WebFaction – Web Hosting

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WebFaction is a web hosting service that is run by developers for developers.  At goginet, we have exclusively used WebFaction since Feburary 2006 as the web host for hundreds of websites and web apps.  I highly recommend them for several reasons:

  • Very affordable – for $9.50 a month (and $8.50 a month if you prepay a year) you get 100GB of disk, 600GB of bandwidth
  • Easy to install major software, like WordPress, PHP apps and websites, etc.   Unlimited databases, with MySQL and others at your fingertips.
  • You have full command line access thru SSH and can upload and download files with FTP and SFTP. This is important when putting together systems that require settings and changes that some hosting service will not let you perform.
  • Powerful control over your domains, easy to make subdomains, unlimited email addresses with redirect and mailboxes
  • Their support documentation is superb, with a great forum.  They use state of  the art equipment in world class data centers.  They upgrade and improve the performance and security of everything they run. They do that work in a very systematic and clear way, giving you heads up emails with any potential impacts spelled out.

The bottom line on performance and features is that that is runs apps and websites generated and developed using Scriptcase very very well. You don’t have to waste time trying to install MySQL or a certain version of PHP… it is all included in your WebFaction account.

You can get a full list of features and services they provide:  Features List

The Trust Factor

I only trust WebFaction with my professional websites and web apps because year after year they consistently respond with human to human communication.  If you send in an urgent support ticket, they look at it right away.  Many, many hosting services are out there, like GoDaddy and others that seem very low cost – BUT when you try to get help or support… it is like dealing with a big, impersonal corporation.  We have had to do several ‘forensic’ recoveries of websites on systems like GoDaddy for client, who can’t get any help and can’t access their online businesses.  We always recommend WebFaction to such clients, as they can get help from very knowledgeable staff 24/7.

webfaction-control-panelI have only had a few scary moments with commercial-class websites, and WebFaction staff have always been there to help us solve the issues ASAP.  I would say that over the past 8 years, with our hundreds of client websites and large scale web apps plus dozens of projects under development at any one time, all running on multiple WebFaction servers, we have experienced perhaps 2 incidents that caused outtages, and these were resolved very very quickly.  Servers are machines so they sometimes do have failures, so WebFaction has things like RAID 10 disk arrays and system backups that preserve your systems, so they can restore to alternative machines quickly. Their constant upgrading also helps keep up-time at maximum.

If you decided to go with virtual private servers or perhaps Amazon servers, those can be viable options too. However, be prepared to have very knowledgeable server and operating system admins on your team.   I have done system administration of Linux and Windows servers, both hardware and virtual VMWare, and it is not trivial. When you use WebFaction, they essentially act as your system admin 24/7.  It lets you be a developer and not a systems admin.

To be honest, most issues are caused by us, the developers, who will do bone-headed mistakes.  When you are first learning something, or when you are experienced but pushing the limits of a new technology, you may trip something up.  It is nice to have an organization like WebFaction at your back.    WebFaction is extremely programmer and developer friendly, and you can ask them about advanced topics of scalability, security, and so on.  They are developers themselves, and are very open to account holders creating new types of sites and apps.

Best of all, WebFaction lets you try out an account for free.

Sign Up and Try WebFaction