Web Hosting

by samantha copeland on November 9, 2008

It's now that time again as I decide to move on to another hosting provider. While HMS has been very responsive, I've frankly gotten sick of running out of memory because someone sent me a 5MB+ email attachment which, when converted to binary, needs just a smidge more memory than the VPS can handle to perform the conversion. VPS boxes are a little funny with system memory, unlike a physical server which can envoke a pagefile when memory is exceeded, a VPS has a hard limit.  If the limit is exceeded, the box will crash and probably become unstable. After going rounds with HMS support who said "your problem is that you are using an access db, consider upgrading to MySQL or SQL Express" - thing is, I only just recently had issues, but had been using that application for 6+ years, 2 of which were on this server, and the DB had been larger than it is today and never had any issues.

I'm going to be using ViUX, a small outfit in North Carolina. They had a rash of bad reviews last spring due to a network move, but some other folks had good things to say. They have also won some awards, such as placing third in the May 2009 VPS category at Web Host Directory. I located them via SmarterTools partner page which showed a number of hosting companies which were resellers of SmarterTools products, of which, I use SmarterMail. This move will get me 4x the memory and 2x the diskspace of the HMS plan I was in, all for only $5 more than the HMS plan I was in. I did have some bumps first getting setup, I used my yahoo account and my home number (it was lunch time and I happend to be at work) and even though I went back and added my cell number, the "call back validation" didn't work (caller ID log at home recorded no phone calls that day from anyone other than known callers), so I had to call in around 3PM and ask where my "welcome email" was, it was immediately set up upon phone contact. I've been able to get someone to respond at 3 AM at least once so their 24x7x365 isn't a just hot air. I've also been running a light weight load test of sorts (a series of meta refresh/redirect pages) and not once has it failed and I have been able to send and recieve 5MB-9MB email attachments with no problem. SQL Express 2005 is quite happily chugging along with two app pools for IIS (dot net 1.1 and 2.0 web apps) and SmarterMail 3. I usually have about 250MB of memory in use, but it occasionally spikes up to 780s, but dwindles after a little while (usually when a sender has included a few email attachments). I haven't once gotten an outofmemory exception, which is great! The current configuration has 5 main web sites in dot net 2.0 and smartermail 3 for each of 5 domains, very few issues have cropped up and so far everything's working well.

ViUX also has a DNS Zone editor which lets me directly modify all my DNS records rather than having to go through a support ticket to get the domain added to a DNS control panel. And unlike HMS, they give direct access to the Virtuozzo container, rather than a cheesy home-brew front in which probably hooks into the API for the container, the same cheesy UI which was down half the time my VPS was and had to call in and ask for my instance to be rebooted. ViUX was also happy to uninstall the Plesk control panel when I told them I was an experienced windows administrator and preferred to handle things directly through Remote Desktop & just needed the DNS Zone tool which is provided with HSPcomplete. I have also been able to publish my own SPF and DomainKey/DKIM keys for email - without having to go rounds and rounds with tech support, especially if I am testing and may not have a final configuration.