Skip to main content

Best Server Companies for Webcomics?

Just another good thread I wanted to move over and hopefully get some interest in updating on: best hosting setup/deal for a growing webcomic. Previously someone mentioned Cologuys (http://www.cologuys.com) - are a lot of larger webcomics still using them? They do dedicated servers... Also Ghastly explains the dangers of "unlimited bandwidth" offers:

Ghastly wrote:
Beware the term "unlimited bandwidth". It's a form of marketing speak designed to confuse the casual consumer. A little lesson in bandwidth for the newly webified. There are some hosts that don't charge you for bandwidth. But the term you're looking for is "unmetered" bandwidth, not "unlimited" bandwidth. Unmetered bandwidth means just that. They don't meter your bandwidth (well they probably do, but you arn't charged by how much bandwidth you draw). Places like Keenspace and Keenspot are like that. There are other places too like that. Unlimited bandwidth means they don't put a cap on how much bandwidth you can draw. For example, you might pay $5 a month for 20 gigabytes of bandwidth. Now if your site has limited bandwidth as soon as you draw 20 gigabytes of traffic your site shuts down and the server puts up a notice telling visitors (this site has used all its bandwidth for this month, please check back next month). If your account has "unlimited bandwidth" and you reach your 20 gigs and move on the site remains up, but the bandwidth you are using is metered and you are charged for it (usually a rediculously high rate too). Bandwidth is like peanuts. You can buy a small 100g snack pack of peanuts at the corner store for $.75 or you can go to the bulk-barn and buy a 2.5kg sack of peanuts for $5. The bulk store peanuts are much cheaper than the peanuts you buy at the corner store, but you have to buy a whole lot more peanuts, more than you will likely ever eat. This is what keeps companies like Keen in business. They don't buy bandwidth the way you as an individual webcomic artist might, with a piddly little 20gb account (I don't think anyone still sells hosting smaller than 20gb/month anymore. At one time you used to be able to get it as low as 5gb/month though). They buy a big wonking chunk of bandwidth. They'd never be able to afford the peanuts for all their artists if they had to buy them in individual snack-packs. It would costs thousands and thousands a month. I would not doubt that at $150/month the Colo Guys account is, indeed "unmetered" bandwidth because $150 will buy you a whole shirt-load of bandwidth, far more than most people will ever use. The Colo Guys realize this and they know that even though some people will draw more than $150 worth of bandwidth from them, the vast majority will never come close to drawing that much so when all things are added up, they win. Now it might just be "unlimited" bandwidth but at $150 it would have a cap so high that it's likely snoozer simply hasn't reached it yet. I would not be surprised at all if in the future all internet hosting is sold "unmetered". In fact, I'd expect that by 2007 metered bandwidth could well be a thing of the past. Your hosting will be charged based on the services they offer you and based on how much file storage you get. If bandwidth is sold at all in metered packets people will probably be paying per terrabyte what they pay per gigabyte now and you'll be buying a 5 terrabyte hosting wether you use it or not. Now it might seem rediculous but you have to realize too that in the very near future all internet access will be broadband. This will cause websites to become bigger and bigger and offer more and more content which will cause a demand for hosting in the terrabytes to be the norm. By 2007 a site that draws only 1 terrabyte of bandwidth per month would probably be considered small. When I was a kid you could actually buy a 1 megabyte hard drive for the commodore 64. I used to have a whopping 5 megabyte apple II+ hard drive. On the PC a 10 megabyte hard drive was more than enough for any user and only the serious power business users needed a 20 megabyte hard drive. The first time I saw a 100megabyte hard drive I damned near plotzed. The thing was not only huge in terms of what it could store but it was physically almost as big as a PC of the time. All those hard drives would not even be capable of holding the operating system required to run today's computers. Trust me. Internet bandwidth is going to be the same thing. In a couple more years we'll be looking back and wondering how we ever managed to get by with less than a terrabyte of bandwidth.

Right now I'm using godaddy

mrcongojack's picture

Right now I'm using godaddy as the host, and to be honest I'm less than impressed.  I only get 25 subdomains!!!!  I considered going with a free host like blogger, but google has the right to reproduce my work anywhere and anytime it wants, and I'm not going to churn out a comic just for those fascists.  I like the freedom of a pay-for-hosting site, which gives you the option of placing ads, yet plenty of hosting sites really screw you on the hosting fees.  I'm just wondering: can you put your own ads on drunkduck to turn a profit? 

