Again with the hosting...

Mike posted 22nd of March 2010 in . 16 comments.

Twice in the same day, and for the same reason, I answered queries about hosting, which revealed that people still aren't checking requirements and are just forging ahead, only to be tripped up. I should not be surprised, as this has been the case for several years, and no good answer has been found yet. This all harks back to last month's post on hosting, and some questions, like "what is the BEST hosting?", and so on along that vein.

Well I definitely have my opinions, but I am not about to spout them in this venue. If you want that - PM me, and I'll be happy to tell you what my opinion is.

Drive-by shoppers are similar in their approach. No contact, no investigation of anything, but discovering that BoonEx doesn't set up the software to their specifications (customize) after purchasing unleashes a torrent of venom and indignation - never mind about hosting! For some - a quick email about this (just to be sure) is too much to ask, and you can only roll with the punches.

This is just human nature, and there is lots of room for improvement in the process - no doubt. But until that happens, putting one foot in front of the other and moving in a forward direction seems to be the best approach.

Examining and overcoming the REAL problems is what Unity is about - and thank you for that!

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Very well said, i found me asking myself if it is "best" vs "cheapest" vs "overall descent" a way of measuring things,many many times.
As for the requirements it is nice using a hosting company that at least claims to be able to meet the requirements, than one that has the cheapest price.
The only beautiful thing in this chaotic hosting-company cloud is that you can still find descent fast hosting with nice prices, and people that are willing to help you with your see more D7 project.
I found one of those and really won't let go, ofcourse for the time being. And who knows, maybe after a few revenue starts piling i'll consider a more known hosting provider.
Keeping one's opinions for himself is a virtue, especially nowadays. If we even mentioned a hoster it would be received as indirect advertisement and trolled to the end of the seas (or something extremely poetic).
I toatally see you problem but believe that you cannot blame your customers for their ignorance. Yes, of course it's their stupidity but would it not be handy if Boonex supplied some good documentation? Not just on how to install the product, but also on the minium specs, completed with some benchmarks, so people know what they are geting them selves in to.

I have not seen much documentation on anything. I saw a whitepaper on writing your own mod but this is by far not enough for people to write see more their own mods (using dolphin functionality). If there is any documentation than it is widespread and not in 1 central location.

Don't forget, dryve-by shoppers are customers too and if this is such a problem, than you should check what you can do to reduce the number of drive-by shoppers. Maybe a simple (stand-alone) script that will check the minimum requirements is a way to reduce this. Clear benchmarks, to give the potential customer the right information, etc.

I am not 1 of these people you describe and have been following this project for over a year, installed my own copy of dolphin 7 but don't feel I understand the system. For this reason allone it is hard to troubleshoot and optimize the system. Yes, there are a lot of post but things are shattered around, (possible) bugs are not always picked up and to get better support I need to be a primium member.

What options do that leave me? I have a script that is not working correctly, there is no good documentation and to get the support I need, I have to be a premium member, which means I have to pay the money and be categorized as a "Drive-by shopper"

Like I said, I am not 1 of those people. I am waiting for dolphin 7.01, to see what issues are resolved on my site. If it's up to standards, I buy a license, if not, I'll wait till 7.1 (or longer if needed). Especially that Orca forum script, which boonex seems to completely ignore
Server technical requirements are here:
Here is my personal take on the situation.
Whilst Mikes posting is well intentioned in that it is aimed at ensuring people select the correct type of hosting for the Dolphin software, I think that asking him, or anyone else for that matter, will result in a personal opinion. The problem with personal opinions is that they are subjective and based upon a distinct set of unique circumstances and unique set of experiences. No webhosting experience is going to be perfect but some will do better than see more others. On the page where Boonex displays their recommended webhosts, there are a number of webhosts that I have hosted with and personally I would not want to use them again but there are others there that I would use again for various reasons. However, as I said, that is my personal opinion. Personally instead of asking any one individual, I would urge people to scan the forums and blog posts for peoples experiences with different webhosts. If you do this you will soon build up a picture of those webhosts that do 'better' than others given the 'sum' of peoples experiences.
Speaking of server requirements.... I remember asking Boonex to provide a standalone script to check ALL server requirements BEFORE attempting installation. A Boonex staff member essentially laughed off that suggestion, citing that the installation script already checks for server requirements. Every time server compatibility discussions arise, I mention this. Still, months and months later, no one at Boonex seem to see the value in something like this.

With that said, Terabyte Hosting has see more my vote as a Dolphin shared hosting solution. The only problem I every had, was that when the first D7 beta was released, Terabyte didn't have Mysqli available. I contacted Dosdawg about it, and the problem was corrected about 10 minutes later. It probably never would have been a problem in the first place, if Terabyte had been provided a complete server requirements spec for D7.

Foe shared hosting, Terabyte is the obvious choice.
I personally would LOVE to hear some feedback on "what is the best hosting". I'm currently using Arvixe. Their customer service is good however (like I've said before), there's just too many server down times. The down time occurrences are frequent but short in length. It gets annoying.
And we keep giving out the answers concerning Arvixe. One is right above your post, terabyte recommended by HL, I also recognize HFW as a strong competitor in the VPS/Dedicated arenas.

In the end, don't just take our word for it, compare, talk to them, test drive them. Do all kinds of stuff and see how well it does or doesn't go.
Mike, it seems to be the same old complaints, and issues - and they are all so easily easily addressed.

First off - nowhere on your Dolphin page does it have a link to the "Requirements", there's links for Demos, Specifications, Prime, Hosting, Mobile, Buy License, but no link to "Requirements". And whilst there is a link hidden half way down the actual download page, after reading all of the stuff on the first page I doubt that anyone will do anything but simply hit the download see more link. (apparently exactly what is happening)

HL - I see you've already chimed in RE the pre-install test script, and I am surprised you have not been a little more vocal. This idea has a lot of merits.

