A Serious Question about Hosting with DH

Ok Dreamhost users I need your advice based on this question -

I have a Strictly Business Plan account and currently pay $79.95 a month although I do not have anything uploaded yet. So, if you were launching your business today which will eventually provide your full time income online, that is all your websites, blogs, membership sites, etc., would you do so on Dreamhost or would you get a dedicated server to start out?

Right now I am paying the $80/mo for nothing since I have not launched yet and I do not have any experience with the issues some of you have been having with DH lately. I have never hosted a website before or done anything online regarding running a website prior to this so this will be my very first webhosting experience. After looking at other hosting companies based on where I am at in the scheme of things just starting my business online, I decided DH offered a “virtual” dedicated hosting acct with their Strictly Business Plan for me to get things underway and be able to have a large amt of storage and bandwidth without having to fully invest in a dedicated server at this point. But, I am having some second thoughts about doing this and am wondering if I would be better off just going ahead and starting off with a dedicated sever.

Would love to hear some opinions/advice/experiences (especially if you have a Strictly Business Acct as well), from those of you running your businesses online.

Thanks everyone!

Best Regards,

Are you just exploring the idea of engaging in an online business or are you quitting your day job and doing this full time? What expectations do you have for success? Do you have a business plan, etc.? Finally, what’s your level of technical savvy? How comfortable would you be in fully managing an Apache installation and being a unix system administrator?

I’m asking to get an idea of whether you want to cushion your downside risk by saving some money. You do save money by going with the L4 plan vs. dedicated hosting. You also get some of the benefits of shared hosting in that you get a standardized apache setup and one-click installs, etc. This could allow you to do much of the work yourself rather than having to hire a tech guy to manage or fix your server.

If you do continue with the DreamHost Strictly Business plan but do want some of the benefits of dedicated hosting, you should consider the DreamHost Private Server service. You’re guarded against much of the problems associated with bad neighbors on your server.

I’m sure others will have lots to say as well.

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Thanks Lensman. No, this is not just an exploration into an online business. This is the culmination of over 18 months of planning and prep to this point with everything in place and well positioned to launch the business. I have very specific plans in terms of the business and how it will evolve over time based on how my niche responds and tells me they want, but I will also be very flexible to do whatever is necessary when it comes to the technical side of things since I am not trained nor do I have a real big interest in the technical side of things. Even if that means contracting with someone to do the techincal and admin stuff for the servers.

My background is well suited to the business and marketing side of the process which is what I want to do. I do not want to get heavily involved in the technical side of managing or fixing server problems which is why I liked the L4 solution for me right now. I will have to check into DSPS further since I have not looked at it yet. And even though I do not want to be heavily involved in the tech management side of things, I would like to at least be somewhat versed in it so that when it comes time to hire someone to take manage the technical side of things for me I would at least have a little understanding of the process.

My biggest concerns with using a shared server is getting my sites and email shut down because others might be getting spam complaints and we might be using a shared IP or I am using a IP that was previously blacklisted and can’t get my email delivered. But, I am not sure how that works with DH if on a L4 I would get my own unique IP or not so I am going to check on that also before I launch on a L4 plan as well. Email deliverablity will be crucial for my business and I don’t want to get blacklisted because of something I would not be able to control due to a shared server or email client.

Thanks for the info Lensman I really do appreciate it!

Best Regards,

It looks to me like you want managed hosting, which is what DreamHost provides, even for their dedicated plans. The company I work for used to have managed hosting we changed to colocation web hosting in order to save a few million dollars a year.

You can read up on the different kinds of hosting you can get for your business in this Wikipedia article on Web Hosting.

FWIW, you should consider using Google Apps for your email. This is a free service offered by Google where they will provide email for your domain (youremail@yourdomain.tld) using the Gmail infrastructure. I’m not an email expert, though so you should get some additional advice depending on what you want to do with email.

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The cheap/easy way to do it would be to have an account here, and another one somewhere else, then use a failover DNS setup. There are a few companies that offer it, like dnsmadeeasy.com.

Then, you can take the email worries out of the equation by using a separate mail hosting solution (Tuffmail, Fastmail, Google, etc…). Google is the popular free choice, but many people have an issue with trusting them in the privacy department.

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