push over a terabyte a month, running our shop, hosting files, videos and tutorials and it's been pretty much flawless. We started with the low cost VPS service and did that for a few years, now we have a dedicated server and it's managed to live through many 'slashdottings' with no problems. We're still wary of 'cloud' services - our needs are pretty consistant so we'd rather have a single server that can provide for our needs. If our traffic increases dramatically we may move to a cloud service for image or video caching, we've done that before when were were on a constrained provider and that helped us keep transfer costs down.

Why not self-host or self-manage?

When we were younger, we enjoyed running linux boxes and installing server software on every kind of hardware under the sun. However, nowadays, we like to do hardware design and let someone else manage our servers. If you're a gung-ho sysadmin type you may want a simpler setup where you are fully responsible for any software installation, administration, etc.

We also didn't want to have to deal with getting a T1 installed or administrating a router. When you have off-site hosting you don't have to worry about upgrade-paths because it's all ready set up for you.

True backups

We've had friends burned by hosting providers claiming they do backups (but then when you need them, they're not available). We've requested backup pulls a few times and have been really happy with how fast it is. Of course you should have a copy of your site locally but we think backup management is worth paying for so be sure to ask.

Full shell access

Some cheaper site hosts don't let you have full shell access - instead you're stuck with FTP access only. We like to do strange stuff sometimes, and install extra software so having full root shell is awesome. However, its easy to completely screw everything up if you don't know what you're doing so if you're a beginner, FTP might be safer.

IP addresses

Our hosting came with 4 IP addresses, which we like. Sometimes cheap hosters don't guarantee a static IP (very rare) or you have to share the IP with a bunch of others (very common). It's up to you if you need IP addresses or not. We like having adafruit.com on one IP, and using the others for various smaller projects and sites.

Full control panel access

Can you reboot your Apache or SQL instances? Check that your hosting panel gives you any controls you need to keep the site running when something goes wrong.
This guide was first published on Feb 27, 2013. It was last updated on Feb 27, 2013. This page (Website Hosting) was last updated on Aug 11, 2019.