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port80
03-27-2009, 03:34 AM
Preface: This post is addressed to the WestHost customer base, to WestHost management and staff, and to the management at the UK2 Group. It's intent is to provide information, ask questions, and promote discussion among the above listed groups. With so many new developments happening, communication among all affected is crucial, yet so far it seems to have been limited; especially when taking into consideration the effective scope of said changes.

Last Tuesday evening, what began as a simple thought of curiosity turned into an odyssey of research and great concern over the future direction of WestHost.

It occurred to me that I had not seen anything much in recent newsletters since WestHost's acquisition by UK2 Group about what developments were taking place under the new ownership, and about what was happening with the upcoming version 4.0 offering. I began to look into it, and the further I got, the more distressed I became.

After re-reading all the newsletters as far back as the announcement of the acquisition by the UK2 Group, I visited the WestHost Blog (* To be fair, I did not read comments at the time. If I had, I would have found some of the information I was seeking. I will address that further down in this post.), and re-read the Acquisition FAQ. I found nothing that addressed what developments were taking place under the new ownership, or about what was happening with the upcoming version 4.0 roll out.

I then visited the Forums where I found a post which alarmed me when I read that version 4.0 would not be a VPS environment, but a shared one and suggested customers "move" to a different UK2 Group offering for VPS called VPS.net: Westhost 4.0 (http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=13202)

That lead me to look into VPS.net and to read through the forum there. Interestingly enough, it was the forum at VPS.net where I began to find a much greater level of disclosure about what was happening here at WestHost.

In multiple posts written by Ditlev Bredahl who is the CEO of UK2 Group, Ditlev mentions that Sphera, the product responsible for WestHost's current VPS solution is going "end-of-life" meaning that Parallels, the company that makes Sphera has decided to discontinue and no longer update or support it (http://vps.net/forum/showpost.php?p=1009&postcount=10). This "end-of-life" for Sphera partially explains why WestHost version 4.0 will no longer be a VPS offering, but a shared hosting offering. The reason I say that Sphera's "end-of-life" only "partially" explains WestHost abandoning it's VPS offerings is because Sphera, fine product that it was, is not the only virtualization solution available.

VPS.net has chosen to implement XEN to do their virtualization. XEN is open source, very popular, and well supported all of which mean that unlike Sphera, it will not likely be vulnerable to an "end-of-life". XEN and Sphera are different animals though; meaning that among the many virtualization solutions available, there are different approaches. But the plethora of virtualization solutions and approaches is a topic you can research further for yourself to learn more.

Once I got a taste of what was happening, I began to follow the trail of breadcrumbs to learn more. I spent a great deal of time reading and interacting on the VPS.net forum, and researching to try and get a better grasp of everything. In the end, I spent 25 hours straight only stopping to go watch a friend perform for his first time on amateur night at the local comedy club. (He did well, and yes, sadly there is only 1 local comedy club here.)

The following day I called WestHost to try to get more answers, and to plead for better disclosure and transparency concerning all the changes happening. I explained that even if it created some alarm, that they could turn the resultant onslaught of questions into a FAQ. They could then ask people to first read the FAQ and only contact them to ask questions not covered by the FAQ... and those new questions could be included in the FAQ.

I intend to post more to this thread with additional thoughts I have on the subject, but I will stop here for now leaving you with links where you can do additional reading on this topic.

WH Forum: Important WestHost News (http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=12089)
WH Blog: Update on Company Progress (Read the comments.) (http://www.westhost.com/blog/2008/12/update-on-company-progress/#comments)

WH Forum: Considering Coming back...question (http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=13228)

Threads I have posted to on the VPS.net forum...
Broken Links, etc http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=159
What images would you like to see? http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=110
An Eye on "Compliance" http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=160
AUP/TOS: IRC? http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=161
A few questions http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=108
Attempted speed test http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=103
What to call the 'node'? http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=35
"This is invalid" error for Hostname http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=163
Mega-Node VPS count? http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=165


I will leave you with one thing I found encouraging: Ditlev the UK2 Group CEO appears to be quite tech savvy, and very active and accessible over on the VPS.net forum.

-Mike (Loyal, but nervous WestHost customer.)

WestHost - CReeves
03-27-2009, 07:35 AM
Mike,

I understand your concern and your desire to find out as much information as possible. I think your FAQ idea has merit and is something that we will likely implement through this transition. I am just as eager as you are to find out all the details about the transition. We are doing some beta testing which I would encourage you to join in as it may help alleviate some of your concerns. You can sign up for the beta test here: https://corp2.westhost.com/wh4betasignup/

As you know WestHost has been around for a number of years and we have worked hard to build a strong loyal client base with people like yourself. The last thing we want to do is alienate any of our existing clients through this process. We have always made taking care of our clients a top priority and we will do so through this transition. As we receive more details of the transition we will be sure to include those in the newsletter and on our blog. I would encourage you to continue to watch these for details. I am very optimistic about the transition over to our shared hosting environment and to be able to offer clients the VPS.NET hosting solution. The Sphera technology we used was unique and we know that neither environment will be exactly the same. However, it is our aim and intention to find the best solution for each of our clients and to help take you through this transition.

wildjokerdesign
03-27-2009, 09:12 AM
I too have been nervous about the coming changes to WestHost, but let me give you the reasons why I am beginning to feel better about the them.

First as you mentioned in your post Ditlev Bredahl, the CEO of UK2 Group, is very active and accessible just as Chris Russell, former CEO of WestHost, was. I think this shows that you have someone in charge that is in touch with what is happening and not sitting in some office making calls based on how soon they can get to the golf club or take lunch. :)

I did not realize that XEN was open source, I am not as good at homework as Mike is, but that is reassuring.

VPS.net is exactly what many have been asking for. We wanted more control and dedicated resources and VPS.net gives you just that. Many folks even said they would be willing to pay more for it. Now granted I think the cost is bit more then many expected and I won't lie to you that I really wish the cost was lower for each node.

Remember that WestHost has said that they well work with each customer to accommodate their needs. I am still not sure which way I want to jump. I could most likely get by with the shared environment but but I would miss the root like access. Having full Root access is great but it means researching and learning how to be a true systems administrator. I am still just a dabbler in all this. :) Now it has been mentioned over on the VPS.net forums that there might be a managed alternative, so that may be a nice "in between".

WestHost - BChambers
03-27-2009, 03:02 PM
Hello Mike,

I appreciate your questions! As you mentioned in your post, there are some questions in our WestHost community regarding the future of our services. This is a fair assessment, especially considering our somewhat recent acquisition. Let me first start with the simple statement that we are not changing any of our core business values. Our purpose is to help businesses and individuals harness the power of the Internet, and our Guiding Principles are founded upon quality client service, a commitment to striving for excellence, personal integrity, and positive community involvement. Any business decision that is made at WestHost must first meet those guidelines.

Now, in terms of our current status with WestHost 4.0, we are nearing our beta testing period. We have a large team of engineers and administrators who have been working on this project now for the past 4 months. As it currently stands, we are looking at mid May as our launch date with 4.0 to new clients. Then later in the summer, we will begin upgrading existing clients.

In terms of VPS.NET, this is a new brand that was just launched by our parent company, UK2 Group, this week. VPS.NET, as wildjoker stated, is a good option for people who want full root access. We will continue to offer our standard shared hosting plans, so you won't see much change if any there, including price and features. We will also continue offering our managed dedicated server plans. The shared hosting, and dedicated hosting plans will all be managed and administered by WestHost staff. VPS.NET has had many hands involved in it's launch, including WestHost staff. So you will also experience the same level of service with this new offering as what you're used to with other WestHost plans. With the launch of VPS.NET, we have a dedicated team of administrators who are specifically focusing their attention on this new product launch. So you'll see quite a bit of additional attention given to this new brand during the first several months.

Lastly, what has set WestHost apart more than any other aspect, is our commitment to providing you with the very best service possible. I don't believe you will find a better qualified group of technicians, who are more friendly or more prepared to answer any of your questions in a prompt and courteous manner. So with some of these upgrades we are making, I really want to emphasize with you that we'll do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition. We are very excited about the improvements we'll be making, and look forward to your continued input.

WestHost - JFillmore
03-27-2009, 03:20 PM
Hello Mike,

I think both Wildjokerdesign and Clint Reeves have summed things up fairly well. I'd just like to contribute a thought of my own. I think perhaps part of your concern over a lack of disclosure and transparency ultimately stems from our attention being primary focused on the successful launch of WestHost 4.0. Once we have launched our new cPanel-based hosting solution our attention will soon be more fully turned towards the upgrade of our current Sphera-based hosting solution.

As a developer working behind the scenes to keep WestHost running I can say with full confidence that I'm not worried at all. I have been working for WestHost for five years and love our emphasis on client satisfaction. More specifically, I love that I can take pride in my work because I am never asked to compromise the quality of my work (e.g. to release something out faster), which is ultimately measured by client satisfaction.

I hope that helps!

Armadillo
03-28-2009, 12:47 AM
Thanks to Mike for posting this and doing research. Thanks to the Westhosties for responding.

The more I look at vps.net the more complicated it looks. Reading the posts, maybe I'm misundertanding, I'd need 1 node for a web server, 1 for email, 1 for database? That's three nodes at $66 a month. That's horrible, if correct.
They should offer a Westhost-like setup. There is obviously a market for it. I've really enjoyed WH vps environment.

Can anyone tell me how many databases WH4 will allow? How many domains? Will I have access to anything outside of the webroot? SSH? SFTP? Any ability for custom SA rules? Will AWstats be available and customizable?

port80
03-28-2009, 02:42 AM
First let me begin by thanking Shawn (aka wildjoker *Disclosure: I pm'd him about this thread suggesting he might wish to participate.), and the 3 WestHost personnel for the replies thus far. I would like to address each reply, but before doing so, I said in my initial post that I had much more to say on the subject. I am attempting to create a dialog that will benefit both myself, and all who read or contribute to this thread. The subject matter involves multiple facets, and through prior lessons learned in other forums, when addressing a large issue, it is generally more easily digested by the reader when things are spread across more than one post. The last thing that I would want to occur in this thread is a level of miscommunication that results in focus on the key subject matter getting lost in endless corrections. So with that said, here comes part 2.

Picking up where I left off in part 1, when I called, I debated which department to speak with, sales or tech support. The rationale I followed led me to try sales with the thought that they should hopefully have been informed of the changes that will be taking place VERY soon, and have likely been instructed to disclose to new prospects that changes were around the corner.

Well apparently this is not the case which surprised me because if I were just signing up and within 1 or 2 months learned of these developments, personally speaking, I would be irate with righteous indignation for not having these crucial details disclosed to me before hand. (Hint, hint.)

The poor sales person I reached was not prepared for the questions I was asking. Not his fault, I seem to specialize in managing to ask questions that catch people unprepared when it comes to matters of business and technology. :rolleyes: Apparently he had to consult with another department for many of the answers. To his credit, he handled himself very well despite being in a tough spot. This is the kind of professional conduct I have experienced with 100% of my phone calls, chats, or emails with any and all WestHost staff. It is just one of the many things that I have come to love about this company, and it has spoiled me. Having been spoiled, I DO NOT WANT TO BE FORCED TO LEAVE FOR ANOTHER COMPANY. That is a large part of my distress.

The trouble is, stellar support aside, shared hosting will not meet my needs as a client. Without a virtual server environment (root or root-like), I will not be able to continue hosting with WestHost. A virtual server environment that empowers me to customized things is non negotiable.

So supposedly, the answer to my virtual server environment is VPS.net, but I just do not see how, and the list of questions on the subject is long.

VPS.net uses Xen, an open source virtualization solution. Ditlev calls Xen "true virtualization" and Sphera "shared virtualization". This is misleading. BOTH are "true virtualization", but there is more than one approach to creating a virtual server. With different approaches come different strengths.

A virtual server (VS) on Xen is an entire operating system including the kernel. The benefits of Xen's approach are fixed resources, zero impact from other VSes activity including that a crash on one VS will not affect other VSes running under the same instance of Xen. This approach means that each VS can be a different operating system. The downside of Xen is that resource usage is high, and response times are about 4 times slower than on a dedicated server.

To be honest, I have no idea what Sphera's approach was. I attempted to find something to explain it prior to writing this post, but found nothing. So instead, I will use the open source virtualization solution called OpenVZ for my next example.

OpenVZ is the open source branch of Virtuozzo which just so happens to be another virtualization product offered by Parallels, the makers of Sphera. Please keep in mind that while OpenVZ is the open source branch of Virtuozzo, that they are still separate and it should not be assumed that my explanation of OpenVZ can be considered an explanation of Virtuozzo.

Unlike Xen, OpenVZ virtual servers share a kernel. This difference in approach has both good and bad points. The good points are that the shared kernel means using fewer resources, running many more VSes on the same hardware than Xen can, and having almost no loss of response time as compared to a dedicated server. The down side is that with 1 kernel, the operating system must be a flavor of Linux that can run with that exact kernel. Also, 1 kernel means a single point of failure. Should something go wrong with the kernel, every VS linked with it will be affected.

VPS.net is not merely a virtual hosting service, but a "Cloud". That means that instead of being bound to any 1 server, resources are distributed and balanced across a highly advanced combination of equipment designed for redundancy on a massive scale. A "Cloud" has no single point of failure.

VPS.net seeks to target a different market than WestHost, and it is vastly more expensive.

A WestHost client can currently pay between $4 and $12 (approximately) to be hosted in a virtual environment. That will not even cover the cost of 1 "node" at VPS.net, and according to their admins, it realistically takes a minimum of 2 nodes to run a single virtual server.

I suspect WestHost's Sphera solution took an approach closer to OpenVZ than Xen, allowing them to host many more virtual server environments at much lower resource usage, and less equipment (also less expensive equipment than that used for VPS.net's cloud).

Additionally, as mentioned in part 1, WestHost's current services are a "managed" solution, where VPS.net is "unmanaged" by default. That means you the customer are 100% responsible for installing and configuring all the services you require to run on your server from a bare install. You the customer are 100% responsible for protecting your server from security threats. You the customer are responsible for keeping your server updated with patches, and fixing anything that goes wrong. Keep in mind that WestHost has an entire staff of highly qualified system administrators who work full time performing all of the above listed (time consuming, and complicated) duties. At VPS.net, it's just you.

Now VPS.net may offer managed services, but I suspect that based upon their current pricing structure that it will not come cheap.

After illustrating the great divide between what WestHost offers, and what VPS.net offers, perhaps you can see my concern at the suggestion of VPS.net being the substitute for those wishing to keep a virtual server environment. The differences of cost and of virtualization approach seem too distant from each other to be bridged; particularly not for the same prices ($4 - $12) offered by WestHost as indicated below:


From: Update on Company Progress (Read the comments.) (http://www.westhost.com/blog/2008/12/update-on-company-progress/#comments)

For those who can’t host their web site using our new cPanel shared hosting then we intend to migrate those accounts to VPS.net.

In all cases we hope to keep prices the same for existing clients.

(Comment by WestHost's Jonny Fillmore)

And what about the reseller plans 1 through 4?

Plan 1 is $25.95/mo for 7 VPS accounts for a cost of $3.70 per VPS.
Plan 1 is $38.95/mo for 15 VPS accounts for a cost of $2.59 per VPS.
Plan 1 is $79.95/mo for 40 VPS accounts for a cost of $1.99 per VPS.
Plan 1 is $149.95/mo for 100 VPS accounts for a cost of $1.49 per VPS.

In the Aquisition FAQ (http://www.westhost.com/acquisition-faq.html) #9, it says:


9. Will my current plan be grandfathered in?
Yes we will allow you to keep your current package however there will be newer plans that offer more options to choose from in the future.

The trouble with a "grandfathered" plan is the implication that the plan will not (and cannot) change.

The Reseller Plans by their very design and nature are intended for change. To be scaled to the business as the WH Reseller gains or looses clients, ultimately with the intent to help WH customers grow their business, and along the way add more services from WestHost; a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Recently, I have had a business opportunity present itself that would have justified finally signing up for your Reseller Plan 1. Naturally, my aim would then be to use it to grow my business until I could upgrade to a Reseller Plan 2, work toward Reseller Plan 3, continue to Reseller Plan 4, and with any luck, continue to grow.

But now with all the pending changes happening, I don't see how I will be able to do that. I don't see how VPS.net would help me do that. I don't see how a grandfathered Reseller Plan 1 would help me do that (since I presumably could not add to or upgrade it).

This more than anything is why I am so distressed. My "Invested Self Interest". And I feel no shame in admitting to it, as I am after all, only stating the obvious.

I cannot help but wonder, why hasn't WestHost looked to implement another virtualization solution?? There is Virtuosso, OpenVZ (which many web hosts DO use as their virtualization solution), and many, many more options available.

While I can appreciate that WH 4.0 as a shared solution will fill a need for some of WestHost's current and future customers, WH has become known for it's ability to provide virtualization, a consistent listing among Netcraft's Top 50 Web Hosts for uptime, and service that when combined, set WH apart in the web hosting industry.

So why is it that WestHost has not pursued an alternate virtualization solution? I know you have the expertise and experience. I know that with UK2 Group's backing that you have the resources to accomplish it. So I am left to wonder... who's decision is it? Does WestHost have enough autonomy under UK2 Group's ownership to take such initiative and make the call to pursue implementing another virtualization solution? And if you do have such autonomy, why have you not gone in that direction when it is such an obvious solution to Sphera's end-of-life?

In fact, now that UK2 Group has established the remarkable Xen Cloud infrastructure that it has, why would WestHost not take advantage of it? ESPECIALLY when you COULD implement an OpenVZ solution inside of a massive, mega-node Xen account.

That's right; OpenVZ can be run from *within* Xen.

http://wiki.openvz.org/News/announcements/OpenVZ_on_Xen
http://wiki.openvz.org/How_to_use_OpenVZ_as_a_XEN_guest_OS_(for_x86_platf orm)

-Mike (Don't worry, I'm not done yet. Part 3 is coming.)

port80
03-28-2009, 03:08 AM
Excellent questions Armadillo! :D

I can answer at least one of those questions with a reasonable degree of certainty.

You should be able to run AWStats providing that the shared environment makes the raw log files accessible. I am guessing there will be no Cron to automate the update process; you may need to do the update manually. (Of course, you could use a little cgi ingenuity by creating a cgi that masquerades as one of the images (or better yet, as an XSSI call) on your front page. It's function would simply be to serve the image (or XSSI), compare the date with one in a text file. When the dates do not match, it can overwrite the text file with the current date, and launch the AWStats update process.)

It occurs to me that you forgot to ask if the shared hosting would allow .htaccess which in a shared environment can be your only lifeline to maintaining as much control over your account as possible.

