Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hosting Dilemna

Me and my programmer have been working on my website. I intend to use a PhpWiki as a data storage structure. Upon installing PhpWiki on my server, it runs a setup script, which places Dba files in the /tmp directory, where they are deleted every week. So the wiki's storage is deleted, great. The help files instruct you to simply copy the Dba files to a directory, then change your config file so the PhpWiki knows where your files are.

None of that is possible with my current host. With my current account there is no access to my /tmp directory, I cant get below my /home/user/ directory. The tech support won't do it for me (how hard is it honestly?).

So I need a new host, possibly one with root access to my files. Privileges like that are mostly (but not necessarily) only available in a VPS (Virtual Private Server).

I've been looking into this hosting thing, and I had decided on "gate" hosting. They have a great package, and furthermore their hosting is run by an "Advanced Cluster", just like Google. I was going to sign up for a $30/month VPS account. I was into the second step of signing up, and just then decided to stay my hand. I Googled Gate hosting, and trying to find anything on any host is nearly impossible. :P So I didn't find much.

Except a blog entry where a guy complained about them, he said they took 5 days to answer a support call. Gate wasn't looking so I started looking elsewhere

Which lead back to

That's how I got to Gate (they are at the top). So I started exploring the rest of the list. The next on the list is midPhase. Under support they list "True 24/7 phone support - skeptics welcome to call us anytime at 1-866-MIDPHASE to test things out. (and yes, you can do it at 3:15AM on Sunday)" ...So I did :) And I got a human on the other line (possibly a Vulcan but there's no reason to assume that) (incidentally the human's name was Cisco :P) but definitely not a computer.

I asked him if I would have root access and explained the problem with my wiki (yes with VPS, no with a lesser account), but then he asked one of his techs about using a wiki and after a coupla minutes he came back on and said she said I shouldn't be a problem even with the lesser account. And said that she (a female technician?!) had a wiki on her own domain with no problems. I said "great" and got off the line.

I kept thinking about the problem. A little while later I pulled up the help files for PhpWiki and called them back, I wanted to talk to the technician and find out which wiki they had installed. I called sales, and got "Cisco" ("Sysco?") again, what luck. I explained I wanted to talk to the technician about the wiki problem, he told me her name and transfered me. I was finally talking to the technician, I asked her what wiki she was using, (hey she Knows what a wiki is!!(some technicians don't)). She was using mediawiki, the engine that runs, she assured me the setup didn't cause problems.

Then she started to check on something, it ends up the management software included with the lesser account includes a "package" that installs PhpWiki automagically(they've heard of it and included setup files!!), GREAT!!

I then asked about getting Dugg or Slashdotted, she said with the lesser account there would be a "Account Suspended" page and with the VPS account you could at least get at your server even if its overloaded.

You've got to realize at this point, I still am not a client of midPhase. I'm just a random caller and they helped me with all 7pm in the evening...Awesome!

So how does Gate compare?!

I dunno, so I called them as well. I dialed into the support department, I got a person. He immediately asked for my domain name....I told him I was thinking about using Gate and wanted to know about some features. From the first mention of wiki's he had NO IDEA what I was talking about, I mentioned it was the kind of software that runs Wikipedia, this is getting SCARY, again NO IDEA!! I said thank you and hung up. He wasn't able to help me, and apparently neither is Gate. Now, I could get the wiki working under their VPS account, but support has never HEARD of a wiki, that is simply unacceptable. I mean seriously have they heard of the latest search engine, something called Google??! Maybe they should look it up in their Encyclopedia Brittanica, honestly.

Then I asked about getting Dugg or Slashdotted, he'd never heard of those either. So I decided I would put his rock back on top of him and move on.

So I think I will go with midPhase!
Boy that was a hard decision. :P

1 comment:

  1. you may want to look at They're who Assurancetech hosts all there websites with. My coworker did a lot of research to find them. And it's very inexpensive. It may be worth a call.