Best Options for Dedicated Hosting?

I'm looking for personal testimony for good dedicated hosting providers. It seems nearly impossible to deduce this from Googling. The requirements are basically hundreds of thousands of page views, 100+ GB of bandwidth per month, 50+ domains, Rails/PHP/MySQL, and a provider that understands what Safari is. Any votes?
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Best Options for Dedicated Hosting?
Posted Jan 17, 2007 — 44 comments below


Josh Pyles — Jan 17, 07 3302

From my experience seems to be pretty good. They have some pretty cheap plans in place and are friendly. Haven't noticed any times that the server may have been down.

Anyone else?

Kyle — Jan 17, 07 3303

I recommend TextDrive. They have normal shared hosting, business hosting, dedicated, clusters, and now they have Solaris Containers.

They were one of the first, in fact I think THE first, host to support Ruby on Rails. They do PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc.

Depending on the plan you will get Joyent Core. What that means is that if you get a TextDrive hosting plan, you will get the equivalent Joyent Connector plan (email, address book, file sharing, bookmarking, and calendaring... collaboration suite so to speak) and the equivalent StrongSpace plan (SFTP, Backup, rsync, etc... essentially a strong file store).

I'd act immediately on the 3 Martini Lunch (business hosting for life) or the Mixed Grill (Shared hosting for life)... each of which include Joyent Connector and StrongSpace.

Check it out. Email me if you have any questions too.

Peter Hosey — Jan 17, 07 3304

I use TextDrive as well, and I like it, but they don't actually offer dedicated hosting. Their closest match is “business hosting”, which doesn't meet the bandwidth requirement.

I'm not sure exactly what the Accelerator hosting is.

akatsuki — Jan 17, 07 3305

Textdrive is pretty good. They definitely have their problems, like the Joyent suite for webmail doesn't cut it with others like Gmail, Yahoo and RoundCube. It will one day perhaps, but not yet. Also I did have a fair amount of downtime a year ago, although that seems to have been resolved.

There are also lots of vapourware features, like stats are missing right now (I use Mint on my personal site) and a replacement to Webmin, but overall I have been pleased.

Seems like with their current high end plans, you would end up paying 250 - 500 depending on which one you choose.

But two or three Three Martini Lunch packages would probably be the way to go at $1399 each one time.

Matthew Schinckel — Jan 17, 07 3306

Perhaps have a look at's hosting. I don't use them, but I know Scot from way back, and he's a stand-up guy.

And Mac-friendly.

Brett — Jan 17, 07 3307

Why are you worried about the Safari bit?

Do you just mean for the provider's page? Other than that, I don't see how it would matter. is your best bet, in my opinion. I've used them for years, their prices are good and the datacenter (most import part, obviously) is great. (Ask for Savvis DC)

Manton Reece — Jan 17, 07 3308

I used TextDrive for about a year (middle of 2005 to 2006), and they simply could not keep their servers up. I hear it's better now, but I'd be very careful before jumping into that boat. I don't mean to derail the conversion with negativity -- just trying to show the other side after a couple TextDrive recommendations.

Honestly most hosting companies have one fault or another... If you're going for a dedicated box that you control (or share with a few people you trust) you will already be ahead of the game. Good luck! (And let us know what you decide on.)

Chris — Jan 17, 07 3309

I've used a lot of different VPS and dedicated hosts ...
- aSmallOrange - Great customer service but performance is meh.
- - Better than average performance but terrible customer service.
- XelHosting - Good pricing for VPS' but tech support is slow to respond to issues.

LayeredTech looks to be a great, scalable solution ... they've got some serious connections coming through there. I'll have to give them a call tomorrow and see what they can do for us.

Kasper Jeppesen — Jan 17, 07 3310

I work for a small software development company that delivers hosting automation and spam filtering to hosting companies. To better understand our problem domain we started a small hosting company (small meaning around 10 full racks). Besides teaching us a lot about the technical problems related to the hosting business, it has also given us a really good understanding of what matters and what doesn't when you choose a place for a dedicated server.

Make sure you choose somewhere that uses bgp4 routing with at least two bandwidth providers (if one of them is level3, thats a plus).

