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Ask HN: Hosting/server for a startup - Should we think in scalability now?
8 points by pmtarantino on Nov 28, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments
Hi out there! We are working on a new startup, that if it goes popular, it will need a good hosting.

Should we start with a simple hosting and the move (which may be hard, if in the future), or should we start buying a VPS or something like that?

We are developers but not so into the technical (server config) part, so we are a bit clueless here.

Thank you for your answers! :)

I have been using www.knownhost.com for several months and so far they are excellent. They offer a managed VPS which means if you need something done and you aren't quite sure how to do it, they will handle it for you. They have pretty responsive email support too and they are always very helpful.

One thing that I really like about their support is if they do something on your server for you, they will send an email of exactly how the went about accomplishing the task i.e. all the linux commands they used. From what I have found, it also looks like they by far have the best prices for a managed VPS.

They also offer dedicated boxes so if you outgrow a VPS than you could always upgrade to one of those.

If you are not really into sysadmin stuff you should try to avoid VPS if possible. It's not hard but you don't want to be learning while you have more important stuff to do. Check out Heroku or AppFog.

Having said that, Softlayer has a program called Softlayer Catalyst where they give you $1000/month in hosting expenses, mentoring and some other stuff. You can read more about it and apply here: http://www.softlayer.com/partners/catalyst

Thank you. I will check Heroky, AppFog and the Catalyst program.

Does VPS need more maintenance than a shared hosting?

Don't even consider shared hosting, unless you're setting up a cheap Wordpress site you're better off going for Heroku/AppFog or even a VPS. Shared hosting tends to be slow, unreliable, the support usually sucks and all their promises about "Unlimited X" are bullshit.

VPS do need a lot more work (not sure if I'd call it maintenance) than a shared host since you'll be installing everything from zero and after that you're the one in charge of making sure it stays running. But again, even that if preferable to using a shared host.

If you are just starting out i.e. validating the idea - go with the cheapest and the easiest option which allows you to get the site up and running in front of your users. If this means cheap web hosting (assume you have no experience with a VPS) - then so be it. If you have managed a VPS before, then start with the cheapest VPS (say prgmr or linode). You can always easily scale the VPS until you reach a point where you need a dedicated server.

Best to cross the scaling bridge only when you come to it.

We all need great hosting optimized for scaling if our ideas get crazy popular. But until then, you need something that you don't need to worry about, so you can concentrate on building and testing your product.

We recently switched to PagodaBox, because I have no interest in handling sysadmin stuff at the moment, and I'm loving them (writing a blog post about it soon).

Cross the scaling bridge when you come to it. In the mean time, find something solid that just works for now.

Great, thank you. I was looking for this kind of advice :)

We started out on a VPS, but I also knew enough about Linux to host what we needed to host (mail, LAMP, RoR, svn, etc).

It doesn't take too much effort to get Debian working if you don't need too complex of a configuration, and unless you have 10k users it's relatively easy to learn as you go.

I don't think there is anything wrong with shared hosted during your early prototype states. I love my low cost shared hosting service Alterhosting.com - these guys go above and beyond the call of duty in support - even fixing my applications sometimes.

I started on shared hosting, moved to webfaction, but grew into VPS. It's just easier if you want to install software that they probably wont install in shared environments.

I’ll recommend Heroku.

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