View Full Version : Hosting
5th Jul 2004, 06:44 pm
I will shortly publish a project outline for my thesis project.
It's clear I need a host that allows me loads of server space and bandwidth. I'm keen to get a domain registered asap too.
I have found some hosts that offer lots of space and bandwidth, but nothing UNLIMITED.
David - do they exist and if so do you have any recommendations?
5th Jul 2004, 09:52 pm
Have a mooch over to Webhostingtalk (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/) - spend some time on their forums. It's also good for checking up against advertisers' claims in PC mags. Don't believe the hype, etc. Unlimited sounds like you're going to have to jump straight into the reseller end of the market.
5th Jul 2004, 11:05 pm
You need to do plenty of research. There are so many hosts out there, all offering something different and all at different costs that you need to narrow your options down first. Decide what you want - in your case, unlimited bandwidth and unlimited space. Alternatively, look for a host where you can start low and then scale up through time as the site takes off. You also need to decide what server-side options you need. Most hosts offer Apache over Linux with PHP but MySQL may be optional and costs for database backend vary a lot. Essentially, you need to decide how the site will work. If you go with 4Images, you need all of the above.
As with all things, you do tend to get what you pay for. Be suspicious of very cheap deals - chances are that uptime will be crap or they'll be out of business shortly. First choice has to be a good one because you should avoid the hassle of changing hosts if the first one turns out to be useless. Look for hosts with user forums and check them out if you can. A lively and well informed forum is always a good sign.
Look for recommendations on forums such as the one Francis pointed you to (that's a good one). Bear in mind that the host doesn't need to be UK based but it may help if you need to contact them urgently.
I recommend that you keep your hosting separate from your domain registrations. It may seem neat to have an all-in-one package until you decide you need a new host. Having independent control of domains is really useful.
I have hosted with Fasthosts, Supanames and Clook - all of which have been good in different ways. There is a host out there for you, you just need to find it :blink:
Er... well, that was more of a list than a well-formed reply. I'm sure I'll think of other stuff - I'll let you know.
11th Jul 2004, 10:52 am
Can I have your opinion on http://www.cheapunlimitedhosting.com/hosting_single.php
£7.99 a month seems very cheap for the unlimited everything package!
11th Jul 2004, 12:25 pm
For what you can get from them for that price, it sounds too good to be true. A lot of the time it's a case of doing your own research and seeing what's what. For instance, this thread on the WebHostingTalk forum (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?threadid=266145&highlight=cheap+unlimited+hosting)
Add to this the fact that they're advertising a bronze plan at 83p a month, a gold plan at £3.99 a month and an enterprise solution at £4.99 a month, I'll be surprised if the company is making any money at all.
It's a bit strange - they charge in £, but according to their server stats (http://www.cheapunlimitedhosting.com/server.php), their servers are co-located(*) in Texas. So, where are they based? If it's the UK, how can they get access to the servers? They have to rely on another company to do that. Just think about that non-direct contact to the technical company situation for a moment (I'm sure you can think of a parallel situation...).
I couldn't find it on their site, but they don't say what their servers run. Is it Windows, Linux, Unix? If so, what versions/flavours of the OS are they running? What version of PHP and MySQL are they running? Do they have any PHP extensions you might need? All it seems to say is:
Intel Pentium 4 2.80Ghz
Segate 120Gb Raid/SCSI Hard Drives
1024Mb PC2700 333MHZ DDR RAM
Powered by Intel Technology
99.9% Server Uptime
* Co-location: you own the server and all the software on it, but pay a third party company to run and maintain it at their location on your behalf. Now you're reliant on both host and third party to stay in business and to also be committed to maintaining the servers.
I'd try somewhere else. This isn't a recommendation, but have a look at Postive Internet (http://www.positiveinternet.com/)'s site. They tell you what their servers run, they give examples of domains they host, they have a news section and a good support section (http://support.positive-internet.com/). That's more what I'd be looking for instead of specious claims of "powered by the best technology available".
This if funny too:
"Dallas is an ideal location for the primary data center because of the absence of natural disasters and its central location to the Internet backbone connections from all across the United States"
Well, if they are UK based, I'm thinking London might be a bit more convenient being as we've got a root server (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_nameserver) and also a goodly amount of backbone connections. And we don't really have that many natural disasters either.
11th Jul 2004, 12:53 pm
Cheers for doing all that research for me! I will avoid them.
Positive Internet looks excellent but I really need more server space than 1GB though - more like 2 or 3GB. I also might need two MySQL databases as I want to host a community forum as well.
http://www.findyourhost.co.uk has some useful information.
