Someone shot me an email and ask where I’m hosting my sites. The quick answer is “a lot of places.” I’ve got product feed sites and auto-blogs hosted on varied accounts, as one of their main purposes is to feed links to money sites.
However, for more legit sites that receive social media traffic (paid, or otherwise) I’m hosting at VPS.net.
The feature that really sold me was the fact that everything is on virtual machines. It makes upgrading/downgrading a piece of cake.
So – picture this. You’ve got a piece of linkbait and you decide to put some cash towards traffic. StumbleUpon sells visits for a nickel a pop. For $250, you get 5,000 visitors over 48 hours. But, you want to make sure you’re hosting stays up if this thing really catches fire.
With normal hosting, you’d have to submit a ticket and buy, say – an extra 512mb stick of RAM. It’ll probably run you ~$100 setup plus another $10-$20 a month if you’re on a dedicated server. Then you’ve got that for good. If 3 weeks later your usage is down to normal levels and you don’t need that extra RAM… it’s too late. You already bought it.
With VPS.net – You log in and add two daily nodes. It’ll cost you $2 a day to add an additional 1.2 ghz of processing, 752 mbs of RAM, and 20 gigs of bandwidth. Once your link bait calms down – drop the nodes. You’re back to your normal traffic and back to your normal cost.
Being able to scale up and down for temporary periods is huge for me. It’s the main reason I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having a normal dedicated server.
I also use ServerDensity to monitor usage etc and make sure everything is alright. If no data is received for 5 minutes, I get an email and a notification on my phone. If average load hits a certain point for 5 minutes, I get notified. If free memory drops below 200 mbs for 5 minutes, a notification goes out. It makes self managing pretty painless.
Setup takes a little bit of know-how, unless you pay for management ($99 a month). Personally, I think you should learn how to do stuff like install LiteSpeed on a server yourself. But – some disagree.
Overall, support’s been very good and they also just opened up 24/7 phone support (which hopefully I never need to use).
Cost is also pretty low. Certainly better than what I was paying for a dedicated server, and a lot more flexible. I added some stuff on that drove cost up a bit (cPanel/WHM, LiteSpeed, ServerDensity monitoring) but you can go barebones for cheap.
Point being – if you’ve got a lot of sites, or sites that get big swings in traffic, hosting on a cloud solution like VPS.net just makes sense.