I have my own questions... Will WH force everyone to abandon their current plans? What if I want to keep my current plan; Sphera end-of-life be ****ed? It would buy me time, and if I were dissatisfied with the other offerings once WH knows what they will be, I may just grab a pitch fork, stand between WH staff and my server, and hold onto my current WH account AS-IS for as long as possible. :p

-Mike

kgriffiths
03-28-2009, 06:29 AM
Port 80 and Armadillo,

Yes you will have access to Awstats and it will have a built in feature to separate the domains from each other. So if you are on a plan that has 2 domains on it, you will be able to see the stats for both domains separated by default with the new cPanel WestHost 4.0. There is a cron feature in cPanel as well.

As for the .htaccess question, yes you can have an .htaccess file in any directory you want and they are enabled by default through Apache.

Armadillo
03-28-2009, 02:38 PM
Thanks Mike and Kevin for the information.
VPS.net is way too expensive and advanced for me. If they accepted WH prices for existing customers that would be great, but it would certainly take me a lot of time to set up a vps.net account from scratch.
I've been shopping for another vps host but have found nothing as good as Westhost. Some are competitive in price and features, but charge for anything extra or I dont like their os.

I am open to staying at WH with a shared environment. The information thus far has been helpful, but I really need more so I can plan for my sites future. I realize WH4 specs are not finalized and more info may not be available, but if anyone could answer these questions it would be helpful.
I have three mySQL databases, in WH old shared service only one was allowed. Will I be able to have multiple databases?
All of my php scripts are php4, I know some people require php5. How will this be handled? I understand both versions can be run on a server. It would be time consuming to update my scripts to php5, so it would be nice to know.

Thanks to everyone involved.

port80
03-28-2009, 04:10 PM
I think your FAQ idea has merit and is something that we will likely implement through this transition. I am just as eager as you are to find out all the details about the transition.

I am pleased to hear that. Granted, there is the Acquisition FAQ (which is out of date and is in need of revision to reflect changes that have occurred since it was first written), but my FAQ suggestion is of course intended to address the questions WH customers clearly have about how they will be impacted both in the short term, and in the long term. I believe that if WH took the time out to think about it, you would be able to come up with a good number of Q&A's on your own. Also, you already have been getting questions here in the WH forum which could be included, you should also check the VPS.net forum running a search for keyword "westhost" since there are a fair number of questions and concerns being expressed there too. Then I am sure you have more from notes and logs of phone, chat, email, and ticket support... and likely even from the sales staff who have likely fielded their fair share of questions. I expect you could already easily create a rather substantial FAQ from those suggestions.


We are doing some beta testing which I would encourage you to join in as it may help alleviate some of your concerns. You can sign up for the beta test here: https://corp2.westhost.com/wh4betasignup/

No. Unfortunately not. As I stated in my Part 2 post, for my particular needs... "A virtual server environment that empowers me to customized things is non negotiable."

Hence I have no need to beta test WH 4.0, nor do I have the time. I was spread too thin before I began this necessary quest to ensure my future hosting needs will not be jeopardized, and before I signed up for the VPS.net Beta2.

I do appreciate your sentiments though.

__________________________


I did not realize that XEN was open source, I am not as good at homework as Mike is, but that is reassuring.

The joker jests. Not good at research Shawn? You are the single most active forum participant WH has, answering countless questions, many of which I have seen you willingly test software you have no prior experience with to answer people's questions. I realize you are doing it for your own knowledge as well, but still, I have often wondered how you find the time!

This is not my first time researching virtualization. I have done so both for myself, and when I was tasked to do so by a former employer. It's been a long while though since I last gave it serious attention and needed to refresh my memory.


VPS.net is exactly what many have been asking for. We wanted more control and dedicated resources and VPS.net gives you just that. Many folks even said they would be willing to pay more for it. Now granted I think the cost is bit more then many expected and I won't lie to you that I really wish the cost was lower for each node.

I don't think VPS.net was what people had in mind. First, I think it's a safe assumption that most expected an upgrade of features to their current accounts at current prices. Second, VPS.net is MORE than most likely had in mind since it is a "Cloud". And third, I also think it's a safe assumption that most were expecting to gain full root without loosing their managed services (at current prices).

And face it, the cost is WAY more than might have been expected. As I've stated before, Ditlev himself told me in the VPS.net forum that VPS.net is it's own service which is not after the same market that WH serves. It's the classic "square peg, round hole" dilemma. Pound all you want, the two simply do not fit together.


Remember that WestHost has said that they well work with each customer to accommodate their needs. I am still not sure which way I want to jump. I could most likely get by with the shared environment but but I would miss the root like access.

The key words there are "get by". I doubt that is what you have come to expect from WH. You will be giving up a lot. More over, you are a reseller. I can't imagine that you have not wondered how your current reseller status, and the clients you host will be impacted.


Having full Root access is great but it means researching and learning how to be a true systems administrator. I am still just a dabbler in all this. :)

That is quite an understatement. As I have stated in my Part 2 post...


VPS.net is "unmanaged" by default. That means you the customer are 100% responsible for installing and configuring all the services you require to run on your server from a bare install. You the customer are 100% responsible for protecting your server from security threats. You the customer are responsible for keeping your server updated with patches, and fixing anything that goes wrong. Keep in mind that WestHost has an entire staff of highly qualified system administrators who work full time performing all of the above listed (time consuming, and complicated) duties. At VPS.net, it's just you.

I am sure your plate is full enough as it is running your business. The reality of administering a server is that it requires constant vigilance. You cannot merely set it up once and not worry about it. And it is no small feat to lock a server down securely. There is an entire industry built around computer security. That is an awful lot to ask of you. Particularly for a "dabbler".


Now it has been mentioned over on the VPS.net forums that there might be a managed alternative, so that may be a nice "in between".

Again quoting myself from my Part 2 post...


VPS.net may offer managed services, but I suspect that based upon their current pricing structure that it will not come cheap.

Part of what makes hosting possible for so many of WH's customers is the combination of services at a low cost.

If WH can figure out a way of leveraging circumstances favorably given present concerns, it will be quite an accomplishment.

__________________________


Let me first start with the simple statement that we are not changing any of our core business values. Our purpose is to help businesses and individuals harness the power of the Internet, and our Guiding Principles are founded upon quality client service, a commitment to striving for excellence, personal integrity, and positive community involvement. Any business decision that is made at WestHost must first meet those guidelines.

I am glad to hear it and am very appreciative of your response, and of the reassurances in it.

As for that "harnessing the power of the Internet", what about the reseller plans? Personally speaking, I fear loosing the VPS reseller options along with their prices and features.


Then later in the summer, we will begin upgrading existing clients.

What about clients that don't want their accounts touched even if that means no more Sphera updates? Does the Sphera "end-of-life" mean that the licensing terms will actually forbid continued use?


VPS.NET, as wildjoker stated, is a good option for people who want full root access.

Without repeating myself ad nauseum, please see the concerns I have expressed on that topic throughout this thread.


We will continue to offer our standard shared hosting plans, so you won't see much change if any there, including price and features.

Could you please elaborate on this? You say "continue to offer". I am unaware of WH presently offering any shared hosting plans yet (not counting WH 4.0 Beta). Do you mean shared, or virtual?


VPS.NET has had many hands involved in it's launch, including WestHost staff. So you will also experience the same level of service with this new offering as what you're used to with other WestHost plans.

I am unclear on how your current service offerings (for managed services) will be applicable to VPS.net's "unmanaged" services? Could you please help me understand how that will work?


Lastly, what has set WestHost apart more than any other aspect, is our commitment to providing you with the very best service possible. I don't believe you will find a better qualified group of technicians, who are more friendly or more prepared to answer any of your questions in a prompt and courteous manner.

In this case I will gladly repeat myself ad nauseum. I LOVE THE SUPPORT I GET FROM WESTHOST. I am acutely aware of the exceptional service that WH offers. That is one of the things that terrifies me about these changes; is a fear that I may need to abandon WH for another provider if WH is no longer able to meet my technical or financial needs. I do not want to loose the kind of stellar support that I know I will get from WH.


So with some of these upgrades we are making, I really want to emphasize with you that we'll do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition. We are very excited about the improvements we'll be making

But what about your virtualization offerings? I cannot understand why WH would not switch to another virtualization platform (whatever would be closest to letting you do what you have done using Sphera).


and look forward to your continued input.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it! :rolleyes:

__________________________


I think perhaps part of your concern over a lack of disclosure and transparency ultimately stems from our attention being primary focused on the successful launch of WestHost 4.0.

Perhaps. But I think it is more than that. I intend to address that in my Part 3 post.


our attention will soon be more fully turned towards the upgrade of our current Sphera-based hosting solution.

PLEEEEEASE elaborate on this! This is the thing I have repeatedly expressed as a major concern and source of my distress. Anything you can tell me about this would be greatly appreciated; even if it is nothing more than speculation at this point.


More specifically, I love that I can take pride in my work because I am never asked to compromise the quality of my work (e.g. to release something out faster), which is ultimately measured by client satisfaction.

I am certain developers all over are envious of your freedom to do it right as opposed to the unfortunate trend towards pushing out an inferior solution (bugs and all), just to meet unrealistic production and marketing deadlines.

I am equally overjoyed and impressed to hear that WH chooses to manage their development efforts in that manner. It is exactly the way I wish the rest of the world approached development.


I hope that helps!

Yes, it certainly does. I hope you will see fit to answer my follow up questions.

__________________________

Thanks to all 4 of you for your participation and input. This is exactly what my aim was in starting this thread.

I hope many more forum members will choose to participate and voice their concerns here.

-Mike

port80
03-28-2009, 04:24 PM
ESPECIALLY when you COULD implement an OpenVZ solution inside of a massive, mega-node Xen account.

That's right; OpenVZ can be run from *within* Xen.

http://wiki.openvz.org/News/announcements/OpenVZ_on_Xen
http://wiki.openvz.org/How_to_use_OpenVZ_as_a_XEN_guest_OS_(for_x86_platf orm)

I fear I may have spoken too soon...

VPS.net forum: OpenVZ *ON* Xen? (http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=170)

:(

-Mike

wildjokerdesign
03-30-2009, 05:52 PM
I fear I may have spoken too soon...

Looks like you are still going to run a test over at vps.net but that you where just getting some negative feed back when you posted this. I do hope your test pan out.

I really do wish that WestHost would continue to offer a VPS environment. I backed off a bit I guess simply because I realized that when I first came to WestHost it was a shared environment. When they moved to VPS I grumbled a bit but then dug in and learned what I needed. I really don't want to learn new tricks again... I am an old dog. ;)

Like you Mike, I have wondered what new customers are being told. Since we where sold a VPS, is it fair that now we are reduced to something that is less?

Thank you again for starting this dialogue Mike. While this does all distress me it helps to read your level headed evaluation of things.

Thank you to WestHost for allowing the dialogue and for participating in it.

Wiggins
04-03-2009, 08:27 AM
Thank you for doing the research and providing so much info. I'm less concerned about the costs and reseller issues, but the comment that fully unmanaged VPS or cPanel shared hosting some how fits the niche we found with WH is absolutely right on, it just doesn't. I have (from the way it sounds) more sys admin chops but I too loved WH's setup with Sphera because I didn't have to spend the time on server setup for sites that are essentially personal in nature but that I have to have root like access for. Some of us just won't settle for PHP and MySQL. And some of us didn't initially settle for whatever IMAP service they chose... aka I was running my own Dovecot for months (a year?) before they switched. I have my own Postgres instance, Perl 5.10.0 and other services that just won't work to run from shared hosting.

At least now I know to be watching out and researching my other options, and hopefully I do have until mid to late summer to transition. You are absolutely correct though, this takes time, and if WH doesn't start to be more forth coming and up front about the changes I'll migrate in the mean time and not look back, just not worth it time wise.

bruce.binder
04-04-2009, 10:20 AM
I just read the FAQ posted under News/Announcements and I think it is great info, and a step in the right direction. I would like to see it expanded, and here is my suggestion for Westhost. Go through these forums and look for questions that start with "how do I ..." and replace them with "will Westhost 4.0 allow me to..."

E.g.

htaccess rewrite and redirect
Installing git
How to generate a self-signed certificate
Mail aliases for secondary domains
separate Mailboxes for multidomain
Remove Captcha from Formmail
Etc.

(Note: those are just some samples.)

Plus, I would like further info about the cost of VPS.NET for Westhost 3.0 customers who cannot use Westhost 4.0 because it lacks features or support for our existing setups. If that info is not yet available, could we at least have an estimate of when it will be? Some of us have to make decisions and possibly find other providers (no hard feelings) based on this info.

--
Bruce

LMdev
04-05-2009, 07:40 AM
Well... This is a problem.

I personally do not have an account at Westhost. I represent a company that signed up on the Westhost VPS *Winter Special* plan for two years about two weeks ago. I began investigating which hosting company to recommend this client (and others) and eventually sort-listed to: westhost, midphase (also owned by UK2), inmotion and bluehost. We chose westhost because of it's reputation for support and customer service and because the 'winter special' deal was just too good to pass up. My client doesn't need a VPS solution initially, but we would have been looking at migrating to a VPS in 9-months or so.

I have been in IT for over 30 years, I have a box full of various accreditation over that period from virtually every major IT company including several for Sys Admin. I have worked for various IT companies, ISP's & Hosting companies, and in fact did a complete audit for Powertel when they decided to open a datacenter here in Australia.

I am annoyed. Not once during the process of signing up with westhost, including pre-sales live chat's, was it ever mentioned that westhost would be dumping their VPS plans! And that was only a few weeks ago! I (and my clients) would really love to know where we stand. One of the things I specifically asked about was the migration path over the two year period and the speed at which migrations, up to and including a dedicated host, could be achieved. There was no mention of moving to VPS.NET or that westhost would no longer have VPS plans.

I was in the process of setting up the beta test site for my client over the weekend when I learned for the first time about Westhost v4.0. Obviously, I've stopped and my timeline is out the window.

Q: Will we continue to have a plan with the same or similar features to the winter special VPS plan that my clients signed up for and that I have contracted to maintain, or do we consider ourselves victims of misrepresentation and decide on our options?

I was in the process of drafting an official letter of concern to the management of westhost and UK2 (my client is represented in the UK and knows of the UK2 Group). Now that this thread has been started, I will hold off for a day or so to see what comes out of this.

Thank you port80 and others for your research which I had also just began as I learned about this. You have saved me some valuable time and clarified a few points for me. :)

I am reminded of a quote that I have known by heart to be true for many years: "If something seems to good to be true, it probably is".

port80
04-06-2009, 03:13 AM
Well since I could not really explain Sphera in an earlier post, I did some digging to try learning more specifics about the product. This is what I discovered...

Parallels no longer has a product page for Sphera. The web address for Sphera's product page now redirects to a download page for Sphera license holders. There is little which can be ascertained from the downloads page beyond speculating at what picture of functionality the file names available for download suggest.

I found a cached version of the Sphera product page. It was somewhat enlightening...


From: http://preview.tinyurl.com/cached-sphera-product-page

Over time, Parallels will incorporate the best features of the Sphera platform into the Parallels System Automation product. Customers will be given the option to upgrade to Parallels System Automation to take advantage of the additional features and capabilities which it provides.

What I take from this quotation is that Sphera is not dead, it was Parallels' intention that Sphera would be absorbed into another product offering they called "Parallels System Automation". I am further able to surmise from that page, and from one other I found that Sphera was an automation and Software as a Service (SaaS) product. The other page to which I refer is an interview with then CEO of SWsoft, Serguei Beloussov by WHIR Magazine (WHIR = Web Host Industry Review).


From: http://preview.tinyurl.com/whirmag-beloussov-interview

"...Sphera does have unique software as a service positioning, which is something of interest to us. We do want to reuse a number of their ... technology concepts. ... Sphera software was, and is, sold by IBM. So we are working with IBM on having IBM offer PEM and other SWsoft software through the same program."


For those who may be unaware, SWsoft was the company which acquired (from multiple companies) all of the products now offered by Parallels. Parallels was one of the companies acquired by SWsoft. Later, SWsoft changed the name of their company to Parallels.


I further found a forum post asking how Sphera compared with H-Sphere.


From: http://www.forum.psoft.net/pda/index.php/t-1789.html


Oliver

08-02-02, 16:02
Right now, we are looking at setting up a web hosting site do give us more control and reliability than the service we currently resell. After examining most of the major offerings, we have come down to Sphera and HSphere. Can any give us a point by point comparison?

We are especially interested in Windows hosting as we do quite a bit of development on that platform, but we intend to offer linux hosting to lower end clients.

From the research I have done, the openess of H-sphere as far as the number of good and bad experiences reported on the forums is a big plus. But I can't seem to find similar forums with Sphera users so I have no idea what their feelings are with regard to their hosting panel.

Any help in this would be greatly appreciated.

Karl

08-02-02, 17:44
Generally the kind of people you find in forums are small fry (no offence to anyone), wheras Sphera is big fry material due to the costs involved so you won't find as many people using it or talking about it.

jayglate

08-06-02, 16:19
We actually used sphera for a while and was one of their first resellers. But we had ALOT of problems with it. HSphere by far offers far more features. Sphera main interface the java cp is ugly as sin and very hard to use.


From: http://www.parallels.com/products/hsphere/

Parallels H-Sphere delivers a multi-server hosting automation solution for Linux, BSD, and Windows platforms. H-Sphere includes its own controls panels, automated billing, and provisioning solution in a single integrated system. It is scalable to any number of boxes - more Web, mail, database, and Windows hosting servers can be added without downtime.

Parallels PEM mentioned above is also categorized on their site as an automation solution.


From: http://www.parallels.com/products/pem/

Parallels Automation is a datacenter automation solution which provides both operational support (OSS) and business support (BSS) systems to optimize the use of server resources.

Service providers use Parallels Automation to improve service delivery and save money by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Process automation begins with online ordering and extends through order provisioning, billing, and customer maintenance.

I found the information above to be confusing since it had been my impression that Sphera was a server-virtualization product. Granted, the aspect of automation makes sense as a feature to benefit the hosting company, but I am uncertain how Saas would fit into the picture.

It seems that only finding mentions of Sphera being a product for automation and Saas is in direct contradiction to the server-virtualization description provided by both WestHost and Jumpline (Jumpline still shows that they offer Sphera hosting and they provide a decent description including graphics to help illustrate the concept.)

WestHost has radically altered their web site at this point. Where once there was an explanation of WestHost's VPS technology, and an emphasis provided about the superiority of VPS technology over shared hosting technology, now there are only links to the VPS.net web site... not even deep links to actual explanations of the VPS.net technology, just links to the front page.

Fortunately boys and girls, as you have been discovering through this thread; I'm a research pitbull. I had local copies of the old WestHost page describing their VPS technology and benefits over shared hosting...


Was: http://www.westhost.com/vps-web-hosting.html

You can get the benefits of a Virtual Private Server with the same ease-of-use and low cost traditionally found only with shared web hosting. Starting as low as $3.95 a month, take a look at WestHost's VPS Web Hosting Plans and see for yourself.

