Anime Blog 3.1: A New Host (KnownHost)

Anime Blog 3.1: A New Host (KnownHost)

Hey gang!  With no UQ Holder spoilers out at present, I thought I’d take a moment to update you all on the latest developments with the blog, focusing on my move from DreamHost to KnownHost. (Hopefully, anyone looking to move to KnownHost can gather some useful information here as well.)

Back in January, I realized that the DreamHost shared hosting plan I was on was not going to cut the mustard, so I upgraded to their so-called VPS (Virtual Private Server) system. As I said back then,

With “VPS” up and running for a week, performance has improved a great deal, but the way DreamHost sets up their pseudo VPS environment, I’m charged based on how much memory I use, and for how much time I use it. I have no problem with this “on demand” approach, but for this blog’s size (including the Tenchi Muyo! FAQ site and my small personal blog), I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth.

I really wasn’t getting my money’s worth (paying $50/month). The performance, though improved on the VPS, was still not good (8 second load time on average). At times, I’d hit these massive performance walls where it would take the site 15 to 30+ seconds to respond before beginning to display anything. That was unacceptable.

While the (apparently overworked) DreamHost tech support people were nice and tried to be as helpful as they could, even on the VPS plan, their initial response was, “It’s you, not us” (to put it in a nutshell). Even with using all of their recommended caching programs and other recommended footprint reduction actions, the best response I could get on the site was 4 seconds, which was OK. Unfortunately, the site often took 6 to 8 seconds to load and that was not acceptable to me. Support responses to my complaints, on top of trying to shift the blame to me (again, not in a negative way, but this is DreamHost policy), was rather slow in responding to most issues.

Ultimately, the problem is that while DreamHost sells a VPS plan, it is not true VPS. You are still on a shared environment, which is why there’s unlimited storage and data transfer with their plan, as well as the option to add (or subtract) memory in tiny (1MB) increments. Thus, you can be negatively impacted by what other people in your shared environment do.

After weeks and weeks of exhaustive research on VPS hosting companies, I narrowed my list of companies to a few with two top contenders. DigitalOcean had an awesome plan for $40/month (4GB memory; 2 Core Processor; 60GB storage; 4TB transfer).  However, DigitalOcean is an unmanaged provider, meaning that while they will support the physical hardware and such, they provided no other support. So if you had an e-mail, PHP, database, or other issue, you were on your own.  I decided that while I’m a pretty decently knowledgeable IT guy, I want to blog about anime and manga, not manage my applications on the VPS.

My other top contender was KnownHost, who have a couple of managed (meaning they do support things like apache, webmail, and other apps installed on the VPS) plans that caught my eye. First was their VPS-3 plan, which for $45/month (less if you paid for a year in advance, and an additional 15% off with a special they had on at the time). With that plan, I could get 2.5GB memory, 70GB Raid-10 storage, 8 CPUs, and nearly 6TB/month of transfer. For an additional $5/month, I could get cPanel, DirectAdmin, or Plesk.

The other plan I looked at was their SSD-2 managed plan. For $50/month (similar discounts as above), I would get 2GB memory, 30GB Raid-10 SSD storage, 24 CPU cores, and nearly 3TB of monthly transfer. An extra $5/month got  cPanel, DirectAdmin, or Plesk added.

Two Sunday’s ago, before I went to bed, I decided to send KnownHost an e-mail with some questions I had about their service. Based on my experiences with other hosting companies, I figured that I wouldn’t hear from anyone until Monday at the earliest, especially since my questions went to the sales team. Imagine my surprise when I got up early the following Monday, checked my e-mail, and discovered that in less than fifteen minutes from the time I sent in my questions, I had answers. Not only had the sales person answered my questions, but had even anticipated the questions I thought up AFTER I went to bed and answered them as well.  I’ve never had that happen before.

My response to such excellent customer service? KnownHost had a sale as I decided to go for performance and the SSD-2 plan. ^_^

DreamHost didn’t make it easy as their customized cPanel configuration did not allow KnownHost to just transfer my sites for me. So, although I had to move my sites manually, the KnownHost staff were there all the way, responding to any e-mail of mine for the migration ticket they opened within minutes. Moving my sandbox site over was a real pain in the rear because I’d never done anything like that before, but after that was done, the other (WordPress) sites moved over rather easily since I knew what to do with them. ^_^

Since pointing the IP’s to my name servers on KnownHost, the performance of the site has been good. I’m averaging a 2.5 second load time (with ZERO caching or footprint reduction items in place), with my slowest load time being about 4.6 seconds, and that was testing from a server in Europe. Since I’m on a true VPS, I’m not hitting any performance walls, even when I’m hitting the database with massive updates (the Archive Post Image Fix Project).  I’ll probably install things like W3-Total-Cache again to make things even better, since most website folks recommend doing things like that.

The customer service continues to be outstanding. The support team jump on routine issues like they are SEV 1 tickets, so no complaints there. ^_^

Thus far, my experience with KnownHost has been an incredibly positive one. If this continues, I’ll not hesitate to recommend these guys to anyone looking for a good, managed VPS provider.

Anime Blog 3.1: A New Host (KnownHost)

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2 Responses to “Anime Blog 3.1: A New Host (KnownHost)”

  1. WMC says:

    I love your blue-haired gynoid. I infer from her thousand yard stare that she has seamlessly synced herself with the computers she’s sitting on and has found some very interesting strings of zeros and ones. Since the range of her synchronization is limited, she’s using her laptop to tell someone what she’s found. What stories possible.

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