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I'm testing out a shared hosting package with Dreamhost at the moment which is only $2.95 a month for unlimited domains, storage space, bandwidth, mysql databases etc.

But I'm currently only running one test site on it and it seems pretty slow. Am I going to run into problems if I host lots of sites on a shared hosting package. Should I be looking at a dedicated server instead?

iPage seem to offer a similar package but with lots of extras for $3.50 per month.

Have you had any experience with either company?

Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks

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You should change this to a wiki page, since there's not really a right answer. –  John P Bloch Jan 27 '11 at 23:31
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9 Answers

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We've migrated a lot of people from Dreamhost after their site gets mildly popular, and they notice it's either down or slow. But, we don't offer hosting plans that are as cheap as them as well.

I would recommend you check out zippykid.com (our site), page.ly, or wpengine.com if you're interested WordPress hosting that doesn't suck.

I'd be willing to give you a coupon if I could get some of your feedback.

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@Zippy Kid Your hosting service looks great. If you don't mind me asking, what server set up are you using? –  Chris_O Oct 3 '10 at 0:44
    
Zippykid does look great but I wouldn't want my Wordpress sites to be managed for me or have restrictions on anything like installing plugins - do you offer a non-managed option? –  fxfuture Oct 3 '10 at 1:56
    
Chris_O and fxfuture, thanks. As for what set up we're using, it's hosted at Slicehost/Rackspace, running Ubuntu, PHP, MySQL, and Nginx. Along with some special sauce that lets us do failover, HA stuff easily :) –  Vid Luther Oct 3 '10 at 4:22
    
fxfuture, we can turn off our automated management scripts for you if you like, it's a simple switch. I'm guessing most people on this site will be power users, so they'll want to do things on their own. We've never restricted a plugin, but we try not to let people just install any old plugin. Email me, vid@zippykid.com if you have specific questions, or want to try out the unmanaged service –  Vid Luther Oct 3 '10 at 4:26
    
Yummy features on these, but prices bite... I currently serve ~24k visits on $15/month shared and pretty much stuck because even simple managed VPS solution will require multiple price increase. $15-$20 seems dead zone in hosting. Too much for shared, too little for VPS. –  Rarst Oct 3 '10 at 18:17
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If you are serious about your website and care about your users experience you should stay away from any of the "budget" shared hosting packages. The only way they can offer hosting for less than the price of a Happy Meal is to squeeze thousands of sites on a server.

If you don't want to be responsible for running your own server then any of the recommendations that Zippy Kid mentioned are great for WordPress.

The next step would be a managed VPS which comes with Cpanel then unmanaged VPS which is the most cost effective but requires some knowledge.

A dedicated server would be overkill unless you are planning on serious traffic and need full control over everything on the server.

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Your webhost is the foundation upon which your site will be built. Just like you wouldn't want to build a house on mud, you shouldn't be looking at 'cheap hosting'

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Some important factors when choosing a shared host:

  • Do a reverse dns for the server ip, this can tell you how many sites are on the server, typically bad hosts jams a server with thousands of web sites, I have seen servers with upwards of 5k sites hosted (guess).

  • Ask if they limit the accounts/domains per server and specifically what that # is. If they don't move on to a host that has caps even if your paying 5-20$ more per month.

  • Ask around about the support system, they must have live 24/7 support and a good ticket system with helpful and fantastic customer service.

  • Read the fine print! Many hosts say unlimited but this is pure BS. They limit you in file amounts, bandwidth, resources, backups, etc.

  • Make sure they use industry standards.

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I would go with cloudcontrol.com. They are a cloud-hosted PHP host, and they run on top of Amazon EC2. If you have little traffic, you won't pay. If your traffic goes up, they have an auto-scaler which will raise the capacity with traffic and lower it when traffic drops. (Scaling granularity is by the hour, and they charge about $0.05 per hour per extra app server or "box"). I have more notes here. Also, they have a video on youtube where you'll get the general idea.

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I would at least start you foundation on a VPS. That way you have the option for APC opcode cache.

http://www.php.net/manual/en/intro.apc.php

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When shopping for hosting don't let price fool you. Always keep in mind you get what you pay for. We run our entire network of WordPress sites on a combination of Rackspace Cloud Sites and are now migrating to a custom built server on Rackspace Cloud Servers.

We've also had good experience with MediaTemple (clients) and Dreamhost (our client test server).

Just don't use GoDaddy if you are serious about your site.

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Agreed that shared hosting is the kiss of death for Wordpress sites. You should never run a WP site on any cheap hosting package. I've moved 5 clients off GoDaddy shared hosting already and am migrating all my clients to MediaTemple.

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I've been having problems with MediaTemple lately especially experiencing a 1 second delay after the initial DNS lookup on their Grid Service plan. I've complained and complained but they probably think of me as a cranky old man by now.

I didn't see anyone mention that Dreamhost does offer a quick to provision Virtual Private Server solution that works almost seamlessly with their shared hosting plan. You click a few buttons and your site can be moved to their VPS relatively quickly.

If anyone's interested, I wrote about my experiences with both MediaTemple, Dreamhost, and two other smaller companies Vexx and MDD here: http://wpverse.com/eak

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