. . . .http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/6227/serverservicessite.png
. . . .Server . . . . . . . . . . . Server Resources . . . . . . . . . . . Hosting Account

. . . .Traditional Shared Hosting. . . . . . . . . . .WestHost VPS Hosting
. . . . . .http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/2244/virtualvsvpshosting.png
. . . .- Shared Applications. . . . . . . . . .- Install your own applications
. . . .- Limited Control. . . . . . . . . . . . .- Administrative Control
. . . .- Shared Environment. . . . . . . . . . .(root-like, no root access)
. . . .- Shared Web Server. . . . . . . . . .- Independent Secure
. . . .- Shared Mail Server. . . . . . . . . . . .Environment
. . . .- Shared Database Server. . . . . . .- Dedicated Web Server
. . . .- Shared FTP Server. . . . . . . . . . .- Dedicated Mail Server
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .- Dedicated Database Server
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .- Dedicated FTP Server

Most Web Hosting companies offer "virtual" or "shared" hosting. This means you literally share your resources, applications and environment with potentially hundreds of other users in the same directory. This configuration can allow any compromises to a single site to affect the performance and security of everyone else on the same server.

With WestHost Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting) Technology, also known as Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS Hosting) technology, a web server is divided into multiple isolated environments. Each environment has its own server software providing independence for that website. Any compromise to a site would only affect that WestHost VPS and could not affect any other site on the same server. As with a dedicated server, each WestHost VPS has its own independent web server, mail server and independent software instances. A crashed application (Apache, Sendmail, MySQL etc.) in another client's WestHost VPS has no effect on your WestHost VPS.

What may be even more appealing is that with WestHost VPS web hosting, you have nearly full control over the most common areas of a website/server. This includes:

Full control of the web server configuration (Apache), including PHP, mod_perl, and other server-side technologies and modules.
Full control of the e-mail server (Sendmail) configuration.
Full control of MySQL configuration.
Full control of most Perl modules.

You also have access to other miscellaneous configuration files within your account and a greater ability to install and run custom software (should you choose to). While a WestHost VPS can not be considered the same as a root access VPS, there are many advantages to our platform over traditional shared web hosting.


From: http://jumpline.com/hosting_technology

Parallels Sphera is a Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS) hosting platform that offers website owners the administrative privileges to fully control their hosting environment. Compared to standard Shared Web Hosting solutions, VDS technology provides significantly improved website reliability and security, and fundamentally provides users with their own UNIX environment allowing each website to operate independently of all other websites on the same physical machine.

Virtual Dedicated Servers run their own server software inside an isolated file directory, providing complete autonomy for each website on the server. Because of this, any compromise to a single VDS would affect only that website, and would not impact other customers residing on that server. In addition, VDS website owners have the administrative privileges to fully control their environment and may install additional applications and also create and host additional websites from within their VDS.


http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/2548/imghosttech5.jpg
As used by our VDS Hosting Plans

The only other tidbits I found were mention of Sphera using something called "Kernel QoS" which stands for "Kernel Quality of Service". From what I can gather, Kernel QoS manages resources so no single process can horde the lion's share of the kernel processing functions. Please correct me if I am mistaken in my ruff guess at explaining Kernel QoS.

Anyhow, I found Kernel QoS mentioned here: http://www.parallels.com/sphera/doc/SDL/4.1hf2/#3.3

The link above was in Parallels' Sphera KnowledgeBase: http://kb.parallels.com/en/products/?id=35

Please, if anyone can shed further light on what Sphera actually did and what technologies were used in it's make up, contribute that here as I am attempting to compile as much useful information related to the transition as possible within this thread. While Sphera may be getting shelved by WestHost, I feel that an understanding of the technology that WH deployed (Sphera) that drew so many of us here to begin with will prove a valuable resource, point of reference, and item of historical interest.

Thank you all.
-Mike

port80
04-06-2009, 06:53 AM
Thank you for doing the research and providing so much info. I'm less concerned about the costs and reseller issues, but the comment that fully unmanaged VPS or cPanel shared hosting some how fits the niche we found with WH is absolutely right on, it just doesn't.

You are welcome... and thank you back. :-)


I have (from the way it sounds) more sys admin chops but I too loved WH's setup with Sphera because I didn't have to spend the time on server setup

Entirely possible Wiggins, but "chops" is not the point of a managed server, TIME is, or rather a lack thereof.

You are understating the responsibilities of managing one's own server. It is not merely setup, but constant maintenance that is the concern.

No matter how proficient someone is at server administration, it will consume precious time that could have been spent more productively on other things.


but that I have to have root like access for. Some of us just won't settle for PHP and MySQL. And some of us didn't initially settle for whatever IMAP service they chose... aka I was running my own Dovecot for months (a year?) before they switched. I have my own Postgres instance, Perl 5.10.0 and other services that just won't work to run from shared hosting.

Exactly. From when I first joined WestHost to try them out I immediately set out to make a customization which I then posted about in the 2nd thread I created upon joining the forums: New filesystem hierarchy... (http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=9427)

Those now on WH 3.0 will now find symbolic links were created to take into account the programmatic advantages I emphasized in that post should anyone accustomed to an environment similar to that which I had come from happen to migrate to WH.


At least now I know to be watching out and researching my other options, and hopefully I do have until mid to late summer to transition. You are absolutely correct though, this takes time,

Yes. Time to select an alternate provider should that be the individual decision of any current customers, and time to actually migrate their site(s) to the new host.

I came to find WestHost through intensive research. I have very specific things that I look at in evaluating the potential of a host. I look for a host to consistently be listed within NetCraft's top 200 (preferably within the top 50, and even better in the top 10) web hosts. I identify actual customer sites and look at their response times and uptimes if available. I determine if the company is an authentic host and not reselling the services of some other company. I look for SAS 70 Type II and ISO 9001:2000 certification. I look for 24/7/365 telephone tech support that will talk with customers and non-customers alike. I interrogate multiple tech support reps at different hours to ensure they are not only tech savvy, but courteous and professional. I try to ascertain if the tech support is in-house or outsourced. I listen for correct enunciation and whether they have an overly thick accent, and how good their grammar is. I put multiple sales people through all the same trials as the tech support people with the exception of 24/7 availability and tech savvy... but I instead test them for product knowledge. I time how long it takes to reach a live person with each test call. I pay attention to the geographic location of the data center and try to avoid areas prone to frequent natural disasters. I actually look up a given area's history for hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, mudslides, flooding, forest fires, black outs, brown outs, and incidence of mass rioting. I look at the available infrastructure of the area to make certain the area can mobilize when need arises to keep the area functional like if there is heavy snowfall for example, what measures are in place to clear the streets for traffic. If streets are not clear, there is a long brownout, the data center is forced to run on diesel generators... how will the generators have fuel delivered.

If that sounds like a lot, it is only a part of the scrutiny I put a host through. I did all of that when looking at WH. When I recommend a host, I know that I have gone above and beyond to ensure that my word is golden.

So yeah, IT TAKES TIME. Obviously more for me than possibly for others, but the fact that I am an extreme example does not diminish the task put upon others; even if they do far less in their evaluations.


and if WH doesn't start to be more forth coming and up front about the changes I'll migrate in the mean time and not look back, just not worth it time wise.

WestHost, take note of the above. He is not alone in his attitude. You will loose customers that could easily be retained. And it is not this thread I have started that is the culprit. I started this thread to PREVENT this from occurring. You (have now) posted a FAQ about 4.0 (in response to this thread), but I have tried to outline other areas as well where communication can be improved upon.


I would like further info about the cost of VPS.NET for Westhost 3.0 customers who cannot use Westhost 4.0 because it lacks features or support for our existing setups. If that info is not yet available, could we at least have an estimate of when it will be? Some of us have to make decisions and possibly find other providers (no hard feelings) based on this info.

--
Bruce

DITTO. :-)


Well... This is a problem.

I personally do not have an account at Westhost. I represent a company that signed up on the Westhost VPS *Winter Special* plan for two years about two weeks ago. I began investigating which hosting company to recommend this client (and others) and eventually sort-listed to: westhost, midphase (also owned by UK2), inmotion and bluehost. We chose westhost because of it's reputation for support and customer service and because the 'winter special' deal was just too good to pass up. My client doesn't need a VPS solution initially, but we would have been looking at migrating to a VPS in 9-months or so.

...(snip)...

I am annoyed. Not once during the process of signing up with westhost, including pre-sales live chat's, was it ever mentioned that westhost would be dumping their VPS plans! And that was only a few weeks ago! I (and my clients) would really love to know where we stand. One of the things I specifically asked about was the migration path over the two year period and the speed at which migrations, up to and including a dedicated host, could be achieved. There was no mention of moving to VPS.NET or that westhost would no longer have VPS plans.

I was in the process of setting up the beta test site for my client over the weekend when I learned for the first time about Westhost v4.0. Obviously, I've stopped and my timeline is out the window.

Q: Will we continue to have a plan with the same or similar features to the winter special VPS plan that my clients signed up for and that I have contracted to maintain, or do we consider ourselves victims of misrepresentation and decide on our options?

I was in the process of drafting an official letter of concern to the management of westhost and UK2 (my client is represented in the UK and knows of the UK2 Group). Now that this thread has been started, I will hold off for a day or so to see what comes out of this.

Thank you port80 and others for your research which I had also just began as I learned about this. You have saved me some valuable time and clarified a few points for me. :)

You are very welcome. This is among my reasons for having started this thread. I research the heck out of stuff so I don't get bit later on... "Measure twice, cut once." After I settle upon a solution, I expect that I will not have to babysit it. I move on to other concerns and RELY on ETHICAL DISCLOSURE through passive channels like the WH Newsletters... and yes, the subject matter of this thread most certainly DOES qualify as "news".

Just because a client base is predominantly passive in nature does not mean that there will be no fall out if those once passive customers find themselves learning critical news with little time to react.

The hosting business is a "service" industry. Being a service, the responsibility of being proactive falls on the service provider, not the customer. In fact, while researching Sphera, I came across an article in the same issue of WHIR Magazine concerning a legal precedent set with regard to terms of contract. The ruling was that consumers must be given the opportunity to actively "accept" or "decline" new terms to a contract, and that until then, any contractual revisions are deemed as nothing more than "proposals", and are not legally binding. The failure of notification through the sales process is a perfect example of such legal culpability.


From: http://preview.tinyurl.com/whirmag-talk-america-ruling

The crucial missing element in this case seems to be notice: Talk America appears to have changed the terms of its contract without really telling its customers. Talk America attempted to argue that Douglas could have seen the changes when he paid his Talk America bill online. However, Douglas had chosen to have his bills charged to his credit card, so he had no reason to go to the Talk America website. Even if he did, the court was skeptical about whether he would have been aware of any changes. The court theorized that in order to determine if any changes had been made to his contract, Douglas would have had to go back and forth between the contracts to determine whether any changes had been made. The court went further and said that it was unrealistic to expect parties to a contract to have to check every day to determine if their original agreement has been changed.

Hosts can take several things from this aspect of the court's decision. The first is the importance of notifying your customers when you make changes to your contracts. What was important to the court was the fact that Douglas wasn't given the opportunity to say yes or no. If you make changes to your contract, make your customers aware of these changes. If, like most hosts, you are in regular contact with your customers, you could do things like post a note on your control panel, the customer landing page, and maybe your newsletter.

What type of notice you're required to provide will likely depend on what types of changes you make. The court found that the imposition of the class action waiver had a significant impact on Douglas's legal rights. Accordingly, if you make major changes to your contracts, you may need to go the extra mile to let your customers know, and enable them at least to say no by terminating their agreements. Because you have customers' physical and email addresses, a court would be skeptical of any claim that it was difficult for your to notify them of significant contract changes.

In addition to being a fundamental point of law, this simply makes business sense. What kind of reputation will your company develop if you are trying to significantly change the balance of contractual rights and obligations by slipping something into your contract in the middle of the night?


I am reminded of a quote that I have known by heart to be true for many years: "If something seems to good to be true, it probably is".

Prior to all the recent developments, and the the handling of said developments thus far, WestHost was EXACTLY that: "Too good to be true... yet they WERE true."

I would really like that last statement to not have emphasis placed on the past-tense "they WERE".

Let's keep it present tense as well, huh? ;-)

-Mike

bruce.binder
04-08-2009, 12:03 PM
Originally Posted by CReeves
we would like to point out that for the vast majority of you WestHost 4.0 will bring a much welcome change.

When do we get to decide for ourselves whether it is welcome or not? Some of us need more info?

Does Westhost 4.0 have support for the following?

ssh
procmail
self-signed certificates
access to mail server logs
access to web server logs

I would like further info about the cost of VPS.NET for Westhost 3.0 customers who cannot use Westhost 4.0 because it lacks features or support for our existing setups.

--
Bruce

WestHost - CReeves
04-08-2009, 01:51 PM
Bruce,

We have updated our FAQ with some additional information that may answer a few more of your questions. We will continue to work on some of the additional questions as well.

Thank you for your patience and support. Also, if you haven't already done so I would encourage everyone to participate in the beta tests as it will give you a great opportunity to test out many of the features on our new platform.

acemi
04-08-2009, 11:28 PM
We have updated our FAQ with some additional information that may answer a few more of your questions.

The FAQ states (http://www.westhost.com/faq/generalhosting/#sharedvsvps):

With WestHost's Virtual Private Server (VPS Hosting), also known as Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS Hosting) technology, a Web server is divided into multiple isolated environments. Each environment has its own server software providing independence for that Web site. Any compromise to a site would only affect that VPS and could not affect any other site on the same server. As with a dedicated server, each VPS has its own independent operating system with its own Web server, mail server and independent software instances. A crashed application (Apache, Sendmail, MySQL etc.) in another client's VPS has no effect on your VPS.
This still sounds like the existing system rather than the planned changes.

scain
04-09-2009, 01:22 AM
Acemi,

I think the FAQ he was referring to was this one, http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=13529

port80
04-09-2009, 05:29 AM
Q: Is my custom software going to work on your new platform?
A: Generally speaking if it is a Perl or PHP application (or something of that nature) then yes it should work just fine. If it is custom software that must be *installed* on the server like Subversion or a special mail filtering software then the answer is no.

What about Perl Modules? Can ones not part of the default collection be installed? Globally? Locally? At all?

What about C/C++ programs which might need compiling such as ht://Dig (http://www.htdig.org/)? Will gcc/g++ still be available?


Q: Is ImageMagick and GD going to be available on the servers?
A: At this time it does look as if it will be available.

"At this time"?? That's not exactly a very definitive answer. You might as well be saying "I'm not sure, but I think so." which is basically useless as an answer. FAQ's are for answers, not "maybes". You surely can do a better job of answering this.


Q. Will WestHost 4.0 offer htaccess rewrite and redirect?
A. Overrides will be enabled and clients will be able to create and utilize redirects/rewrites in .htaccess files.

.htaccess can be pretty powerful if you are willing to read Apache's complete documentation on it. It can do a whole lot more than url rewriting. Will the FULL capabilities of .htaccess be available (unrestricted)?


Q. Does WestHost 4.0 have support for ssh?
A. Yes it does in a jailshell environment.

Please elaborate.


Q. Does WestHost 4.0 have support for access to mail server logs?
A. No it does not.

Why not? The absence of mail logs is a pretty big deal. Only recently I personally was running some tests of a piece of equipment that emails periodic usage and maintenance reports. The equipment was failing to deliver the emails. Without those mail logs, diagnosing the problem would have been impossible; and that is only one example of how mail logs can prove useful. WestHost should seriously reconsider this issue as I very much doubt that I am the only person who thinks so.


Q. Does WestHost 4.0 have support for access to web server logs?
A. Yes you will have access to your domain logs.

To which logs specifically? access? error? ssl? ssl_error? And what about multi-domain logs? Even without access to the apache.conf file, I believe .htaccess is capable of creating multi-domain and customized logfile configurations. (I could be mistaken though as it has been many years since I've had to squeeze so much use out of .htaccess)

wildjokerdesign
04-09-2009, 08:58 AM
Well 4.0 offer FFmpeg (http://www.ffmpeg.org/) or the ability to install them along with needed requirements?

I'll dito the request for a solid answer on ImageMagic.

j103c
04-09-2009, 05:08 PM
(I don't have cpanel experience...)

What will the anti-spam solution be in WestHost 4.0?

Will we be restricted to a single MySQL database?

What version of MySQL will be available?

Will we be able to run PHP5 or PHP4?

Ditlev
04-13-2009, 07:18 AM
Thanks for your participation and interest in the WH4.0 platform - I will not start quoting all the items discussed, but try to sum up on some of the concerns listed. Sorry for the random list :)

Here you go...


The transition from WH 3-4.0 has nothing to do with the UK2Group's acquisition of WestHost, the process was initiated long time before we came on board.

The move away from Sphera (that WH 3.0 is based on) and its VPS-like features was not optional, it was a forced upon us by Parallels that acquired Sphera a few years back. They have put Sphera close to end-of-live (really only kept alive to help out WestHost and a few otheres) and we did not feel that keeping a platform running without regular security patches and proper supplier support would be viable. So, this is not a situation of us trying to fix something that was not broken - not at all.
Also, it is not a cost-saving-exercise for us. The WH4 setup will be way more expensive for us than the current Sphera based one.
I would have loved to stay with Sphera, but it was simply not an option to us.

Moving all WestHost clients to a XEN/OpenVZ/Virtuozzo/KVM/VMware/etc (all virtual private server platforms) solution was simply not possible for several reasons:

a. Roughly 5% of the WestHost clients actually utilize the VPS-like features - or even login to SSH, so giving the 95% a *real* server to manage would not be an option. That would a very scary experience for most of them.

b. The density of the Sphera platform is like any other shared platform, with 3-600 clients per server. Moving to a real VPS platform would mean allocating maximum 50-60 clients to each server. Obviously that would have great impact on prices. Again, only to offer services that would be valuable to 5% of the WestHost clients

Sphera/WH 3.0 is NOT a full Virtual Private Server platform. All the resources on the servers are shared between the clients. No client has guaranteed ram/cpu/etc allocated and no client has root access to the servers. What is so cool about Sphera, and I still love that platform, is that you are able to login via ssh and customize a lot of the core elements of your account. I can really see how that can be helpful, but I would like to emphasize that only a very small portion of the WestHost clients actually does that - less than 5%.

