Lunar Pages – The Worst Mistake A Webhost Can Make…

… is to mess bloggers around.

I have just been reading some disturbing news from Trisia – she has been going through hell because her web host, Lunar Pages was claiming that her server was being a CPU resource hog, yet she wasn’t running any particular plugins that were an unusual drain on system resources to her knowledge, and Trisia is much more WordPress savvy than your average blogger.

This saga has been going on for weeks, Lunar Pages shutting off her site for CPU overload, and whilst Trisia does get a fair amount of traffic, it is nothing compared to sites that Diggbait and have intense social media surges in traffic.

She had asked for some indication from Lunar Pages of which script was causing the problem, but no help was given, just an insistence to upgrade to a VPS.

Trisia was actually willing to do that and pay a monthly fee, but it appears Lunar Pages tried to charge her for a 2 year subscription up front ($642), and wanted to charge $75 per hour for the move over to a VPS.

Lucia tried to help diagnose the problem, and wrote a special plugin to monitor plugin CPU load with WordPress, but to use such a plugin, you really have to have your site up and running for a period of time.

If webhosts are going to offer hosting for WordPress blogs, they also should invest resources in helping to diagnose problems which can happen from a rogue plugin, but can also be caused by a spam attack or something as simple as deleting a few spam comments from your database as recently happened to Paul.
Paul was using One.com for his hosting, and he is very technical, and isolated the fact that One.com shut down his hosting because he deleted some comments from his database that had been caught by Akismet.

So now what happens is word continues to spread about problems people are having, I ping Vlad’s post on Lunar Pages over at Web Hosting Review so that an additional opinion is on record there, and the viral nature of the blogosphere passes on the bad experience that bloggers are having with their webhosts.

Now I am thinking of moving this blog over to a dedicated server, but I am looking for one that is pre-configured with cpanel, and as many optimizations for a high traffic WordPress site as possible.

Any suggestions?

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Comments

  1. says

    I actually have experience CPU issues with BlueHost which is my favorite host. I think that may be due to the “multiple” domains in one account.

    Thanks for the link. I will quote this post in other place on the web hosting review blog.

  2. says

    My webhost is in the UK, been with him for years and years and I adore him. He does mostly business hosting but some personal as well and I’ve never had a single issue. Not sure if he is still taking clients though.

  3. says

    I just remembered that about one month ago my wife got a hosting plan with Lunarpages, the website went live and everything was working ok, by the third day it was down for a week. The explanation they gave was that the server had some problems. Fortunately now it is working well.

    Andy have you considered Jumpline? They do use Sphera for their control panel, but I “hear” that their new Dell PowerEdge servers are smoking hot… I am considering them for a dedicated solution, but I have not used them yet. Unfortunately no user reviews on my blog for them yet.

    • says

      My site has been hosted by Lunar pages for over 4 years with almost no trouble at all. About 6 months ago I installed WordPress just to experiment with a blog. I believe there were a total of 8 posts made before I shut it down. In the past year I’ve added a great deal of static content but there are almost no scripts on my site other than the standard /cgi-bin stuff.

      When I got notification from Lunar pages that I was using too much CPU time, I deleted everything that wasn’t being used including the blog data. I also phoned the help desk asking how to uninstall WordPress since there was no option available for that. The tech said he didn’t know.

      I’ve since had 3 professional web designers and 1 guy majoring in computer science evaluate my site and they’ve found nothing out of the ordinary other than I’ve got a lot of content and a lot of pageviews.

      Yes I probably do need to move to a dedicated host soon because the site is growing but there is no way I’m using more CPU resources than I did before unless it’s simply traffic based and not /usr/bin/php as Lunar host has told me.

  4. says

    I’m forever reading stories like this and am grateful that I’ve never had to worry about these these kinds of issues.

    I’ve never encountered problems with my host, or at least none that haven’t been sorted out efficiently and courteously. I’m no high traffic site like you, so I can’t say for sure they would be the best choice for your circumstances, but can certainly recommend them as worthy of serious consideration. Very good tech support, efficient and knowledgeable, always willing to work with you on any problems that do arise. Not the cheapest.

    I won’t link drop because I am an affiliate, but the man you recently gave $497 to has relied on them for a long time :-)

    Good luck in your search.

    • says

      I don’t mind people dropping affiliate links in useful conversations especially when it isn’t competing with something I have written.
      Maurice I know which company you are referring to though it must be 2 years since I last saw their sales page.

  5. says

    I feel everyone’s pain and have been through the hosting wringer lately. On one host had one of my sites shut down without warning and without notification for excess server usage. Little site that didn’t get much traffic. It was ONE image causing the problem and they just shut it down without notice.

    Then the dedicated server 5 star, my main site is on, kept crashing so my old host kept upgrading me. They said partly the forum is so busy and partly WP is a resource hog.

    So I’ve had it and am moving this week as we speak to a dedicated server at Liquid Web http://www.liquidweb.com/cart/content/dedicated/. I shopped forever, read tons of reviews and went with them. They are like RackSpace as far as very solid rep but not quite as expensive as RS and they have own datacenters and a good 10 years in biz. I called support 4 times Saturday with questions & every time the phone was picked up before the 2nd ring. So fingers crossed!

    Hollar if you want my affiliate link Andy ;-)
    Kidding of course. I’m recommending because I think they are a solid solution based on weeks of research Ive done. They have a raging special going through Web hosting talk. And yes you can get Cpanel and they are fully managed servers.

    Good luck all. Hope you get your hosting problems resolved.

  6. says

    I just tested and reviewed Lunarpages’ basic hosting plan. Didn’t experience anything like this. My only real complaint was that many of the Fantastico scripts common with other hosts were not available in cPanel.

    I have had scripts cause server resource issues, but never a WordPress plugin. Perhaps it would be more difficult to isolate a plugin than a script? At any rate, I can’t imagine a host, especially a reputable outfit like Lunarpages not wanting to help identify the problem.

    One thing I’ve learned from reviewing hosts is that there is always one customer who has had a bad experience and feels the need to vent. Looking at a variety of sources is better. It seems that hosts will forever be fighting the virally spread negative anecdote.

