My Disappointment with the Web Hosting Industry

sad_faceI was recently following a discussion by web hosting owners and employees about the use of new software for web hosts. They were discussing software that can help web hosts manage resources on servers. Software which helps regulate server environments.

I was shocked and disappointed with how the conversation progressed. It was along these lines…

Host A: “Product X is great. It allows us to easily host 1,000 or more accounts per server without any issues with load spikes, or instability

Host B: “Yeah, Product Y has enabled us to host 3,000 – 4,000 sites per server, really maximizing our potential

Host C: “I agree. The software throttles any heavy users, keeping things humming along for the most part. Everyone wins

Vendor A: “Yes, our software has many of the large hosts packing in 5,000 or more websites per server. It’s great.

Host D: “Yep. The software auto throttles the more resource intensive clients, allowing the serve to remain stable, even with thousands of sites hosted on the server.

Almost everyone in the discussion was singing the praises of both the software and the fact that they can pack em in like sardines and not have their servers crash.

No one was stating what I found to be obvious:

In doing this, each individual client (aka “sardine”) is the one that loses, although the good of the whole is sort of maintained.

What do I mean? I’ll explain…

pie

Each server has a finite number of resources to go around (memory, CPU, drive load). Think of each server as a pie. The hosting clients are then sharing these resources between their sites.

slice_pieIn pie terms, you have customers that are each eating a slice of pie from the whole pie. The more customers there are, the smaller each slice becomes.

If you have thousands of clients on a server, the size of the slice they have when it comes to available resources is quite small (think crumb size). All it takes to go over your allotment is a small spike in traffic, or traffic that’s hitting your dynamic pages like your blog, shopping, cart, etc…

What’s wrong with throttling?

So what, you exceeded your allotment. Who cares right? The overall server is stable.

snail

When these software solutions throttle your site, that means they slow it down. Not just a little. They slow it to a crawl. They limit what it can do, so as to not use the resources that the other thousand plus are clamoring for. This means your website suffers greatly. You’re penalized for any appreciable use you try to get out of your site. You lose, “everyone” wins.

The sad thing is everyone has come to expect this as the norm. Slower than normal websites, throttled resources, very limited accounts, it’s all just part of how it all works.

Except that this is *NOT* the norm for web hosts that provide true quality and performance, day in and day out.

Shared hosting done right

superman

Why was I so shocked by this nonchalant convo other web hosts were having?

I was shocked because we provide a service that is directly opposite of what these other hosts were promoting.

  • We limit the number of accounts to 100 – 200 per server max.
  • We don’t throttle any accounts, so any one site can use the resources needed (and available) whenever it’s needed.
  • We use better quality hardware than many hosts that packs thousands of accounts on a server, allowing our clients to experience truly fast web hosting.

To me, this is how web hosting should be. This is what clients should expect as the baseline for their accounts.

Not some overloaded, severely throttled, watered down version of hosting that many of the major hosts out there profess to be enterprise level hosting.

magician_hat

Hosting is not magic. There are a set number of resources per server, a set number of clients per server, and income generated from a monthly price that is charged.

In the fastest “race to the bottom” mentality, many web hosts have decided to jam each server full of thousands of clients, severely limit resources, make the entire process mediocre at best in terms of speed and performance, and charge the equivalent of a can of coke per month in fees.

Of course they need to put thousands of clients on a server – They are not charging enough to make it work otherwise. The hosting clients suffer, the servers are not even remotely fast, and the level of customer support (many times outsourced) is abysmal at best. But hey, the hosts don’t have to do much work now, as the super-duper automated software will magically keep the server stable.

You should expect more from your web host. Hosting does not have to be something you suffer through.

As the industry converges towards a commodity based, commune like environment, where everyone must suffer a little for the good of the hosting company, realize that there are hosts out there that still care about each person’s hosting experience. Hosts like us that cater towards the business based website that needs fast hosting. Hosts that provide the resources required for a successful website.

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