VPS.NET was not build as a substitution for WestHost, actually the work on the VPS.NET Cloud platform has been underway before we acquired WestHost. I do believe that VPS.NET could be a good solution for the 5% of you that needs to customize your setup in order to make it fit your needs. If any of you have yet to try the VPS.NET platform please look me (ditlev@uk2group.com) up, and I will get you a free testrun of it. I agree with most of you though, that while we've tried to make VPS.NET very easy to use, it is not a shared managed hosting platform like you know it from WestHost. VPS.NET is for those able to manage their server - and who get a kick out of messing about in SSH (again, those 5% of you might actually like this)

WH4.0 IS a serious upgrade. You will get a whole new set of features that you have not had at 3.0. WH4.0 is a modern platform that will make a lot of manual processes automatic and instant. We will move you to all new larger and faster servers and after the initial the initial getting-used-to-the-new-interface-process I am almost certain that you will come to love it. We've been using the same WHM/cPanel system across other companies for years and years, and we have 500+ servers running it. We simply love it and feel it is the best platform out there.

So, Sphera/WH3.0 is close to dead now - we did not kill it - but dead it is. We are trying to make the best out of the situation and really feel that the options we have outlined will end up being a plus to all of you.

I invite you guys to write me anytime, or even look me up on MSN/IRC/Skype (info is in my profile) to discuss if you like.

I take this quite serious, it's the bread and butter of our business we are messing with here, so your input is extremely important to me.

Best,

Ditlev Bredahl
CEO, UK2Group.com - WestHost.com

TimD
04-13-2009, 07:17 PM
Ditlev and Westhost,

I appreciate that you have been willing to engage in public discourse on the upcoming changes at Westhost. This particular thread has helped me understand the changes more fully. I have been with Westhost since 2004 and have recommended your site to every individual I know of that needs hosting services. I moved to Westhost in 2004 from a provider that provides the services that you are migrating your systems to due to all the EOL issues. The service and support with Westhost has been outstanding the entire time I have been a customer.

That said; I am disappointed that due to the upcoming changes I will need to find another hosting provider. I require the ease of use and peace of mind that a stable, managed, and simple-to-use baseline system (the current Westhost) provides. But I also need the ability to install SVN(or other software), have full (near full) root access so that I may examine error logs (etc), deploy/upgrade software, have direct DB access and even run custom software. (I am amazed that I am part of the 5% that use root access.) I currently run SVN, a custom application with a scheduled job and have manually installed numerous other upgrades on my 3 different sites. Jailshell does not meet my upcoming requirements nor does the reduced access to my "machine".

As a product manager in my "day job" I can appreciate that you have much more demographic information to help tailor your solutions. And perhaps this is the right business move to make for Westhost. But your current solution solved the problems for both the 95% AND the 5%. It is disappointing that the only technological solution that could be implemented to evolve Westhost meant lopping off functionality for 5%.

I wish it were not impacting my business and not necessitating a search and possible move to another system. To maintain the current access, deep customization and usability that your current system offers I would have paid 10%-15% more annually.

I can only hope that at some point in the future Westhost is able to offer the level of customer service, system access, deep customization, and usability at a reasonable price-point that I (and possibly others) have come to both enjoy and rely upon.

Ditlev
04-14-2009, 03:31 AM
Ditlev and Westhost,

I appreciate that you have been willing to engage in public discourse on the upcoming changes at Westhost. This particular thread has helped me understand the changes more fully. I have been with Westhost since 2004 and have recommended your site to every individual I know of that needs hosting services. I moved to Westhost in 2004 from a provider that provides the services that you are migrating your systems to due to all the EOL issues. The service and support with Westhost has been outstanding the entire time I have been a customer.

That said; I am disappointed that due to the upcoming changes I will need to find another hosting provider. I require the ease of use and peace of mind that a stable, managed, and simple-to-use baseline system (the current Westhost) provides. But I also need the ability to install SVN(or other software), have full (near full) root access so that I may examine error logs (etc), deploy/upgrade software, have direct DB access and even run custom software. (I am amazed that I am part of the 5% that use root access.) I currently run SVN, a custom application with a scheduled job and have manually installed numerous other upgrades on my 3 different sites. Jailshell does not meet my upcoming requirements nor does the reduced access to my "machine".

As a product manager in my "day job" I can appreciate that you have much more demographic information to help tailor your solutions. And perhaps this is the right business move to make for Westhost. But your current solution solved the problems for both the 95% AND the 5%. It is disappointing that the only technological solution that could be implemented to evolve Westhost meant lopping off functionality for 5%.

I wish it were not impacting my business and not necessitating a search and possible move to another system. To maintain the current access, deep customization and usability that your current system offers I would have paid 10%-15% more annually.

I can only hope that at some point in the future Westhost is able to offer the level of customer service, system access, deep customization, and usability at a reasonable price-point that I (and possibly others) have come to both enjoy and rely upon.

Tim - thanks for your feedback. At WH4.0 you will still have SSH access, have access to some of the logs, and you would have full DB control (to the same extend you have now) but you will loose some of the ability to install some custom software/modules. For that you will need a "real" VPS server - from VPS.net or another VPS provider. No shared host (that I know of) offers this kind of service.

Jonny (one of our Senior developers) looked into the numbers last night and it seems that those of you using the SSH/custom features mostly use it for enhanced Database access - that is something you can do to the same extend on WH4.

I would be happy to give you a free WH4 (cpanel) beta account so you can test it yourself and see if you can accept the changes. I'll also be happy to let you testrun VPS.net and see if that is more like what you need.

Let me (ditlev@uk2group.com) know if there is anything else I can do, and please remember that we are doing this because we have to, but that we are doing all we can to cater to most of the special requests and feedback we get before launching 4.0.

:)
D

bruce.binder
04-14-2009, 12:45 PM
Ditlev and Westhost:

Thanks for the posts here and on the FAQ. I have some more questions.


How does the 4.0 beta work? Do we have to transfer a domain to it? Or can we test it with a temporarily assigned domain to see if it meets our needs before we move production code to it?


How does the move to 4.0 affect dedicated server accounts?


Regarding procmail, I'm sorry, I don't understand this answer:


Q. Does WestHost 4.0 have support for Procmail?
A. WestHost 4.0 does support per-user (as in email user) filters. The user can either login via the webmail interface and set their own filters there, or you can set filters for them via the WestHost 4.0 Interface.

My preference would be to copy my .procmailrc file from 3.0 to 4.0. Does the 4.0 "filter" mean procmail? Or something else? The FAQ says Perl and PHP are supported. Can I call a Perl script from procmail?


Can I even run a Perl script that is not part of my website (e.g. from cron or procmail or just on the command line?)


I would like further info about the cost of VPS.NET for Westhost 3.0 customers who cannot use Westhost 4.0 because it lacks features or support for our existing setups.


--
Bruce

andz
04-14-2009, 12:46 PM
I'm one of those numerous WH customers who have adjusted quite happily to the non-root VPS capabilities of the current plans. These offer a significant advantage over OpenVZ/Xen plans in many scenarios, specifically in faster roll-out of a lot of stuff including Tomcat.

I've already built a reseller model around this and I have to wonder how many of us will possibly be left twisting in the wind (so to speak) with this potentially abrupt transition to "WH 4.0".

The VPS.net transition *might* be viable, but even at the same or nearly the same price, another big consideration is the headache of migrating current sites with customizations over to a completely new VPS environment and control panel (if one is provided).

Westhost should seriously consider extending the migration period to for such accounts (at the very least 6-12 months after a definitive decision - for VPS.net, not cPanel migration - has been announced).

I also don't think it would be unreasonable to expect a free or heavily discounted transition period especially for people who have hosted with them for quite some time. This would allow resellers to placate their existing customers who may have to undergo major changes in their site set up.

I'd be disappointed if the assurances being made were not backed up with concrete plans that ensure the high satisfaction levels WH customers are used to.

Ditlev
04-15-2009, 04:57 AM
Bruce, I will ask the tech's to reply to your questions

Andz, I can assure you that you will get long notices, heavy discounts and transition periods to make this as painfree as absolutely possible.

:)
D

dansroka
04-15-2009, 08:55 AM
Ditlev - thank you so much for taking the time to jump in here and answer our questions. I greatly appreciate it, and your opening is a good sign for the future of the Westhost community!

WestHost - JFillmore
04-15-2009, 05:59 PM
"1. How does the 4.0 beta work? Do we have to transfer a domain to it? Or can we test it with a temporarily assigned domain to see if it meets our needs before we move production code to it?"

The WH 4.0 beta will provide you with a free sub-domain name (e.g. bruce.wh4beta.com). You will be free to add any other additional domain names to your beta account.

=================================================

"2. How does the move to 4.0 affect dedicated server accounts?"

Our dedicated server accounts use the same Sphera software as our current shared and reseller hosting offerings, so they too will be affected by the launch of WH 4.0. Currently our dedicated server clients use Server Manager to manage service plans and accounts. In WH 4.0 this will be replaced with WHM (WebHost Manager, a cPanel product). Our dedicated hosting service will still be a managed service, so we'll take care of all server updates for you automatically.

=================================================

"3. Regarding procmail, I'm sorry, I don't understand this answer. My preference would be to copy my .procmailrc file from 3.0 to 4.0. Does the 4.0 "filter" mean procmail? Or something else? The FAQ says Perl and PHP are supported. Can I call a Perl script from procmail?"

To be honest, I'll need to do some more research into this for you. I actually don't believe that Procmail will be available, but cPanel's mail filtering allows you to specify arbitrary scripts to handle your mail. For example, you could say "if an e-mail is from WestHost and the subject contains 'WH 4.0' then pipe the e-mail to the script 'php /path/to/some/script'."

Any filters you create will be saved in text files within your home directory. If you do complex mail filtering for multiple accounts you can copy these files around as needed to avoid having to manually configure them in cPanel for each account.

=================================================

"4. Can I even run a Perl script that is not part of my website (e.g. from cron or procmail or just on the command line?)"

Sure. cPanel even has a cron job editor if you aren't comfortable with managing cron jobs manually.

=================================================

"5. I would like further info about the cost of VPS.NET for Westhost 3.0 customers who cannot use Westhost 4.0 because it lacks features or support for our existing setups."

While I can't provide any specifics here, Ditlev already answered this to say that something will certainly happen.

=================================================

Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions, or if you would like more specifics. I strongly suggest participating in our upcoming WH 4.0 beta so you can jump in and see for yourself what WH 4.0 is all about. Obviously this won't answer all of your migration questions, but it'll certainly be better than speculating :). Although beta registration is now closed, if you didn't sign up and have changed your mind feel free to send me a PM and let me know.

markusvk
04-15-2009, 08:46 PM
Have to add my 2 cent now.

I came to WH from a cPanel shared-hosting company which went down the drain two years ago.
Esp. the VPS technology was/is very interesting for me, kind of my outsourced linux server. Even tried to replace Apache with another web server (didn't work out, though). But still, working with midnight commander (compiled it) in the shell gives me some kind of "feeling home".

I just went through my old "final backup" (boy, am I happy I still have it lying around).
The cPanel config there was very free, almost no restrictions (at least I don't recall any, except for the jailshell). I had/have three domains, each with multiple subdomains and multiple users/emails. Also unlimited sql databases (way more than one is a MUST!).

Due to cPanel "restrictions" at one point we had to change from "pure" bash-shell ssh to jailshell (if I remember correctly!). Again, if I remember correctly, Jailshell was a pain-in-the-a**, too restrictive, so I installed MyShell and cgitelnet, a kind of "web shell", which I ran behind a couple of passwords, just to make sure (but without https, so sniffers had a chance :-((

The cPanel interface allowed for quite a many configurations, and I also did some stuff from within the shell (emacs/vim were installed, I think). Both Imap and POP worked, also spamassasin. php.ini and my.cnf could be edited via the shell. Oh yes, in each(?) web accessible directory (or was it each sub/domain root dir....?) could be a different copy of php.ini, too.

Mail filtering also worked for all users on all domains/subdomains, configurable via the cPanel. .htaccess replaced the httpd.conf (no access to that one, so web server configuration on a more basic/module level was not possible), but yet again, .htaccess was allowed to do whatever can be done on the directory-level. One cgi-bin was configured by default, but with .htaccess....
PHP scripts could write their data outside of the web server directory (yet again, a must).

I do not remember, how different versions of eg. PHP were handled (if they were handled at all, I only used PHP4 at that time, I NEED PHP5 now!!). But two or more years ago I wouldn't have seen any possibility to run Ruby/Rails with their need for web server configuration to get them above creeping level.
(How would Ruby/Rails be handled in Wh4??)

They used cPanel with Fantastico, but you could install your own scripts, too (esp. since cPanel and Fantastico used to be very conservative in regard to updates, sometimes you just had to update your scripts yourselve).

Sorry, this is just a rough write-up of what I found quickly in my backups and what I do recall (more or less :-) from memory.

cPanel hosting was not THAT bad :-), but it is classical shared-hosting....
I, too, AM very sorry to see the VPS going! And depending on the offers, I might consider changing to vps.net, even if the price is "a bit" more than I currently pay (which IMHO already is a very good offer!). And yes if their staff and overall service is as good as WH currently is.

Hope this gives you some more ideas about some almost forgotten experiences.
Markus

PS. You might want to take a look at
the fantastico demo http://cpanel-host.com/fantastico/
or
cpanel demo http://www.cpanel.net/products/cpanelwhm/try-demo.html
Still we don't know what WH is going to allow, but the demos will at least give you some idea of what cpanel looks like.

Ditlev
04-16-2009, 05:41 AM
I do not remember, how different versions of eg. PHP were handled (if they were handled at all, I only used PHP4 at that time, I NEED PHP5 now!!). But two or more years ago I wouldn't have seen any possibility to run Ruby/Rails with their need for web server configuration to get them above creeping level.
(How would Ruby/Rails be handled in Wh4??)
PHP5 is standard on WH4. and ROR is supported out of the box.


They used cPanel with Fantastico, but you could install your own scripts, too (esp. since cPanel and Fantastico used to be very conservative in regard to updates, sometimes you just had to update your scripts yourselve).

We will use a similar one-click-script installer as Fantastico - ours is called Installatron and we like it better as they are updating scripts more frequently, and they have a strong SDK that allows us to add our own one-click-install-scripts to the offering. We have hundreds of boxes running that config and it's working really well.


Sorry, this is just a rough write-up of what I found quickly in my backups and what I do recall (more or less :-) from memory.
Very helpful for others I am sure - thank you!



PS. You might want to take a look at
the fantastico demo http://cpanel-host.com/fantastico/
or
cpanel demo http://www.cpanel.net/products/cpanelwhm/try-demo.html
Still we don't know what WH is going to allow, but the demos will at least give you some idea of what cpanel looks like.

The WestHost cpanel install will be very different than the demo's above. We have customized everything quite heavily to make the interface a bit simpler, but equally powerful.

:)
D

Ditlev
04-16-2009, 05:42 AM
Ditlev - thank you so much for taking the time to jump in here and answer our questions. I greatly appreciate it, and your opening is a good sign for the future of the Westhost community!

no problem, I plan to spend a lot of time here during the transition :)

WVOz1970
04-16-2009, 09:35 AM
Very good reading... I appreciate the fact that WH team members take the time to respond. I've been a part of organizations in the past where it took days to even get a canned response. One of the biggest reasons I left Jumpline to come to Westhost was the level of customer service. I fell in love with the VPS/VDS model, but Jumpline's pricing just became too much for the level of service I was receiving.

My biggest concern in this whole process is looking at this from my reseller's perspective. While most of my clients would fit in the "95%" group mentioned earlier, I can think of one in particular who definitely utilizes the root-like access. He's really into Ruby/Rails developing as well. I'm really concerned about getting information of what will/will not be available as we go forward, as I have people that I will have to communicate to. I'm reading things about transitions beginning in May, and I still don't begin to know what to tell my clients. That's hardly enough time. I would really like to see some information for reseller programs so we know what we will be able to offer our clients.

Finally, when will we get our information on beta testing? I submitted a request probably a month or so back. I've not received any info at this point on testing.

Thanks!
Brian

jdegenova
04-17-2009, 08:31 PM
I think we pretty much have been told, as resellers, that even through we have sold our clients a "VPS", now the only way we can continue to provide them a VPS is to sign-up at VPS.net. If you want a web hosting node and a database node the cost is $50 per month because in the fine print it at least insinuates that you can't run MySQL and a web server on the same node (I'm disappointed that this isn't more clear on the VPS.net web site). This compared to under $4 per VPS on the current reseller plan, although we've now found out through this thread that what we had been buying all along wasn't a 'real' VPS to begin with. Not to mention that you need to become your own Linux system administrator if you move to VPS.net and be responsible for your own security (a full time job)!

I'm really disappointed that there was no reasonable effort made to offer something comparable to resellers. Personally I've been researching alternatives; I've sold my customer a VPS, not a shared hosting account and I intend to provide them what they paid for. I'm not trying to upset anyone at Westhost, but I've found another VPS provider that is comparable to VPS.net in cost, but you can run web and database on the same node, you also get more disk space and bandwidth and the server is *"fully managed"*, and yet you get root access. I hate to jump ship, but you've really left no reasonable alternative to resellers.

Ditlev
04-18-2009, 12:48 AM
I think we pretty much have been told, as resellers, that even through we have sold our clients a "VPS", now the only way we can continue to provide them a VPS is to sign-up at VPS.net. If you want a web hosting node and a database node the cost is $50 per month because in the fine print it at least insinuates that you can't run MySQL and a web server on the same node (I'm disappointed that this isn't more clear on the VPS.net web site). This compared to under $4 per VPS on the current reseller plan, although we've now found out through this thread that what we had been buying all along wasn't a 'real' VPS to begin with. Not to mention that you need to become your own Linux system administrator if you move to VPS.net and be responsible for your own security (a full time job)!

I'm really disappointed that there was no reasonable effort made to offer something comparable to resellers. Personally I've been researching alternatives; I've sold my customer a VPS, not a shared hosting account and I intend to provide them what they paid for. I'm not trying to upset anyone at Westhost, but I've found another VPS provider that is comparable to VPS.net in cost, but you can run web and database on the same node, you also get more disk space and bandwidth and the server is *"fully managed"*, and yet you get root access. I hate to jump ship, but you've really left no reasonable alternative to resellers.

Just making it totally clear. You CAN run database and web server on the same node from VPS.NET.
You can run exactly what you want on the node, there are NO restrictions at all.

Also, please let me know what made you think otherwise, we must have some poorly written copy somewhere...

:)
D

jdegenova
04-18-2009, 08:05 AM
I actually saw this in a forum post, so I made an assumption (perhaps incorrectly) from this:


One of the admins said in reply to a question I had posted that it would likely take a minimum of 2 nodes per server. By that estimate, your 2 webservers +1 db server would require 6 nodes, 2 each for the webservers, and another 2 for the db server. The admins are welcome to correct me on this if I am mistaken.

Which is posted at this URL:
http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1163

Ditlev
04-18-2009, 06:00 PM
I actually saw this in a forum post, so I made an assumption (perhaps incorrectly) from this:



Which is posted at this URL:
http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1163

the gentlemen on the forum are discussing a potential platform for a very busy forum. He could - very easily - put everything on one node, but one of the other participants (who does not work for VPS.NET) suggested that if the site is very busy, then he might want to spread the load over several servers.

