You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2007.

Yes, can you believe it? The new host is working out for me. Feels nice to work with people who know what the heck is going on and what a developer likes in a host.

My host decision is with iHostASP.NET (Hosting for developers, by developers). It’s a shared hosting plan, so it doesn’t fit everything, but the areas it does are well done. They offer 3 levels of hosting, Standard, Developer, and Professional. I went middle of the road with the developer level. It includes all the standard host goodies, like, multiple domains, multiple domain subs, multiple user ftp access, 1.1 & 2.0, asp, php5, etc., etc. There are some really cool things they offer: 3 domains configured in separate spaces, that is separate application and memory pools. This was a big selling point for me. And better yet, 3 sql servers (size up to 10% of total storage 240MB), the biggest reason I chose them. I needed multiple databases. They do this because the site is bases on serving DotNetNuke, and the developer level if for three separate installations. Obviously, you don’t have to use DNN.

The allow 60 aliased domains with the mid-plan which can’t be pointed to other directories, you have to do this via code. Not a huge deal, I have ran into this with other hosts like CrystalTech and it’s an easy enough script to write. Not a real lot of control of iis, less than I would like, but I have found my way around every thing I have needed to do so far. They don’t have to richest offering but its pretty darn good, and the service and support has been excellent. I’ll write more as more info comes about.

Well my new life with WebHost4Life, isn’t so good. There are still some issues with the site. I need to ask to have anything enabled, which should of been anyway, and my site seems very flaky now, now always coming up, or long delays for a page to load. These pages are nothing special at all. One small graphic and around 1k in text/code. Twice now the iis settings in the control panel just didn’t show up. Of course I received the common answer of,
“we can’t find an issue with your control panel”, and when I go back to it all it working fine. I guess it could always be me, I have been told more than once that I am jinxed.

Well, I am tired of stressing over this and tired of talking to their tech support on site issues with such a new account. Plus I have a new host in my sites (you may want to warn them ahead of time), ‘Ran by developers for developers’, so they say. 🙂
I have been talking to their support personnel on their support offering and so far it seems to match pretty well to my needs. The site is tuned for DotNetNuke and the welcome developers too. The price is a touch higher, but you do get what you pay for.

If this one doesn’t work out, I am sure I will head to Crystal Tech I have heard nothing but good things about this host. The only reason I have not gone with them is that they only offer 1 MSSQL database, I require a minimum of 2.

Away I go.

I broke it down to a host I thought worth giving a try for my hosting. As you know I have been having a heck of a time locating a new hosting service. While investigating dotNetNuke, I came across WebHost4Life, and booked marked them. Today I was going through my hosting research bookmarks and came across them again. After reading through there offer and comparing it to others in the same price range $10, I decided to try them out.

Let me tell you, it has been nothing short of a nightmare! I am not kidding. They only take payments on a yearly basis, which isn’t a huge problem as there isn’t a contract and they will prorate you the remaining balance. Filled out the form, payed the yearly fee, and printed off the order id sheet. Well, that was the last time I heard from them, really. No email to indicate that they received my order and will be working on it, No email indicating how long it will be before the service is setup, nothing. I was quite surprised. I contacted their tech support, and we just where not understanding each other, and I was just getting more and more impatient. It seems that, for some reason, they where unable to send emails to my yahoo account. I really don’t know why perhaps they are black-listed or something, I am receiving emails from other places like (whom could teach a few companies out there superior customer service). While on the train I opened a ticket with support about not receiving an introductory email, even supplied an alt email address, and yet they still didn’t get it. Their response to me was that the email I indicated in the email is not the same as the one listed in my account and I should check the proper account. So of course I had to email them back spelling out that I sent them an Alt email, meaning and Alternative email account, one for them to try instead of the one listed on the account, which we know isn’t working with them.

You may ask, what is the big deal about this email, well it seems that it contains instructions on how to get started with the site. No, I am not a complete idiot, I can break most things pretty well. I figured out dns servers, some other configurations, but I don’t have any way to enable my domain. The account is only using the tempory url which is used for initial configurations. I don’t have any ftp accounts, because there is no where to set them up in the control panel. It seems I need this darn email to get started, and nobody there is able to get me a copy of it.  To top it off, I did receive an email from the ticket support system.

I will give this chance to straighten this mess out so I can get back online (currently is down). Personally I don’t think they have the will to continue and will fall flat again, where I will have to pull the plug and continue my search. <sigh>

I wish everyone a safe, happy, and beautiful St. Patrick’s Day.

