May 11, 2009

So you moved sites again?

As many people caught on the other day via Twitter I have moved my sites to a different hosting provider again.  One of the first questions I got before was "why did you move" or "did you have a problem with your existing host?".  I want to start off by saying that I do NOT have any issues with my old hosting provider, and that if it was not for special circumstances I would still be with them.  In this article, I'll lay out my hosting experience, and give everyone some insight in to what happens behind the scenes when I make hosting decisions.

IowaComputerGurus Hosting History

Before I get into the details of the current move of hosting providers I will take a quick bit to explain some of the history of my experience with other hosting providers.  I fell that the experience that I have had with these past hosting setups is important as it help me be able to accurately judge the fitment of a particular site to a service.  Working with large hosting companies and through the progression that IowaComputerGurus has made has given me a unique set of experiences across a vast collection of hosting providers.

Late 2005 - Early 2007 - Shared ASP.NET Hosting

My mainstream dabbling into the hosting market started in late 2005 when the IowaComputerGurus business was first launched.  At this time we were on a very affordable plan with M6.NET.  The plan was working fairly well for our needs starting out with a basic ASP.NET website that was built from scratch.  However, in late 2006 we started to get interested in DotNetNuke and over time it became evident that we needed to find a more robust solution.

Early 2007 - Mid 2008 - 3Essentials ASP.NET Reseller Account

After running into limitations with our hosting setup with a migration was made to 3Essentials.  At this time our business needs were very simple a single DotNetNuke installation for my personal blog and our existing custom ASP.NET site for the business.  We selected a reseller account to put ourselves in a position to provide hosting to our customers.

With 3Essentials we have experienced some of the best customer service and overall stability.  So much in that even though this site, is not hosted with 3Essentials we do still host many client accounts as well as smaller IowaComputerGurus ventures on the environment.

However, just like with M6 in early 2008 the business was growing very quickly as well as traffic to the sites.  Seeing 300-500% increases in website traffic was starting to finally take the toll on the shared hosting environment.  Not to mention business needs started to dictate the need of a VPS or Dedicated solution so we could install a source control system that was remote to our primary office.  This prompted our move to the provider that we just left earlier this week.

Mid 2008 - May 2009 - HostMySite VPS Hosting

To meet our increased business needs in mid 2008 we settled with HostMySite and their VPS+ plan for ASP.NET hosting.  We selected HostMySite for the ability to gain full remote desktop access to the server but to still have access to support should we need assistance with configuration or troubleshooting.  This system was flawless and with a bit of growth we branced out to two VPS systems in early 2009 to handle the additional load that was being placed on the server by increased traffic and overall activity by various business ventures.

With this dual VPS system we achieved great stability and response times and we were not currently experiencing any performance related issues.  So, this brings up the biggest question, why move?  Well, IowaComputerGurus is continuing to grow and as part of this we are starting a few new ventures, for example.  As we continue to grow our need for higher performance configurations is just something waiting to happen, after being solicited by another provider we finally made the move.

Current Configuration - PowerDNN (Power2 Dedicated Server)

So, the big question is, who is this new provider, well we are now on a Power2 Dedicated server provided by  Our current system configuration includes a Quad Core processor and 4 Gb of total ram.  More than double the power of our configuration with HostMySite.  This move was not anything major in regards to improving the site performance, we are currently only noticing benefits under load where we would start to max out on the VPS accounts.

Another big factor here was in that working with DotNetNuke as much as I have I have never given PowerDNN a good full test.  I have to say that their support and willingness to help with the migration has been truly impressive, and the provisioning process was also incredibly timely!  So far I can say that we are happy where we are, and that I do not have any plans to move elsewhere.

Now being on a dedicated server we have the ability to continue to expand our services, add content, and overall provide more to the community. 

What does this mean to your recommendations?

 So I'm sure the biggest question here is: "Does this change your hosting recommendations?".  The short answer is yes and no, I understand that this is not a very solid comment, but it is the truth.  For hosting, I still strongly recommend 3Essentials, HostMySite, and Rackspace, however, for many people I do believe that PowerDNN can be a viable option.  PowerDNN is a more expensive service, however, their support and knowledge of DNN can be a benefit as well.  As with anything else, I do believe that hosting selection is very dependent on the specific situation that is being worked on.  Each of these companies are worth considering, and should be evaluated on the specific needs of the project.

Please feel free to share any comments/questions below.  For specific assistance, please post to the forum.

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