Re: Best Server Companies for Webcomics?

It's a lot better than most webhosts give you during their outages, which is mostly silence...

I've just discovered

Joey Manley's picture

I've just discovered mosso.com, which seems, if it's really what it claims to be, to answer all of my prayers (2000 gigs bandwidth, constant managed support, I don't have to be the one keeping the hackers out, etc., etc., etc.). I have played with it enough to be willing to move WCN over to it (but I'm keeping a dedicated server account at ev1servers, and keeping WCN installed and updated on that box at all times, too -- just in case mosso's innovative product offering turns out not to fly, for whatever reason). We'll see how it works out.

Joey

www.webcomicsnation.com

Re: I've just discovered

My opinion is to stay away from Mosso....far away. I thought the exact same thing, and blew $100.00/month waiting for them to fix their cluster. Checkout stats.mosso.com for a full log of their repeated outages.

On the plus side, support is very responsive; but what good is "Sorry, we are having trouble with our MySQL cluster..."

Looks Nice

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Mosso does look good Joey. I'll have to remember to ask you about it after a couple month.

I should have mentioned that I wound up moving Comixpedia to LiquidWeb which seems to be working well after a month plus or so. About half the price of Mosso - which is a little better for the Comixpedia budget these days :)

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Well, an anonymous spammer

Joey Manley's picture

Well, an anonymous spammer (?) popped this thread to the top, which brought it back to my attention, so I figured I'd go ahead and give you that update.

I've been very pleased with mosso. There was some rockiness the first couple of weeks that WCN was on there, but it's all straightened out now, thanks in large part to a tremendous amount of hands-on service and attention from my account manager -- seriously, for $100/month, the guy is going way over the top in the amount of time he spends on helping me with my issues. Presumably, that's true of all their clients, and not just me (though, truth to tell, he has specifically told me he's a fan of webcomics, and of WCN, so that may have something to do with it). Today I am in the process of moving Modern Tales, Girlamatic, Serializer, and Graphic Smash over to mosso, due to the recent outages they've suffered on ev1servers. I'll be leaving AdultWebcomics.com where it is because it possibly violates mosso's AUP, though.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), unlike, say, DreamHost, they don't have an affiliate program, so I don't get a kickback for recommending them!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Thanks for the update

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

This recent blast of spam is the oddest I've ever seen - it consists of lots of empty comments. What advantage the spammer thinks he's going to get from this is beyond me....

____

Xaviar Xerexes

On second thought, let's not go to Comixpedia. It is a silly place.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Well-known rack provider

Joey Manley's picture

Well-known rack provider MediaTemple has a new grid-hosting service similar to Mosso (and maybe similar to LiquidWeb -- never heard of'em, will check it out) that only costs $20/month. I decided not to go with them because I heard that some of the people trying it out were having trouble getting their php code to run consistently because of the way MediaTemple caches/"compiles" the output from php code to make the servers faster (but this was, like, two days after MediaTemple launched their service), so it may become Ready for Prime-Time at some point -- even the people complaining were saying that). I discovered Mosso in the course of reading about MediaTemple's grid server, which got a lot of hype.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Huh

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I might check that out next year (going to sit tight for a few months though). LiquidWeb has a very typical VPS product (although it seems like VPSs were new at the beginning of 2006?) but a good price to stuff ratio and the service side has been good so far (they seemed to have a good rep for that too in researching them).

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Another thing to watch out

Joey Manley's picture

Another thing to watch out for with MediaTemple's grid is that they can charge you overages based on your usage of processor resources. In a world where bandwidth is hitting rockbottom lows, and php/mysql-driven portal sites are getting more and more common, I guess processor usage metering does make some sense (my servers have struggled more often because of too many mysql queries at a given moment than they have because of bandwidth, for example), but since I've never been billed on that basis, it made me nervous.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Don't Like That

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I don't like that for similar reasons. Does Mosso have any type of CPU/processor charge?

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

No. There are two downsides

Joey Manley's picture

No. There are two downsides I see to mosso right now, in terms of their packaged offerings.