Avoid anybody who promises you free bandwidth. There is no such thing as free bandwidth - you will be throttled. Expect to pay around 50-60 cents pr. gb.

Avoid getting ip's owned by netgroup. Their actual bandwidth is quite good, but they have been a bit too willing to host porn and spam related companies, which could result in your ip being on several types of blacklists. This may not end up being a problem, but it could.

Ensure that they have their power set up properly. At least two separate feeds in each rack and either two power supplies in each server or a power switch before your server.

If you end up getting a virtual server, ask what hardware they are running, how many virtual servers pr. physical server and how fast they are willing to move your virtual server to another physical server if needed. If they can't answer these or are hesitant to giving you direct answers, avoid it...

Finally... don't listen too much to people complaining about lousy or slow service from a hosting provider. Good service is nice, but thats not what's going to keep your server running and there will always be people who feel they have been mistreated no matter how good the service is :-)

Kyle — Jan 17, 07 3311

Peter. They do offer dedicated hosting. You'll have to contact them for quotes. They don't just let you purchase a machine without talking to them first. They are likely much more involved than your run of the mill "here's a dedicated box, have fun" hosting provider. From my understanding they maintain the system for you, hence the consulting before purchasing. Probably a bit more expensive too.

If you're looking for a dedicated server. I'd recommend a Solaris Container.. they're calling them Accelerators right now. You can purchase a container that is a server divided up. You get root access and they maintain the kernel and all the fun jazz under the hood, you control the software packages installed and all that. You're guaranteed at least a certain amount of the CPU time and ram. Easy to upgrade later if you need to as well.

I should say I've been with TextDrive for well over 18 months as a VC (lifer). Downtime used to be an issue, not as much so anymore. The server I'm on for example was up for over 100 days before an issue happened last time. It hasn't been down since and that was eh.. 30-60 days ago. They're switching the servers over to Solaris here within the next couple months and that should make things even better. Each container will have fewer users so downtime shouldn't hurt nearly as many people. Again, still shared, and they maintain, no root access on the shared plans.

As far as Joyent Connector is concerned. It's a great app. I use it for my business email and everything. I'm also very vocal on their message boards for features and bug fixes. I'm also the author of Joyrider, an OS X frontend for Connector, 1.0 release coming soon. I've got a tiny bit of inside info and the application is going to kick some serious butt in the future.

People will always find fault with a hosting company. I'd rather be with the TextDrive guys because they are right on top of new technologies and creating a path that wasn't there before.

Head on over to the TextDrive forums and look around.

Mr. Khan — Jan 17, 07 3312

I have several sites hosted on TextDrive shared hosting, and it is okay. The servers are pretty slow (cpu, not bandwidth) and the webmin tool is incredibly slow and painful to use.

But for shared hosting it is not bad.

TextDrive does offer their Accelerator plans. These are much more powerful, but for a recent project I decided to go with a Mediatemple VPS instead.

Mediatemple is rock solid, has phone support and really fast connection speeds.

I have never been unhappy with them, but it does take some time to get your VPS up and running with them. However they have decents docs on getting Rails working.

Phil — Jan 17, 07 3313

Dreamhost Rocks:

mx — Jan 18, 07 3314

I would avoid Dreamhost for dedicated hosting. I have several sites hosted using their shared and and a few using their dedicated services. The dedicated hosting has been really painful, with frequent configuration glitches caused by the differences in setup to their shared stuff (as well as 12-48 hour response times). I suspect they spend more time on their shared customers as my vhosting accounts with them do *far* better.

I have had good experiences with both Peer1 and Rackspace: each offers great support and monitoring, as well as solid networks. They do require a bit more elbow grease, however, which can be good or bad (depending what you want to do).

evan — Jan 18, 07 3315

I've had a good experience with Slicehost.

Rob — Jan 18, 07 3316

I have been looking for a long time at hosts, have not gotten anything yet ...

... had a few sites in the past just from my ISPs and a couple Yahoo accounts ...

... but always seems to be the competative based on the specs.

