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How to find web hosting that meets my requirements?

I am working on a project that will be released as open source in the latter part of the year. I am starting to think about how the accompanying website will be hosted and would greatly appreciate some advice.

Requirements:

Domain #1

  • Information about the project itself (just pages and pictures).
  • Documentation / Wiki
  • Forums
  • Download of project source (approx 3MB archive)
  • Download of various themes and community contributed content (est. sizes 10KB ~ 512KB).

Domain #2

  • Primary company website that offers products and services. This will be primarily pictures and pages.

What kind of web hosting would be best for a project like this. I am working on a very tight budget and can only afford to spend up to £250 per year for hosting this. I was considering using some sort of VPS hosting.

I found the following companies which seem to offer around this price range, but they have very mixed reviews.

My company is based in the UK, how important is it for me to use UK based hosting? There are plenty of overseas hosting companies that are considerably cheaper.

When it comes to bandwidth, how many downloads will bandwidth: 100GB get me?

Any advice would be very greatly appreciated!

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marked as duplicate by Christofian Aug 20 '12 at 13:49

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

6 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Don't spend £250/year. Spend as little as possible, then scale as you grow. Two options to consider:

1. Use a source code hosting service such as github

Github is a popular hosting service for the git version control system. In addition to code hosting and online code browsing, the long list of features it offers includes team management, wikis, forums, and bug tracking.

Github is free for open-source projects, and you can even host project pages and entire websites with it. Since good open-source projects use version control anyway, I think it's worth taking the time to learn git just to take advantage of github.

You may also wish to consider other code hosting services, such as Bitbucket, which uses the Mercurial version control system.

The great thing about services like these is that they encourage a community of active users to spring up around your project, because you've chosen to use a dedicated code hosting service that many are already familiar with and using in other projects they contribute to. Contributors can push fixes and new code to you, and you can review it and accept it into the official project. If I was starting an open-source project, github is what I'd use to promote and manage it.

2. Launch on cheap shared hosting

If you don't want to use a source code hosting service for some reason, I'd suggest shared hosting.

Your demands aren't particularly complicated and, although you don't state how big the project is in terms of userbase and expected traffic, it sounds like you don't need a VPS unless you plan to host your own source repositories. I'd suggest a cheap shared hosting package such as the 'Baby Plan' from Hostgator, which would cost $95.52 (approx £59) a year if you sign up for 12 months (and less if you sign up for a two or three -year term).

This allows you to host multiple domains and gives you an 'unlimited' amount of disk space and bandwidth. (If you read the fine print it turns out that 'unlimited' actually means limited, but only if you abuse their terms of service by, for example, hosting illegal downloads or large files that become very popular.)

Finding U.K. hosting companies who compete with U.S. shared hosting services on features and price is very difficult, unfortunately, and they are often many times more expensive. For this reason I tend to host my projects with U.S. companies now, even though I'd like to support British ones. I can recommend both 34sp.com and OpenmindHosting, but their basic packages support a limited number of domains (one for 34sp, two for Openmind) and their bandwidth/storage features aren't as generous, so you may find yourself paying for add-on domains and bandwidth faster than you would with a U.S. service.

Some people will tell you that you should host in the U.K. if most of your users are in the U.K., but in practise many connections are so fast now that hosting in the U.S. makes little to no difference to the perceived connection speed here in the U.K.

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if using Github, is it possible to create a link on my website that will download the latest build of the project without redirecting to the Github website? –  Lea Hayes Jun 5 '11 at 14:53
    
also, how would the community be able to contribute custom theme downloads that other people could use with the project? –  Lea Hayes Jun 5 '11 at 14:59
1  
@Lea Provide a link on your site to http://github.com/yourusername/projectname/zipball/master to offer a zipped copy of the latest version of that project. To contribute themes and code changes using GitHub, users would have to send you a pull request to ask you to add their changes to the master branch. You then approve those requests if you like the changes. GitHub is aimed at technical users (programmers), so it may not be suitable for all contributors (designers and hobbyists), but a lot of open source projects have been very successful with it. –  Nick Jun 5 '11 at 16:06
    
thanks, I like the idea of hosting the main project on GitHub but I would need to find an easier way to allow developers to contribute themes. –  Lea Hayes Jun 6 '11 at 12:22
    
@Lea You could always create a 'theme submissions' form on the project site and then add the approved themes to the git repository yourself, then let people choose between that method and contributing via github directly. –  Nick Jun 6 '11 at 13:26
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Go with Total Choice Hosting. They have awesome support and with your budget you can afford two of their Gold plan which gives you 1 TB of bandwidth.

You probably do not need that much even unless you product is hugely popular. You can even get away with buying one plan (saving half the cost) there if you make one site a subdomain of the other. I'd start with the Silver plan even for 2 x $55 /year. You can always upgrade and you'll get an email alert when you got close to your bandwidth limit.

The location of your service is not that important. There is an advantage to being physically closer to your target customers but it is usually very small unless dealing with high-bandwidth data such as video.

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I would recommend reliablesite, it's much lower than your budget, 100 GB of bandwidth, and rock solid.

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What kind of web hosting would be best for a project like this?

You require nothing out of the ordinary. With your budget being a concern, any reliable shared hosting provider would be fine. There are many from which to choose (as you have noted) and there is no absolute answer.

Finding the right host for you is like finding any service provider that is right: read reviews, examine testimonials, seek recommendations from those whose opinions you trust, ask potential hosts.

Given your budget concerns, consider Hosting Reborn pay-as-you-go hosting. Through only paying for the storage and bandwidth you use, your costs and start low and will grow only in proportion to your popularity.

Disclaimer: I own and operate Hosting Reborn, I believe it is a good fit but I will be unavoidably biased to some degree.

My company is based in the UK, how important is it for me to use UK based hosting?

For you:
You may wish to be able to contact your host during the same office hours as those that you keep; you may run into issues tax considerations when you reach a certain scale (pure speculation).

For your users:
You should look at hosting your services as close as is feasible to your users. If your users will be predominantly UK-based, you will serve them best with UK-based hosting. If your users will be predominantly US-based, you will serve them best with US-based hosting.

Proximity to your users is a purely technical concern - the shorter the distance over which data must travel, the less time it will take. This is significant if serving Australian users from a US-based service. This is less significant if serving UK-based users from a German-based service. Proximity to your users will technically make a difference. Whether your users will notice is another matter.

When it comes to bandwidth, how many downloads will bandwidth: 100GB get me?

100GB is 102400MB. Considering your 3MB source code download, this will accommodate approximately 34,000 downloads.

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First of all I will request you to check reviews of the company you select, Presently I am using UK web Hosting http://wwww.webhost.uk.net , I have used there service for 3 years and they are fantastic in terms of support and service.

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Check out http://www.rshosting.com or http://www.rshosting.co.uk

I have been their customer for almost a couple of years now and have been very satisfied with the level of web hosting services and support I have received from them. Decent website uptime, and fast connectivity to their servers and support is a key point that makes customers like us even more happy and satisfied.

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