    Andy, I have been looking for a just such a dedicated cPanel host as well, so please post if you find a good one.

    [Edit: Here is the review Emory was referring to] Lunar Pages Review

  7. says

    Hi Andy,

    Don’t know much about dedicated hosting, because I’ve always been on shared hosting. Most providers seem to be pretty good, but it might be worth looking for one with a money back guarantee if you feel they do not provide the goods.

    Personally, I host with a company called ServerGrid ( http://www.servergrid.com ) and have always been amazed at how quick they respond to any tickets I raise. I usually have a reply within minutes and if that’s not good enough, they also provide a “live chat” where you can literally speak to one of their staff within seconds.

    Would recomend them based on my experience.

    • Brandy-Line says

      While they may have once been a good host, servergrid has definitely fallen in the tech support and reliability department. They seem much more interested in closing tickets than solving them, and there has been a bit of an attitude problem showing.

      Also you need to watch out for their yearly plans. First, they will make it difficult to cancel. And if you quit early they will try to charge you for three ‘free’ months at full price, even though their ads say the monthly price is actually less if you pay yearly and you can quit early with a refund of unused months– it just never mentions that they will consider it the first 9 months full price and the last 3 months free. I’ve been very disappointed with them since some catostrauphic failures in the middle of last year, and have moved all my domains over to Databasemart.com, where I’m now getting *very* good tech support service, and excellent features and resources including database support, windows asp.net hosting and a full user management console for my domains. Also Databasemart is very speedy.

  8. says

    I am a LunarPages user and compared to all the other shared hosting providers I’ve used, Lunar are by far and away the best. Admittedly it doesn’t take much to better some of the truly awful hosts I’ve used in the past.

    Also my sites don’t get too much traffic either. I’d be interested to know how much traffic Trisia gets (roughly)?

  9. says

    Andy I strongly recommend you check out Myriad Hosting. They have provided my friends with many servers and the service is top notch. Support tickets are usually answered within 5 minutes. Five minutes! Its amazing. Email them at 3 am and you will get a prompt response. They also offervirtual private servers starting at $44/mo. They may be a few dollars more than a bargain basement host, but you will save coutless hours with their generous support. It would take a dumptruck full of TNT to shake me away from them.

  10. says

    I just called Liquid Web and if I went with a VPS for this site (it is probably all I need for a couple of months) and then decided to upgrade to dedicated, they wouldn’t have a labour charge for the upgrade and they would handle the files / database transfers.

    It is strange that Lunar Pages seem to be milking this end of it.

    Hosting should be one of those easy things to sort out, and there always seems to be some reason that a host isn’t such a win/win situation.

    Myriad look like a great option, but it seems they don’t go beyond VPS – I don’t want to move things too often.

  11. says

    These events really got me worried. One can use Blogger as their publishing platform which in essence can eliminate CPU issue since Blogger publishes your blog as html files…. I hate this even crossed my mind. I stopped using Blogger long time ago and really have fallen in love with WordPress. Ironically this morning my blog gave me a CPU overload message, so I finally decided to turn on so called CGI acceleration. We’ll see if that helps.

    I spent some time looking at Blogger again and looks that there are some big changes since the last time I’ve used it.

  12. says

    I’ve heard good things about HostDime.com, which may end up being the service I’ll opt for if I ever outgrow shared hosting. Their VPS solutions offer Cpanel too.

    I always get confused about hosting solutions that go beyond shared. They seem to merely describe the technical specifications of the server you’d use and I have no idea how that translates into whether it would be a good fit for my site. How powerful would a server have to be to handle a WP blog that gets, say, 10,000 visits a day? Hell if I know.

  13. says

    I am in the market for a dedicated server as well. I had narrowed down my search to lunarpages and liquidweb, although part of the reason was I had given myself a time limit. I had very specific requirements that not every host supports. I need JSP and PHP support. Lunarpages sold me on their JSP and PHP experience. Liquid web didn’t seem very keen on my idea of using JSP, although they said it was possible.

    After reading this article, I may rethink things. Obviously, I shouldn’t have the same problem as Trisia, since I will be going with a dedicated server. However, it does concern me a little that they would treat a customer that poorly.

    One of the reasons I came up with liquidweb as a choice was a post on Duncan Riley’s blog and a post on Jim Boykin’s blog. Lunarpages was just a host I had read good things about the last 5 years, and they are one of the few well known hosts that offers JSP support.

  14. says

    I have been trying to figure out this CPU Exceeded error for a long time now too.
    Host Monster won’t help a whole lot. All they say is check the CPU_Exceeded Logs, and like that helps (NOT) It doesn’t tell you anything about what is hogging resources.
    Then they say it’s bad scripting, and I made the comment about it’s a WordPress Blog you supplied and never got an answer from them.

    They insist on going the “It’s a bad Script” route but not once did they want to help find out what script is hogging resources.

    They will rant on about cpu seconds and bla-bla-bla- techie talk bla-bla-bla I’m not a Rocket Scientist bla-bla-bla. (Probably copy and pasted into the message as if they sound like they know what they’re talking about) and it’s usually the exact same line they give so it’s obvious something they copy and past. It’s awful of me to interrupt them during their hard job with such a silly problem.

    I’ve actually downloaded Trisia’s script, and plan on using it when I find the time as it will take awhile to go through the process according to the steps she suggests.

    IMO, I think if they increase the percentage of 20% to maybe 40% it would solve the whole thing.

  15. says

    A lot of times shared hosts fail because of database limtitations. The host I use for my blogs – ipowerweb – has been great. The one time I had problems with my blog was when I had too many database queries. I tracked the problem down to the related posts plugin. I was displaying 5 related posts for each of my posts and I was displaying the full post, including the related posts on my home page (for a total of 5 times 15 related posts). So everytime someone accessed my home page the related posts plug-in did a ton of queries. Very quickly my shared hosting account shut down for an hour, because I had exceeded the limit for queries in an hour. It would then come back up and quickly use up it’s query limit again repeating the process.

