M6.Net review, and “to self host or not to self host”

“Hi – I saw your blog posting about WinHost and M6. I’ve been running my own web server for more than a couple of years but costs of hardward and bandwidth are (as you say) forcing me to frugally review my arrangements – I wanted to know your thoughts on M6.net now that you’ve been with them a few months. Thanks – I look forward to hearing from you”

This was a question I got a couple days ago from a reader, thought I’d share the response with all.

So, yea, this site is hosted on M6.net – on their basic plan and at their cheapest rate.  At the time I signed up I took a chance and bought the 2 year contract (which is VERY uncharacteristic of me, as I like to sample many hosting co’s).  I took the 2 year plan so I could get the lowest per month rate, as they offer multi year discounts.  Now in all honesty I was really making a big deal out of a little deal, because the amount of money I saved over 2 years wasn’t so great, maybe $50, and  I’m sure I could blow that on a beer night with some buddies real easy..  But with hosting and me, it’s all about the principle.

So I paid $90 for 2 years of hosting, for 2 sites on my one plan – with some gigabit of space.. and 1 MSSQL 2k8 db (which I haven’t really used yet).  That winds up being…. hmm $1.88 per site, per month.  For .Net 3.5, MVC and so forth

Yea, as much as I WANTED to justify macking together some uber small fanless pc bought in parts from Newegg.com with some scrounged frankenstein drives, maybe even with USB to IDE converters… tack it up under a desk and run my MSDN Win2k8 web, and make pretend I love sys admin stuff  (which is a lie, I only like it  when it works)…But, there was no way I could make the math work. 

Here in the Northeast USA kilowatt are like 15 cents sometimes more..

I actually made the following spreadsheet to help visualize my own subjective pros and cons of self hosting;

Now, it shows I’m a total PM & analyst, and a real dork.  But whatever, it helps me sleep at night.  I reviewed the cost & ‘feature set’ (to me this were things like what I can learn, what can annoy me. I gave 1 as the lowest score, and 4 as the highest ) for three self hosting options and two web hosting companies.
The 3 self hosting options were

  1. building a new mini pc like the MSI’s of Foxconns with an Intel Atom 330 dual core 1.6, which I honestly wanted to do…
  2. building a frankenserver out of  a cheap ebay pentium, and
  3. hosting it on the kids imac – running a parallels VM. 

The 2 hosting companies I considered were M6.Net and Mochahost.  I only considered these Asp.net hosts because they allow multiple sites per account, unlike Winhost.com, or PlanetSMB.com which only allow 1 site per account.  Btw, I use to love PlanetSMB and used them for 2 clients… that is until a few days ago.  I’m gonna bitch that one out in a week or two when I chill about their 2 days of f*!@#king downtime.

I digress.  So assuming Mocha and M6 had roughly similar feature sets – .Net 3.5, MVC, SQL2k8, multiple domains, and some gigabyte (will I ever even use 1GB?) of storage and bandwidth, it wound up being the most COST effective, and LEAST STRESS inducing to go for a 2 year deal plan with M6.Net. Mocha was pretty close, as suprisingly was the VM on the iMac, which I am SO glad I didn’t do, I just can’t imagine the amount of crashing it would run into… with all the legos starwars games running as a the kids user. 

My analysis was I would learn more and have way more flexibility with my own server (of any kind), but it would take more of my time and interrupt me at odd times, as well as cost more.  I just thought do I want to deal with this??  No.

Now…. Do I regret going with M6?  Absolutely not. 
While they’ve been running about 99.5% uptime (the stats below show a bad couple weeks, they’re usually better) it’s absolutely fine for what I do.  The support is prompt and courteous when I ask the odd question.  And that price is sure right.. and furthermore it’s just not interfering with my life.

4 out of 5 stars for now.

Typical uptime stats for this site:


date          uptime       dns   connect   request      ttfb      ttlb

2010-04-10    100.00     0.003     0.059     0.059     0.330     0.390
2010-04-09    100.00     0.003     0.065     0.065     0.379     0.442
2010-04-08    100.00     0.003     0.059     0.059     0.332     0.387
2010-04-07    100.00     0.003     0.059     0.059     0.372     0.427
2010-04-06     93.55     0.003     0.061     0.061     0.408     0.468
2010-04-05     93.48     0.003     0.060     0.060     0.396     0.450
2010-04-04    100.00     0.007     0.063     0.063     0.333     0.390
2010-04-03    100.00     0.003     0.058     0.058     0.325     0.384
2010-04-02    100.00     0.004     0.060     0.060     0.382     0.442
2010-04-01    100.00     0.020     0.077     0.077     0.375     0.436
2010-03-31    100.00     0.008     0.064     0.064     0.560     0.617
2010-03-30     96.70     0.010     0.066     0.066     0.383     0.445
2010-03-29    100.00     0.003     0.061     0.061     0.341     0.404
2010-03-28    100.00     0.005     0.062     0.062     0.361     0.487

minimum        93.48     0.003     0.058     0.058     0.325     0.384
maximum       100.00     0.020     0.077     0.077     0.560     0.617
average        98.84     0.006     0.062     0.063     0.377     0.441