I'll keep looking for now,
11th Jul 2004, 08:40 pm
I hope to host 10,000 pictures with an average size of 50KB. This means I need 500MB webspace.
Predicting bandwidth is tricky because I have no idea how and when my site traffic will grow.
What do you think of one and one: http://order.1and1.co.uk/xml/order/Hosting...1a?__frame=_top (http://order.1and1.co.uk/xml/order/HostingBusiness;jsessionid=809402FAEDED68496D52EA4 FBF568874.TC31a?__frame=_top)
At £8.99 it's quite reasonable.
11th Jul 2004, 11:36 pm
Originally posted by James Barker@Jul 11 2004, 8:40 pm
At £8.99 it's quite reasonable.
On the other hand, there's only one database and only 10GB bandwidth. If your site is a success, you'll need more. The CADTutor site averages 15GB per month and although it's quite graphically heavy, it isn't pushing as many images as you'll hope to.
You need to look at the add cost for a second databse and extra bandwidth. I would recommend looking for hosting that gives you what you want at a flat rate so that you can budget and you don't get any nasty surprises.
SupaNames ValueHost Pro Account (http://www.supanames.co.uk/index.php?page=vhostpro) gives you just 100MB space, 1 MySQL database but unlimited bandwidth. It costs just £23.99 per year. Extra databses are a one-off £11.88 and extra disk space costs 45p per megabyte (that's obviously the catch).
The CADTutor Forum is currently with SupaNames and I've had no problems with them.
It's worth checking out Fasthosts. All their accounts have unlimited bandwidth. For example, the Home Pro (http://www.fasthosts.com/hosting/homepro/fulldetails/) account (at £8.99 per month) gives 1GB space, Red Hat/Apache but you'll pay extra for databases (£50 per database per year).
The main CADTutor site is hosted with Fasthosts and although they cost more than most, the quality of hosting is excellent.
The other option worth looking into is a resellet account. You could set yourself up and actually make money by hosting sites for other people - this could cover your costs. This is what I've done. I have a rs-1 account (http://www.clook.co.uk/services/resellers.php) with Clook. For £17.99 I can host unlimited domains with 2GB space and 20GB bandwidth and unlimited MySQL databses. If you need more bandwidth in the future, you can easily upgrade to the next level with 30GB. They are excellent, exceptional response times for support and a great and active user forum.
Just a few things to think about :)
12th Jul 2004, 07:07 am
Errm, I thought that all of the early problems with the forum were due to fasthosts? A quick look through the archives (http://www.websitearchitecture.net/forum/index.php?act=Search&CODE=show&searchid=4fa9cfcce4c2ffee25c31a98869b8bd5&search_in=posts&result_type=topics&highlite=fasthosts) seems to show a reasonable level of dissatisfaction. And, by the looks of it, there's no .htaccess support, so if you're wanting custom 404s and clean URLs, you can forget it.
Changing the subject - ever heard of a heteronym (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=heteronym)? Just found it on dictionary.com
12th Jul 2004, 09:48 am
It's true that we had problems with the forum but that is because I was trying to run a flatfile forum and ran into problems (please NEVER try this at home). Fasthosts MySQL support is robust (at a cost) and a busy forum should not be a problem. It's also true that Fasthosts do not allow access to .htaccess but they have recently implemented a system for custom 404s because of user requests.
There are pros and cons with all hosts. With Fasthosts, they're big, faceless and support response times are only average but the quality of the hosting (speed and uptime) are exceptional. Many accounts now offer what they call "load balancing". This works rather like a hard disk RAID but with servers. Your website is hosted across a number of servers and so if one goes down, the site stays up. I have never known the CADTutor site to be down at any time in the past couple of years, not so with domains hosted elsewhere.
It seems that choices include exceptional performance and average support (Fasthosts) or average performance and exceptional support (Clook) and various shades in between. I very much doubt that the perfect hosts exists - but if it does, I want to be the first to hear about it!
12th Jul 2004, 03:34 pm
David, I like the Fasthosts Home Pro, it's the best I've seen so far.
If I do it, how do I link my domain name with the host?
12th Jul 2004, 05:22 pm
All you need to do is find out the DNS (Domain Name Servers) that your host uses. This will be in the form of:
When you know this, you can set the DNS settings for your domain at 123REG to the same.
When a user looks for your domain, they are directed to 123REG where your DNS details are kept and then they are directed to your host.
