The Importance of Choosing a Good Hosting Provider

Last night I wrote a quick post about my annoyance with being down. It wasn’t completely down at the time, but it was pretty obvious that it was getting hammered and it was only a matter of time.

Today I went back to check and see if they had worked things out and saw this image:


A couple things come to mind here. It seems a little bush league to specifically blame Lifehacker for your site being down. Whether it’s true or not, it just doesn’t seem very classy. I went to the site because I heard about it from a friend of mine, not from Lifehacker.

Secondly, you don’t need to admit to your readers that one link gave you 30 times the amount of traffic you normally get. One of my favorite old sayings that has no attribution is, “let’s at least pretend like we’ve been here before”. Sure, it may be true that Lifehacker brought down your site but if you ever expect to get linked by them, or any other high-trafficked site again, you probably shouldn’t call them out and blame them for your inability to be prepared for success.

Hosting companies will offer you the world. Unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited everything. They will promise you practically anything to get you to choose them. Then, once you’re committed they shove you onto a shared server, that no matter what they say, has a finite amount of resources. Every hosting company around will offer you the world while betting against the fact that you’ll actually need it.

Probably 99 times out of 100 a random person choosing hosting will be just fine with that traditional, shared server setup. It’s definitely the cheapest, low-cost solution you’ll find for hosting your site. But if you’re serious about generating buzz, creating traffic and actually being successful you should probably bypass the traditional shared server hosts.

Believe it or not there are extremely cost-effective choices out there that can give your site the equivalent of enterprise level load balancing.

For years I’ve used Media Temple as a hosting solution for all of my sites as well as many of my client’s sites. For as little as $20 a month Media Temple can virtually guarantee your site will withstand any amount of traffic that can be thrown at it.

Media Temple has never once dropped the ball on any of my sites due to traffic, and I’ve had many getting hammered from more than one link from Lifehacker. Media Temple will even go so far as to move your mySQL database to what they call a “burst container” if your regular DB seems in danger of crapping the bed. This is a totally free service and MT will leave your DB there for three days, if after that time your traffic is still crazy you will need to work out some extra fee to keep your DB there longer. But three days is usually way more than enough to allow your site to calm back down.

If you’re launching a site and have a great idea and plan on creating the next big thing, you may not have funding or angel investors, but you can be prepared. You don’t have to miss out on your site’s first best chance for a significant amount of traffic by watching your site/product go down the tubes.

If you’re just starting a personal blog and don’t plan on creating hype or drawing ridiculous amounts of traffic then, by all means, go out and pick the cheapest hosting provider you can find. If you plan on getting sticky visitors to your site then do your research and make the best, most affordable decision you can. Media Temple isn’t the only grid-server solution out there but it’s one I’m familiar with and feel completely comfortable recommending.


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