Copied and pasted from my livejournal:
This is mainly directed toward my fellow webcomicers, but the rest of you (and tell anyone about it whom you know and TRUST, and who might be interested) are welcome to take advantage, too.
After getting sick of the web host shuffle, I'm looking into getting a dedicated server at Softlayer's datacenter and just becoming my OWN host. Unfortunately, dedicated servers are expensive, so I'm looking at selling hosting just to a few people (and only people I know or who come recommended from people I know) to hopefully defray the cost, since there's no way I can afford it on my own.
Since I'm more interested in covering expenses than making a bunch of money off this, though, I'm not going to have more than a dozen or so people on this server. So, yes, I'll be charging a little more (twenty bucks a month) than those hardcore overselling hosts, but you won't be sharing the same server with 300+ people the way you do with most hosts. If I can get five or six people interested, I can probably get it set up within hours of hearing from you. If we get enough additional interest I may be able to get a second machine at a second location as a backup just to have the "belt and suspenders" approach.
I'll give everybody their own CPanel (try out a demo at http://demo.cpanel.net:2082/login/?user=xdemo&pass=xdemo) with Fantastico (the script installation thingy. If you're not familiar go to http://netenberg.com/fantastico_scripts.php to see all the stuff it does), which makes running everything incredibly easy. We can talk about how much disk space and bandwidth you'll need (BCK uses 35-40 gigs/month), but I'm pretty sure there won't be a problem. I can also help with manual installations if you need help with something that isn't covered there.
I'm buying two terabytes (2000 GB) of bandwidth for this machine on a 100 Mbps uplink, and there'll be 250 Gigs of HD space to start out with, 2 gigs of RAM, and a 2Ghz AMD dual-core Opteron processor, running Apache on Red Hat Enterprise 4 with CPanel, and I'm buying business continuation insurance just in case we get hacked or DDOSed or something. In case of a hardware failure, we have a guaranteed 4-hour max turn-around time. I can add stuff on later if we end up needing more of anything.
My second choice (in case there isn't enough interest to afford the first choice) is a single-processor 2.6 Ghz P4 at AxisHost with one Gig of RAM, a 120 Gig HD, and 1,000 Gigs of bandwidth running the same software as the above machine, at AxisHost.
If the server goes down, my site goes down, too, and since I depend on my comic for a chunk of my income, you know I'll be all over it. First tier tech support will be mostly me (and you can feel free to call my cell at (number will be provided for those who are interested) and get me out of bed if there's a problem), but I'll have things set up to notify me if there's a problem with the server, and if I can't fix something, I can call a tech at the datacenter who CAN fix it. Thing is, with it just being a few of us on there, I am not anticipating many problems. Again, I emphasize--If there is a server problem, I suffer, too.
The datacenter I'm looking at is not the cheapest, but it is one of the most highly-praised at the WebHostingTalk forums, which is one of the only reliable places I've found to research this sort of thing. (The web host ranking lists and awards pages are meaningless, I discovered, since most of them let a host PAY for a good ranking.) And I've talked to one of the owners who admits up front that it is her and her partner who own it, and that they're small enough that the owners have to take turns working the phones.
(You'd actually be surprised at how many "real" hosting companies are mainly just one or two people trying to sound like a big company, who take trouble tickets from their clients and send them to the people they're reselling from. The difference is that I'm telling you about it up front.)
In case you weren't aware, here is how most hosting companies work:
Most hosts are resellers, no matter how much they talk about their datacenters, and just rent space from hosts further up the food chain instead of having their own servers at the datacenters they use. Basically datacenters who specialize in dedicated servers sell the use of the server and bandwidth to company A, who proceed to sell 3000 Gigs of HD space and 50,000 Gigs of bandwidth even though they've only got 250 Gigs of space and 1,000 Gigs of bandwidth to sell. They can do this because they count on most customers not even using a tenth of their resources, and they can turn a bigger profit that way.
In addition to the above, Company A then proceeds to sell a reseller account to Company B, who also oversell and try to represent themselves as having their own datacenter, etcetera. Then Company B sells a reseller account to Company C, who do the same thing, and so on and so forth.
That being said, there are indeed good shared hosts out there. The problem is that today's good host can become tomorrow's worst nightmare (as happened with Micfo) because they get sold, the owners get too greedy, they outsource their tech support, or whatever. I simply no longer have the patience to wade through host after host, so I decided to get my own damn server and become my own damn hosting company. Not to try to make a bunch of money, because that means taking on a whole lot of clients and either spending all my time dealing with them or hiring a staff. I want to spend my time writing and doing other creative things--Not doing research on web hosts!
(x-posted to my journal and lawrencedoesart)