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How to find web hosting that meets my requirements?

I live in the UK and I current use JustHost to host several domains. I think they are very reasonable but recently one a the domains came under a massive SPAM attack which flooded the MySQL database and because the activity it causes went again their Terms Of Service they subsequently suspended my account. Admittedly, it is not their fault but we have struggled to contact them to get the account reactivated due to the difference in time zones, as they are based in the USA.

Because I host websites for other people and I am going to be launching an e-commerce website soon, my dad is quite concerned now and is suggesting we move to a better solution. I'm hoping that such an incident wouldn't happen again, but because I'm running a business I can't really take that risk - I need to eliminate as many possibilities of the sites going down as possible. AND if there is an issue at anytime, we can't do with different time zones preventing it from being resolved as soon as possible.

We already have a server and a computer that are running 24/7 anyway and we use Virgin Media with a 60Mbps connection so my dad thinks we could host the sites ourselves, especially if we buy a UPS. I must admit that the idea is attracting, but I'm just worried about the load because I have no idea how many people will be using the websites. At the minute there isn't too many visitors, but with the promotion I going to do, I'm hoping the numbers will be in the thousands at least.

I'm no expert at web performance or anything so please forgive me. However, I can't see there being much more than 15GB files any time soon, and there is very little anyone can download. The main footprint is the large MySQL databases that the websites relay heavily on then.

So, can anyone give me there advice/opinions on what you think I should do. If you have any experience with this sort of think I'd be interested to know also. We have already decided that at some point we would need to move to, at least, a dedicated server but I'm not sure what to do know. Obviously, I don't know much about actually running a web server but I think I am pretty literate and I could easily learn - to me it is just a case of the logistics of everything etc.

Thanks in advance

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marked as duplicate by toomanyairmiles, paulmorriss, John Conde May 21 '12 at 13:09

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2 Answers 2

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I honestly wouldn't do it, I have the setup you have at home and virgin simply ins't reliable enough. Myself and a friend who runs a popular site have identical VPS setups with mediatemple.com.

I host around 60 websites for a variety of clients, each has access to their own dashboard with the host and I've never had any trouble, even during a DDOS attack. My friend's site is regularly featured in the press and it's never fallen over once, even after getting featured on the front page of the Guardian.

I also have to say that their phone support is excellent, well qualified people a UK number and 24/7 access.

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Thanks for your answer - I'm not to keen on the idea myself either but my dad is. I've looked at MediaTemple and it does look good, but I'd really have to think about that kind of price. May I ask what package you've gone for? –  Andy May 20 '12 at 18:58
    
@Andy we both have a DV with 1Gb of extra RAM which costs <500 GBP per year, honestly it's worth it. It's a very different animal than shared hosting. You could try their Grid service if cost is a major issue. But seriously, don't try doing this at home. –  toomanyairmiles May 20 '12 at 19:22
    
I know it's not advisable to host from home, especially in my case. It's just anything in the UK seems to be a massive jump from £3 a month. Do you know of anything like JustHost but based in the UK? –  Andy May 20 '12 at 19:33
    
@Andy there just isn't anything like that in the UK I'm afraid, too expensive to run. –  toomanyairmiles May 20 '12 at 19:50
    
That's what I was afraid of. Fair Enough. I guess I'll be sticking with JustHost until I can afford a solution like MediaTemple! –  Andy May 20 '12 at 19:53

It's one of those "If you have to ask, maybe you shouldn't" type questions. You have to maintain a firewall, keep the system fully patched for all exploits as an e-commerce website is a tasty target for compromise, deal with ddos situations which you will be especially vulnerable to, deal with the fact that 60MBit sounds good, but it's likely an asymmetric plan and since the high amount of traffic on a web server is outbound, the true rate is 1-5Mbit. Also check with your ISP TOS and make sure that business use like this won't get clamped off for breaking TOS.

Personally, choose a good hosting provider with a VPS system having double the specs you need and use that. The killer for this kind of thing always is that you under-spec your traffic and hardware needed. Then it's the hosting provider's responsibility to keep the site up 24/7, keep it patched and keep the pipes clear. You then can concentrate on keeping your e-commerce software patched and up-to-date and deal with your customer problems which is a three person job that needs your attention.

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Thanks for your answer also. That does sound like a lot of work and my main worry was the traffic. I have briefly checked with Virgin's TOS's and they do permit this kind of thing, but like you say, I'd have to work very hard to ensure that the site is not abused so that Virgin Media does not disconnect me! –  Andy May 20 '12 at 19:01
    
So, do you know of a decent spec'd, decent priced hosting solution based in the UK, with support staff in the UK? –  Andy May 20 '12 at 19:05
    
@Andy We don't do recommendations on this site. If you see the "possible duplicate" comment on your question you can see the things you need to look out for when choosing hosting. None of those are recommendations for specific companies though. –  paulmorriss May 21 '12 at 8:10
    
@paulmorriss To be honest, I know stackexchange sites aren't meant to offer recommendations, but to be honest I also think it is an 'over dramatic' rule. As you can see, I bet most members of this site are willing to post there recommendations and experiences. I mean I see why it has been put in place, but as long as people don't start debating too much (which isn't really possible on these sites) I can't see a problem! –  Andy May 21 '12 at 18:53
    
Anyway, thanks for closing my question! It's a good job I've already got what I was looking for... –  Andy May 21 '12 at 18:54

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