That is only an option though - and really more a feature than a limitation. The ability to spread over many servers instantly enables you to grow without having to buy full dedicated servers.

:)
D

gharman
04-18-2009, 06:07 PM
I've been doing some research on the subject of Xen VPS hosting. I've encountered frugal VPS enthusiasts who, through careful selection of software and tuning, can host sites on 128MB RAM/256MB Swap and even 64MB RAM/128MB Swap VPSs. I've also encountered ordinary folks who, running vanilla stacks, can't host their sites on 256MB RAM/512MB Swap or 512MB RAM/1024MB Swap VPSs. This is understandable, for performance depends on factors such as:

- What OS, 32-bit vs 64-bit, how it is configured
- What applications are running and how they are configured
- How intensive the processing (simple static pages? rich pages served via a heavy database driven cms?)
- Traffic/visitor loads... human traffic, bot traffic, web, database, streaming, ftp, etc.

Thus, one has to be careful about interpreting (unqualified) comments and recommendations. Those with much experience spec'ing and running servers... particularly web hosting personel who can analyze and categorize large numbers of sites... should be able to make reasonable recommendations given an adequate decription of one's requirements. Conceptually, even make available a calculator or simple chart that addresses common stack/traffic scenarios. The devil is in the details, and when selecting and pricing a plan, you have to factor in as much as you can (including add-ons like control panels, backups, etc, and whatever is necessary to keep up with patches and maintain security). Ultimately though, there is no substitute for testing a new platform under similar if not identical usage.

FWIW, I just noticed that "Westhost VPS Hosting Technology" has been removed from the main page, Compare All Plans page, and presumably others.

Ditlev
04-19-2009, 12:42 AM
I've been doing some research on the subject of Xen VPS hosting. I've encountered frugal VPS enthusiasts who, through careful selection of software and tuning, can host sites on 128MB RAM/256MB Swap and even 64MB RAM/128MB Swap VPSs. I've also encountered ordinary folks who, running vanilla stacks, can't host their sites on 256MB RAM/512MB Swap or 512MB RAM/1024MB Swap VPSs. This is understandable, for performance depends on factors such as:


Thanks for your input. I think the main point I'd like to get through here is that 256MB of ram is more than ANY shared VPS account on WestHost (incl. resellers) has available. So, if it runs on your current account it will run better/faster at VPS.NET...

:)
D

RFH927
04-19-2009, 01:52 PM
Many thanks to the originator of this post and to the WestHost staff, Ditlev, and fellow customers for a very informative and "eye-opening" discussion of what's coming down the pike at WestHost. Prior to seeing this thread I was not aware that WestHost was doing away with VPS with the 4.0 migration, so that was a bit of a shock. I currently have a basic reseller account for my three ecommerce sites (I'm not a hosting reseller but that was a less expensive route than purchasing separate business hosting accounts) and have been for the most part very happy with the reliability and support from WestHost.
I moved to WestHost a few years back from IX Webhosting after being told that their shared servers would not be PCI compliant (a must if you're going to accept credit cards for online purchases in the US). IX had the cPanel control interface so I have some experience with that and am actually looking forward to it's introduction at WestHost. Three things that I AM concerned about at this point are:

1) Will the WH4.0 shared servers be fully PCI compliant (ie. will they pass the frequent security scans run by my pci compliance vendor, ControlScan), as the current VPS Hosting servers are?
2) I am by no means a systems administrator type, but have had the need more than once to go into the php.ini and other systems files to make modifications---- will this still be possible with 4.0? Or does this put me in the 5% category that will need to migrate to VPS.Net? I'm absolutely not qualified to administer the upgrades, patches, and security of a server, so what options (other than leaving) does that give me?
3) On the standard shared server environment at IX I often experienced major site slowdowns during peak shopping periods around the holidays, and have not experienced that problem to anywhere near the same degree at WestHost. Will the same be the case once my sites are migrated to WH4.0 shared servers? What is the loading going to be on these shared servers?

I really, really, really don't need the hassles of switching hosting providers again......

Bob

Ditlev
04-19-2009, 02:36 PM
Hello Bob, thanks for your post, glad you joined in!



1) Will the WH4.0 shared servers be fully PCI compliant (ie. will they pass the frequent security scans run by my pci compliance vendor, ControlScan), as the current VPS Hosting servers are?
I will leave that to the techies to answer, I've pinged them, and they will get back here.


2) I am by no means a systems administrator type, but have had the need more than once to go into the php.ini and other systems files to make modifications---- will this still be possible with 4.0? Or does this put me in the 5% category that will need to migrate to VPS.Net? I'm absolutely not qualified to administer the upgrades, patches, and security of a server, so what options (other than leaving) does that give me?
That's really depending on what modifications you have made. It's hard to say if you will be covered by the standard settings in the cPanel setup without knowing a bit more about the modifications you've made.



3) On the standard shared server environment at IX I often experienced major site slowdowns during peak shopping periods around the holidays, and have not experienced that problem to anywhere near the same degree at WestHost. Will the same be the case once my sites are migrated to WH4.0 shared servers? What is the loading going to be on these shared servers?

The WH3 setup at WestHost has been shared like any other webhost out there - so, the reason you have not seen the site slowdowns is simply because we do not overload the servers to the same extend that you see so many other places. WestHost - and many of the other UK2Group brands - have been around for more than 10 years and we are far beyond the phase where we have to worry about overloading servers to maximize profitability per server. We run thousands of servers, and have sold more than a million domains - We know that keeping servers fast and with plenty of room for bursts is the best way to make your business profitable in the long run.

So, to answer your question - the ratio of clients<->serverresources will not change, and you will not experience server-slowdowns as a result of the WH4 platform.



I really, really, really don't need the hassles of switching hosting providers again......
And we really, really want you to stay with us, so let me know - either here or via email: ditlev@uk2group.com - if you have other concerns or questions!

:)
D

port80
04-20-2009, 12:13 AM
I actually saw this in a forum post, so I made an assumption (perhaps incorrectly) from this:


One of the admins said in reply to a question I had posted that it would likely take a minimum of 2 nodes per server. By that estimate, your 2 webservers +1 db server would require 6 nodes, 2 each for the webservers, and another 2 for the db server. The admins are welcome to correct me on this if I am mistaken.

Which is posted at this URL:
http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1163

Well, I started this thread to try to bring attention to concerns that I and possibly other WH customers might have during this period of change. I have tried to place an emphasis on clarity. I think that clarity has been lost a bit here so allow me to attempt clarification.

The above quotation from the VPS.net forums is a snippet of a response from me... "port80" aka Mike. Same user on this forum and over at VPS.net.

Some of the questions here are very VPS.net centric. I made the mistake of asking WestHost related questions over on VPS.net and was asked by Ditlev to confine WestHost subject matter to the WH forums...


VPS.net has nothing to do with Westhost. The launch of VPS.net has been under way for a long time - before we acquired Westhost - and we do not intend to replace Westhost with VPS.net, not at all. In fact, keep the Westhost platform discussion to the Westhost forums - most of the people here on these forums may never have heard of Westhost :)

(See: http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=108 post #10)

I think perhaps the same should go for confining questions specific to VPS.net to the VPS.net forums.

I cannot help but notice as I quote the above the suggestion that VPS.net has nothing to do with WestHost. Were people not being sent to VPS.net from WestHost by WH personnel and by links on the main WH site I might agree. WestHost may have nothing to do with VPS.net, but it would seem that VPS.net has A LOT to do with WestHost.

At the time I posted the initial quote in that VPS.net thread, I was too tired to hunt down the post by a VPS.net admin which led to my statement. Well this time I hunted that quote down. Here it is...


it's really hard to say, it depends on how many nodes per vps you wish to give, but for a vps with all services and moderate traffic, i'd advise 2 nodes per vps

so at 2 nodes per vps plus the front-end .. that gives you a formula

but keep in mind the following, while the initial slider is 18 nodes, once you login, you can buy more nodes, no limit in the amount of nodes an account can have,

(See: http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=165 #2)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



I actually saw this in a forum post, so I made an assumption (perhaps incorrectly) from this:


One of the admins said in reply to a question I had posted that it would likely take a minimum of 2 nodes per server. By that estimate, your 2 webservers +1 db server would require 6 nodes, 2 each for the webservers, and another 2 for the db server. The admins are welcome to correct me on this if I am mistaken.

Which is posted at this URL:
http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1163

the gentlemen on the forum are discussing a potential platform for a very busy forum. He could - very easily - put everything on one node, but one of the other participants (who does not work for VPS.NET) suggested that if the site is very busy, then he might want to spread the load over several servers.

That is only an option though - and really more a feature than a limitation. The ability to spread over many servers instantly enables you to grow without having to buy full dedicated servers.

:)
D

I suggest that everyone go read the thread being discussed above in it's entirety since the facts seem to be getting confused. The thread is here:

http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?p=1163

The thread is essentially 2 threads. The original poster started the thread to ask a question about Windows VPSes. Then another poster accidentally hijacked the thread with post #6 by asking something not pertaining to Windows VPSes.


Is there a CPU usage limitation? I run a fairly large PHP board and WestHost.com has shut down my site because Apache is consistently using 8% CPU and has been higher recently due to news about a certain CEO getting fired from his job.

Would I get shut down just for being a busy board? I can't afford dedicated hosting. I make very little revenue from this site.

I like the idea of load balancing. I think I would go with 3 nodes. Two webservers load balanced with the third node being the MySQL DB.

As you can plainly see above, the question could have been the start of it's own thread and it is the poster who has suggested load balancing and a separate DB server. Those were his ideas.


but one of the other participants (who does not work for VPS.NET)...

I can only assume this is referring to me.


...suggested that if the site is very busy, then he might want to spread the load over several servers.

Nope. That was Oldsmoboi's idea. I said...


One of the admins said in reply to a question I had posted that it would likely take a minimum of 2 nodes per server.

Referring to...


it's really hard to say, it depends on how many nodes per vps you wish to give, but for a vps with all services and moderate traffic, i'd advise 2 nodes per vps

Written by Carlos "NullMind" Rego, one of the VPS.net admins. (Profile here: http://vps.net/forum/member.php?u=6 )

Yet Ditlev, why is your answer in contradiction to Carlos' reply?


He could - very easily - put everything on one node

I would really like some clarity as to the capabilities of VPS.net and it does not promote clarity when staff members are contradicting each other's statements.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next, I am concerned with the below...


Thanks for your input. I think the main point I'd like to get through here is that 256MB of ram is more than ANY shared VPS account on WestHost (incl. resellers) has available. So, if it runs on your current account it will run better/faster at VPS.NET...

This may well be possible as gharman pointed out in post #42 of this thread, but the resource handling between the VPS.net Xen Cloud and WestHost's Sphera based "root-like" VPS differ greatly...



b. The density of the Sphera platform is like any other shared platform, with 3-600 clients per server. Moving to a real VPS platform would mean allocating maximum 50-60 clients to each server. Obviously that would have great impact on prices. Again, only to offer services that would be valuable to 5% of the WestHost clients[/LIST]

Sphera/WH 3.0 is NOT a full Virtual Private Server platform. All the resources on the servers are shared between the clients. No client has guaranteed ram/cpu/etc allocated and no client has root access to the servers. What is so cool about Sphera, and I still love that platform, is that you are able to login via ssh and customize a lot of the core elements of your account. I can really see how that can be helpful, but I would like to emphasize that only a very small portion of the WestHost clients actually does that - less than 5%.

Even stripped down, Xen is running many resources entirely on its own including it's own kernel, all installed services and daemons, etc. The Sphera "shared resources" may have allocated less than 256mb, but sharing resources when properly managed (as WestHost has clearly done all these years) can be fantastically efficient. Even stripped down, it would be a real accomplishment to make Xen so efficient... and bare in mind "stripped down" likely means no control panels.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would also like to clarify something for the below quote...


although we've now found out through this thread that what we had been buying all along wasn't a 'real' VPS to begin with.

It is inaccurate to say that WestHost's Sphera based VPSes were not a "real VPS". Do enough reading on server virtualization and you will encounter over and over that there is no agreed upon definition of VPS. You will see it called VPS, and VDS, you will see that there are different approaches like "bare metal", para-virtual, and os-level to name a few.

There is no shortage of opinionated people asserting what *their* idea of "real server virtualization" is, but it is the industry as a whole and not the individual who determines standard nomenclature and defines what is what... the only thing the industry can do when it comes to "real VPS" is agree to disagree.

So limiting the definition down to known facts, WestHost's Sphera solution was a "root-like VPS". WestHost's VPS solution was a very early entry into the web hosting industry and they began calling it a VPS before VPS had started drifting towards "true root" virtualized servers. WestHost considered changing the name of their offering, but choose not to realizing it would only confuse people. It was then that they added the distinction of "root-like" to help clarify their technology and avoid confusion. (This is somewhere on the WH site if someone could kindly locate it. It should either be in a Blog post, or in a thread in this forum someplace... hence the "facts" statement.)

Now for the "in my opinion" portion...

Since WestHost's Sphera VPS provided good isolation from other accounts on the same server, they were in essence fulfilling one of the key objectives of any virtualized server: isolation.

-Mike

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 02:04 AM
Its quite hard to answer your post, Mike, using regular syntax, as it has all those quotes in it, so I will try to get the gist of it, and summarize below.

Reading it a few times it seems there are two main points:

1)


Some of the questions here are very VPS.net centric. I made the mistake of asking WestHost related questions over on VPS.net and was asked by Ditlev to confine WestHost subject matter to the WH forums...
The discussion here is quite relevant to WestHost, as it is directly associated with the WH4 migration. Also, while this is not a secret in any way, I would obviously prefer that the significant discounts given to WestHost clients are not spread out over the vps.net forums. :)
So, please keep the WH/VPS.NET discussion on these forums.

2)

Even stripped down, Xen is running many resources entirely on its own including it's own kernel, all installed services and daemons, etc. The Sphera "shared resources" may have allocated less than 256mb, but sharing resources when properly managed (as WestHost has clearly done all these years) can be fantastically efficient. Even stripped down, it would be a real accomplishment to make Xen so efficient... and bare in mind "stripped down" likely means no control panels.

My point is that a VPS.NET physical server has only an absolute max of 50 accounts on it, and a WestHost 3/4.0 server might have 500 accounts or more on it. And that is not even considering the I/O from the local HD's on the WH3/4 servers.

So, if your sites/accounts are running great on the current WestHost platform, they will run great on the VPS.NET platform - perhaps even greater. It is true that XEN has a little overhead, but I can assure you that you are able to run even fairly busy websites. Even with overhead you WILL have more power now, than you had before.

You will find plenty of VPS providers out there selling 64/128mb VPS's, and plenty of clients running plenty of sites on them...

Listen, we are not here to give you a solution that does not work - that would be killing our own business. Have a little faith in us - we've been at this for more than 10 years, and we are pretty good at what we are doing :)

I am still certain that the large majority of you would be very happy to see what cPanel has to offer. And those of you that need more will be pleased with the *real* root, the *real* dedicated resources and the ability to run your own real server for $10 at VPS.NET.


It is inaccurate to say that WestHost's Sphera based VPSes were not a "real VPS".
Finally, I won't go into the whole "what is a VPS/VDS" discussion, just point out that to me its the "P/D" that makes all the difference - "private/dedicated". WestHost's offering is neither private or dedicated as all resources are shared with the other clients on the same server. For those of you who'd like to read up on it, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_server explanation is really good:


A virtual private server (VPS, also referred to as Virtual Dedicated Server or VDS) is a method of partitioning a physical server computer into multiple servers such that each has the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine. Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system, and each server can be independently rebooted.

So a VPS...:

Has the appearance and capabilities of running on its own dedicated machine
Can run its own full-fledged operating system
Can be independently rebooted


None of that can be said about a WestHost VPS...

Anyway, and I think we should get this discussion back on track - to most of the WestHost clients all this does not matter ... you simply want to make sure you are not seeing a lack in performance. That your resellers won't complain and that your online business will not get hurt by this.

That is our main concern as well, that is all that we focus on right now, and that is what we are positive we can achieve with the upgrade we are going through.

:)
D

NullMind
04-20-2009, 06:32 AM
This is indeed quite a long thread.

Ok, just a quick overview of one of the concerns here:


The matter of nodes needed to run a VPS

I personally often state on VPS.NET for the need for 2 nodes, I use it as a good benchmark for the majority of VSP.NET type customers, usually we are talking about users with larger than the norm requisites, large sites, allot of dynamic and database content, etc, who are looking for a cloud environment to take their sites to the next level of scalability and flexibility.

But if your at WH level offerings, then one node is more than enough for most people, currently your site is running on much smaller specs.

port80
04-20-2009, 08:18 AM
This is indeed quite a long thread.

It is filling a need that had been neglected. It now has a momentum all its own.


Ok, just a quick overview of one of the concerns here:

I personally often state on VPS.NET for the need for 2 nodes, I use it as a good benchmark for the majority of VSP.NET type customers, usually we are talking about users with larger than the norm requisites, large sites, allot of dynamic and database content, etc, who are looking for a cloud environment to take their sites to the next level of scalability and flexibility.

But if your at WH level offerings, then one node is more than enough for most people, currently your site is running on much smaller specs.

Carlos (NullMind), thank you. Glad to have that clarified. You may wish to state something of the same nature in the VPS.net thread where I was using your original quote from. And also in the thread where I asked if the admins would correct me if I was mistaken. It was after all a WH client answering the question of a recent WH client.


The discussion here is quite relevant to WestHost, as it is directly associated with the WH4 migration. Also, while this is not a secret in any way, I would obviously prefer that the significant discounts given to WestHost clients are not spread out over the vps.net forums. :)
So, please keep the WH/VPS.NET discussion on these forums.

Ditlev, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for bringing it to my attention and to the community's attention.

At the same time, you are hinting at discounts without giving specifics. Until you have specifics, PLEASE stop with the vague, speculative statements. They only serve to undermine your credibility. I started this thread 03-27-2009. That means it has been a month of placating and stalling. I don't like placating or stalling, it sets off giant red flags of distrust (when you are instead asking for faith). I need real, concrete answers. There is a $20 difference of price between summer special / winter special WestHost plans (at $12/month) and a basic VPS.net 1 node account (at $30/month). That is a very large financial divide to cross. I want specifics already. ACTUAL dollar amounts.


So, if your sites/accounts are running great on the current WestHost platform, they will run great on the VPS.NET platform - perhaps even greater. It is true that XEN has a little overhead, but I can assure you that you are able to run even fairly busy websites. Even with overhead you WILL have more power now, than you had before.


This is the kind of clarification I have tried to get to the heart of in this thread.