Mike - add a link to the "Requirements" on the main Dolphin page, and include HL's script, and you will have very few residual issues. In fact - in the time it took you to put this blog post together - it probably could have been done. ;)

I cheked the "specs", which I had read before. Unfortunately these specs are software specs and do not give you any information about the hardware (RAM, CPU). Before installing the script, I could not comprehend the resources needed to run Dolphin and am still not sure what type of server to use. For testing purposes I run a Dedicated P4 3.0Ghz hyperthreading, with 1GB RAM, 2x 500GB HDD sata raid and have up to 4000GB datatrafic a month. On peak times I get over 60 concurrent visitors see more at a time on my current site and do not think this P4 can handle that running Dolphin. I hope an Intel core 2duo will do?

With regards to hosting, I have full controll over my server and can install anything I like. I've been with this datacenter for the past 5 years and am very happy with it. If anyone is interested in those Dedicated P4's as mentioned above, I can deliver these, managed, for $135 a month (incl VAT and basic installation of dolphin + RMS)
Until now, I'm very pleased with shared server hosting of GigaPros.

They meet all requirements, they fully support Dolphin and they a 24/7 helpdesk replying within 5 minutes on emails.

I admit, I had some problems when I installed D7 (speed) but they solved it to my satisfaction.

And most positive ... their prices are interesting.

They are VERY customer-minded.
I have gigaPros too, for stand-alone RMS. One thing that's always worked is the ray apps. Very happy with them. I never speak to them after the setup is finished. It's NICE to not have to be running after your hosting company!

I have Dreamhost for the rest of the house, and will say this: they have that f_Url open thing off. It didn't bother my D6.x installs, but I hear that's probably my problem with not being able to register my D7, the phone home thing isn't going thru. (if anyone has see more any other theories on registering my licence, I'd love to hear them!)

Also, Dreamhost has an option for your domain mail via google apps if you want to use it. I do, but it's a real bear to set upmailing out from software packages. It might nt be a problem for most, but when I have an error, that one added level of settings makes it harder to trouble shoot.
I've tested the Dolphin installation on several different server setups (Ubuntu Server & a Debian server) with no issues, right out of the box. These are just test servers I use for my own purposes, and they are really nothing special. I did not have to make any php changes or install any additional packages on either to have D7 up and running in under 20 minutes on both. My production sites run on Peer1 dedicated unmanaged hosting (ServerBeach) using RedHat Enterprise. Again, I've installed see more 6.0, 6.1, and 7.0 (Rc's and Final) on it without a hitch. RMS installs and runs great on each of these as well.
How about providing that REQUIREMENTS CHECKER script that has been requested literally countless times (and has been laughed off as HoustonLively notes).

Above is a piece I ripped off the D7 installer as a starting point, and anyone with any sort of skills who knows the requirements can add to it and develop it into something a bit more useful and comprehensive.
Well I don't know what all this dryve-by shopper thing is about.. so I'm just going to jump in where I fit in. As far as hosting is concerned, I went with Arvixe because they offered an auto-installation button and considering the fact that I am new to this whole Dolphin thing, that was something I needed. Wasn't in a position to pay someone to install it for me and I didn't have the patience to do it myself. So the convince of having the option of NOT manually setting up Dolphin myslef, is grand. see more

Customer service is excellent, they have always answered my questions online and over the phone 24-7. The only thing that I would want them to work on is the downtime. I find that my site is offline a lot which is irritating as hell. I know in time, I will move along to another hosting company, as my site grows. But as a newbie, this hosting company works for me. I will definitely outgrow it but that is what usually happens when you find success.
Hi all - good input and valuable responses. Sorry if I offended some of you with the "drive-by" comment and not "blaming" anyone. BUT - the specs are there - right on the Dolphin page - specifications (check it DeeEmm)!
The fly-in, fly-out customers are still customers - true. But they are also the first to scream when things don't work and the info is there for them to use.... People have asked privately for my "opinion" and I have leveled with them as I said see more I would. Some of you here are dead on in agreement with me - actually, in general, all of you have the right idea and have investigated things at least.
HL and Code: I'd love to post something like that checker script, but can only do that on my agent page. I personally think it's a super idea if it helps to solve some of this, but would need to be something simple enough for even dummies like ME to use.
Processor and memory cycles are relevant to speed more than anything - how much you get of those resources vs the other guy's site if on shared hosting and so on. The actual running requirements I refer to (forget speed) needed to make the script work properly is what I am talking about.
Benchmarks? Would be nice to be able to point to something actual instead of some sort of simulated usage.... concurrent and real - not overall and estimated. Thoughts?
Thanks for your responses - oh, ydrargyros, you're right - I can't indirectly advertise here - but people are asking :)
Concerning the checker script,it is kinda subjective to the overall support and quality of service. What i mean is, I've bumped into various configurations that where different than the D7 requirements, but were configurable through the php ini file, which i didn't know at all at that time! But the guys supporting (the had a banner advertising they support Dolphin) me offered fixing it within 2 minutes and voila! requirements are met! It's nice knowing someone's got your back!

As for the benchmarking see more i dunno if it would be at all helpful. We all probably started with 10-50 users on our Websites, so being concerned about the (glorious/10k user) future is simply naive.So we should just try to stay within the limitations of "what you pay is what you get", until able to do something better like a clustered hosting i guess.So why not measuring the times taken for loads, or even better doing the math around the utilisation on the server?

Most Webmasters see an outage as something generally wring but it could reside from various vectors of malfunction or even attacks. DoS attacks could be the reason, a server's restart,hardware malfunction, network outage!
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