This makes it very easy to change hosts because all you need do is modify your DNS settings to point to a different host.
12th Jul 2004, 07:27 pm
I don't know if you can help but I'm having trouble registering on Fasthosts. During sign up it asks me for me website URL and then it correctly says it is registered to me and shows my name and address.
When I select it and try and proceed it then gives an error message saying I can't transfer the domain!
I went to 123Reg but couldn't see anything in the control panel that would help make it available for transfer.
I can e-mail you my 123reg password so you can have a look for me!
12th Jul 2004, 07:37 pm
The problem seems to affect the .net domain. My .co.uk domain is accepted by Fasthosts.
I want to use .net though! Any advice gratefully received.
12th Jul 2004, 09:04 pm
Don't take this the wrong way - I'm trying to help! I went to search Fasthost's site (no search engine - great) to see if I could find an issue with .net addresses. I couldn't see anything. Then I did a whois lookup and you're down as the owner of the .net and .co.uk urls so it all seems to have done through the system. Then I remembered (again) all of the stuff that we went through when fasthosts served websitearchitecture.co.uk. So I Googled on: fasthosts problems transferring domains. These are some of the URLs from the first two pages of results:
None specifically on transferring domains, but... if you part with money, I wish you luck!
12th Jul 2004, 10:23 pm
The transfer of domains is different for uk domains and for international domains. To transfer an international domain, you must first configure it as being available for transfer from its existing home before pulling it in from the other end (as it were). By comparison, the transfer of uk domains is very easy.
I'm not convinced that you should transfer the domain in any case (see previous posts). It would be much better to keep control of the domain yourself at 123REG and have a hosting account you can just point to via DNS settings. I assume that Fasthosts are not giving you this option.
Don't be in a rush to sign up - it's an important decision and maybe you need a bit more time to consider all the implications. First of all, I would contact Fasthosts and explain that you would like to keep your domain at 123REG but host the site with them.
Most likely your domain will be transferred to UKREG (part of Fasthosts) and you'll still have control anyway but it's worth asking the question. All my domains are registered at UKREG and are hosted in various places so it may not be a major issue.
Are you in a rush to get the site hosted? Where is is now? Why not just use web forwarding to point it at your current host while you develop the site?
13th Jul 2004, 08:33 am
Yes I am in a rush to get it hosted, but probably for the wrong reason: I don't want to spend a lot of time customising the site and adding images on my current host and then have to copy everything over to the new host, including the database. I'd rather start early on the permanent host.
I am also unfamiliar with having the registration and host with different companies and it worries me a bit.
When I looked at the 123Reg control panel it gave all sorts of options for pointing the name at a host - and all looked scary. They talk about having my site "framed" or "non-framed" and some options even ask for the metatags - as if I won't have proper control over the site. Surely I can do full search engine optimisation. Surely a lot of people split the registrar with their host?
Here are the FAQs from 123Reg: http://www.123-reg.co.uk/faqList.shtml
If OK with you, I'd like to email you my 123Reg username and password this evening (I'm at work now) and ask you to have a look at the control panel and put my mind at rest. :">
The existing host, vinylminer.com, is some webspace I have with Supanames. It expires soon and I don't want to renew it.
I had a brief look at Francis' links re the complaints about Fasthosts, but they have over one million customers - if you look for complaints for any successful company you can find them. I am taking them seriously though, so thanks for researching them.
Thanks for all your advice so far.
13th Jul 2004, 09:04 am
OK, I'll take a look for you to put your mind at rest.
Fasthosts got a bad reputation a few years ago (quite rightly) but things have changed a lot since then. As I say, in the past 2 years (at least) I've not had a single problem.
People still take issue with Fasthosts policy on flexibiliity. They are very strict (some would say restrictive). They don't allow such free user control that you get with many hosts. This is basically a security issue. Their own custom Control Panel only allows you to do so much - many people resent this and the fact that anything unusual has to be referred to customer support and they're no always snappy in their response.
As I have said previously, it's a trade-off. Excellent quality hosting at the expense of flexibility and full user control.
I know you're eager to get going on this but my advice would be to maybe give yourself another couple of weeks to checkout other hosting options etc.
13th Jul 2004, 09:42 am
In the meantime take a look at this:
Magic Moments hosting (also branded as WebFusion). Their Home Magic account (http://www.magic-moments.com/homeuser-info.html) at £9.95 gives you 1.5GB space and 10GB transfer 3 MySQL databses (included in price) PHP etc. There's also a good upgrade path. The Magic SoHo account gives 3GB space and 15GB transfer with 6 databases. There are other higher spec. accounts above that.