  16. says

    Hey Andy. First of all thank you for highlighting my hosting story.

    I must begin by saying that if Lunarpages hadn’t pulled what I’ve come to think of as a “fast one” by charging me for two years worth of VPS when I wanted a monthly account I might still be with them. They refunded, but did not apologize.

    I will need a VPS or a Dedicated hosting account in the near future.

    If others are looking to switch web hosts I wouldn’t go with Lunarpages – not because of my story (they were fine up until I had troubles), but because they only provide phone support from 8 am until 8 pm Monday to Friday. If something goes wrong with your sites you want 24/7 support, preferably with a web host that offers 24/7 phone support.It makes a difference.

    My problem is similar to Paul’s, but different at the same time. Lunarpages wouldn’t tell me what time my problems started on the days that they noticed a high CPU resource usage. I would also think that by looking at their logs that they could at least have told me what domain my problems occurred on if other hosting companies can pinpoint a time.

    I have 10 domains. 15 WordPress installations, 16 blogs, one very large HTML based website (it’s been around since 1995 so it’s busy), and one website that’s run using the Joomla CMS.

    When a web host tells you that your account has used too much CPU resources and can’t tell you what caused the problem other than it was a script on one of your sites, and you have as many sites and two types of scripted website platforms (Joomla and WordPress) to go through as I do it’s pretty near impossible to pinpoint what is causing the problem.

    Almost everything that I use on my sites was up to date, but I did go through my sites and spent time updating any plugins that had been updated, removed plugins that I thought might call the database too often (a post view counter plugin and post rating plugin were removed. If anything was causing a problem I suspect it could have been these plugins, but I removed them June 26th – hours after getting my first notice of CPU problems), and I basically only left the plugins or add ons that I thought were essential to the running of my sites.

    Lunarpages kept coming back telling me that my sites were using too much CPU resources after I’d done all of the above. I even went through all my directories looking for any files that seemed too large or ones that I didn’t recognize in case there were files that I hadn’t put there. I didn’t find anything out of order.

    At this point I’m not sure that I had a problem with any of my plugins, modules or components. It might simply have been a traffic problem or spam attack.

    I think it’s also interesting to note that I heard from Lunarpages approximately four times in the first two weeks beginning June 26th. Each time they reported my CPU resource overuse. I then went a period of almost two weeks without hearing from them. By this time I’d deleted plugins and upgraded anything that had needed upgrading. I wrote to them asking if my problems were resolved since I hadn’t been hearing from them and they wrote back to tell me that I still had CPU resource issues. Three days later they suspended my account.

    Whether that means anything exactly I don’t know, but if this issue was happening daily wouldn’t they have been reporting the issue to me daily?

    The day my account was suspended they shut me down at 11:35 am. I was not home at the time so I know I wasn’t doing anything to my sites – deleting spam for example – when it occurred. The issue that finally shut me down must have been due to traffic or calls to the database. All they would tell me was that the resource usage when up so high that it almost crashed the non production server that my account was on.

    In the month of July my sites in total got 1.2 million page views (that’s with all my sites down for almost four days, and several time outs throughout the month of July). The majority of those page views were on the seven blogs that I have on my feverishthoughts.com domain (over 800,000 page views) with Tricia’s Musings, As the Garden Grows and Odd planet being the most popular sites.

    Since Lunarpages was unable or unwilling to tell me what times my CPU resources went up, or on which domain, it was very difficult to pinpoint what the trouble was.

    If they’d been able to tell me that it was the feverishthoughts.com domain I would have first suspected high traffic as the cause. If they’d said it was on my Joomla run domain I would have suspected a faulty script.

    I didn’t go around yelling Lunarpages sucks. I appreciate that in the beginning they moved my account to another server – a slower non production server that slowed my sites and that was perhaps less able to handle my traffic – so that I’d have some time to figure out the source of my problem.

    Their handling of my issues beginning on July 21st when my account was suspended and their subsequent moving of my account to VPS after I’d told them NO when they mentioned the $75 hour service charge and then going ahead, doing it anyway, creating a two year VPS account when I’d only originally agreed to a monthly account and then charging me $642 – well yeah … that makes them suck. LOL That’s just plain wrong.

    Each time I wrote to support it took anywhere from 8 to 24 hours for a reply. The majority of my issue with them happened on the weekend when they do not offer phone support and I suspect have fewer staff working.

    I felt like I was writing the same questions, requests and or instructions over and over again in my dealings with support. They weren’t listening.

    I don’t think that I’m that hard to understand. Am I? ;) No means no, yes means yes, send me more info means send me more info. Right?

    Anyway, as I said I do think that in the near future I will have to move to VPS or dedicated hosting because my traffic is increasing substantially each month. 6 of my domains are newish and I haven’t done much to promote them, once they begin to get busy I’m sure I’ll need to upgrade.

    I am interested in hearing what companies others are dealing with, and like Andy I’d prefer to be able to use C-panel as that’s what I’m used to although I can learn a new system if I need to.

    I went with Hostgator and have been with them since July 23 or 24. Not long enough to fully assess their service. I will say that I do appreciate that they have a support ticket system, live chat and telephone support – all 24/7. I’m on shared hosting right now but they also offer what they call semi dedicated (which I think must be like VPS) and Dedicated servers so I can move up if I have a problem or if my sites get too busy.

    Andy, do you mind if I ask how many page views you get on this site each day or month?

    BTW for the last month or so – perhaps since Lunarpages moved me to the non production server some of my blogs that are in directories of feverishthoughts.com now contain the primary domain in the url if you click on the “home” button on those sites. ie you can go to Odd Planet by visiting http://feverishthoughts.com/oddplanet/ and the site looks fine. You can travel through the site by clicking on post titles or the previous posts link at the bottom of the page but click on the “oddplanet” symbol in the upper left corner and it takes you to feverishthoughts.thewebfiles.com and then you are stuck traveling through the site with the thwebfiles domain in the address. Oh yes, take the end / off the first Odd Planet address and you get the url with thewebfiles.com in it right from the beginning. Help??? (I’ll make a post about this on my site so if anyone has suggestions I’d really appreciate it)

    Any ideas what would cause this problem? Could it be something in my database configuration for those sites? Could it be a plugin that I’m using that’s doing it? I’ve looked and looked and can’t find the source of the problem and hostgator was no help when they checked my sites – they actually messed up my htaccess files, which do not have redirects in them that would cause this problem. I’m at a loss. BTW the problem continues at hostgator because they did a full c-panel backup of my account so whatever issues were in my lunarpages set up are now in my hostgator set up.