Here is what they have now:

Preconfigured Premium Plan:
• 2x120 GB disk drive • 2000GB bandwidth • 2 GB RAM
• CPU power (Pentium® 4, 3.0GHz)
• Red Hat Fedora Core 4 OS
• cPanel unlimited control panel
• FREE! SSL Certificate, a $19.99 value!
• FREE! $100 Google® AdWords® credit* 1 month, just $273.92/mo

6 months, just $273.92/mo

12 months, just $245.88/mo SAVE 15%

24 months, just $236.53/mo SAVE 20%
Your Domain is Just $1.99 With This Purchase

OPTION 2: Build Your Own Dedicated Server!
• 120-240 GB disk drive • 500-2,000GB bandwidth
• Choose operating system, processor, RAM and more!
• Select New! Assisted Service Plan Option
• FREE! SSL Certificate, a $19.99 value!
• FREE! Up to $125 Google® AdWords® credit* Plans start as low
as $88.99/mo

Ian Ragsdale — Jan 18, 07 3318

I'd second the Rackspace recommendation if you want a dedicated server.  My previous employer had a number of machines hosted their, and they were extremely reliable and their support was top notch.  They were a little on the expensive side, but I'd say they're worth it.

James Inman — Jan 18, 07 3319

I can't really give you a recommendation, but in my opinion 1&1 have been useless when I've used them before.

Puyb — Jan 18, 07 3322

If you understand french, the service with the best value for money i know is Dedibox.

For 29€ + taxes / month (about $46 inc. taxes), you got a Via C7 2GHz, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD server, with 100MBps bandwith with no restriction. You can install a lot of unixes like Fedora, Ubuntu or Debian.

The Via C7 is pretty fast. They have options like a second HDD for another 10€. If you worry about the bandwith, its connected directly to the second largest french ISP's backbone.

For me, it's definitly the best value/money ratio.

(As you may notice, my main language is french, i'm not really fluent in english. I hope you understand me ;-) )

Vickie — Jan 18, 07 3323

If you have the option to host in Europe, look at I've just changed to them, partly because of the comprehensive packages, partly because of their support - I read their forums and talked on Live Chat before I signed up. It hasn't been problem free, but all queries, problems and misunderstandings were sorted out in maximum 1/2 hour, most of them in minutes. They tick all of your boxes with the possible exception of Safari. All support is 24/7, so your 10 hour time difference shouldn't be a barrier.

Olav — Jan 18, 07 3325

I just switched from DreamHost to MediaTemple, which has much better Rails performance. Service is a bit slow and their prices quite steep though. Other than that, top notch!

Niels — Jan 18, 07 3326

They're currently hosting a number of open source projects, including AdiumX, and have been a teriffic host for me. They're probably not the cheapest, but their quality of service and support makes that extra buck worth it.


Kenneth Ballenegger — Jan 18, 07 3327

TextDrive is good.
1and1 is bad. I am with them, and their service is horrble.

Alex Payne — Jan 18, 07 3330

"Slicehost": is an excellent choice if you're comfortable with a VPS. You could have two pretty solid VPSs for less than the cost of a dedicated server. The potential redundancy there is appealing.

If you're set on a dedicated physical machine, stay away from the big names: Dreamhost, 1and1, TextDrive, etc. You're better off finding a small shop and building a good relationship with someone who has his/her hands on the hardware. The big guys don't care about your business and they don't care when things go wrong.

But seriously. Slicehost.

akatsuki — Jan 18, 07 3331

Textdrive is pretty good. They definitely have their problems, like the Joyent suite for webmail doesn't cut it with others like Gmail, Yahoo and RoundCube. It will one day perhaps, but not yet. Also I did have a fair amount of downtime a year ago, although that seems to have been resolved.

There are also lots of vapourware features, like stats are missing right now (I use Mint on my personal site) and a replacement to Webmin, but overall I have been pleased.

Seems like with their current high end plans, you would end up paying 250 - 500 depending on which one you choose.

But two or three Three Martini Lunch packages would probably be the way to go at $1399 each one time.

Andrew Knott — Jan 18, 07 3332

Hi Sc ott

Have only heard good things about these guys from super, no-nonsense people... I've signed up for a slice.