Magic Moments are one of the hosting arms of 123REG (both part of Host Europe PLC (http://www.hosteurope.com/products.shtml))
BeamHosts.co.uk Their Bunsiness account (http://www.beamhost.co.uk/dev/web-hosting-compare.php) gives you 2GB space and 20GB transfer plus MySQL (just the one) and PHP plus full cPanel control (that's about as close as you can get to actually being there) - all for £9.99 per month. There's also an upgrade path here as well.
Also have a look at FindYourHost.co.uk (http://www.findyourhost.co.uk/) for a directory of UK based hosting companies. See the shared hosting table (http://www.findyourhost.co.uk/shared.php) for a handy view of what's on offer.
There's more research to be done :( but a good and well researched decision now will give you endless pleasure later on.
13th Jul 2004, 09:49 am
Thanks David. As long as there is an upgrade option if I bust my bandwidth then I'm happy with a limited bandwidth product.
I have already looked at findyourhost.co.uk but thought the table was poor - it doesn't include a lot of hosts, and you can't do a search filter on unlimited products.
I agree research is important, I've already spent a couple of hours on it. I'll have a look at those you suggest and have a look in the forums a bit more.
I'll mail you my password for 123Reg later, I appreciate you having a quick look for me.
13th Jul 2004, 12:00 pm
Hmm, I'd probably want to spend more than a couple of hours research before making such a decision :unsure:
You would do well to spend some time at WebHostingTalk (http://www.webhostingtalk.com/) to get some background on hosting and what people think is important in a host etc.
There's no doubt that this is a very difficult area for the novice and I'd give myself a little more time to consider the options if I were you. I don't think you will waste too much time by continuing your development work with SupaNames - when does your current agreement expire?
15th Jul 2004, 01:48 pm
anyone had any experience setting up as a reseller?
looks like an interesting way to earn a bit of extra cash. do someone a website, and sell them hosting as well at £60 a year, while only paying £20 for the space.
though is £40 a year worth it when it something goes wrong and they get on your case?
easynic.co.uk do a reseller package where you pay them £60 one off, and you can then resell one of a number of packages on for whatever you like. Basic package of 10Mb / 1 email is about £15 plus say a fiver from domian name. So you could sell it on for £50.
15th Jul 2004, 04:23 pm
Phil - I currently have a couple of reseller accounts. One with Fasthosts (http://www.fasthosts.com/Resellers/) and one with Clook (http://www.clook.co.uk/services/resellers.php). I'm winding down the Fasthosts account at the moment and moving everything across to Clook (cheaper and more flexible). Basically, the accounts pay for themselves. I tend to use the hosting for low resourse clients to keep down the support calls. I arrange separate hosting for anyone who I think might be trouble ;)
This forum runs on a domain on the Clook account.
16th Jul 2004, 11:00 am
So let me get this straight. I buy, say, the basic rs-starter package off clook for £120 a year. Then i can have up to 20 different domains being served by subdirectories of my area there, all with their own pop mail, PHP, mySQL, blah blah blah. Just have to pay extra for each name registration.
to be honest - and i guess i'm stating the obvious here - this sounds like a good deal for the students to do this for themselves, not so they can resell space, but that they can have multiple web domains. Dare I say, one reseller account could server all the students with two accounts each...what's that work out at? a tenner a year for each account? not going to get cheaper than that.
16th Jul 2004, 06:29 pm
Yes, that's all true. Perhaps a little sideline for you Phil? I must admit, the thought of organising anything like that makes my toes curl (which is why I encourage students to organise their own personal hosting). But maybe you're up for a challenge...
MAWA students note that I am talking about the undergraduate students here and not you lot!
28th Jul 2004, 10:42 am
I have continued looking but couldn't find anything more attractive than Fasthosts.
I have now successfully registered with them (had to do it over the phone as their online form would not recognise my domain name).
At £8.99 for unlimited bandwidth it's a good deal - although I have to pay an extra £50 (ouch) for MySQL.
I will attempt to connect my domain to the host later! David stand by for a cry for help!
I did find some negative reaction to Fasthosts on the web, but have decided to go for it anyway as you can find complaints about any successful company if you look. Fatal last words ... ?
I am going to start hosting photos and affiliates asap, to try and make £8.99 a month to balance my books!
28th Jul 2004, 05:07 pm
James - it should just be a case of changing your named servers to the following:
I would imagine that your 1-2-3REG account has an easy option for doing this. It's a fairly common requirement.