  17. says

    Tricia,

    I would be really surprised if there were many shared hosting solutions that could handle 1.2 million page views a month on a regular basis, especially on a site that is database driven. If you host a lot of images or videos it is even less likely.

    Were you ever able to look at your logs to find out how much bandwidth you were using?

    It sure doesn’t sound like a good customer experience. I know that most shared hosts claims to be able to support huge amounts of bandwidth, but they really can’t for shared hosting that involves a database. That is one of the reasons why when you look up “xyz host sucks” in the Search Engines you will always find people who have had a bad experience with a given web host.

    I am going to have to quickly take another look at my options for dedicated servers. Better safe than sorry…

  18. says

    I have to agree with George that it’s pretty impressive for a shared hosting plan to have coped with such a visitor load (at least until it didn’t anyway).

    Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t excuse the rather half hearted customer service you’ve experienced but it’s certainly been an interesting thread to follow. LunarPages are usually quite well thought of and I must admit I’m surprised , even though I shouldn’t be, that they don’t provide true 24/7 365 support, I honestly didn’t realize that.

    I’d love to know the outcome if MacBros finds the answer, because it definitely sounds as though you’ve been rather unfortunate and a genuine victim, as opposed to so many “my host sucks” evangelists. Anyway, best of luck in getting settled somewhere else :-)

  19. says

    I was just thinking about it and I take back the 1.2 million page views comment. One one of my blogs, a while back I had around 30,000 page views a day and the blog never went down. It is on a shared hosting account with ipowerweb.

    • says

      Ok, I tried editing my comment, but couldn’t for some reason.

      Anyway, I wanted to add that I was probably pushing the limit for resources on the blog. Bandwidth wise it appeared that our blog could have handled around 2 million page views, I am not sure the database could have handled that.

  20. says

    I’m sorry to hear about the problems your friend have experienced. I have heard great things about MediaTemple.net, and I have not regretted setting up an account (gs) grid-service at them.

    The system allows you to host several different domains, and the limit at 2tb traffic per month is not really a problem :-)

    (hopefully, I will get that problem at some point, hehe)

  21. says

    When I started affiliate marketing Lunar Pages was well reviewed. I signed up for one year contract. After a few months when I was getting about 300 people a day they told me my site was a server hog (static site no images) and suspended the account till I paid an outrageous fee to get moved to an outrageously expensive server hosted by them of course. I took 2 months of wrangling to get my stuff off of their server without paying the moving fee or upgrade fee. They are the absolute worst host ever.

  22. says

    Trisha I was glad to highlight the problem, because in your case you were doing everything reasonably expected of an average webmaster to alleviate the problem, and the 2 year charge was the thing that broke the camel’s back.

    I think your URL problems are most likely .htaccess related, though I am not sure of the best way to fix things.
    I should point out one of the most annoying things about Hostgator is that somehow my .htaccess has been reset to something else a few times, killing my sites hosted with them.

    This site is on Hostgator currently, on a “copper” reseller hosting package.
    It was previously on one of their older servers as an “Aluminum” reseller package, with just a 50GB bandwidth allowance.

    There was no way to just upgrade my allowance to the currently levels to give me some breathing room, I had to pay for an upgrade to get the new allocations.

    I needed them…

    This site doesn’t get a huge amount of traffic – discounting social news traffic I rarely get more than 2000 page views per day, but that is because of niche and content choices.

    My RSS is collected from Feedburner so that doesn’t register in my traffic, or my bandwidth.

    People often show stats based upon AWStats which I find faily inaccurate for pageviews.

    Awstats

    My blog is setup currently in such a way that I rarely get more than 2 pageviews per visit from a subscriber unless they are fairly new.

    They click through on an article, they then click through on to the home page, and can read almost everything.

    I will be changing that soon, along with a load of other things that I hope people find interesting.

  23. says

    I use Hostgator as well, and it’s been a good experience so far. I’ve never had a problem in losing htaccess info, but you can’t use Cpanel to modify your htaccess file since it has a tendency to wipe out any custom changes that were made to it either by WordPress or by yourself directly.

    Hostgator’s semi dedicated solution is not VPS, it’s really still a shared hosting solution with the difference being that you would only share the server with three other people. I know one blogger who tried it but the traffic he got was still too much for the server to handle, so he had to go for a VPS solution, which ironically enough was cheaper. I might still try it though if my traffic starts to spike (which would be never). :-D

  24. says

    I need to retract what I said about Liquid Web. Have had bad time with getting new dedicated server set up.

    Ordered Friday. New server set up Monday. As soon as they transferred my site – hard drive crash (on the new server).
    Replaced drive. Tried to re-migrate my site. Forum would not work. All kinds of crazy re-directs with forum posts going to 404 error pages trying to find the forum posts on the blog SUBDOMAIN. 2 totally separate subdomains that have nothing to do with each other. They decided the server needed to be pulled for testing.

    I called supervisor and said no too many problems I want a new box. He assured me it would be put on priority status with supervisor follow-through when he left his shift. New box set up in but then no one picked up the ticket to transfer the files. Couple more support tickets with no answer. Waited 17 hours and still no site. Then called and yelled again and they put someone on it. He used wrong password, then some other mistake and cant even figure out how to copy my files. Which is super easy with Cpanel and only takes about 15 min. Then some other problem…

    Hours of support tickets back and forth for 4 days and still no site. Days of time wasted – still no site. So I just called to cancel and get a refund. Tech mgr said NO REFUNDS!

    It’s not like I used them for a month and just decided I didn’t like it. They could never even get my site up and working!
    I’m fuming!