The main one is that they charge $3/gig for bandwidth overages -- which is really highway robbery (ev1servers charges .50/gig for overages). Given that mosso's base package is 2000 gigs for $100/month (as opposed to ev1servers' 1000 gigs for about the same price), and given that WCN is only just now cracking the 1000 gig mark, I'm not too worried about it, though

The other is that I don't see an upgrade path. WCN will need more than 80 gigs of storage someday, and more than 2000 gigs of bandwidth, assuming it grows the way it's growing. Since we're not talking about a single box here, Mosso's setup should be technically designed to very easily offer tiered packages with more drive space or more bandwidth at a regular monthly price (planning to use more, I mean, instead of simply charging for overages on a when-they-happen basis) -- but they don't have tiered pricing right now. Just the one package. I expect that will change. I also expect it won't matter to most of their clients. And even for me, once we've outgrown the main package, presumably WCN will be so popular that the money becomes less of an issue, and we can move onto an even more powerful grid somewhere, if necessary. I dunno.

Either way, it's better, in the final analysis, than being on a single box at ev1servers.net, though I have no bad feelings about my time with them -- their service was just exactly what I needed for several years.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

A Year On A Dedicated Unmanaged Box

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Well I went the dedicated server route this year with Comixpedia and the mistake for me was that I went the unmanaged route. While I did learn a lot about servers and traffic, etc it ultimately was too much of a time-suck. Recently I shifted to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which is really more like a shared account than a dedicated box but with VPS you share the machine with many fewer accounts and there are some guaranteed minimum resources available to you. I had to end the top list to get onto a VPS account Comixpedia could afford but that was a good trade-off. The new VPS is managed so even for stuff I could do myself I don't have to bother.

As for webcomics generally - this just gets easier I think - beyond free WCN and the always free ComicGenesis, DrunkDuck got a cash infusion this year and I've noticed many smaller "hosts" popping up for webcomics. Until and unless your comic is huge you have a lot of options to take advantage of if you don't want to bother with dealing with any server related stuff...

____

Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

BuzzComix Questions

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

KrazyKrow wrote:
Does anyone with a relatively large webcomic use Dreamhost? Even though the bandwidth is good, I'm worried about CPU usage limits. Buzzcomix just went down due to that.
Two questions - does buzzComix use Dreamhost? That'd be interesting to know. More importantly - I think buzzComix runs on a hand-coded script that nmenic wrote. It may be possible that it's not as efficient it could be - that's what happened when Comixpedia went down for the day due to the Penny Arcade link. There are a lot of trade-offs in working with a db, sometimes you need to rework the code to reduce the number of queries, etc.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

"joeymanley" wrote: WCN

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

joeymanley wrote:
WCN isn't a "hosting provider" in the same way that the other options listed above are hosting providers, but it does offer unmetered bandwidth. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the original wording of Ghastly's comments mentioned WCN. Strange that that disappeared from this quotation of it. Joey www.webcomicsnation.com
Yes all part of my nefarious plan to sabatogue WCN!!MWHWHWHWHAHAHAHAHA!! Er, no - just laziness - I cut and paste bits quickly not actually rereading the entire thread.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Chris Cantrell's picture

I'll second Dreamhost. I've used them for years and they've been a great deal.

Haunted Pixel Studios www.hauntedpixelstudios.com

Brad Hawkins's picture

I third Dreamhost. I've been very happy with them, overall. They're very responsive and friendly, and they just keep ratcheting up the specs on my plan -- bandwith and disk usage caps keep up with the times.

I haven't reached any point of popularity where I've had to upgrade to a different plan, but should that happen I will happily do so with Dreamhost.

I'm been using colo guys since 2004.

CB
Alpha Shade
http://www.alpha-shade.com

Re: BuzzComix Questions

xerexes wrote:
does buzzComix use Dreamhost? That'd be interesting to know.
According to Whois.sc, the nameservers are for bluehost.

bobweiner's picture

I recommend LunarPages. Very happy with their prices, service and support!

-Krishna

Krishna M. Sadasivam Cartoonist, "The PC Weenies" http://www.pcweenies.net

I have a dedicated server with 1&1 right now (http://www.1and1.com) I pay $59 a month for it, but it looks like they've upped their prices since then.

I'll have to look into switching to Dreamhost though, that's a helluva deal.

Does anyone with a relatively large webcomic use Dreamhost?

Even though the bandwidth is good, I'm worried about CPU usage limits. Buzzcomix just went down due to that.