Listen, we are not here to give you a solution that does not work - that would be killing our own business. Have a little faith in us - we've been at this for more than 10 years, and we are pretty good at what we are doing :)

Faith is for religion. This is business. I want facts, disclosure, and answers. I am seeing lots of unanswered questions, lots of "We don't know yet", and lots of changes all happening without the business questions being asked seeing suitable answers that I can use to make business decisions and to tell current or prospective clients. A vacuum of information does not inspire faith, it inspires extreme doubt. You may own WestHost now, but you are not Chris Russell. Chris earned my faith (and the faith of other WH clients) over a period of years.

I stopped being a mere WH customer and instead became a loyal and enthusiastic member. I assure you that I do not wish to loose that to the changes occurring. But I need solid answers, not vague ones, and I need them now, not months from now.

Throughout this thread, I, and others have asked questions that have either gone entirely unanswered, or have been answered in such vague terms that they only serve to increase my level of concern.


None of that can be said about a WestHost VPS...

And this is where my statement concerning "plenty of opinionated answers to go around, but it is the industry that sets such standards, and the industry itself is divided. YOUR definition of VPS is just that... *your* definition. I already addressed the history of how a WH VPS came upon that name, and how it kept that name.


Anyway, and I think we should get this discussion back on track

This discussion IS on track. The title is "WestHost's Future?? Loyal Customer is Distressed.". That person is me. This thread is here to seek out answers that will alleviate my concerns. I am clearly one of the 5%'ers you refer to. I am asking questions (and other 5%'ers are asking questions) about the things which give them concern. THAT IS on track. Thats what I started this thread for.


to most of the WestHost clients all this does not matter

This thread is for the WH clients to whom IT DOES MATTER. Be that 5%, be it 100% of the current client base.


you simply want to make sure ... that your online business will not get hurt by this.

I truncated your statement to make it relevant. I am interested in protecting my business interests. What is good for my business is good for my web host. It is a very simple equation.

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 08:47 AM
This discussion IS on track. The title is "WestHost's Future?? Loyal Customer is Distressed.". That person is me. This thread is here to seek out answers that will alleviate my concerns. I am clearly one of the 5%'ers you refer to. I am asking questions (and other 5%'ers are asking questions) about the things which give them concern. THAT IS on track. Thats what I started this thread for.
That was aimed at the "what is/isn't a VPS" discussion, which honestly does not matter. All that matters is that the service and offering provided matches your needs and expectations - be it in a full VPS, like-vps or non-vps environment.


YOUR definition of VPS is just that... *your* definition. I already addressed the history of how a WH VPS came upon that name, and how it kept that name.
It was not my definition, but a quote from Wikipedia.


Faith is for religion. This is business. I want facts, disclosure, and answers. I am seeing lots of unanswered questions, lots of "We don't know yet", and lots of changes all happening without the business questions being asked seeing suitable answers that I can use to make business decisions and to tell current or prospective clients. A vacuum of information does not inspire faith, it inspires extreme doubt. You may own WestHost now, but you are not Chris Russell. Chris earned my faith (and the faith of other WH clients) over a period of years.
Yes, this is business, and in any business you rely on your business partners. And if you do not have faith in your business partners you should find new ones.
If you by definition think that your partners in business are here to make your life tougher, you should find new partners. If you do not trust your business partners and suppliers to provide you with the solution you need, you should find new ones.

This is a discussion forum, it is not our pricelist. This is a place to discuss, and seek influence on the way WestHost is managed.

I have been very open and honest in my answers, I have been looking for input and feedback on how to make this transition a positive one. This is the way I do business, I am open all the way. If there is something I don't know, or that I am not sure of, I say it. If I need input on something, I ask. If clients express concerns I listen and react.
In return my clients and business partners know that I always tell the truth, that they can trust me to provide what I say and that I will answer their questions to the best of my ability.
The alternative would be to close down the forum, to simply have a one-way-communication in these situations, and make sure every word communicated is signed and sealed. Now, that is actually the way that most business work, and you do not see that many CEO's of companies of UK2Group's size even bothering to read forums or using blogs. But I feel that the value of client feedback is worth the time spent.


At the same time, you are hinting at discounts without giving specifics. Until you have specifics, PLEASE stop with the vague, speculative statements. They only serve to undermine your credibility. I started this thread 03-27-2009. That means it has been a month of placating and stalling. I don't like placating or stalling, it sets off giant red flags of distrust (when you are instead asking for faith). I need real, concrete answers. There is a $20 difference of price between summer special / winter special WestHost plans (at $12/month) and a basic VPS.net 1 node account (at $30/month). That is a very large financial divide to cross. I want specifics already. ACTUAL dollar amounts.

I am not stalling anything - I have been seeking input on what price level would be acceptable, I have been trying to understand the concerns of the 5%. Trying to find out exactly what they are looking for and how I can make sure their needs are answered to. This is the way great products are build - with the input from the people actually using them. This is the way to avoid disappointments, by ensuring that our pricepoints, product features and time-lines matches expectations...and the best way to get expectations is to ask/discuss/get input - which is what we've been doing here.

The WH3->4 process is in two main stages.
The first one would be for new clients only. Basically us setting up new clients on the WH4 platform. That phase is not that relevant for this discussion, only to the point where current clients might want to open additional accounts with us.

The second one, which will start in late summer to early fall is the one relevant to this discussion. This is when we - very very slowly - begin to move current clients onto WH4. So, we are still months away from any direct impact on any current WH clients.

:)
D

port80
04-20-2009, 09:41 AM
I am not stalling anything - I have been seeking input on what price level would be acceptable, I have been trying to understand the concerns of the 5%. Trying to find out exactly what they are looking for and how I can make sure their needs are answered to. This is the way great products are build - with the input from the people actually using them. This is the way to avoid disappointments, by ensuring that our pricepoints, product features and time-lines matches expectations...and the best way to get expectations is to ask/discuss/get input - which is what we've been doing here.

Ditlev, again a fair and well reasoned reply. I know that some of my questions may seem challenging, so I am grateful that you are making the effort. It is that kind of effort which earned my goodwill towards WestHost in the first place. My questions, hard though some may be, are not intended to be hard or easy, rather they are intended to get answers I have felt needed addressing. Thank you for your participation in this matter. Many people have come forward in this thread to thank me, and to thank WH Staff, and thank UK2/VPS.net staff for bringing issues to light.

I understand that it can be difficult to field so many questions, but in doing so, you are not helping only me, you are helping the people who have at this posting, viewed this thread a total of 1,826 times.

-Mike

port80
04-20-2009, 09:53 AM
Concerning my earlier mention of running OpenVZ within Xen, I have had this unexpectedly answered by someone who HAS tried it.

It DOES work. They said the thing that was necessary was that both Xen and OpenVZ be compiled into the kernel. While they were not able to answer about any specific benchmarks, they said it was able to run on as little as 64MB ram. Given higher resources, that should make it possible. They ran the following configuration...

Running inside of Xen: CentOS 5.2 (64bit) + OpenVZ + HyperVM

So that means if VPS.net has both Xen and OpenVZ compiled into their Kernel, this should be a viable template image to offer on VPS.net - and it would be exactly the thing to address the wants and needs of current WestHost Resellers wanting to resell *actual* isolated VPS account instead of simply "shared hosting" accounts.

Unfortunately, since it will require that OpenVZ be compiled into your kernel, I cannot beta test it with the current VPS.net setup.

-Mike

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 10:02 AM
Concerning my earlier mention of running OpenVZ within Xen, I have had this unexpectedly answered by someone who HAS tried it.

It DOES work. They said the thing that was necessary was that both Xen and OpenVZ be compiled into the kernel. While they were not able to answer about any specific benchmarks, they said it was able to run on as little as 64MB ram. Given higher resources, that should make it possible. They ran the following configuration...

Running inside of Xen: CentOS 5.2 (64bit) + OpenVZ + HyperVM

So that means if VPS.net has both Xen and OpenVZ compiled into their Kernel, this should be a viable template image to offer on VPS.net - and it would be exactly the thing to address the wants and needs of current WestHost Resellers wanting to resell *actual* isolated VPS account instead of simply "shared hosting" accounts.

Unfortunately, since it will require that OpenVZ be compiled into your kernel, I cannot beta test it with the current VPS.net setup.

-Mike
Great!
and it is not possible to recompile the kernel with OpenVZ through the VPS.NET console? I would think it would be...

wildjokerdesign
04-20-2009, 11:46 AM
Faith and trust are very closely connected in my book and I am well on the road to having the same faith in Ditlev that I had in Chris Russell.

A price has been mentioned in the WestHost 4.0 (http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=13202) thread. At the moment a $20.00 discount is being suggested for WestHost clients who move to vps.net. Perhaps discussion of that price break would be better discussed here in this thread. Unless the OpenVZ noted earlier in this thread can be installed over at vps.net I don't see how with even a $20.00 discount vps.net can give me the same "product" I have now for the same price. I have Plan2 right now which gives me 15 vps/accounts. If I want to continue to supply my clients what was sold them then I need to purchase at least 15 nodes (I actually think it might need to be 2 more then that so I can set up name servers). 15 * $14.00 = $210.00 per month. Plan2 is $38.95 a month.

Because of my circumstances I won't have to actually do the above but some might and it would be cost prohibitive. Are my calculations above off? Is there a better way? I wonder if for the 5% it is almost better to have a representative from WestHost who could work with them on a one to one basis figuring out what is the best thing to do. I know they can't make the decision for us but perhaps they can better analyze the data for our accounts to help guide us.

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 11:53 AM
1) Will the WH4.0 shared servers be fully PCI compliant (ie. will they pass the frequent security scans run by my pci compliance vendor, ControlScan), as the current VPS Hosting servers are?

Just following up and confirming that WH4 WILL be fully PCI compliant. This was confirmed to me this morning!

:)
D

RFH927
04-20-2009, 12:27 PM
Ditlev,
Thanks for the follow-up to my earlier question regarding PCI compliance---that's good news. However, I'm still up in the air over how much control customers will have over the runability of some of their applications once the "root-like" access is taken away. For instance, the version of osCommerce currently offered under the WestHost Site Applications menu, osCommerce 2.2.060817, requires register globals to be turned "on" in php.ini to run at all! Are we going to be able to do that on the WH4.0 shared servers? I think that's a pretty clear and straight-forward question, and am afraid I already know the answer....
What I'm hearing so far regarding VPS.Net being the "comparable" alternative for the 5% who need more control of their hosting accounts is quite frankly very scary UNLESS there is a reasonably-priced option for server management assistance offered somewhere in the mix for those of us who know enough to be dangerous but ARE NOT certified server administrators.

Bob

NullMind
04-20-2009, 12:32 PM
Great!
and it is not possible to recompile the kernel with OpenVZ through the VPS.NET console? I would think it would be...

Yes, you CAN compile a new Kernel with the existing VPS.NET setup.

Just make sure it's XEN compliant, or it wont boot back.

NullMind
04-20-2009, 12:45 PM
Ditlev,
However, I'm still up in the air over how much control customers will have over the runability of some of their applications once the "root-like" access is taken away. For instance, the version of osCommerce currently offered under the WestHost Site Applications menu, osCommerce 2.2.060817, requires register globals to be turned "on" in php.ini to run at all! Are we going to be able to do that on the WH4.0 shared servers?

Hi Bob

Actually many of these features can be enabled/disabled with no "root" access in cPanel

A good example, "register globals" can be turned ON by editing/creating a .htaccess file on the site root and adding


php_flag register_globals on (/off)

bordman
04-20-2009, 01:29 PM
I think the thing most concerning me is will i be able to keep my disc space and bandwidth? Or am i going to have to take the downgrade? Also, if vps.net proves to not meet my needs and/or is priced to high to compared to the competition, will I be able to be refunded for my remaining 1+ years by that point? And finally, is there any way to check out vps.net without having to pay for the beta period? If i'm going to be forced over there, i'd like to give it a test run.

gharman
04-20-2009, 01:40 PM
...256MB of ram is more than ANY shared VPS account on WestHost (incl. resellers) has available. So, if it runs on your current account it will run better/faster at VPS.NET...

AFAIK, the standard Sphera VPS plans were/are:

1) Personal Basic
2) Personal Starter
3) Personal Value
4) Business Starter
5) Business Value
6) Business Pro
7) Business Semi-Dedicated

Are you saying that maximum RAM usage... burst... was/is hard capped to <= 256MB for all of these plans? Surely the lower plans would have a lower cap. I'm just wondering if you meant to include #6 and #7 as plans that would run better/faster in a one node VPS.net VPS.


...And those of you that need more will be pleased with the *real* root, the *real* dedicated resources and the ability to run your own real server for $10 at VPS.NET...

How is swap space sized at VPS.net and is that subtracted from a plan's disk space allowance?

Could you briefly describe what will be required of clients, and what you will do to help clients, with respect to keeping both their OS and "site applications" up to date?

What if any backup features will be included in the "$10 plan"?


...I have been seeking input on what price level would be acceptable, I have been trying to understand the concerns of the 5%. Trying to find out exactly what they are looking for and how I can make sure their needs are answered to...

Have you considered offering 3/4 and 1/2 node plans [to WestHost clients]?

NullMind
04-20-2009, 01:55 PM
And finally, is there any way to check out vps.net without having to pay for the beta period? If i'm going to be forced over there, i'd like to give it a test run.

Bordman, so you can test, if you signup for vps.net and PM me your email address there, I'll refund your credit card for the signup.

jsavko
04-20-2009, 02:28 PM
I've been following this thread for some time, and I am becoming increasingly distressed with having to be moved to VPS.net and not receiving the same plan I signed up for. I am excited to see that we will finally have real root access, but with the increased cost and smaller quotas I'm not sure I will be staying with Westhost or any of it's parent companies. I've already stopped referring people to westhost as well. I'm still holding out for the final info on the migration process.

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 02:32 PM
I am excited to see that we will finally have real root access, but with the increased cost and smaller quotas

What are you paying now, and what resources/quotas do you need?

:)
D

jsavko
04-20-2009, 02:42 PM
What are you paying now, and what resources/quotas do you need?

:)
D

Ditlev

I'm currently on the Winter Special which was an amazing deal with the 50GB of Data Storage and 1TB of bandwidth. For similar quotes with VPS.net I will need 4 nodes which comes with a huge increase in CPU and ram which I don't necessarily need. I'm just very concerned that to keep the VPS access (which I use) it's going to increase my monthly premium and reduce my data quotas.
Edit:
Forgot to include what the price was. $10 a month for the lifetime on the account with the winter special.

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 03:18 PM
Ditlev

I'm currently on the Winter Special which was an amazing deal with the 50GB of Data Storage and 1TB of bandwidth. For similar quotes with VPS.net I will need 4 nodes which comes with a huge increase in CPU and ram which I don't necessarily need. I'm just very concerned that to keep the VPS access (which I use) it's going to increase my monthly premium and reduce my data quotas.
Edit:
Forgot to include what the price was. $10 a month for the lifetime on the account with the winter special.

I understand, and the $10 is a good deal for that.
My question was how much you need, as in how much of your quota do you actually utilize?

:)
D

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 05:09 PM
Concerning my earlier mention of running OpenVZ within Xen, I have had this unexpectedly answered by someone who HAS tried it.

It DOES work. They said the thing that was necessary was that both Xen and OpenVZ be compiled into the kernel. While they were not able to answer about any specific benchmarks, they said it was able to run on as little as 64MB ram. Given higher resources, that should make it possible. They ran the following configuration...

Running inside of Xen: CentOS 5.2 (64bit) + OpenVZ + HyperVM

So that means if VPS.net has both Xen and OpenVZ compiled into their Kernel, this should be a viable template image to offer on VPS.net - and it would be exactly the thing to address the wants and needs of current WestHost Resellers wanting to resell *actual* isolated VPS account instead of simply "shared hosting" accounts.

Unfortunately, since it will require that OpenVZ be compiled into your kernel, I cannot beta test it with the current VPS.net setup.

-Mike

Inspired by your work, Mike - We had one of our senior guys do some research into the running of OpenVZ on a VPS node. The install is complete, but not fully tested yet. This is good news though, and I am pretty sure that we can make this work as a standard free image on VPS.NET.

EDIT: I just followed the howto made by our admin, and it does seem to work:
http://www.ditlev.dk/snitch/root%40openvz1_%7E_%E2%80%94_ssh_%E2%80%94_145%C3% 9739-20090421-004443.jpg

:)
D

Ditlev
04-20-2009, 05:25 PM
AFAIK, the standard Sphera VPS plans were/are:

1) Personal Basic
2) Personal Starter
3) Personal Value
4) Business Starter
5) Business Value
6) Business Pro
7) Business Semi-Dedicated

Are you saying that maximum RAM usage... burst... was/is hard capped to <= 256MB for all of these plans? Surely the lower plans would have a lower cap. WH3 servers are not capped to less than 256MB. They are not hard capped at all. But they were subject to fair usage policies and max CPU etc. And every server is shared with hundreds of accounts


I'm just wondering if you meant to include #6 and #7 as plans that would run better/faster in a one node VPS.net VPS.

1-6: YES! VPS.NET would bring you significantly more power - even with one node only.

7: YES! Note, a Business Semi-Dedicated account is on a shared server with 4gb of ram. That server is only shared with 20 others though. So that is an avg. of 200mb of ram. The price of the Business Semi-Dedicated is $54.95/mo, and this is currently the most beefy package available at WestHost.



How is swap space sized at VPS.net and is that subtracted from a plan's disk space allowance?
The size of the swap depends on the OS. CentOS is around 1gb. It is not taken out of your allocated diskspace.



Could you briefly describe what will be required of clients, and what you will do to help clients, with respect to keeping both their OS and "site applications" up to date?

As everything in Westhost, this process will be planned and tested to the furthest possible extend. As mentioned earlier we are many months away from this process to even be initiated, and at least a year away from it being finalized. The first step for us is to get new clients allocated to WH4.

This is why we have not finalized all details so far - we have months to plan ahead and make sure everything is tested and doubled checked.
A detailed migration plan will also be put in place and communicated thoroughly in due course before migration is relevant.



What if any backup features will be included in the "$10 plan"?
At this stage we expect backups to be an extra $4/mo (not per node, but in total).



Have you considered offering 3/4 and 1/2 node plans [to WestHost clients]?
We feel the price for one node at $10 is so competitive that this would not be relevant. So this is something we considered, but decided against.

:)
D

bruce.binder
04-20-2009, 07:09 PM
Ditlev & Westhost:

I've been very happy with the responsiveness and information on this and other threads regarding this transition. I have no complaints about any vagueness, speculation, placating or stalling. Nor is anyone's credibility in question in my mind. I've asked questions and I've gotten answers from the source.

In my mind, I am trying to decide between several options for the various accounts I have or manage for others.

1. Move to WH 4.0 (Same disk/data, less control)
2. Move to VPS.NET (Less disk/data, more control)
3. Move elsewhere

Pricing is a big issue and the information we have so far helps me a lot.

There is no option (4) that says everything stays the same, so a lot of us here have tough decisions to make.

