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Ask HN: Managed dedicated hosting recommendations
27 points by midnightmonster on June 26, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments
I'm an avid user of linode-type virtual dedicated servers, but I have a client who wants a fully managed and supported option. Virtualization is fine, but it needs to be able to pass a basic PCI remote scan and questionnaire (not actually storing card data--that's outsourced to Braintree). App is PHP and MySQL based and currently could use some speed improvements. Business is good, so spending money for uptime and peace of mind is fine.

I'm usually more hands-on, so I don't know who to recommend for managed. Any experience?

(I prefer to work with Ubuntu systems, but I can live with alternatives. A distribution without recent PHP is not ok.)

If security is a priority, I would recommend FireHost (http://www.firehost.com) without hesitation. They have been great for us to work with. I also recommend Wiredtree - which has been flawless for us over the past 2 years.

I once worked as the sysadmin for a blogging network. We used Logicworks.net for quite some time. They managed the servers and helped out when things were going bad, but would also stand back if we wanted to do anything ourselves.

I can't speak highly enough about the guys I dealt with there.

I'd also recommend Logicworks -- they helped us setup a distributed app across two different parts of the country, and it worked well. And it always helps to know a person there too. Give Steve Zeller a call, he'll take care of you and let him know Ivan sent you: szeller@logicworks.net, http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenlzeller

Hostgator http://www.hostgator.com/dedicated.shtml

They are a bit on the expensive side, but they are fully managed and support is awesome. Besides thats the only managed dedicated service I had experience with.

True story (a bit off-topic). Couple of years ago when I had HG Dedicated Elite Account with them for about 1 year. I think they charged me for one month or so after that there was a bug on the system and they didn't auto charge me every month (and I didn't check, I assumed they charged). After about 1 year, they found out the problem and they contacted me and explained the situation (I checked my bank account and verified). They gave me an option and told me that I don't have to pay for their mistake (~3k I owed them), but if I continue to use their service I will have to pay. I decided to leave. I was particularly going through a hard time financially during that time and I thought it was unfair situation for me to be put in a place where I have to pay a lumpsum amount to keep using their service when it wasn't my fault. Anyways, I wasn't necessarily proud of myself for not paying them. However I would highly recommend them simply because of their excellent customer service and their reputation.

Here are a few cloud providers I'm aware of that offer "fully managed" or advanced support options:

EC2 (with premium support - pricey)

Storm on Demand


Storm on Demand is a new IaaS platform backed by Liquid Web. Pricing is reasonable, support is good, and they really know what they are doing. I've been using their service for about 3 months now with no issues or downtime.

+1 for SoftLayer. We've been using them for about 3 years now and we've been very happy with them.

Also, The Planet has a cloud service in beta with some advanced support options like monitoring and pro-active downtime response

I've been using WiredTree for CurrentHipHop for the past 2 months. They're cheap, managed and great support so far.

Another thumbs-up for WiredTree. Reasonably priced given the level of support you get (even low-priority tickets typically get responses within minutes). Nice control panel, too.

Big fan of Wiredtree.

If you want managed, I think Rackspace is still the best. They have gotten us out of plenty of jams. Fastest response times, great monitoring, phone support, etc.

Completely agree. The only issue I've run into with rackspace is that they are sometimes too proactive - they locked a subcontractor out of one of our development boxes a couple weeks ago because they didn't recognize the user.

I am the co-founder of a pro-active server management company, MNX Solutions (http://www.mnxsolutions.com). So I have a bit of a bias.

The best dedicated server provider that we have worked with to date, hands down, is Softlayer.com.

Couple the best server provider, with the best server administrators and you will be heading in the right direction.

Glad to see SoftLayer are still on top of things. I used them when they first launched and the guys from The Planet moved over as I used to run a shared web hosting business.

Actually getting the basic PCI scan passed should be quite easy, especially if you do not store the card data.

Yes, it is pretty easy. Just a baseline requirement for the hosting.

this is relevant to my interests, well, sortof. do you have a link?

You might check out a company that I used to own, BitPusher.com. They host and/or manage infrastructure for dozens of startups, including a few YC startups (Wufoo, Meteor solutions (I think), and am pretty sure they're working with Posterous now).

It's a cool setup, we built it with the idea of replacing systems administrators in a start-up, becoming part of their change management process, providing architectural guidance, and proactive management of customer infrastructure. They do dedicated servers in their own datacenter, as well as having great pricing with SoftLayer due to a pretty strong relationship there.

My old business partner, Daniel Lieberman, still runs BitPusher. Tell him Michael sent you.

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