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Ask HN: What's the status of Heroku? (and other Rails hosting questions)
3 points by matt1 on Nov 4, 2008 | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments
This is a followup to a previous thread (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=272031) where I asked about Rails hosting options. I'll be at a point soon with my app where I want to deploy it and am taking another look at my choices. Unfortunately, my sysadmin skills are very much lacking and while I want to learn, that's not a priority right now. That pretty much eliminates sites like Slicehost unless I want to pay someone to configure it. (I plan to learn, but taking the time to do that now will add several months onto my timeline, which I want to avoid).

I'm looking for a managed host and my research has led me to HostingRails and Heroku.

My initial impression of those two sites are:

Heroku - Very easy to set up and use, though I've read that they add a banner to your page unless you sign up for a premium account. I'd happily sign up and pay for one, but I don't see an option for that anywhere. Also, the fact that their site hasn't been updated in months worries me a little (correct me if I'm wrong). I'd love to support a YC company and their service looks great, but I'm hesitant.

HostingRails, compared to Heroku, takes a little bit more work to configure, but seems like a pretty good choice. A lot of the negative reviews are years old so its hard to tell whether the downtime issues that some complained about have been resolved. Their homepage guarantees 99.9% up time, which makes me believe that the issues are not longer major concerns. That being said, I worry that some of the positive reviews are actually staff, some parts of their website are a little sloppy, and they make you pay for a year in advance.

What do you guys (and gals!) think? Are there any other options I should consider?

Appreciate the help. (PS: I bought a Macbook yesterday per HN's advice and love it already -- thanks for the pointers!)

Your concerns with heroku are non-issues. The banner is a semitransparent one that adds an edit button to take you to the online editor for your app. You can configure it to not show (http://groups.google.com/group/heroku/web/heroku-toolbar-set...). Also, they are very much active in their development: check the google group postings to see what I mean.

You should really consider EngineYard (http://www.engineyard.com/). They are run by a group of really bright and genuinely nice people.

The founder, Ezra, is around HN as ezmobius.

ezmobius is awesome, but be careful with engineyard

I've known several startups that got burned but lots of downtime and performance issues. Many times their sites were taken down due to either system issues or other customers impacting their database (mysql cluster is shared), filesystem (shared gfs), or load balancer.

A couple friends' companies have left - after a week of downtime every day.

A couple are still there, and are still impacted regularly. On the plus side the people at EY are really smart - and they have made it so the companies have to know almost nothing about how to run a rails site. (capistrano, mysql cluster, mongrel setup, load balancing, shared filesystem is handled for you - that is what you are paying for)

They have a public status blog at:

You can read through the issues that the clusters EY0# have had.

I think EY will improve in time, but they have issues currently that make it not quite the "sure bet" that it will be.

Thanks, but a bit expensive for some just getting started, no?

It is expensive. Perhaps consider starting on Heroku and moving the EY later on. If you read testimonials, there are some really amazing stories that show why EY is worth the money. Things like messages from EY helping people with optimizations and tracking down problems in their code.

My experiences with heroku has been very positive so far: The online IDE and tools are very robust and they've been responsive to me when I needed to ask questions.

I don't think you'll be disappointed.

It's not that hard to host a rails app yourself with apache + mysql + mod_rails.

Just rent linux server and install apache, mysql and ruby, then "gem install passenger" and follow the instructions.

I do as much browsing in WebKit as possible. Heroku does not support WebKit and till it does I cannot spend too much time with it.

Judging from the first few comments, it seems like I'll give Heroku a go. As always, thanks for the tips.

99.9% uptime is not that great, actually, if you do the math. That's a 44 minute outage every month.

Which is not at all bad for a site that's just starting.

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