29th Jul 2004, 07:46 am
Hi David - yes I did just that, it seemed really easy. I now have to wait a day or two it seems before I can connect to the webspace though. When I try using ftp.digitalphotos.net I can't connect at the moment.
29th Jul 2004, 08:10 pm
In theory it can take up to 72 hours for the new DNS settings to "propagate". All that means is that it can take that long for all the various DNS databses around the web to be updated with the new information. In practice it usually is much quicker than that - I've rarely waited more than 24 hours for the changes to take place.
In fact, you can use your webspace now if you know the IP address for your server. Can't remember if Fasthosts gives that sort of information to users.
OK so now you're in control of your own domain and your hosting is sorted out. No more excuses :D
1st Aug 2004, 09:36 pm
David, it's now 4 days since I changed the name servers with 123Reg but I still can't get anything displayed when I visit my URL: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
I can access my webspace using my FTP application by connecting to ftp.freedigitalphotos.net, so something has happened - any ideas why I can't see the site yet in the browser?
Here's the message I get in the browser:
You are not authorized to view this page
You might not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials you supplied.
If you believe you should be able to view this directory or page, please try to contact the Web site by using any e-mail address or phone number that may be listed on the www.freedigitalphotos.net home page.
You can click Search to look for information on the Internet.
HTTP Error 403 - Forbidden
1st Aug 2004, 09:39 pm
Hey! Forget that last post.
I needed to upload to a folder called HTDOCS - I had just been putting it in the root like I did with Supanames.
So it's all working at last!
2nd Aug 2004, 01:12 pm
Just tried now and it's there - I assume you just used the index file for the wedding site as a temporary home. That seems to have taken longer than expected but it's now there.
The reason that you could access FTP before HTTP is that the DNS contains a number of different records. FTP, HTTP and MAIL are dealt with seperately. This makes it possible to direct, say, mail to one server and web requests to another even though they are the same domain. It's possible that the DNS records were only partly updated when you last tried.
OK, just saw your last post. Yes, different hosts have different names for primary web folders. Fasthosts use the standard windows name htdocs. Most hosts (those using Linux) use the name public_html. Other hosts (such as Supanames) don't let you see above the web folder at all and the impression is that you just put everything into the root. The truth is that you are just not allowed access above that folder.
2nd Aug 2004, 05:17 pm
Thanks for your input David,
I can also choose to have a Windows server or Linux. What do you recommend? Does PHP and MySQL work with both? I think the default is Windows but I can change it via control panel if necessary.
I'll get a proper holding page up next then work on the site locally, although I'll be using the webspace for testing - I can't be bothered installing PHP MySQL and Apache locally when I can upload via broadband so quickly. The testing won't be public for now but once I've got a reasonable number of photos I will probably put it up anyway even before I think about how best to market it and SEO.
Generally speaking, I will be using the design and code theory from David's sessions (although there may not be a need to change the default skin of 4images that much), the usability from Stuart's (there are aspects of 4images usability that can be improved on), and the content management and marketing from Tom's. I plan to document everything I change and the reason why.
2nd Aug 2004, 05:33 pm
With Fasthosts accounts, it doesn't make too much difference whether you go for Windows or Linux as they limit how much access you get to the server. For most purposes, the two account types offer the same features. There is, however, one good reason for choosing Linux over Windows. Both PHP and MySQL are specifically designed for it and also for the Apache server. Given the choice, I would go for Linux.
Having just checked the Fasthosts site, they actually say:
Alternatively, you can switch to the widely used Red Hat Enterprise Server version of Linux, with Apache's httpd web server. This is the ideal platform if you want to host websites that make use of PHP, Perl or MySQL.
So there you have it.
If you want to test your site on your own PC before uploading, have a look at EasyPHP (http://www.easyphp.org/). It's a single install and gives you Apache, PHP and MySQL and can be turned on and off at will. I have used it in the past and it works well.
2nd Aug 2004, 08:53 pm
If you want to test your site on your own PC before uploading, have a look at EasyPHP. It's a single install and gives you Apache, PHP and MySQL and can be turned on and off at will. I have used it in the past and it works well.
or Wamp5 (http://www.en.wampserver.com/)
like LAMP, but on Windows. Hence Wamp [duh!]
now incorporating PHP5. This was like a revalation after a day trying (and failing) to install each component separately in parallel with IIS/Access.