    So waiting for mgr to call to see if I can get a refund.

    After I got upset about support I started searching for feedback differently. Instead of “Liguid Web Reviews” which were mainly positive. I started searching for LW suppport and downtime and problems. Found lots of people unhappy with support and lots that have had to wait hours for response to support tickets.

    Why is it so hard to find a good host???

    • says

      Now I know why you didn’t respond to my email asking for an affiliate link from you, you were being dragged through hell.

      I might end up with Media Temple – I have heard lots of bad things, and I am not sure I am going to like Plesk (it might not work with all my tools), but the lure of not having to move onto somewhere else is fairly tempting.

  25. says

    Hi Andy. Sorry I actually didn’t get an email from you. Thank you for attempting to get my affiliate link. Would have been happy to give it to you if I was happy with service.

    But yes I was going through hell. I did get a VERY nice and VERY apologetic call from management admitting it had really been a mess and several offers to try to make things right.

    I just don’t have time to even keep trying any further and have no confidence things will be better. I need to get back to running my biz and just can’t stay on tech support issues for 4 days straight. It’s killing me. So cancelled and he did agree to give me a refund even though previous guy said they would not.

    FYI before picking a host go to WebhostingTalk and Google and search for “host name” problems, “host name” support, “host name” uptime and downtime and “host name” sucks. Don’t just search for host name or host name reviews.

    If I decide to move again, which now I’m afraid to even try, I’ll probably just jump all the way up to RackSpace. Super expensive but may be worth it to sleep at night.

    Good luck all! Let us know how things go!

  26. says

    Linda & Andy,

    As someone who went from shared hosting to VPS to dedicated, and, as a past customer of Liquidweb, let me jump in with some personal feedback.

    LW was great when I joined them back when they first opened their 2nd data center. VPS was setup promptly and things were great. In fact, I even blogged about it on choosing a new web host.

    Over time, performance began to deteriorate at Liquidweb. Over the course of less than 1 year, I was moved to 4 VPS’s to try and alleviate various issues (intermittent drops, services needing reboots, slowness etc…). Basically, all the things you do not want in a web server.

    To make a long story short, the most recent answer from one of their techs is that on a VPS, you are bound to experience some of the above outages. I was under the impression that a VPS prevents these things from happening due to the virtualization of the server but from experience, this is not the case.

    Back to more research.

    I almost went with Rackspace as well but at the end of the day, just could not justify the cost. Especially after I began looking at other companies who owned and operated their own data centers. Yes LW was one of those companies but support and service was on a steady decline during my hosting time with LW.

    I took the advice from the LW support staff and upgraded to a dedicated box…. at another data center :)

    Since you asked for a suggestion, check out http://www.softlayer.com. Usual server setup is 4 hours. They are not fully managed so you will need to hire someone to admin your server if you choose to go with them. It’s easy, http://www.platinumservermanagement.com provides full service + server monitoring for $30 / month. Just add that to the server price at Softlayer. Be sure to check out the link from my article (above) to find deals & discounts for web hosting including Softlayer!

    By the way, if you want cPanel hosting, a VPS with 512 Megs of RAM is minimum. cPanel itself requires lots of memory itself. It’s the cost of running cPanel server.

    As someone who moved to a few shared hosting providers, then to Liquidweb then to Softlayer, I have to say it’s been a real eye opener and pleasurable experience (ultimately). When your website is slow or goes down, revenue stops. This was enough for me to find a great place to host my own websites as well as client websites.

    I really should update my blog and share my above experience transitioning from shared to a VPS to a dedicated server. I will do that soon enough and hope others will find it helpful.

    [edit] Here is Ian’s customer number with softlayer [ ID: SL33129 ] – they don’t have an affiliate program but it is always nice for a company to know where it is gaining its referrals

  27. says

    Ian,

    Thanks for that great information. I will check out the host you recommended. I may go with someone else, but I am really happy to know that http://www.platinumservermanagement.com exists. I thought about hiring someone to do that extra work if I had to go with an unmanaged server, but this sounds like a better option.

  28. says

    You are welcome George. And believe me, web server moves are stressful times. Having gone through it (more than once), I completely understand.

    As I mentioned, not only does revenue stop when websites are not reachable, but your brand is negatively affected as well. This is sometimes even more important than the temporary lost of revenue!

    I think Andy allows affiliate links if does not conflict with the original post and more importantly, I am glad my suggestions are helpful. If you do go with Platinum Server Management (PSM), I would appreciate the referral commission since you did hear it from me first.

    Here is my affiliate link for PSM: http://www.PlatinumServerManagement.com/affiliate.cgi?5893963335

    It’s been a lengthy learning process throughout the years. I think I am finally at the data center where I can call home! If you have any questions, do let me know.

    Good luck in your move as well George!

    • says

      Ian I also slipped in your affiliate link in the first comment, just hadn’t commented to the fact.

      Honestly, if someone made a very good argument about anything I write, and then included an affiliate link for a competing product, I would even let that stand, but don’t let the spammers know ;)

      I delete the driveby affiliate links all the time, and also comments I know are purely for SEO benefit to a competing “review” of something.

      There are obvious niches for this blog such as blog community building, but core subjects or background themes are things like “review quality” with affiliate marketing or sponsored reviews, and that carries over into the comments as well.

      I would really love readers/commenters to earn the odd affiliate sale from this blog.

  29. says

    Thanks Andy, I do appreciate it!

    By the way, if you are running cPanel now, I would suggest sticking with it on the new server. Plesk may be able to import cPanel hosted websites but there are always some glitches.

    When import is done properly using WHM (control panel one level higher than cPanel), you retain all databases, web stats and even email addresses for your websites. Basically, everyhing is ported over. This is a huge time saver and is definitely the biggest peace of mind during this stressful time.

    Good luck in your search! And I am glad I am not the only one who manaully goes through every single comment on my blog :)

  30. says

    Hi Ian and all.

    Good to hear some validation Ian. I have read good things about Softlayer and Platinum over at WebHostingTalk. Just not sure how comfortable I am about having server and support seperate or how the cost would stack up compared to just having everything including and complete TEAM handle your account at RackSpace.