Thanks for keeping the lines of communication open.

--
Bruce

port80
04-20-2009, 10:17 PM
Inspired by your work, Mike - We had one of our senior guys do some research into the running of OpenVZ on a VPS node. The install is complete, but not fully tested yet. This is good news though, and I am pretty sure that we can make this work as a standard free image on VPS.NET.

EDIT: I just followed the howto made by our admin, and it does seem to work:
http://www.ditlev.dk/snitch/root%40openvz1_%7E_%E2%80%94_ssh_%E2%80%94_145%C3% 9739-20090421-004443.jpg



http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1285/boogieq.gif

I have 1 thing to say... (http://media.imeem.com/m/NVIydOxi2E/)

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1285/boogieq.gif

jsavko
04-21-2009, 01:54 AM
I understand, and the $10 is a good deal for that.
My question was how much you need, as in how much of your quota do you actually utilize?

:)
D

Ditlev,

I am currently using over 6 gigs of the disk quota. I run a web comic and some custom applications on my VPS currently, so each month traffic fluxates. As my traffic fluctuates frequently I'm not sure how much off the data transfer quota I would need. I've been using over 100gigs a month currently and my comic is still pretty small. I suppose I am most concerned with losing the disk space quota as I use my space for backing up important documents. I'd prefer to keep all of my Disk Quota (50gigs), but the traffic quota I'd be willing to reduce.

My big problem is that I HAVE to take the reduction in order to keep the VPS though. This is why I personally am so angry. I signed up and moved to westhost expecting to get my 50 gigs of space and 1040gigs of traffic at the price I paid for with the VPS. It's really crappy that you've all known about this change for some time and didn't alert new customers.

EDIT:
I'd be willing to test VPS.NET, but I am positive that the benefits don't outweigh the loss from my current Westhost 3 account.

wildjokerdesign
04-21-2009, 06:57 AM
My question was how much you need, as in how much of your quota do you actually utilize?

This finally sunk in! Vps.net is going green! It is all about using what you need when you need it. Actually jsavko for your web comic this would be perfect. Did you know that you can purchase extra nodes for a burst over a t vps.net? Yep current price talks are for $1.00 per day per node you can add a burst to your vps for a a short time period which would be great for the days when you released your comic and traffic was high. The rest of the time you could run at a lower node factor.

Now the diskspace thing is a bit different and I see your point on that one. In fact for that reason it was suggested over on the VPS forum that they offer disk space add ons separate from the rest of the node resources. The answer was luke warm from then on offering that but perhaps if they see your post they'll see how it could be useful to someone.

NullMind
04-21-2009, 07:11 AM
it was suggested over on the VPS forum that they offer disk space add ons separate from the rest of the node resources

VPS.NET will offer in the near future add-on packs of 25GB of space

Now, you must take in consideration this is cloud storage, RAID-10 SAN.

wildjokerdesign
04-21-2009, 07:29 AM
Carlos,

I know that I am not really getting the whole "Cloud" thing. Is there a "for dummies" explanation anywhere? Even when it has been explained I have gotten a bit lost.

NullMind
04-21-2009, 07:32 AM
A good start

http://vps.net/blog/fluffy-vps-cloud/

wildjokerdesign
04-21-2009, 07:44 AM
This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008How embarrassing! It was there all along. Thanks Carlos. I am still a little lost but will keep reading. :)

jsavko
04-21-2009, 08:44 AM
VPS.NET will offer in the near future add-on packs of 25GB of space

Now, you must take in consideration this is cloud storage, RAID-10 SAN.

I'm glad to see that they will be offering data upgrades, but it still doesn't change the fact that I was sold a plan that WestHost had no intention of delivering on.

Ditlev
04-21-2009, 09:28 AM
Ditlev,

I am currently using over 6 gigs of the disk quota. I run a web comic and some custom applications on my VPS currently, so each month traffic fluxates. As my traffic fluctuates frequently I'm not sure how much off the data transfer quota I would need. I've been using over 100gigs a month currently and my comic is still pretty small. I suppose I am most concerned with losing the disk space quota as I use my space for backing up important documents. I'd prefer to keep all of my Disk Quota (50gigs), but the traffic quota I'd be willing to reduce.

My big problem is that I HAVE to take the reduction in order to keep the VPS though. This is why I personally am so angry. I signed up and moved to westhost expecting to get my 50 gigs of space and 1040gigs of traffic at the price I paid for with the VPS. It's really crappy that you've all known about this change for some time and didn't alert new customers.

EDIT:
I'd be willing to test VPS.NET, but I am positive that the benefits don't outweigh the loss from my current Westhost 3 account.

I understand your reaction here. I would guess that we are at least 12 months away from the migration of current WH3 clients to the WH4 platform being complete. So chances are that the vast majority of you being on a vps-like platform on a prepaid yearly contract would be able to stay on that platform until the end of your contract. By then you can decide if you wish to stay with us on WH4, try out VPS.NET or look for alternatives out there.

:)
D

Ditlev
04-21-2009, 09:30 AM
http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1285/boogieq.gif

I have 1 thing to say... (http://media.imeem.com/m/NVIydOxi2E/)

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/1285/boogieq.gif

hehe - nice one :D

jsavko
04-21-2009, 09:38 AM
I understand your reaction here. I would guess that we are at least 12 months away from the migration of current WH3 clients to the WH4 platform being complete. So chances are that the vast majority of you being on a vps-like platform on a prepaid yearly contract would be able to stay on that platform until the end of your contract. By then you can decide if you wish to stay with us on WH4, try out VPS.NET or look for alternatives out there.

:)
D

It seems that everyone is under the impression that because it isn't happening immediately it's nothing to worry about. "No really it's okay it's an entire year before you're totally screwed!" All that does it make my sites larger and more complicated to migrate.

WestHost - CReeves
04-21-2009, 05:34 PM
jsavko,

We are definitely concerned about working to find solutions to meet the needs of our existing clients. We sincerely apologize if by referencing the time frame for the transition has added to your frustration. The intent is to do exactly the opposite. As has been previously mentioned our current VPS technology has reached end of life. This whole forum discussion is about working with clients, gaining understanding/feedback, and moving toward solutions. The reason why the transition time frame keeps getting mentioned is to bring encouragement to those who are looking for answers. It’s encouraging to many clients to know that we are not going to make this switch overnight and that there is careful and calculated planning happening as we speak. For those clients who started these threads and for others who have contributed, this dialogue has proved to be extremely productive. The question of “when” is just one key factor here and is not intended to diminish anyone’s concerns.

andz
04-22-2009, 01:21 AM
I would guess that we are at least 12 months away from the migration of current WH3 clients to the WH4 platform being complete. So chances are that the vast majority of you being on a vps-like platform on a prepaid yearly contract would be able to stay on that platform until the end of your contract. By then you can decide if you wish to stay with us on WH4, try out VPS.NET or look for alternatives out there.Hmmm... I don't think the "end-of-contract" cut-off would be a satisfactory way of addressing the situation because until the VPS.net pricing and platform are finalized, it is going to be hard to make a correct decision on whether to migrate or not. One question not yet touched upon is: are you still supporting a reseller model for VPSes?

What needs to be done is for Westhost to announce a definitive date for when the plug is going to be pulled on the WH3 platform and have at least a 6-months (although I feel that is too short and should be extended to something closer to 1 year) transition period from that definitive and announced date. It would really be desirable if the VPS.NET platform is finalized before announcing such a date to give people a chance to decide whether to migrate to VPS.NET or switch to some other provider. If the VPS.NET platform were not finalized by the date of such an announcement, those customers needing VPS features would be certain to migrate to some other hosting company.

Also, giving customers less than 6 months to migrate after an announced date, I think, will alienate a lot of people, especially those which host a lot of sites which will not work with cPanel.

Another thing you should seriously consider is to offer the final (non-beta) VPS.net functionality in parallel with WH3 for an extended period of time (at least 1 year would really be preferable), so that those of us with multiple VPS sites can migrate over gradually. And also, as I mentioned earlier, having heavy discounts for existing customers during this transition period would be the icing on the cake to really make us happy. This is because, as resellers, we could also offer discounts to our downstream and encourage them to migrate to our VPS plans instead of moving to other providers.

It might be easier on your end to do an abrupt, clean break away from WH3 (e.g. for your support infrastructure, etc...), but it's likely to be messy for many end-users so it is possible that you may have some serious weighing of priorities to do between maintaining customer goodwill versus the cost and headaches of your internal operations.

wildjokerdesign
04-22-2009, 08:36 AM
andz,

I don't think that you'll be able top get a definitive date. I don't think you can really want one. Right now they are trying to work with the 5% on a more personal individual basis so that they can make the move work for each client. That is a really good approach for us. :)

I do agree with you that it is hard to make a decision when essentially vps.net is still in beta. They are moving pretty fast over there to get things up and running but it is really hard to trust something that is so new and in such flux. On the other hand that "flux" is allowing the folks over at vps.net to continue to add features that folks keep asking for.

gharman
04-22-2009, 04:48 PM
I find myself wondering how well the Sphera VPS platform (all aspects including OS and Site Applications) will be maintained (mainly in terms of security patches/upgrades) between now and whenever the last account is removed. Being able to remain on your Sphera VPS for up to another 12 or 14 or whatever months and thus having "ample" time to work through the situation and evaluate the presumably-mature-and-rock-solid-by-then WestHost 4.0 & VPS.net solutions sounds nice. However, what kind of updates will Parallels be offering during said period? Will WestHost be able to roll out Sphera VPS updates during WestHost 4.0 *and* VPS.net development+testing+migration efforts? Would WestHost please comment on this?

Would WestHost please also comment on the Sphera VPS account cancellation refund policy in effect now and going forward? Some people may have recently signed up or renewed. Others will have to make a renew decision in the future. Can Sphera VPS clients cancel and receive a refund for the unused period of their hosting plan?

Ditlev
04-22-2009, 04:59 PM
I find myself wondering how well the Sphera VPS platform (all aspects including OS and Site Applications) will be maintained (mainly in terms of security patches/upgrades) between now and whenever the last account is removed. Being able to remain on your Sphera VPS for up to another 12 or 14 or whatever months and thus having "ample" time to work through the situation and evaluate the presumably-mature-and-rock-solid-by-then WestHost 4.0 & VPS.net solutions sounds nice. However, what kind of updates will Parallels be offering during said period? Will WestHost be able to roll out Sphera VPS updates during WestHost 4.0 *and* VPS.net development+testing+migration efforts? Would WestHost please comment on this?

WestHost clients will see no difference in the level of service, and the offering will not change. UK2Group (that owns WestHost and VPS.NET) has more than 200 employees, and deals with many brands and offerings - all the way from VI.NET high end hosting to Another.com discount hosting. We are more than capable of providing a high level of service, and we have in fact improved on avg reply times and phone hold times over the last few months.

You raise a serious point related to the security and ongoing update patches from Parallels for Sphera - there are none, and while the platform is very stable and secure as is, this is one of the reasons we are moving to WH4 based on cPanel.
The servers that run the current WH3 platform are naturally being maintained and secured providing the same uptime as you've seen so far, but in terms of updates and new features for WH3, then that is over as Parallels has put it to end-of-life. We will also update the site-applications and related items.




Would WestHost please also comment on the Sphera VPS account cancellation refund policy in effect now and going forward? Some people may have recently signed up or renewed. Others will have to make a renew decision in the future. Can Sphera VPS clients cancel and receive a refund for the unused period of their hosting plan?

Since we are still 12 months away from current clients being fully migrated we will not give out refunds on current accounts. We will stand by delivering the offering promised and ensure that we have viable alternatives when the renewal is up.

:)
D

Ditlev
04-22-2009, 05:03 PM
One question not yet touched upon is: are you still supporting a reseller model for VPSes?
We are working very hard making an attractive model work for this. We obviously are able to do that on the VPS.NET product, but I'd like to hit a pricepoint that is on par with what you are paying currently.



What needs to be done is for Westhost to announce a definitive date for when the plug is going to be pulled on the WH3 platform and have at least a 6-months (although I feel that is too short and should be extended to something closer to 1 year) transition period from that definitive and announced date. It would really be desirable if the VPS.NET platform is finalized before announcing such a date to give people a chance to decide whether to migrate to VPS.NET or switch to some other provider. If the VPS.NET platform were not finalized by the date of such an announcement, those customers needing VPS features would be certain to migrate to some other hosting company.

Also, giving customers less than 6 months to migrate after an announced date, I think, will alienate a lot of people, especially those which host a lot of sites which will not work with cPanel.

Another thing you should seriously consider is to offer the final (non-beta) VPS.net functionality in parallel with WH3 for an extended period of time (at least 1 year would really be preferable), so that those of us with multiple VPS sites can migrate over gradually. And also, as I mentioned earlier, having heavy discounts for existing customers during this transition period would be the icing on the cake to really make us happy. This is because, as resellers, we could also offer discounts to our downstream and encourage them to migrate to our VPS plans instead of moving to other providers.

It might be easier on your end to do an abrupt, clean break away from WH3 (e.g. for your support infrastructure, etc...), but it's likely to be messy for many end-users so it is possible that you may have some serious weighing of priorities to do between maintaining customer goodwill versus the cost and headaches of your internal operations.

You raise some good points, and I agree with you that 6-12 months of VPS.NET AND WH3 running side-by-side would be a sensible way of doing it. That would give plenty of time to get familiar with VPS.NET and all its features. VPS.NET will go out of beta May 1st.

:)
D

port80
04-22-2009, 06:28 PM
We are working very hard making an attractive model work for this. We obviously are able to do that on the VPS.NET product, but I'd like to hit a pricepoint that is on par with what you are paying currently.

You raise some good points, and I agree with you that 6-12 months of VPS.NET AND WH3 running side-by-side would be a sensible way of doing it. That would give plenty of time to get familiar with VPS.NET and all its features. VPS.NET will go out of beta May 1st.

:)
D

I would like to add, presently VPS.net is unmanaged. You are discussing efforts to offer a comparable product at a "pricepoint that is on par with what (we) are paying currently." Part of par for this course would be *including* managed services within that same pricepoint.

-Mike

Ditlev
04-22-2009, 06:31 PM
I would like to add, presently VPS.net is unmanaged. You are discussing efforts to offer a comparable product at a "pricepoint that is on par with what (we) are paying currently." Part of par for this course would be *including* managed services within that same pricepoint.

-Mike

Yes, we are working on that as well, have had a few good meetings earlier today on it actually.
Consensus here is that the admins will not offer fully managed servers with root - I understand why. So, it will be either or for sure. I will keep everyone here informed on progress.

:)
D

port80
04-22-2009, 08:43 PM
Yes, we are working on that as well, have had a few good meetings earlier today on it actually.
Consensus here is that the admins will not offer fully managed servers with root - I understand why. So, it will be either or for sure. I will keep everyone here informed on progress.

:)
D

Understandable and acceptable.

But would we get "root-like"? ....hmmmm why does that sound familiar? ;p

Ditlev
04-28-2009, 10:04 AM
Gent's,
Throughout this thread I've been holding a bit back on the control panel we would launch for WH3 clients looking to move to VPS.NET but not liking the thought of managing their server via command line/SSH.
We've now managed to finalize the deal, and I invite you to read about the control panel here: http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=218. The deal was done with WestHost in mind, but we've decided to roll out the free control panel to everyone looking to get a VPS.NET server.

:)
D

wildjokerdesign
04-29-2009, 06:02 AM
Ditlev,
That is just too cool! I only had time for a quick view at it but I think this will really do the trick. It is great you are offering this value free with VPS accounts. I can't wait to try this out!

rolling
05-19-2009, 08:37 AM
My apologies for coming so late to this discussion, but I had not been receiving the Client Communications due to a typo in my email address, nor have I had the time to visit the forum recently, so I have only just become aware of the forthcoming upgrade to WH4.0. These thoughts may be a bit jumbled as I have jotted them down while reading this thread.

I am concerned by this migration from WH3.0 to 4.0. I came here from a top selling cPanel host and was thrilled by the freedom of the WH offering; it gave me the ability to learn Linux, build and deploy my own apps, host multiple domains for a reasonable cost and trouble shoot any problems using low level commands. The shared SSL certificate is also a bonus.

I am one of the 5% who use SSH, although I use this far less often now that I have my server configured and running the way I want it.

I have relied heavily on Westhost to maintain my server's security for the past 18 months as I have had little free time. With VPS.net I will have to do this myself. Ouch! (even at $10pcm)

It is stated that we will have .htaccess control under WH4, but I fear that this is on a per directory basis. In order to speed up Apache, .htaccess and redirects should be in the mainApache configuration file. If I have an .htacces file in /var/www/mydomain/subdir, then Apache has to interrogate five files instead of one.

What will the upgrade process be? I hope that we will be given time for a beta test of WH4/vps before transitioning to see which is appropriate. We will need at least 8 weeks notice of any transition to research alternative hosts if WH4 proves unacceptable (Resellers will require longer). I suspect that since I used the gcc compiler that WH4.0 will not satisfy my wants (although it may satisfy my needs).

Ditlev has mentioned that there is no need for clients to worry about the timing since we are more than 12 months away from a final transition - however don't forget that some users are on 2 yearly billing cycles.

How does WH4.0 compare to your Wingsix offerings? From the website, it seems that Wingsix is a much more basic offering with poorer support although they both offer shared hosting rather than VPS like.

Richard

An aside:
I just checked the current offerings. Personal Starter plan's description of Control Panel (Site Manager) takes you to http://www.westhost.com/smdemo. This says that Site Manager "has been designed to give you complete control over all aspects of your Web site, domain(s), e-mail and Web applications, and takes advantage of the power of WestHost's VPS technology." The link takes you to http://www.westhost.com/vps.html which is redirected to vps.net giving the mistaken impression that Westhost is run on vps.net

WestHost - CReeves
05-19-2009, 04:37 PM
Rolling,

Thank you for input. SSH will be available on some of our shared hosting plans. There will be ample time given for the upgrade process. We are currently in the beta testing phase for WestHost 4.0. Once the beta testing is complete we will make appropriate adjustments and begin to launch WestHost 4.0. Existing clients will be migrated over slowly to ensure a smooth transition. Wingsix is a great alternative although I would strongly recommend that you look at our VPS.NET offerings.

Thanks for your feedback about the link on our site demo. The intention is to not to mislead clients and to direct them towards our alternative VPS offering. I do see your point and this is perhaps something we should change/update to be more clear.

It is our aim to help make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible for existing clients. We appreciate your feedback and we will continue to release new information as it becomes available

wildjokerdesign
05-20-2009, 06:31 AM
We are currently in the beta testing phase for WestHost 4.0.

