When you’re running a small business hosting and servers can make or break you. Oftentimes small business owners start with shared servers which means they are sharing a server with a zillion other people. If you only have a few people coming to your site and performance isn’t a concern this will get the job done. As you continue to scale your business and your needs increase you might want to look-into taking the next step and getting either a cloud server or VPS or a co-located server in your area.
Recently I have been experimenting with two different options, Hostgator VPS and Rackspace and have to say that Rackspace has been the clear winner here. First for the loser – HostGator. I setup a VPS (Virtual Private Server) with Hostgator and received my welcome email. The email told me to update my nameservers and I’d be off to the races. I tried this and it didn’t work, so I decided to call technical support. The tech support agent seemed to be unclear as to how the VPS worked, he put me on hold for about twenty minutes and then told me they would have to call me back.
They never called back. So I called HostGator again. This time the support agent assured me he would solve my problem and asked for my account information. He then told me I didn’t have a VPS account. After about ten minutes we sorted it out and he admitted that I did have a VPS account. He put me on hold and then told me they would have to get back to me. Once again, no response.
After the fourth run-through of this I told the support agent how frustrating this was. I said, “I’m not blaming you but it just seems like nobody there knows how this works.” He said they were dedicated to solving the problem, I would just have to go on hold for a minute. About ten minutes later he came back on the line to make sure I was there and then disappeared back into the catacombs of HostGator-land. After coming back on the line he told me he would file a support ticket for me. Well the ticket was never filed and the service never worked. Thanks HostGator! They do let you know that if you have issues you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org although I don’t really see the point since it’s clear that nothing will be done to fix this.
I’ve heard good things about Rackspace from several people so I thought I’d give them a try. I called them on the phone and spoke with a really knowledgeable salesperson who answered all my questions and in minutes the account was setup. Since I have experience installing LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) this was a breeze. In fact they get Linux up and running so you’re really only installing AMP, but LAMP just sounds cooler doesn’t it!
I’ve found the Rackspace interface really easy to use and the support to be exceptional. It is really easy to add more memory or disk space as you move forward so I know I can scale this solution as the need arises. My hat goes-off to Rackspace for delivering what they said they would do, as for HostGator all I know is that their technical support couldn’t even follow-up with the items listed in their welcome email. Oh well, to the victor goes the spoils, no need to get bent-out of shape about it, I just know that one company gets my money and praise and the other, well, I think they’re still trying to figure-out how to file a support ticket on their own system 🙂