2nd Aug 2004, 10:24 pm
Originally posted by Phil@Aug 2 2004, 8:53 pm
This was like a revalation after a day trying (and failing) to install each component separately in parallel with IIS/Access.
Been there Phil. I now have PHP running under IIS on my PC but I wish I'd just stuck with EasyPHP as there is no real difference in functionality and getting it going was a pain.
WAMP looks good, I'll have to give it a go.
And now, can anyone tell me why all this stuff is French? Is France the LAMP centre of the Universe?
4th Aug 2004, 06:32 pm
I can't set up 4images - it was so easy with supanames.
There is a web-based admin screen where you have to enter the database servername, database name, database username and password. I get an error message straight away saying it can't connect to the database.
David - is a MySQL database always "localhost"? Only fasthosts seem to have the server name as "mysql02". I also wonder if I have to quote the database server IP address somewhere.
4th Aug 2004, 07:11 pm
On most systems the MySQL is found at "localhost" and that is usually the default with most software. I have yet to use a MySQL database with Fasthosts so I can't say if they use "localhost" as well.
OK, I just checked the FH KB and it seems that you need to specify the IP address of the database. I think the reason for this is that all databses at FH are run on specific servers and not on the local host server. The "localhost" tag means that the databse is run on the host server. There are benefits to this sort of setup - it's more robust - but it is a little more tricky to configure.
I assume you are aware that you must supply a databse name and a database user and that the user must be identified as being a user of that particular database. This should all happen when the database is first set up. The KB article says:
You need to replace server_IP_address, mysql_user, and mysql_password in the above example, with the relevant details from your Control Panel database settings. These are the "Server IP Address", "Database Username" and "Database Password" that were specified when you installed the MySQL database. See "Installing a MySQL database for use with a Linux domain".
You should see a server name and a server IP address in your MySQL control panel. It looks like you just need the IP address.
Good luck. I'll be doing the same thing myself in a few weeks time so any feedback would be useful.
4th Aug 2004, 07:28 pm
I got there in the end. Where I was used to putting localhost I had to put:
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:mysql02, where xxx etc is the IP address of the MySQL server. Also note there is no need for http:// at the start.
4th Aug 2004, 09:18 pm
Good news, James. Just took a look at the site and it all seems to be working fine. As a matter of interest, are you using GD Library (http://www.boutell.com/gd/) with 4Images. I think I saw something about that on the FH KB. I used ImageMagik (http://www.imagemagick.org/) with Gallery for the Bentley site but I notice that GD is used all over the place.
4th Aug 2004, 10:53 pm
Since PHP 4.3 there has been a version of GD library bundled with PHP although, like all extensions to PHP, it has to be compiled first. As to whether Fasthosts have it or not - I suspect that a simple phpinfo() should tell you. More info at php.net (http://uk.php.net/gd).
4th Aug 2004, 11:58 pm
Thanks for that Francis. I didn't realise it was bundled with PHP. That would explain why it is now almost universal. It also means that image manipulations can be made with any PHP script - thinks...
5th Aug 2004, 07:35 am
What is GD?! Is it the part of PHP that makes the thumbnails? If so, the quality is appalling. I need to get Fasthosts to install something else, although they may already have something.
5th Aug 2004, 08:48 am
If you look at the link I gave above, you'll be able to find out what GD is! You'll also notice the massive amount of image functions that are available to you. I'd be wary of dismissing it as appalling so quickly. Oh, and good luck getting Fasthosts to install something especially for you...
5th Aug 2004, 09:48 am
OK Francis, I get the feeling you don't support my decision to go with Fasthosts, none of your posts on the subject have been positive. I have already contacted their tech support (about something else) and they replied with a sensible answer within a few hours. The MySQL database was activated immediately too.
I did read the link you gave, thank you, but "An ANSI C library for the dynamic creation of images. GD creates PNG, JPEG and GIF images, among other formats" still leaves me uncertain as to its role in 4images.
I assume it IS the thumbnail creator used by 4images as that's the only image processing function on the site.
I'll let you know how I get on with a request to install ImageMagick, if I deem it necessary. There is an upgrade to GD which may already be available on Fasthosts, I need to alter some of the 4images PHP first.
Poor thumbnail quality is one of the main complaints about 4images, and the author lists several options to improve them, so we'll see.
5th Aug 2004, 11:55 am
It wasn't an attack on Fasthosts (although, to be fair it did read like that), more of a "good luck on trying to get a hosting company to install something specifically for you". Hosts will already have MySQL present on their servers, so activating one for a user will no-doubt be a doddle.
