Arne Brachhold

Recent Downtimes

Filed under: Other Stuff — arne on May 31, 2006

I’m sorry if you couldn’t reach this site in the last weeks, but my hosting provider experienced several down times. I’m currently hosted at Alturo, which is member of United Internet (1and1, Schlund + Partner). A half year ago, all was fine but in the last months the service became very unreliable. Downtimes are frequent and they block search engine crawlers because these bots would “endanger the normal operations”, as an Alturo technician told me.

Of course, the hosting plans of Alturo are very cheap, but this follows from the limited support, which is available via email with slow responses (up to three days) or a $2/minute hotline. Because normally I don’t need technical support, I thought it would be OK as they are in the same data center like their "premium brands" and use the same servers (you can find old 1und1 test and configuration files on the server).

So I’m currently looking for alternatives, maybe even hosted in the US because most of my traffic comes from there, but the data center should have a very good connection to Europe. Dreamhost has been very popular in the last time, but I heard complaints about the server configuration and restrictions. The perfect solution would be a root server at plusserver.de, but this would cost 95€ (about $120) per month and is definitely to much for this site.

Plusserver.de has also a low-level-support brand called server4you.de which is in the same data center and has the same servers, but with a less professional touch and not the same support quality. A comparable plan costs 54€ (about $68) only and has the same technical specifications like plusserver.de. And after 24h months, they replace the server with a new one and you can get the old one for 20€ shipping fees as a gift.

That sounds good, but 54€ per month are still too much… I’ll continue my search and update this post when I’ve found a solution. Or you help me to pay for the new server and make a donation which would be very appreciated.

And yes, I’m currently writing this post as a draft in Word, because my site is down again since I started to write. Now, two hours later, the site is mercifully up again…

11 Comment(s)

Comment by Matthijs van der Vleuten

Posted on May 31, 2006

You could take a look at Nearlyfreespeech.net. They are relatively cheap ($1/1GB bandwidth and $0.01/1MB/month storage), are prepaid and have (in my experience, so far) great support.
For comparison, my site has got almost no visitors (well, according to google analytics 2-5 per day), is hosted there since July 2005, and has since cost me $0.09 :)
If your site uses a lot of bandwidth (like more than 5GB per year), you can buy a ‘bucket of bandwidth’, which is a bit cheaper (depending on the amount of bandwidth), because it allows them to plan bandwidth usage.

Comment by arne

Posted on May 31, 2006

Hi Matthijs,

seems a little bit slow from Germany. I’m currently using 9GB of traffic per month so just the traffic would cost $9. Beside of that, there are people in their forum who complain about downtimes.. and I don’t want downtimes anymore ;)

And.. they don’t support .de domains.

Comment by Matthijs van der Vleuten

Posted on May 31, 2006

What kind of slow? High ping times, or low download speed?
Here in the Netherlands, I’ve not experienced slow download speeds, but the ping is relatively high. But nothing can be done about that – in my experience, *any* data going to the USA has >100ms latency.
As for the domains, they support any domain. It’s just the registration of .de domains that’s not possible. But if you already own such a domain (you do :)), you can use it without any problems. (I’m using my .nl domain there :))
If you decide to use their ‘buckets of bandwidth’, 9GB over 30 days will cost $7. But keep in mind that you have to buy these buckets manually, and when one expires, any bandwidth left in that bucket is lost.
About the downtime, I especially like this FAQ entry: https://www.nearlyfreespeech.net/about/faq.php#DowntimeCredit
- “In the event of a service failure, our revenue craters on the spot until it is fixed. The best word to describe that is “motivation.””

Comment by David

Posted on June 1, 2006

I’m not 100% sure whether you are looking for a dedicated server or not. I just downsized from a couple of servers at serverbeach, because it was too much of a pain for my purposes. I’m using BlueHost.com (shared hosting) because a) they answer the phone quickly, 24 hours a day(real tech support people). b) their plans are hot: 15gigs space & 400gigs transfer per month plus allows up to 6 domains to be hosted on one account. It’s an annual fee of around $98. If you get unhappy at any time they’ll refund your prorated fee.

So I’m not sure about your cost to call a US number, but if it’s not much per minute.. I’d use Blue Host in a heartbeat. I call them at least once a week to get some answer….After years of lame unreachable hosts…. it’s perfect.

Comment by arne

Posted on June 1, 2006

Hi David,

thanks for your comment. I would favourite a decicated server because I can “play” with it and adjust everything like I want. But you are right, just for this site I don’t need it. Calling a US number from Germany is cheaper than calling a German mobile phone, so that shouldn’t be a problem. As long as they can understand me, everything is ok ;)

I wonder what “Host 6 Domains On 1 Account” means.. Can I host only 6 domains on one account or are six domains included… I think it’s the first, and that’s not good because I own over 20 domains. Ok, most of them are not used, but it would be nice to have them all at one place.

