12 questions to ask your host-to-be

September 1st, 2007. Tagged: hosting, performance

I was working on an article discussing how to implement Yahoo's 13 rules for front-end performance on a shared host, I hope the article will be out soon. Anyway I have access to accounts at a few hosts - icdsoft.com, site5.com, dreamhost.com, so I was trying out the stuff I wrote in the article and had different issues with the different hosts.

I know choosing a hosting company is not easy, mainly because of all affiliate sites that publish fake reviews selling the host. Just like most other things, it's pretty hard to find unbiased reviews. So here's a list of questions to ask your future host-to-be, hopefully if they say YES to all, they have a pretty good shot at being decent. Of course there are other non-technical questions that are equally important (customer service, speed, price, etc) but hopefully this list can get you something to ask when wondering which host to pick.

  1. Can I create any number of subdomains?
  2. When I create a subdomain can I pick the directory where it points to?
  3. Can I park several domains?
  4. Can I set up cron jobs?
  5. Can I create use symlinks?
  6. Can I create .htaccess files?
  7. Is mod_expires ON and can it be enabled/configured in .htaccess?
  8. Can I use per-directory php.ini files?
  9. Can I use php_value (and php_flag) directives in .htaccess?
  10. Is mod_gzip (or mod_deflate) installed?
  11. Is mod_headers ON and can I use Header directive in .htaccess?
  12. (bonus/trick question, nothing to do with performance) Is there monthly bandwidth limit? If the hosts says something like "unlimited" or "unmetered" bandwidth for under $99, you should most likely avoid them

Again, a good host should be able to answer all questions YES, except for the trick one. Note that not all these things are required to implement the performance rules, some are substitutes for each other. For example you might not need local php.ini files at all if the hosts allows all things to be setup in .htaccess. But anyway, your future host should have as many YES answers as possible.

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44 Responses

  1. [...] YouTube 12 questions to ask your host-to-be » This Summary is from an article posted at phpied.com on Saturday, September 01, 2007 12 questions to ask your host-to-be September 1st, 2007 I was working on an article discussing how to implement Yahoo’s 13 rules for front-end performance on a shared host, I hope the article Summary Provided by Technorati.comView Original Article at phpied.com » 10 Most Recent News Articles About Yahoo [...]

  2. [...] 12 questions to ask your host-to-be    Posted in Daily_Savings     « links for 2007-09-01 [...]

  3. Stoyan Stefanov’s Blog: 12 questions to ask your host-to-be…

  4. [...] Stoyan Stefanov has posted a few suggestions that you should probably ask your host-to-be before taking the plunge, making the commitment and entrusting your life to them (well, at least your data). know choosing a hosting company is not easy, mainly because of all affiliate sites that publish fake reviews selling the host. Just like most other things, it’s pretty hard to find unbiased reviews. So here’s a list of questions to ask your future host-to-be, hopefully if they say YES to all, they have a pretty good shot at being decent. [...]

  5. More important questions:

    14.) Which version of PHP, Apache and MySQL/PostgreSQL do you run and how often do you update? (Very important question! Should be a recent version of PHP,

  6. More important questions:

    14.) Which version of PHP, Apache and MySQL/PostgreSQL do you run and how often do you update? (Very important question! Should be a recent version of PHP, < 3 months old and PHP 5, Apache 2, MySQL 5 / PostgreSQL 8)
    15.) Which PHP extensions are installed and can I request others?
    16.) Does PHP run in save-mode? (Should be answered by NO)
    17.) Do I as customer have SSH access?
    18.) What is your backup schema? (Hosts should support some kind of incremental backup to be able to give you lost data of 2,3,4 days ago)
    19.) Are there any additional/hidden costs to set up a database, install software, etc? (Should be answered by NO)
    20.) Is your service desk reachable by phone.

  7. [...] 原文地址:http://www.phpied.com/12-questions-to-ask-your-host-to-be/ [...]

  8. also : mod_rewrite

  9. Thanks Arnold, Sylvio, good points. I can also add running imagemagick, but I guess if Arnold’s 19) is covered than we’re good.

  10. [...] article original: 12 questions to ask your host to be [...]

  11. Great list, thanks for it! I stumbled about before finding textdrive which is a yes to almost all of your questions (a couple I didn’t ask). I agree with Silvio that my question #1 is “is mod_rewrite enabled” surprisingly there are still hosts that say no.

  12. Thanks for the list. I’ve been lucky so far with my hosts but it’s good to have a list of things to look out for. Nothing worse than paying for a year’s hosting only to find yourself stranded because the features you need aren’t available.

  13. Good list. Next time I switch hosts maybe I should just have you talk to them for me.

  14. Heh, yeah right, so that you have someone to blame, instead of blaming yourself.

    If I can rephrase what my grandmother once said: selecting a hosting provider is like selecting from a bag of snakes – no matter how hard you try to pick the best one, it’s still a snake. :D

  15. Hey, I was looking for a new hosting, and I tried registering on DreamHost and Site5. Boy, what a nightmare. It’s been three days now, and none of them manages to register me. One has glitches with Google Checkout which leaves the domain I want to start with and my email blocked, the other can not process my credit card although the very picky Paypal is ok with it. It’s been three days, brother … Can anybody recommend a good hosting company ????

  16. I’m using DreamHost and haven’t had any problems in the nine odd months I’ve been with them, although I paid with PayPal funds.

  17. good lit, mod_rewrite should be very important also.

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