Here is to a little green in all of us.  <clank>

They are at it again! Sony is increasing subscription cost on their online games. Planetside is going up $2 a month, this is an increase from $13 to $15. It sure makes the game a lot less attractive. They haven’t done a lot of updates to it over the last few years and are now coming our with a large CE (combat engineering) update. The reason for the update is the usual, due to bandwidth costs and continual updates we need more money. The thing is, the number of subscribers is way, way down, and increasing costs isn’t going to improve that. The days of huge battles lasting hours are gone, there just isn’t the same number of players anymore. Recently the “old-timers” are playing new characters under the reserves program. This is basically free play up to battle rank 6–Enough BR to allow specialization in one thing–still fun, if people where on. For you EQ2 (Ever Quest 2) fans, and station pass holders, those prices are going up too, a station pass will be $30 (up from $25)! That is asking a lot from your subscribers. I guess I get to sit back and watch as Sony screws the pooch once again with it’s online gaming division.

I am exhausted looking for hosts, so to divert my energy elsewhere I thought I may try something new. I have some stupid EVE Tools I built for EVE Online and figured I would try building them in PHP. Why PHP? Simple, everybody is doing it. I don’t know why really, I have seen the language around for quite some time now and there are many, many websites and applications which use it, so what the heck.

I will say it doesn’t take long at all to get up to speed, it’s a pretty simple language. Having to write html just sucks, but that’s something I haven’t enjoyed, ever. Basically, I hate html and it’s different support between browsers (why do table never layout properly?). The tools have to be on the web, so html it is.

I have to say the one thing I really, really don’t like about PHP is that you can’t declare explicit/strict variables. That is, variables must be declared before they are used. This is achieved by using ‘option explicit’ at the top of asp (vb script) pages. Perhaps I am just not smart enough to remember all of the variables I have used, or misspelled; I’ll just let the parser handle it. I have just burned myself too many times in the past missing a capital letter in a variable, or something like that. This made me think, well, why not just use vb script then. Well, they way PHP works with web elements is a lot nicer then asp. I have only done some basic stuff with database access in PHP, so I cannot speak to that just yet, and being a long, long time user of ado, I may be a bit skewed. I have a lot of database work to do on the EVE Tools, so I will get my feel for it’s use with databases pretty quick. I have also noticed that PHP is OOP, it supports classes. Pretty cool, makes things a bit cleaner. Of course the first thing I noticed about the PHP classes is that they don’t have setter’s and getter’s for the properties. It seems properties are created by making a variable public. Well, I don’t like that type of access to my variables and using methods to set and get property values just seems wrong, but manageable.

Saturday night I was working on the PHP version of EVE Tools and discovered that godaddy have depreciated their support for PHP on their windows servers. They run PHP 4.3.11 (I wonder if there are any security holes there?), and have no plans to keep it up or move to version 5, which I am utilizing. I figured, ‘what the heck’, lets get a Linux host, it’s only $4 bucks a month, then I could also try out some of them Linux only web tools available (e.g. gallery). That failed as godaddy was having trouble accepting my shopsafe credit card number.

I guess since I am just playing around, the need for a better host isn’t required just yet. If I stay on the Linux side of things, there are hosts that also have svn support, which is very attractive. It would be cool to find a hosting plan that supported both Windows and Linux, but I am sure it wouldn’t be cheap.

Man I cannot believe how difficult it has been trying to find a new web host.  This is a nightmare (almost).  I have a feeling it’s my price-point that is hurting me.  It’s very true, you get what you pay for.  Crystal Tech  seems to be a great option, I am just not ready to shell out $16 a month for a host.  I was surprised to see Steve is unhappy with Dreamhost, as they have a great amount of services, and they would of been the hosting site for me on the UNIX side, but it turns out they view SLA’s and downtime flippantly, which sucks for a host, $10 a month shared or not.  Perhaps I should grab one of my really old pc’s, set it up in the basement and host from there?  Anyway the search goes on.

I have been using for a few weeks now and I am quickly realizing that you get what you pay for. They have a lot to offer for a small price, but this causes shortfalls in some undesirable areas. The biggest one for me is backing up databases. GoDaddy doesn’t allow any external connections to their databases (a little fact not mentioned in pre-sales info), and do not give you the ability to create .bak files (mssql). The only way to back up data and schema’s is though text files, and frankly that just sucks. I have read a post here and there that there are tools which can purchased which will automate the task a little bit more, but it just doesn’t seem right.

Since I write my code in .NET I went with a Windows host, and have been checking out DotNetNuke, a pretty neat portal application. I would like to use this for my website, but am very hessetent because I don’t know how to get a solid backup of the app. I don’t want to spend hours configuring a portal to have something crash and loose all my work. What if I want to move it to a new host, I will not be able to that either (which I am sure is attentional on GoDaddy’s part).

So I am in search of a new web host, and it hasn’t been very easy, there are just so many of them out there. Another issue, is I really don’t want to pay more then $10 a month (I know, you get what you pay for). Well I am not looking for mass amounts of space or bandwidth, just a place to host my self-built apps and a family web site.

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