LineItemVito's picture

A few months ago I moved to Pair.com, the company that hosts Keenspot and ComicGenesis. I've been happy with them so far. Their basic package is $6/month, but I think many webcomic people would want to start with their $18/month package that supports PHP (necessary for phpBB forums, etc.)

--
Vote Vito: Line Item Vito

Did anybody managed to use 20 gigibytes of storage or use at last 10% of Dreamhost's bandwith allowance?

I wanna see if someone support Dreamhost's claim....

Dudes.. DREAMHOST is offering 1TERABYTE of bandwidth, 20gigs storage, host unlimited domains AND one click installs on Wordpress blogs, Php Forums and alot more.... I've used them for years now and they're great-- I think NAte from BLAMBOT told me about them ages ago. They also ad more gigs to your bandwidth and storage place per week.

I pay like 119 a year, and it's WELL worth it for all the stuff I do.

I can also hook folks up with some coupon codes if you want some money off-- e-mail me. Check out DREAMHOST

Joey Manley's picture

If you're looking for a dedicated server, as opposed to a shared virtual server account on a box with a bunch of other virtual servers, I have found ev1servers.net to be reliable, inexpensive, and responsive to all queries. For a little less than $100/month, you get 1000 gigs of bandwidth transfer, plus as much control over the box itself as you want (including the right to overload the processor if that's how you have your fun). The cheapest boxes are just Celerons, but they'll update you to a Pentium for a one-time charge without tagging on a recurring monthly fee for the upgrade (unlike most rack providers). The hard drives are almost 3 times larger than the ones Dreamhost offers for a comparable price (which is important to my websites, but may not be to yours).

WCN isn't a "hosting provider" in the same way that the other options listed above are hosting providers, but it does offer unmetered bandwidth. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the original wording of Ghastly's comments mentioned WCN. Strange that that disappeared from this quotation of it.

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

"Kiba" wrote: Did anybody

Kiba wrote:
Did anybody managed to use 20 gigibytes of storage or use at last 10% of Dreamhost's bandwith allowance? I wanna see if someone support Dreamhost's claim....
I've been with Dreamhost for years. They just upped their bandwidth to ONE TERABYTE, which is a crazy amount. In the past, i've easily survived links from Penny Arcade and Slashdot. Only downtime I've ever had was during that freak power outtage in LA last summer, where some worker cut a main power circuit or something. It was only down for a few hours though. Other than that-- 4 years with smooth sailing.

Yeah, I only do the Level one program at Dreamhost, and it's all I've ever needed. I can't see why anyone would pay more.

"joeymanley" wrote: WCN

joeymanley wrote:
WCN isn't a "hosting provider" in the same way that the other options listed above are hosting providers, but it does offer unmetered bandwidth.
And it's worth noting that my WCN site recently weathered a Penny Arcade link without suffering any downtime.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

"KrazyKrow" wrote: Does

KrazyKrow wrote:
Does anyone with a relatively large webcomic use Dreamhost?
Girly gets about 1.6 million pageviews per month and Slipshine gets about 300k, both sites use PHP for every page. This isn't huge, but I do use their smallest dedicated server package and am told it uses a decent amount of the CPU. So basically, 1.5+ million pageviews = get a dedicated server (or a really efficient upgrade system), but I think that's the same with just about any host. Dedicated Servers get 4 TB of bandwidth. I can't even imagine using it all! I'm thinking of adding weekly archives to Girly and maybe even making the comics bigger because of it.

"joshl."

joshl. wrote:
KrazyKrow wrote:
Does anyone with a relatively large webcomic use Dreamhost?
Girly gets about 1.6 million pageviews per month and Slipshine gets about 300k, both sites use PHP for every page. This isn't huge, but I do use their smallest dedicated server package and am told it uses a decent amount of the CPU. So basically, 1.5+ million pageviews = get a dedicated server (or a really efficient upgrade system), but I think that's the same with just about any host. Dedicated Servers get 4 TB of bandwidth. I can't even imagine using it all! I'm thinking of adding weekly archives to Girly and maybe even making the comics bigger because of it.
Thanks for the heads up. I'm running a homebrew PHP system right now, so CPU usage is as big a concern as bandwidth for me. So I would guess that the 1 TB of Dreamhost shared hosting is effectively 100 GB of 'webcomic' hosting, or at least a number significantly less than 1000 GB.Still a great deal, nonetheless.