BTW: Can you give me your website address so I can see how a customer site performs from Germany?

Best regards,
Arne

Comment by David

Posted on June 1, 2006

Hi Arne,
I think you visited my hosting referral site (linked from my name on your site). That one is at Bluehost on my account. This site is also there http://www.fairhopebeachhouse.com (a wordpress site) on a different account. You can check the speed to see if it’s good for you. Honestly I was on your site looking for a wordpress google sitemap extension.. but I do feel very comfortable recommending this host.

The base price allows 6 domains to be hosted (and one of those is free if you’d like to buy from them or move the domain to their registrar). You may additionally buy blocks of 5 more add-on domains at a cost of $2.50/month. So each time you add a block of 5 it is a $30 charge. I have dozens of domains too, but for me the add-ons has been ok so far. I only use a few domains so I’ve bought one additional block so far.

I was using dedicated server for my sites & my webdev. customer’s. I’m ok with linux, but it was too much responsibility to have a bunch of customer’s sites.. basically I didn’t have the time to be a host.

Thanks for this google sitemap extension. I’ll slap you a few bucks when I implement it. I have a few WP sites that need it.

Best Regards,
David

Comment by arne

Posted on June 2, 2006

Hi David,

thanks for the information :)

I searched a little bit and found some other sites on the same box as yours (I love the ip: parameter of MSN search) and they perform very well. Of course, it’s not the same speed for me like a root server at Frankfurt am Main, but it’s quite OK and most of my visitors are from the US.

And since the dollar exchange is quite low, it’s doesn’t cost much more than my current provider (but has a lot of more features!).

I’ll phone them these days and ask some technical details, but overall BlueHost left a good impression!

Thanks,
Arne

Comment by David

Posted on June 2, 2006

Hi Arnie,
Cool I’m glad it checks out well for you. I gave them a ring to ask about the add-on domains pricing for you… they answered in less than a minute. You have to hit #2 to get in the tech support queue. Their growth has skyrocketed but instead of support getting worse… they went from monday-friday business hours’ tech support to 24-7days a week. If you’re feeling generous… buy it through my referral site.. either way I’m comfortable sending people to it.
Cheers,
David

Comment by arne

Posted on June 2, 2006

Hi David,
I’ve found out that I can phone them with Skype for free. This is definitely a good point, but I searched their customer forum a little bit and found various threads with complaints about downtimes, especially on newer boxes which seem to happen more than two times per week. I will have a look at the forum a few days and if it’s ok, I will move as soon as possible.
Thanks,
Arne

Comment by David

Posted on June 2, 2006

Hi Arne,
That’s troubling to hear about downtimes. I’ve been using them since 27 Jan., and I did experience one outage. I’m sure they have growing pains, but I know they’re doing really well financially & working hard to solve problems. If for no other reason I can’t imagine that feeling of having tens of thousands of unhappy customers :) Anyway… I’m sticking around until they really disappoint; nowhere close so far.

When I open new accounts for clients, I ask for a switch to php5 box; not sure if that gets me on a “new” server…

Ok ciao Arne. Thanks again for the cool WP plugin!

David

Comment by tabrez

Posted on June 11, 2006

For shared hosting, http://www.siteground.com/ is also one of the better options. Until few months back, I would have recommended it whole-heartedly, but their biggest strength – technical support – has now become poorer than it was when had I signed up with them. It doesn’t affect me much though, I do most of my stuff by myself. So I like their other features a lot – good disk space and bandwidth, CPanel, Fantastico(I hardly use it), FileManager(when FTP is not there), unlimited subdomains, unlimited ftp accounts, perl,php,python support, unlimited MySQL and PostGRE databases, etc. There are very few reports of downtimes and they respond very quicky if a customer reports about a downtime.

There is a forum where people discuss various things related to siteground but some sections of it are heavily censored in my opinion. I only see praise over there.

Except for the support(which is free for hosting related, non-technical questions, but paid(don’t believe what the website says – read their terms) for hosting related technical and non-hosting related technical[this is justified]), everything else worked out fine for me. If support is not the first thing on your mind, this is a good option for cheap hosting.

Some times people also come complaining in the forums that their website was disabled/suspended because of overloading the server. The cpu or the database cannot be overloaded by a single site because it is shared hosting. But the customer should be given a chance to rectify it, but sometimes they do(disable site, send email and re-enable) and sometimes they don’t(just suspend the site; no option even to get all the files from their servers to our local machines so that we can move to a different provider).
They only take backups once per week. We have to do the rest of the backups.

Thanks for the wonderful Sitemap plugin! :)

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