5th Aug 2004, 08:36 pm
Francis is right in some respects about Fasthosts. The chances of you getting ImageMagik installed if it isn't already on the server are next to nil. FH keep everything locked down - nothing bespoke. As I've said before, you use FH for reliability and security and unlimited bandwidth - I'd say those are pretty important characteristics in a web host. The flip side is that they are not at all flexible and that if they don't have what you want, you better look elsewhere. For what it's worth, I think you made the right choice.
I have also had dealings with FH this week. I came to the conclusion recently that, although I was closing my reseller account with FH and moving my hosting to Clook, I am going to keep CADTutor with FH and so I've moved it to a Business Pro account. It almost all went smoothly and the site was down for just two hours. The fact is that I've been really impressed with the uptime at FH and the robustness of their hosting. Also, looking for a comparable service with 15-20GB transfer per month (and rising) within my price range was looking unlikely. I like FH for CADTutor and I also love Clook for their flexibility, enthusiasm and price (I can cope with the occasional downtime on non-critical sites like this one :) ). Best of both worlds.
8th Aug 2004, 04:31 pm
James - there are different versions of GD library; anything version 1 is meant to very flakey (according to Simon who has used GD in projects). I see your point about your thumbnails, they aren't good. You can find out what version you're on by doing a phpinfo(), as this host has done (http://220.127.116.11/~infocom/phpinfo.php) (I'm looking for a new host for me and realwebhost (http://www.realwebhost.net/index.html) has got good writeups on webhosting talk and, even though they're in America, answered my pre-sales questions within the hour this morning. Search for the GD heading (it's about half way down the page) on the phpinfo page and you'll get a version number.
I was looking at AXA's online image gallery yesterday and they use 4images as well. Their thumbnails are really clear, so maybe it is a GD issue on Fasthosts.
8th Aug 2004, 06:05 pm
Cheers, there are different versions of GD and I can change the PHP script to see if there are better versions. Depends on what Fasthosts have installed, but the default version is worse than on supanames.
I'm going to ask them to install Image Magick, be interesting to see how they respond.
I have been contemplating doing my own thumbnails locally using Fireworks or Photoshop then uploading - more time consuming but ultimately a better thumbnail.
8th Aug 2004, 07:41 pm
Whe FW option might be okay for a while, but if the site gets as big as you're hoping, it'll be a nightmare for you. You should get a good thumbnail with the right GD. One thing that I asked prospective hosts was, if it wasn't obvious by the version of PHP/MySQL they were running already, what their attitude was to upgrading. I found one hosting company already using PHP5, but they took too long to respond to my questions, so were out.
I ended up going with realwebhost - the response times have been excellent so far, and the list of features is impressive to say the least:
The exchange rate brings it down to £39 PA for one year's hosting with the starter plan, so it's not bad at all. Now I just need to do something with it...
8th Aug 2004, 10:10 pm
Fasthosts are using GD version 2.0.23. See here (http://www.cadtutor.net/test.php) for PHP info on my Fasthosts account. As Francis says, GD details are about half-way down.
James, have you checked the 4images forum for info in the poor thumbnail problem. I think I remember quite a lot of stuff about it. Don't even think of doing your own thumbnails. As Francis says, you'll never keep up if (when) the site takes off.
Francis, that Real Web Host deal looks pretty good. Interesting that they have a "99.5% Uptime Guarantee" - most hosts shy away from any such guarantees. Although that doesn' t seem so good when you realise that it means they can be down for nearly 4 hours every month. But the bandwidth looks generous and there is a good upgrade path. I'd be interested to know how you get on.
9th Aug 2004, 07:24 am
I hate choosing hosts - there are hundreds to choose from, so hopefully this will be a good one. You're right - most shy away from stating an uptime. I remember asking Fasthosts a few years ago when I signed up with them and they refused to give one. They also refused to give me the names of any sites they hosted, which annoyed me. Positive Internet quote the same amount, although it's not guarenteed:
We aim for and consistently achieve at least 99.5% uptime
I'm not sure if I would have any redress if they went under the 99.5%, but we'll see.
9th Aug 2004, 08:56 am
I find with Fasthosts that it depends who you speak to. When I first signed up with them, nearly 4 years ago, they were happy to give me the address of 3 or 4 sites they hosted. It is true they don't give any uptime guarantee but recent experience suggests that there isn't a problem in that department. I've not been aware of any downtime in the last 12 months or more. On the other hand, there's no way to monitor actual uptime with Fasthosts. Conversely, Clook are very open about such things. I get real-time stats and uptime reports so that I can monitor performance. You can look here (http://uptime.alertra.com/uptime.php?id1=394300&id2=1934) to see the monthly uptime report for the server this forum is hosted on.
