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How to find web hosting that meets my requirements?

I’ve developed a portfolio website for myself using Plone 4, and I’m looking for someplace to host it. Most Plone hosting services seem to focus on large, corporate deployments, but I need something that I can afford on a very limited budget and fits a small, single-admin website.

My understanding is that my basic options are thus:

  1. I can go with a hosting service that specifically provides Plone. I know of WebFaction, but what others exist? Also, I’d have two stipulations for a Plone hosting service: (a) It needs to use Plone 4, for which I’ve developed my site, and (b) it needs to allow me SSH access to a home directory (including the Plone configuration), so that I may use my custom development eggs and such.

  2. I could use a VPS hosting service. What are my options here? Again, I need something cheap and scaled to my level.

  3. I could use Amazon EC2 or a similar service (please tell me of any) and pay by the tiniest unit of data. I’m a little scared of this because I have no idea how to do a cost-benefit analysis between this and a regular VPS host. The advantage of this approach would be that I only pay for what I use, making it very scalable, but I don’t know how the overall cost would compare to any VPS host under similar circumstances. What factors enter into the cost of Amazon EC2? What can I expect to pay under either option for regular traffic for a new website? Which one is more desirable for when a rush of visitors drive up my bandwidth bill?

One last note: I know Plone isn’t common for websites for individuals, but please don’t try to talk me out of it here; that’s a completely different subject. For now, assume I’m sticking with Plone for good. Also, I have seen the Plone hosting services list on Plone.org—it’s twenty pages long, and the first page was nothing but professional Plone consulting services that sometimes offer hosting for business clients. So, that wasn’t much help.

Thank you!


I use Webfaction for this purpose and love it. It works wonderfully. It is also super easy to use for multiple websites. It also gives full ssh access.

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  • Sadly, WebFaction isn’t much of an option—my portfolio includes nude photography, and their terms of service have a “no adult content” provision. (Obviously I could argue with them about what should and shouldn’t be considered “adult,” but I’d rather not get into that debate in the first place) – Tina Russell Mar 26 '11 at 20:16
  • @Tina Russell If that's as much of a blocker as you imply, then you really need to put it in the original question so people don't waste time giving useless suggestions. Especially when a lot of hosts have similar clauses. In actual practice, that's generally aimed at actual porn sites and not photographers who happen to do nudes. If you want to cop out and refuse to have that discussion, then you just need to go straight to the hosts explicitly catering to the "adult services" industry. – Su' Apr 28 '11 at 18:11

I'm afraid I can't give a complete answer, but there is a free option on Amazon EC2 - http://aws.amazon.com/free/ so long as storage and bandwidth remain low. It lasts for 12 months. To calculate prices if your site gets popular, have a look here: http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html. Other VPS hosts have a fixed monthly price and then bandwidth etc. is in tiers, so you'd need to pick some scenarios for usage and then just compare the numbers. I couldn't tell you what "regular traffic" would be.

As for VPS hosts, there are many out there. I use asmallorange.com because they do very small normal hosting at a very small price, but they also do small VPS hosting.

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Rackspace is a good place to go for low cost cloud hosting. Their base Linux instance runs around $11 a month + bandwidth. More importantly their instances are scalable (Amazon EC2 doesn't support instance scaling). Bandwidth is also quite affordable.

As for cost-benefit, use their cost estimate tool as a reference point.

See http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/cloud_hosting_products/servers/pricing/.

Their tech support is also top notch in my experience. They certainly live up to their slogan "Fanatical Support".


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