Chris — Jan 18, 07 3333

I agree with Kyle entirely. I'm another Textdrive lifer, and couldn't give them a higher recommendation. There are some small problems and niggles, but you get that everywhere, since nowhere is perfect.

As Kyle says, they're moving to ZFS over the coming months. (I believe Strongspace was the first commercial system really using it, and it rocks.)

Ryan — Jan 18, 07 3334

I would recommend Hostik's co-located plan. It's reasonably cheaper than paying for dedicated hosting at $109, since you use your own server. I built mine for $1000; I'm sure something cheaper can be built now. Plus they allow one server "Any size, any shape".

Alf Watt — Jan 18, 07 3335

I host several domains using Server Logistics, they use Xservs and are very Mac friendly:

Ryan Brown — Jan 18, 07 3336

I've had really good experiences with the, and would recommend them if you are interested in getting your own box. When I evaluated all the hosting providers a while ago, they were definitely the lowest cost, highest quality option. Right now you can get a celeron 2ghz box with 750gb of transfer for $69 a month. One of the main reasons I originally went with them is because they offered Debian on their servers, which they seem to have dropped. Now it is just Cent OS (whatever that is), Red Hat, and Windows. Bummer.

Mal — Jan 18, 07 3337

I use myself, they have good prices, vertern admins and modern equipment.
But I'd actually recommend mediatemple's grid hosting -

Paul Collins — Jan 18, 07 3338

The original hoster-whose-heard-of-Safari would be Digital Forest. They have a very good reputation. May not support Rails tho.

Has anybody tried macminicolo? I believe this was their 3rd year in a row exhibiting at Macworld Expo - that counts for something.

Scott — Jan 18, 07 3339

I'm currently hosting several large sites on a dedicated Linux box at Rackspace. If you're comfortable with a more hands-on approach, this is a relatively good solution.

Uptime is great and I can install anything I want, including ROR, Ruby Gems, Mongrel, etc. However, last time I checked, ROR is not officially supported, so you'd have to install it yourself, as I did. It's not dirt cheap, but it's a good value for the level of service and support you get, including two hour hardware replacement, etc.

My biggest complaint with Rackspace was migrating to a upgraded server last year. It was a huge pain.

I host my personal and business site on Textdrive. Haven't and any problems in at least 6 months. Very solid. While, I haven't had much time to explore Joyant Core and Strongspage services that are included with my account, both products look promising.

I'm seriously considering moving all of my sites to one or more Solaris containers (Accelerator) at Textdrive. You can find a data sheet and white paper on their Text Drive's Accelerator hosting at....

Howard — Jan 18, 07 3340

I can recommend Surpass Hosting. I have been with them for 2 years now on a Shared hosting plan which for now meets my needs.

Their tech support is very responsive, I think the longest I have waited is 20 minutes for a reply via email.

They have just recently updated their systems and only have their single CPU dedicated host information up right now but here is the link to look:

Clint — Jan 18, 07 3341

you may want to check out Mosso. the only thing i can't confirm is Ruby support, but they advertise "No matter what technologies you use to build your site—, PHP, Perl, Python, FrontPage, or a combination of all of them—rest assured that your site will have impressive, reliable, and native performance". they are a venture company of Rackspace.

Jon — Jan 18, 07 3342

I have had great service from Datapipe.
When we choose datapipe they were competing against a local provider and Rackspace.
Datapipe was significantly cheaper, and supported some really nice things, like leasing us the licenses for all the software we needed.
They are extremely responsive, and their network seemed very reliable.

Unfortunately, like rackspace, their website has become somewhat obtuse, and no longer puts prices right out there.

Lee Joramo — Jan 19, 07 3352

Another vote for Rackspace. I have used them for over 8 years now. In 27 years of using computers, and 15 years of computer consulting, Rackspace is by far the best customer service I have every experienced.

Phones are always answered in a two rings by a human receptionist who routes your calls. Hold time seldom more than 5 minutes.

Normal support requests via the web are answered in less than an hour, emergency requests are responded to in under 15 minutes.

8 plus years and I have never measured a down time due to Rackspace. They have provided great sysadmin advice when I have required it.