Finding a new host is by far the most difficult/worrying aspect of website building. Thst's why I always thing it's best to use an independent domain registrar. That way, it's easy to switch hosts if things go wrong.
I still think that, in the main, you get what you pay for but if Real Web Hosts are getting good reviews, that's worth a lot in terms of recommendation. I see they're using cPanel for domain control. At least you'll be used to that having looked at cPanel at watest.co.uk.
27th Apr 2005, 11:09 am
I'm in the process of researching web hosting. As I plan to include audio downloads (mp3), I will need a large bandwidth and disk space. I'm currently reading through the posts that precede this reply and looking at the links they mention.
In the meantime, I was wondering if anyone had come across any particularly attractive deals recently that would be of benefit to me?
27th Apr 2005, 11:16 am
Make sure the host allows mp3 files - some don't due to the bandwidth they take up, particularly the cheaper packages.
27th Apr 2005, 11:26 am
Thanks James, good advice.
I'm currently looking at Streamlinenet.com's power user package (http://www.streamlinenet.co.uk/wh.php). I've just had a peek at their terms and conditions regarding unlimited bandwidth, and they appear to be very sketchy about what constitutes excessive use. There appears to be nothing preventing the use of non-commercial music files, but I may be reading it wrongly.
How does this package compare to those you've encountered?
27th Apr 2005, 11:39 am
You might want to check out webhostingtalk (http://www.webhostingtalk.com) and search under streamlinenet. You might want to avoid them by the looks of it.
Also, if you're planning to capture "personal information" as defined by the DPA, it looks as though it might be wise to find a UK-based host. Although I'm only part-way through getting a definitve answer from the Information Commissioner's office, it seems as though you can only transfer personal data outside of the EU if that country is on a specific list. If it's the states, by the looks of it, the company (ie, your host) will have had to sign up to the Safe Harbor agreement (http://www.export.gov/safeharbor/). At least, that's the conclusion I've come to so far, but am still trawling through DPA and EU documents and emailling various people.
27th Apr 2005, 11:45 am
I wouldn't use them in view of the complaints on webhostingtalk.
Also, the Power User only gives 100MB space - that's not going to be enough if you're hosting mp3 files.
27th Apr 2005, 11:51 am
Jeepers! Just read some of the Streamlinenet posts. Message received loud and clear :(
27th Apr 2005, 11:55 am
Disk space is not usually a problem because it is relatively cheap (and getting cheaper) for hosts to provide. Bandwidth is often the main issue. Most hosts have specific caps on monthly bandwidth and you should watch out for hosts who charge through the nose if you go over this. Some are more easy-going and will simply ask you to upgrade your account. Some hosts do not put a limit on bandwidth (such as Fasthosts) but they are more rare. They take a chance on the fact that most websites use only a small ammount of bandwidth and overall, this balances those sites that use a lot.
You should also be aware that some hosts provide options for "streaming" and this might be a consideration for you. Many hosts do not allow the use of MP3 files unless you buy into a streaming option.
For example, here's a quote from Supanames (http://www.supanames.com/index.php?page=newpremierhostlong):
No restrictions on the file types you can host (e.g. mp3 & exe)
Our Value Host & Value Host PRO packages have some restrictions on the types of files that you can host on them due to their extremely low cost. Value Host & Value Host PRO restrictions include MP3s, EXEs, ZIP files and more. Our Premier Host account does NOT have any such restrictions and you are free to host whatever you like on the account.
Certainly you should be looking around and don't sign up to anything until you have contacted the host and let them know exactly what you want to do and what services you will need.
Interesting developments at some of our favourite hosts. Fasthosts (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk) have just introduced a new range of dedicated servers (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/dedicatedservers/) which look like surprisingly good value for money. Clook (http://www.clook.co.uk) now have Virtual Private Servers (http://www.clook.co.uk/services/vps/index.php) available.
I'm not suggesting that either of these options are right for your projects at this stage but it is interesting to see which way the market is going.
27th Apr 2005, 12:09 pm
Start your host research by looking at a site like WebHostDirectory UK (http://uk.webhostdir.com/). Be aware that this site and others like them are often sponsored by web hosts so they are unlikely to be entirely independent but they do give you an idea of who is out there and what they are offering.
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