    But the cost difference is huge. RS would cost me almost 4 times what I’m paying for a much lower end box than I have now.
    Plus the overage charges they charge for bandwidth on top, just would make it out of site. But still wonder if it would be worth it just to be able to sleep at night. :-(

    I’m hoping the new “double everything” dedicated server I got from my old host (at a great price) will hold up. My old (current host) is really good about support, just crashed too many times and kept having to upgrade from semi ded to VPS to dedi to bigger dedi due to the forum and blog being so busy and eating lots of ram and causing crashes.

    Fingers crossed I don’t have to move again. BUT word to the wise. As Ian mentioned there are lots of hosts that have good reps for awhile then go downhill. You should just always have a backup host in mind in case things go south with current hosting. I plan to try to do some research each weekend to keep up with reviews and options over at WebhostingTalk, so if I need to move in a hurry I feel more confident I am making a good decision. (I really thought LW was a good one.)

    FYI, if anyone decides to go with RackSpace, I just noticed Jim Kukral promotes them, so you could go grab his affiliate link.
    Someone in the “inner circle” may as well get a commish. ;-)

  31. says

    Hi Linda,

    Good to see you here. I totally understand the hesitation of going with a 3rd party server management company and having the server hosted somewhere else. I went through this same struggle myself.

    That was the exact reason for going with LW previously was because they owned their own data center. To make a long story short, I actually have less stress now after I switched to Softlayer + PSM (a 3rd party server management company) versus hosting with LW where it was fully managed.

    I have set PSM up with not only direct SSH access, but if needed, they can log in to my Softlayer portal to remotely reboot my machine if needed. The SL customer portal is one of the best I have seen actually. In summary, Softlayer staff supports the network connectivity and all hardware issues. PSM provides OS & software support.

    As you mentioned, RS’s bandwidth charges are outrageous compared to industry standards. Most of their customers seem to love them. It was evident when I was invited to their Rack on the Road party at AdTech SF. But their prices seems a bit high to me. Even their low end boxes are quite expensive.

    Linda is correct. WebHostingtalk.com is your best friend for finding deals, discounts, past history and current feedback (good & bad) about web hosting companies and data centers. It is where I recommend users to go in the “Moving to a new web host” link I posted above.

    Hope your current server setup meets your needs Linda. I do feel your pain.

  32. says

    After a load more research I am tempted to go the clustered VPS route.

    Most of the hosting companies offering clustered VPS don’t seem to invest much time in making their websites look good, but on WHT I have been hearing some good things about Imountain.com

    Here is their current offer

    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=624554

    DIAMOND Clustered VPS (6 Dedicated IPs)
    Have a demanding forum or website? Clustered VPS is your PERFECT answer!! Get your demanding mySQL queries off-loaded to OUR mySQL server, not YOURS.
    [/b]30% DISCOUNT PROMOTION CODE: “WHTsuper30″
    30-day money back guarantee
    768MB RAM
    15 gigs of space
    1000 gigs of Transfer (yes, you can use it down to the last kilobyte)
    200 domains, 50 mailboxes, 25 mySQL/PostgresSQL, Antispam, AntiVirus on OUR Servers
    Month to month price $32.19
    1 year signup monthly price $24.14
    3 year signup monthly price $22.53
    Regular monthly Price $45.99
    **CLICK TO SIGN UP NOW**

    Note that that doesn’t come with Cpanel

    FastServers.net offer external Cpanel license for $15 which is much cheaper than the typical $50 for an external license

    https://ordernow.serverorders.net/servers/productdetail.php?id=28

    I then pay out for the luxury of having it all managed and moved over by some professionals from Platinum Server Management for $29

    $32.19 (hosting)
    $15.00 (cpanel)
    $29.00 (management)
    ——————
    $76.19 / month

    Caveats so far

    Mailboxes are limited to 50MB
    Over quota charges are high (but aren’t they almost everywhere?)
    No mention of OS, but I suppose Centos or other alternative are free

    They seem to offer lots of custom solutions as well, and I like the idea of using some kind of clustering.

    Rackspace does offer something similar with Mosso.com for $100 per month without software, and whilst it includes support, I don’t think it would be to the same quality as Platinum Server Management, who do all the migration, etc

    With Imountain I think I will be getting a better performance and scalability than if I went with standard VPS or a cheap dedicated.

    Am I missing something?

  33. says

    Andy – My only suggestion is to get the hell out of LunarPages as fast as possible. I’ve had nothing but problems with them… this seems to be a model, as it happened to me and I read it on other blogs also:

    They e-mail you to tell you that your site is eating up too many resources and you should upgrade to a VPS… I did that and nothing changed – more problems appeared and their only support response is that your scripts are not good and that they’re memory hogs.

    I now have a HostGator dedicated server for $174 / month. It’s very easy to manage as it has WHM / cPanel (comparing to the plesk crap on LP). It cannot hold to a digg first page but it can handle lots of traffic… I only had problems with it when I got digged but I think mine is not properly optimized for this stuff. There are absolutely no limits on the number of domains, e-mails, etc and I have more than enough bandwidth (real bandwidth, not overselling like most of the hosts do).

  34. says

    Trying to get things accomplished on a Saturday with servers is a bad move.

    Platinum Servers sales department picked up the phone fairly quickly. After it was determined after lots of explanation that they will only be looking after a VPS, running on a cluster, there was no problem, otherwise they were going to charge me for every computer in the cluster individually.
    Plus I believe they don’t normally do clustering

    Imountain Clustered VPS server ordered as above. I had shell access within 5 minutes. Separate server login for Cpanel.

    They preconfigure some databases for you which is a little unnecessary, plus they only allocate 10 by default (I don’t blame them, I am sure many clients don’t use full allocation.)
    I can request more at any time.

    Cpanel is turning out to the be problem, Fastservers only work until Midday in their sales office on a Saturday. I ordered Cpanel, but they apparently process all orders manually – that really broke the Camel’s back.