Yes, they are expensive.

But I have a small web dev firm with myself (programmer, database, sysadmin), my partner (photoshop wizard) and one part timer (programmer tester).

Rackspace lets me sleep at night.

I had not heard of before the comments in this thread, being that they are a venture of Rackspace, I am very interested in checking out mosso. Due to my needs, mosso may not be a fit for everything, but it may be a better way to add some services.

Lee Joramo -

Delta — Jan 19, 07 3354

I would say would your provider. They understand everything which is your network connectivity. Satellite, streaming, voice. I would not search for some Ruby guys. They have Python staff in place it we'll work in my mind.
The advantage from Switzerland against UK London is - that there are no "Terror-alerts" and Switzerlans fibre optics backbone is legendary.
Switzerland runs at least two high speed links to New-york. CERN and Switch

The chances to find a developer with high end networking skills and performance is very less. Networking is a high cost investing buisness.

Netstream does have peering with Akamai and a lot other Top 500 US Companies.

Adrian Cooke — Jan 22, 07 3378

Interesting that no one's mentioned Segment Publishing since a few notable sites use them and sing their praises (hicksdesign, Cork'd, SimpleLog). I use TextDrive for shared hosting and I think they're wonderful. When things go south on my server they communicate quite quickly and openly. Customer service has improved since I joined (April, 2006). That's worth the money for me. I guess they can also handle the big guns since Daring Fireball just moved there… The other web host I read a lot of good things about is Media Temple.

Baz — Jan 24, 07 3397

Don't forget to let us know who you eventually shack up with!

bullet proof hosting — Jan 24, 07 3399


Steve — Jan 24, 07 3401

Sultan host are excellent and very cheap for virtual hosting. They do dedicated hosting aswel but I'm not sure how the cost compares to other companies. With regards virtual hosting, I've not come across any other company that matches their features and price. Their technical support is also excellent . . . and, no, I don't work for them.

ime — Jan 24, 07 3403

Look no further:

Tony — Jan 29, 07 3461

RimuHosting. I have about 20 customers on their vps service. Their support is fantastic, friendly and FAST and they have data centers around the world.

The great thing about VPS is you can do whatever you want. The transfer limit for VPS hosting is 75GB a month so, you may look to go their dedicated route. For $119 a month they offer 2000GB of transfer bandwidth. You also get a choice of Linux OS's, which is very handy. They provide "webmin" access as well as ssh access or any other method of access you'd like to set up.

If you have any other questions, I'd be more than happy to fill you in as best I can.


Memet — Mar 07, 07 3686

I've manage the tech stuff for three companies which independently ended up using 1and1 for xyz reasons.

Aside from not recommending 1and1, here's what I recommend you check out:

Our servers went down after an advertised scheduled maintenance. It took me about 3 hours to actually get to someone intelligent enough to answer me, only to find out that they didn't actually have direct contact with the sysadmins. Only IM and email. This was a call center in Indonesia.

So here's what I recommend:
a) can you find the support number on their site. Is it hidden behind layer upon layer of procedure, or is it prominent.
b) can you, a non registered user reach their Support number? (Not their sales). Pretend you are one of their clients, try to call them and say "I don't know my client number off the top of my head, but I know my domain name, can you help me out".
c) determine if they've got a call center. And if so, if the call center speaks your language.
d) try to determine from second hand experience or your own, the level of personal commitment you're gonna get from the people who physically touch your hardware. At 1and1 you can't actually ever get in touch with these people. They might as well be aliens.

Seriously, everything else is completely secondary. I'll tell you: when you have a live server that just vanishes for 72 hours (as it happened with 1and1), you can maybe live with the fact that it's not online, but you sure as hell can't live with the fact that nobody knows where it is... Is your server on fire? Is the harddrive toast? should you start re-imaging a new server?
We went for 72 full hours in complete darkness. No ping no nothing. With only entry level voice support.

And for all of these, I say, Rackspace is unbeatable. "Fanatical support" is their moto. They are expensive is their weakness. So much so that 2 out of the three companies I manage can't afford it. But as soon as they can, I will move them over.


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