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How to find web hosting that meets my requirements?

My website is being attacked too much lately and my provider is unresponsive. Logs show dozens of attempts to run mysql setup.php scripts from various locations, then the logs vanish. Time to find another host.

I lack the skill to config and run my own server -- actually, I'd have no problem setting it up and running it, I'm just not current on Linux security -- so I must rely on a competent host.

Can anyone recommend a Linux-based hosting service with solid security and reasonable bandwidth rates? I will be selling a program so there will be a large number of downloads.

I am in Canada, so USA or Canada is preferred.

All advice is welcome. Thanks.

  • 1
    What does the host have to do with this? – SLaks May 13 '11 at 17:47
  • Isn't this something for ServerFault? – Kyle Boddy May 13 '11 at 17:59
  • I am on a shared server and don't have access to the areas being probed. A glimpse at the activity logs (before they disappeared) showed attempts to run scripts outside my "area" of the server. Then the logs disappeared, and continue to be erased daily. And Frontpage extensions were mysteriously enabled. The provider hasn't responded to a single support request (out of 3 sent in the last 4 weeks). – Anonymous May 13 '11 at 18:04

This is a very subjective question as there are any number of good hosting companies out there. Opinions on hosting companies are typically based on personal experience, referrals by trusted sources, quality support, features, etc. A testimonial is not really going to give you a true picture of a hosting company until you actually try it. Even good hosting companies can have a bad day. I personally have had good luck with both HostGator as well as Hosting.com. Both offer shared hosting plans as well as VPS plans at good prices. But I'm sure there are a number of people out there who have had poor experiences with both of those as well.

You could have a hundred people respond to your question with a hundred different answers. Best suggestion would be to sign up with a couple of different providers to try out their services. Most will offer a money back guarantee or will allow you to cancel your account with no questions asked.

  • Thanks RF - I know it's subjective, that's what I'm looking for. Zero background in web hosting, no idea where to look. Overhearing other peoples' discussions over the years (which didn't apply to me so I didn't make notes) I collected vague impressions about hosting services. Now I'm having trouble with my host and I need to know where to go from here. My question was moved over here from StackOverflow -- I wasn't aware of this site. I see this question has been asked before, so I'll do some reading of previous threads. Thanks. – user7510 May 15 '11 at 1:43

My website is being attacked too much lately [...] Logs show dozens of attempts to run mysql setup.php scripts

It can be extremely difficult to discern legitimate requests from illegitimate requests. For shared hosting, it's frequently better to not attempt to block anything, as doing so can affect clients. It's unlikely that your host would be willing to take any extreme steps to block these requests. I wouldn't leave them just over this.

Further, as long as the scripts in question either don't exist on your site or have been properly secured, neither your site nor your data are at immediate risk. On the other hand, other sites on the server could be at risk, which could place you at risk as well. This is the sacrifice of shared hosting. If you want security and isolation, you'll want either a VPS or dedicated hardware.

and my provider is unresponsive.

Unresponsive as in no communications, or unresponsive as in not telling you what you want to hear?

If they aren't responding at all, I wouldn't blame you for leaving them. On the other hand...

Frontpage extensions were mysteriously enabled

Holy crap, dump them. The fact that they even have the Frontpage extensions available speaks volumes about their platform of choice.

A plain old Dreamhost shared account is probably adequate for your needs. Before I moved to VPSes, I used FutureQuest for most of my hosting needs. They're a bit pricy, but the support is first-rate.

  • Thanks, Charles, for the thoughts about FrontPage Extensions. I was pretty sure they shouldn't suddenly become enabled, but it's good to hear their very presence is a red flag. Re unresponsive support - no communications. Thanks for the pointers to Dreamhost and FutureQuest -- I'll check them out. – user7510 May 15 '11 at 1:30

I can recommend Korax's "Net Image" webhost account on a shared server. I've used them for about 9 years. Their servers are in Toronto. They have always responded to my queries within hours, even on the weekend. I've not noticed any security issues with them. If you need something more, they also offer a dedicated, managed server.

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