    It won’t be until Monday that I can contact them and I have guests all next week.

    If I can get all of this nailed down, it is going to make a great tutorial at the very least.

  35. says

    The saga will continue this weekend :) – I cancelled my cpanel/whm/fantastico order and placed a new order with http://www.buycpanel.com/

    They do instant installations, and it appears to have worked, though it is broken.

    I have now also signed up with Platinum Server Management (Ian’s link which I used) and they are meant to confirm the order within a few hours.

    As soon as they come back to me I can put them to work…

  36. says

    Glad to hear you took the first steps Andy! Having gone through a few server moves myself, I know it can be a stressful time. Know that I am sending over some good karma to help with the move :)

    Also, almost every tutorial out there suggest that keeping the old server running for 48-72 hours is generally ok. I did some simple php + mysql tracking using localhost during my move and noticed some traffic, although low, was still trickling in (from slow-to-upadte DNS servers I presume) for almost 10 days after pointing DNS’s over. I now suggest for anyone moving to keep the old website up for at least 10-14 days if possible.

    Also, for wordpress, you can:

    1. Turn off commenting on your old web host
    2. Better yet, update old web host WordPress config file to connect to database on the new web host so any comments left on the old web host will still get to the new server. cPanel will allow you to turn on connections from your old server to the new.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with the move and thanks for using the link!

  37. says

    That’s cool. Hey, I hope this doesn’t de-rail the conversation a little, but have any of you used dreamhost?

    I am looking for hosting for a 501 c, and I found out that dreamhost offers free hosting for a 501 c. The group I am looking for could certainly use the free hosting. They really don’t need much bandwidth or anything, just something that works. They would eventually like to install wordpress and/or Joomla.

    If anyone has direct experience with dreamhost, I would love to hear about it.

    Thanks,
    George

    PS. I am really looking forward to hearing how platinum server management works out for you.

  38. says

    Hi Andy,

    Great timing for this post. I just had a site shut down, by Hostnine.com, for the same reason. Escessive use of resources. It was one site of several of mine on their “top reseller” account. All sites combined used maybe 40 gigs of a 250 gig allowance, the one site was pushing 30 of that. Pure content (world of warcraft) site with some images.

    Shut down, shunted off to abuse, no explanation, no nothing. And it wasn’t even a blog. Just a CSS driven static site and pretty much the only script was an adsense tracker.

    Usually Hostnine’s service is fast, but this time my tickets were closed without response. It took hours to get a decent response. So now the site is on a 1and1 vps.

    I did finally get ahold of their main tech guy who agreed that things were mishandled, but that they really have to watch cpu/ram resources. I never did get a cpu/ram usage report.

    Nice guy, but… I think my days of recommending hosting services are over.

    Thanks for letting me vent. :)

  39. says

    Here is an update, it is not going as smoothly as I had hoped.

    Cpanel could have been installed on the H-sphere server, but it wouldn’t have been able to link through to the master MySQL server, which would certainly defeat most of the advantages of using this service.

    Platinum Server Management have been responsive throughout the weekend, and I would like to thank Ethan.

    However Platinum Server Management don’t support managing servers that are only running H-Sphere, so I am going to have to struggle through getting this working myself until such time as I find an alternative.

    The Imountain servers option I chose comes in a fairly raw state, it didn’t even have ftp installed, so this is going to be very educational.

  40. says

    Sounds like you are heading into the H-Sphere realm Andy. It just wouldn’t make sense not to use the master MySQL server, that was the whole point right? :)

    You are right, PSM only manages cPanel servers. I am glad to hear that Ethan was helpful even on the weekend. That is the kind of service I have been getting since day 1 with PSM.

    Good luck with setting up the new server. Let us know when you have made the move. I wouldn’t mind checking out connections speeds.

  41. mimir says

    I too have had a happy life with Lunar Pages until they suddenly changed earlier in the year. It has to do with them tightening their restrictions on file storage.

    If your business is – for example – publishing or type face editing of novels/manuscripts, you cannot let your customers upload their their manuscripts to your website – these are considered files ‘unrelated to your website ‘. Ditto on allowing family members to share photos of the kids. Up until now I had been asking my customers to use yousendit/megaupload for files that exceeded e-mail server limits but it was starting to look unprofessional. I had thought that by offering my customers a ftp access it might boost my business. The files are only stored for a few days before I download and remove them. However when I asked lunarpages for help in setting up ftp access, I was told my business model is a violation of their TOS and I had better stop before I got into trouble.

    Ahem. so we’re back to the fugly filesharing sites with the hope that I won’t wake up and find they’ve shut the site down for me being an Oliver Twist. ;-)

  42. Richard says

    Just wanted to echo Linda’s, Alan’s and others’ experience with Lunarpages. /Something/ happened a couple of weeks ago that caused them to give me the server-overload spiel and hassle.

    All I /know/ I did was use Cpanel->Fantastico to upgrade a couple of WordPress blogs (one fairly widely used, the other not). These blogs and more have been happily running in LP’s bog-standard account for 3 years.

    Their legendary support involves getting an email from a different support person each time, who just repeats the same “overloaded! overloaded!” mantra, and never answers any specific questions in my previous email.

    I’ve shut down or hidden nearly everything now, except /one/ of the blogs.

    I used to think LP were great – no doubt cos I never had any problems I needed support for. I’m starting to think they are the Ryanair of Web Hosting.

    Looking forward to getting it sorted so I can start looking for a new host /in my own time/ rather than at Lunarpages gunpoint!

  43. lunarpages sucks says

    Lunar Pages sucks. Stay away. Lots of downtime, rude service personnel, aggressive hosting-plan upgrade tactics, server issues, file manipulation without permission, bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad hosting company. DO NOT GIVE THEM ONE PENNY OF YOUR MONEY.

  44. says

    I have hosting a few sites on various hosts that have been horrible. I prefer not to bash them here. The 2 hosts I have not and am happy with are JetNetHost.com and Steadfast.com. I primarily use JetNet for an email server which is blazing fast. I use Steadfst for my file hosting site. Steadfast’s service is excellent and their data centers are fast.