Ahhh man... I thought my registration for beta did not go through! Oh well guess I'll just have to wait like everyone else. :)

WestHost - CReeves
05-20-2009, 07:29 AM
Shawn,

Sorry, I did not mean to imply that the beta portion for existing clients has begun. I should have said that beta testing process has begun (i.e.- finalizing the list of those participating etc...). I'm certain that you are part of this beta which should be happening very soon. Those who are involved with helping us on the beta test should be recieving notifications prior to this beginning. My apologies for the confusion.

wildjokerdesign
05-20-2009, 07:48 AM
Thanks Clint.... looks like I will have some fun. :) I am really interested to see what the new environment will be like. While vps.net is intriguing to me I don't think I am ready to put all my apples in it's cart.

windpipe
05-29-2009, 02:53 AM
Wow... I've had a nagging fear about possibly losing the VPS features that have made WH my favorite for more than 10 years, but I haven't checked back here in a couple of months. I've been referring people to WH and reselling accounts for all these years specifically because of the VPS features (although the customer service is the best anywhere, too).

Now this thread has illuminated so much for me! We're losing the VPS features at WH. Period. I'm one of the 5% who just will not settle for shared hosting without at least the VPS features I've enjoyed so far at WH, and I'm a reseller with 40+ sites, most of which have their own VPS accounts. I am not a server admin, but when my clients encounter issues, I try to fix things and learn as I go. I definitely use SSH for various things, although I'm no expert. I am primarily a web designer, but also a jack of all trades.

I like the idea of possibly moving to a cloud environment, and it looks now like there's a way to install several open source virtual servers on a single VPS.NET account. I also like how well everyone is communicating here about this. But I have some serious concerns:


It looks like there's never going to be a managed solution at VPS.NET. I understand that's because we'll have actual root access. But how much will I need to learn, and how much time will I need to spend, to manage a main account with a bunch of virtual servers? Is there any app that can help guide me through this, even if VPS.NET isn't ultimately responsible for management? Can the control panels you're offering help with all this? If so, how much?

The migration of my 40-plus sites from WH3 to VPS.NET looks like a tangled nightmare to me. So, if I sign up for a VPS.NET account, what next? Do I just install the image with the ability to run virtual servers within my account, then try to figure out how to set up all the accounts, then try to migrate all that data? Or since WH and VPS.NET are related now, can someone help me image my sites from one over to the other? If I get all this working, will the control panel at VPS.NET work with several instances of virtualization running within my VPS.NET account? How many nodes would I need for 40+ sites? The sites are mostly small, low traffic, small business clients. I manage them all with WH3 Reseller 2 plan currently. Could I get similar pricing to what I pay now?

Aren't there a lot of other resellers at WH3 like me, who won't settle for the WH4 shared hosting, for whom you might develop a solution to make migration, setup and education on the new system as painless and efficient as possible? If that's going to happen, how will I know? Can you create a Wiki or something?


I'm a quick study, and I'm willing to learn and even put in some hours to improve the quality of my hosting, and I'm confident that moving to cloud hosting would do that especially since I feel kind of forced in that direction now anyway. But I feel overwhelmed by the scope of all this. I don't have time to start spending hours and hours managing servers, but if I could automate things and let them run, or if there's some way to remove some of the mystery, I'm willing to try. I just don't know what's involved.

The alternative to all this would be to shop for a new hosting family, and I just don't want to do that. I'm impressed by the dialogue here, and I don't even want to think about finding a totally new company to meet my needs. But I can't see how, at this moment, WH or VPS.NET can quite meet my needs either. I'm at a loss.

paperweight
05-30-2009, 03:51 AM
Some points:
1) I have been a Westhost customer for about 10 years. I have both a small reseller account and some dedicated servers at Westhost.
2) While my company directly only spends about $550/month with Westhost, we informally have sent hundreds of clients to Westhost over the years and probably about 50-75 of those companies are still Westhost clients.
3) I have lived through *horrible* episodes and upgrades at Westhost that have directly cost my company clients and money over the years. But I have also almost always been thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and helpfulness of individual Westhost staff.
4) In the past year I have started using "true VPS" technologies with some other companies. Why? Because resources are correctly allocated and do not impact other users on the same physical servers. While I currently spend about 350-475% more money each month with non-Westhost server companies, I continuously think WH has better people servicing it and I would like to see a Xen or similar VPS technology take hold at WH. I would gladly shift at least 50% of my non-Westhost clients to Westhost servers within a couple weeks if that happened. VPS.NET, in general, looks good to me.

Tks!

shakmatay
05-30-2009, 09:24 AM
Dear Windpipe,

I empathize with you. I'm not exactly in the 5% group as you are, but I'm in another percentage group... the group of people who DON'T tinker with all the root access stuff, BUT still want VPS technology for its added security & privacy.

Anyway, I was told by Ditlev (in another thread) that VPS.net would be offering a managed VPS as an "add-on" service.

However, just what that entails remains to be seen. In particular, I followed up with the following question last week...

Dear Ditlev,

I would expect "core" apps such as MySQL, Perl, PHP, and phpMyAdmin to come pre-installed (or one-click ready installation in the control panel) along with VPS.net keeping up with upgrades to these same "core apps."

This is pretty standard with most managed VPS Webhosts, but certainly not all of them, which is why I pose the question.

Will such apps be "included" and "maintained" in the "managed offering" at VPS.net?


Well, I'm still waiting for someone at WestHost to please respond. Please respond westhost, please.

Thank you,
Shakmatay

WestHost - CReeves
06-01-2009, 07:51 AM
Windpipe,

In regards to the potential managed solution for VPS.NET it would be best to contact them directly. I did find this helpful post which would indicate there is help for such situations. (http://vps.net/blog/introducing-managed-setup-migration-plan/ )

===========================

Paperweight,

That is a great suggestion however to my knowledge there is nothing currently on the horizon for WestHost to offer any additional VPS technology. You may want to also check out VPS.NET if you haven’t already done so and see what you think. I think that anyone who gives them an opportunity is going to be pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer.

===========================

Shakmatay,

You may also want to check out this link (http://vps.net/blog/introducing-managed-setup-migration-plan/ ). Although I don’t see anything that specifically states that these core apps will come pre-installed on a new VPS it sounds like this solution may be of great assistance to you. For more details I would perhaps visit their forums area (http://vps.net/forum/ ).

dbuckley
06-03-2009, 05:16 PM
I just found out about this migration this morning in the Client Connect newsletter. A little while ago I asked a question about would there be an API to allow account modifications, and was told that WH4 would have it. Which I thought was great. Today I discovered the full answer to that question was "it will be available when we migrate you from VPS hosting to standard shared hosting and we introduce cPanel at the same time" :o

I wasn't ready for that one, I tell you.

For background, as well as WH I use other services: I have shared hosting with a reseller plan using WHM and cPanel on asmallorange.com (ASO), which works entirely well enough. However, theres over 600 domains on the same IP address on this box, according to reverse IP address lookup tools. And it falls over a fair bit too. This is probably very close to what WH4 will offer. On the plus side ASO support is better than WH, on the minus ASOs plans offer less disk space than WH, and worse than that, the storage hasn't gone up since I've been a customer, which is a fair while. It was lack of storage that made me find an alternative in the first place, which is what orginally led me to WH. Finding out that WH had VPS was just a stellar bonus, and one that enabled me to leverage better hosting.

I also have a LiNode, a real virtual linux server, fully unmanaged, and if it breaks I get to keep all the pieces. LiNode as a company fully rock, and anyone wanting a real virtual server they should at least consider LiNode.

So back to WH4.

The first question is does WH4 actually manage to isolate disk storage for the shared clients? If its like every other hoster I've used the answer is no, and a few lines of PHP or Perl and you can build a web interface to the entire file structure of the server. So, strike 1.

I'm one of those 5% who use SSH. Heres the thing - jailshell sucks. Thats strike 2, 3, 4 and 5. It sucks that much. And then some. You cant compile stuff. There are many thing you think you can do but you cant.

The really big advantage of the WH VPS plans is that it gives near-enough-to-root-access-that-it-doesnt-matter AND WH look after the systems and keep the important software up to date. Absolute perfection.

I know it isn't WH's fault that Sphera is going EOL, but it sure is frustrating as a customer. WH is now going to be just like every other shared hoster, their big advantage having evaporated.

This puts me in a sticky position. If I want full VPS servers, with all the work that entails in running the things, I'd get more LiNodes. A LiNode $360 is $20 whereas a Plan A VPS is $30 with less disk and memory, and from a lesser known supplier with less track record. But ultimately a full VPS its still the wrong shaped solution. It means I have to do full admin, and I dont want that.

So I dont know quite where to go or what to do. But long term, the answer cant be WH or indeed ASO, or any of the other commodity shared hosting suppliers...

And just to note - I dont think this is a UK2 problem. Many years ago (2001) before virtual servers were thought of, UK2, a dodgy domain name seller, launched a groundbreaking plan with three years rental of a Cobalt RAQ2 for the same sort of money that a shared hosting account costs today. Ok, there was no support, no phone numbers, and the only thing they would do was power cycle your box or reinstall the OS, but it was a market changing move, and I got my first three years of my own hosting that way. So I have respect for UK2.

rivetcode
06-18-2009, 09:38 PM
Would it be possible to provide videos and demonstrations of WH4.0 as well as VPS.net? I would like to see what the interface looks like, what's offered in terms of provided applications, and more detail in how it works. It still feels fairly fuzzy in terms of how this is all going to work out. If not now, then maybe at some point after beta before it starts to be rolled out for people.

banacan
06-19-2009, 12:50 PM
I'm sort of a 5% customer, with plans on becoming even more of one in the near future. The VPS feature is what brought me to, and has kept me a customer of Westhost for some 5 years. I don't want to go to a shared hosting environment again, that is where I came from. For me the primary reason is I want to control when I upgrade from one version of PHP or MySQL to the next. In shared hosting that decision is made for you, whether you want it or not. There are other reasons too, but this is by far the most important for me.

The VPS.net option sounds intriguing, however the single most troubling aspect of moving to VPS.net is having complete responsibility of my server. I have more than enough on my plate just keeping up with PHP, MySQL, JavaScript, CSS, Jquery, not to mention DESIGN, the last thing I need is to have to learn about server security, etc.

I have installed PHP, MySQL, and phpmyadmin on my local testing server, but it is not something I do regularly and therefore I don't feel confident in doing so on a LIVE server. This is the main concern for me about moving to VPS.net. Now I have read the posts about a managed option, but so far, that managed option seems limited to MIGRATION only. Well that's not enough, I want/need a managed solution similar to what we have had for years on WH. Interestingly, many of the posts in this thread and the other long thread, seem to be asking for the same thing. So it clearly is a desired feature, and one that I think VPS.net should provide - beyond migration.

Like most who have posted in these threads, I'm pleased with the openness shown by WH and Ditlev, and I appreciate that they are making a real effort to help existing customers. However, I would like to see a firm commitment on a managed solution on VPS.net. That would make the decision to stay within the "family" quite and easy choice.

So how about it Ditlev, can you offer a managed solution (beyond migration) on VPS.net to satisfy your hardcore 5% customer? There certainly seems to be enough interest.

WestHost - CReeves
06-19-2009, 01:58 PM
WestHost Clients,

Thank you all for your suggestions and feedback. We are still in the testing phases for the WestHost 4.0 project. More information will be available once the beta test begins and fully completes and we are able to launch this new platform. Remember, migration will be announced at a much later date for existing clients so there will be time to make necessary preparations for those concerned.

For those of you looking for managed assistance from VPS.NET I would refer you to this post: http://vps.net/blog/introducing-managed-setup-migration-plan/.

I would encourage those interested in the VPS.NET solution to spend some time visiting their blog and forums for additional updates/information.

banacan
06-19-2009, 03:34 PM
Clint,

I have seen that blog post, but it does not address my concern. If I read it correctly, it is simply a 15 day managed migration. That does nothing for continued server management, server security, application installation, etc., all important features that were part of the WH plan. If there are so many loyal WH customers asking for that, why isn't that going to be available?

WestHost - CReeves
06-19-2009, 03:51 PM
banacan,

I completely understand your concern. We are doing our best to help clients with the upcoming changes. VPS.NET as you know is a completely different platform than the current WestHost VPS. While VPS.NET may not be for everyone it offers a great deal of flexibility, reliability, etc… at very reasonable prices. I know it may seem like a lot of extra work for some who are use to the fully managed services but I think you will find the advantages of VPS.NET far outweigh this. I realize it may not be exactly what you had hoped for but we (WestHost & VPS.NET) are committed to help you along the way.

Also, I would add that with our history of service and our commitment that I am confident you will find the WestHost 4.0 platform as a better option compared to other shared hosting providers.

wildjokerdesign
06-19-2009, 04:13 PM
I just asked a question over at the vps.net forum and I think the answer might help answer some of your concerns banacan. http://vps.net/forum/showthread.php?t=404

There are new Turnkey images that seem to take care of the issue of keeping the basics like Apache, MySql and PHP up to date. I have not used one yet but I think maybe I'll add node to my account and check it out for folks. :)

UPDATE: I got the answer I wanted. :) This page might help folks understand TurnKey better. http://vps.net/wiki/category/wiki/turnkey-linux-images

banacan
06-19-2009, 05:05 PM
Shawn,

Wow... Wow, thanks for that info. Maybe I should be posting over on the VPS.net forum. That does make me MUCH more comfortable with a transition to VPS.net. If memory serves, Ditlev said something about a demo account, do you know if that still applies?

Regards,

Brett

wildjokerdesign
06-20-2009, 06:46 AM
The demo account was for a different service that had a control panel that they where thinking about incorporating into different companies they own. Not sure if that is still the plan or not. I also think that will be down the line quite a bit. With vps.net there really is not risk in trying it out. You pay by the month so for the cost of one node for a month ($20.00) you can test things out. With that one node you could test each image they provide that you are interested in to see what you might like.

tn1
06-26-2009, 01:47 AM
I saw a discount offer for current WestHost customers who want to move to VPS.NET. So is the discount offer still valid? I am a current WestHost customer and would like to try VPS.NET.

tesla
06-26-2009, 11:56 AM
I have not seen these answer in regards to a dedicated server.

Right now I have a couple of my vps customized quite differently. I talked about this before. in a earlier post. so my questions are...

1. What is moved over ? right now I have one vps set up for auto converting all type of video formats on upload. (which if any of my customizations will be moved with the 4.0 upgrade)

2. When we go to 4.0 what happens if someone hacked one site on a shared account does it bring them all down ?

WestHost - CReeves
06-26-2009, 12:18 PM
tn1,

Yes, Ditlev did mention a discount for existing WestHost clients. I'm looking into this and I'll let you know what I find out.

telsa,

We are still months away from migrating over any existing clients to this platform. We have not even begun the beta testing stage. Generally speaking most things will convert over without any problems. There may be some exceptions to this when it comes to customizations. I'll check with our development team and see if I can get you more information. To answer your latter question no it would not bring down all the clients on that server. I believe this has been answered in more detail on a previous post on another thread.

WestHost - JFillmore
06-26-2009, 12:53 PM
Tesla,


I have not seen these answer in regards to a dedicated server.

Right now I have a couple of my vps customized quite differently. I talked about this before. in a earlier post. so my questions are...

1. What is moved over ? right now I have one vps set up for auto converting all type of video formats on upload. (which if any of my customizations will be moved with the 4.0 upgrade)

2. When we go to 4.0 what happens if someone hacked one site on a shared account does it bring them all down ?

1. As Clint mentioned, it is still far too early to describe the exact migration process. The bottom line is that it is obviously in our best interest to ensure it is as robust as possible, because the only way we can call it a success is if our clients consider it a success.

2. In 4.0 a compromised Web site on a shared account won't affect other Web sites. If the compromised site is defaced it won't affect anyone else. If the cracker gets access to a site's files (e.g. via weak SSH/FTP passwords or by exploiting a web site's software vulnerability to upload malicious scripts) they won't be able to change/delete/etc other sites' files. On top of that we take server and network security quite serious and have many tools in place to both proactively prevent and detect unauthorized access.

banacan
06-26-2009, 01:53 PM
I have some general questions.

Will VPS.net be faster than WH4? If there is one element of WH that has always disappointed me, it is the speed at which pages are delivered.

Will VPS.net offer telephone tech support too? If so, what will be the limits of their support? i.e. Will they help with installation of custom apps?

wildjokerdesign
06-26-2009, 06:24 PM
While I don't represent vps.net, I can tell from following at their forum (http://vps.net/forum/) that the level of commit to support is the same and is 24/7 365. Just like at WestHost they don't support third party programs, they support the service they offer. Management of your vps is completely your responsibility.

They have a strong technical community of members that do try and help folks out on the forums but you have to do the leg work and and basic knowledge at the very least of the system you have installed on your VPS is needed. They do have basic setups (what they call images) of different systems that are installable via the control panel when you set up a VPS but they are configured with the defaults of those systems that may need further configuration to attain what you would want.

The possibility that a VPS will be faster is very high since you have available to you more resources (CPU, RAM etc) then with shared hosting which is what WH 4.0 is. You still have to make sure things are configured correctly or else one service could eat up all those resources. :) There is help in this area also from the forum members and in fact one member is now working on an image that is optimized for speed that I think vps.net will make available to everyone at some point.

Check out the forums that I linked to in the first paragraph. I think it'll answer many questions you may have about the service. Will that and the provided information they have on the rest of their site. ;)

tn1
06-27-2009, 12:08 AM
tn1,

Yes, Ditlev did mention a discount for existing WestHost clients. I'm looking into this and I'll let you know what I find out.



Thanks, Clint. I appreciate it.

banacan
06-28-2009, 06:59 AM
Shawn,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I certainly hope everyone on the VPS.net forum is as helpful as you have been.

See you on the other side...

Brett

RichardC
07-06-2009, 01:22 PM
the gentlemen on the forum are discussing a potential platform for a very busy forum. He could - very easily - put everything on one node, but one of the other participants (who does not work for VPS.NET) suggested that if the site is very busy, then he might want to spread the load over several servers.

That is only an option though - and really more a feature than a limitation. The ability to spread over many servers instantly enables you to grow without having to buy full dedicated servers.

:)
D

Sorry, I smell far too many assumptives and far too loose of a sales presentation. These events happen; and when they do, we have to spend time taking calls, soothing customers, making calls, making changes, and sometimes loosing customers. No thanks!

There are other options that have been presented in this thread and you have avoided their mention. This is not going well. We all went to WestHost because it was GREAT! You and VPS.net on the other hand, not so good.

WestHost - CReeves
07-07-2009, 02:03 PM
RichardC,

I’m hopeful I can address your concern here. VPS.NET offers a high degree of fast and easy to use scalability that will allow you to conform to your specific business needs at any given time. VPS.NET thus provides one of the most economical approaches in meeting your day to day business needs than anyone in the industry. One of the great features is the “Scheduled Bursts (http://vps.net/blog/new-feature-scheduled-upgrades/)” which can be easily managed from your VPS.NET account. Check out the mentioned post to see what I mean.