  45. Bob says

    Yes, I have recently started having problems with lunarpages. They were great until my site started seeing traffic. Got to the front page digg 2 times in 3 days. I read a comment earlier on this tread asking when Lunarpages started moaning about resources. Well, we got 20k uniques in one day and I believe that used 9% of the cpu resources. 1% is what shared their hosting is allowed.

    They were not as rude as they were to Trisia. We agreed to monitor the usage for a week before I decide what to do. I have removed other sites from the server but traffic is still about 5k uniques a day which uses 3-4% of the cpu. Im not running any funky scripts that I know of. Is this normal usage for a wordpress blog?

  46. Cecelia says

    I’ve been w Lunarpages for 4 years and have upgraded from Shared to VPS without issue. They do charge for that, but only because I was using cPanel and VPS uses Plesk.

    I also have a client who used a Basic Plan from them and upgraded to a Dedicated w/out issue – in that case, they were going from cPanel to cPanel, so there was no cost, which was awesome, considering the cost difference. :)

    If you are getting to the frontpage of Digg every other day, you canNOT be on a shared server – no offense, Bob, but that’s a lame reason to be angry with them. Digg causes an intesne amoutn of traffic and most likely hit their shared servers hard. Digg-intense sites aren’t meant ot be in a shared environment – I’m sure for that you’d need to be on a Dedicated machine (I’m almsot there myself!).

    I’m defending Lunar because they’ve been amazing to me and I can’t imagine hosting anywhere else. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but in my own opinion, if you’re using up the CPU, they’re correct in saying you need to upgrade.

  47. Ryan says

    Well, I’m glad I read what everyone had to say about Lunar Pages. Just before I signed up for an account with Lunar Pages I saw this site and pulled out at the last minute. Lunar Pages then contacted me again offering me a discount and some other benifits to reconsider joining. I then told them about some of the reviews I read. They addressed the issue about a single site hogging resources, and I can understand their point about that, but they didn’t say anything to ease my mind about slow customer service or lack of 24/7 customer service. Here’s the response I got from Lunar Pages about my concerns and the concerns of some people on this thread:

    Hi Ryan,

    While we would love to host your site you have to research and make that decision for yourself.

    I will says that resource usage is a big concern on shared servers as one site can hog enough resources to degrade all the other customers on the server. Unfortunately we cannot allow a single client to negatively impact all the other sites on the server. There are many scripts that are resource intensive and can cause this. The only option is usually to move to a VPS or Dedicated server where you are the only account there so you can do as you pretty much please.

    There can always be more to what might be posted on a website and due to privacy concerns we cannot provide additional information.

    I hope this information is helpful.


    Best Regards,

    support@lunarpages.com

  48. Jackson M says

    Hey guys, just throwing in my 2 cents. I’ve been with lunarpages for a little over a year now (just renewed) and I thought it would bug me they don’t have 24/7 Phone support but actually it’s always worked out well for me because their email response is pretty quick. I had one critical issue (ended up being my fault lol) which I called them about and got through in 7 minutes. My email responses have usually been between 1 and 3 hours, with one occassion (around Thanksgiving) where it was longer. I dunno, I pick and choose my battles. If the worst thing you have to worry about is upgrading because your site’s popular, that sounds pretty dang good to me!! ;) I’ll trade you for my dinky site in an instant.

  49. says

    I was going to sign up for LunarPages’s VPS plan for my client’s website because i think the plan meet my client’s requirements. Before signing up, i tried to make some research, by contacting them, try to find satisfied and unsatisfied users, praises & complaints, possible discounts, technical explanations, etc etc. Then when i made my mind to sign up to them, somehow for whetever reasons they blocked my IP address (and visitors from my geographical location) to their sign up page. What a stupid action they’ve done. Goodbye LunarPages.

  50. says

    Ouch! The biggest mistake one can make is to pay in advance. Despite the “discounts” up front, after 3 months, most credit card merchant providers will make refunds the option of the merchant.

    Moral of the story: When purchasing cpanel hosting, pay month-to-month.

    Kind regards,
    Martin

  51. says

    Update on my comment above. I’ve just signed up with LunarPages for 2 years to their shared host plan. My first impression is that they are friendly. Their post purchase welcome emails sent by Sales, Billing, Support and Affiliate which i think is effective. The thing is they took quite long to investigate on an order. It takes like 12-14 hours for them to approve my account after payment. I hope they can respond faster for future support tickets.

    In the other hand, HostGator and Hostican scan faster. They did it like half an hour or so. But their anti fraudulent system are just too cool for me (which HostGator claim it makes them better than Dreamhost). I’m a suspected scam to them which i can’t understand why. I pay via paypal (aren’t all paypal user’s verified?), they have my IP, and they will host my site on their server which they can shut down anytime they want if it’s a scam site. So, I refused to be verified because, in my view, only retarded will verify to get a web host service.

    This way i must thanking LunarPages.

  52. Otto4242 says

    Wow. Thanks, for the heads up. I was looking into switching servers, but if LunarPages actively monitors CPU usage and blocks sites because of it, then they're off the list.

    It's one thing if a site is actually causing problems. But I just read their own FAQ, and they basically state that they monitor CPU usage and kick sites that get too high over some X period of time. They don't mention whether or not this causes other sites any problems, they have some form of hard limit which is enforced.

    This is a bloody stupid policy, and under no circumstances can I recommend any host which is so boneheaded as to manage their customers in this manner.

    So yes, LunarPages is a non-contender.

  53. Otto4242 says

    Wow. Thanks, for the heads up. I was looking into switching servers, but if LunarPages actively monitors CPU usage and blocks sites because of it, then they're off the list.

    It's one thing if a site is actually causing problems. But I just read their own FAQ, and they basically state that they monitor CPU usage and kick sites that get too high over some X period of time. They don't mention whether or not this causes other sites any problems, they have some form of hard limit which is enforced.

    This is a bloody stupid policy, and under no circumstances can I recommend any host which is so boneheaded as to manage their customers in this manner.

    So yes, LunarPages is a non-contender.

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