M6.Net was cheap and feature rich. Unfortunately, it was so unreliable I was forced back to Bluehost.com

After 2 years of hosting with M6.net, I simply could not handle the amount of downtime and subsequent tickets I had to submit in order to get service running again.

I was originally drawn to their feature laden .net hosting plans, and after a few months on their cheapest $3 or so plan, I upgraded to their $7 plan so I could host this site, and several low volume sites for my wife’s clients.  There were long periods of time back in 2010 and 2011 when I would go for months without an outage.  (as an fyi, I’ve been happily using uptimerobot.com to automatically monitor the site).

Sometime in 2012 they started crashing monthly, then weekly, and at times daily.  I had to tell support I was going to leave if they cant tell me why I need to keep submitting tickets to reset the sites daily.  The response was that Cpanel was the culprit and they could move me to a new server using websitepanel.  I jumped at the chance.. and heard nothing until one day that decided to migrate me, and broke every !@!# wordpress installation.  Now I’m a software dev manager… after MANY mails to support – the ‘wtf did you do?’ kind..  I decided fix it myself.  So, I set up a new default wordpress install and looked at the default values in the wp.config file to get the new server names, IPs, set proper folder security.  How many regular consumers do you think could handle that themselves?  I pictured people tearing their hair out waiting 3 days for a reply.. man.. hope none of you guys went through that.

The experience was less than impressive…  nevertheless I thought let’s give the new server a chance..   Again fine for  a few months, then the monthly… weekly… daily crashes came.  Only this time the previously very helpful (offshore) support staff would start to say ‘the site appears up’.  Bullshit, I would send screenshots, and meanwhile uptimerobot is filling my mailboxes for notifications on 7 down sites.  I created a subfolder to STORE all of the emails over the last year (screenshot below).  So I just gave up, and went back to Bluehost.  Not my favorite place in the world, but there’s something to be said for running wordpress on LAMP, and with people who do it for a business.  M6.net, gives you a ton of features, especially in the asp.net/SQL realm.. but PHP is running on IIS (windows servers) and it’s just inherently not as stable..  furthermore all their MySQL databases were running localhost on the IIS servers..  Again, tons of features, but just not reliable at all for what I was doing.

So here I am, on Bluehost.com with 5 of those sites, some 5 months later.. and not one downtime.  Im happy.. I have my life back, they have my $7 a month (well $5, I had a promo coupon).  I don’t have Asp.net, or SQL server….but I do have a dev server in my basement that has those.  In hindsight, I think M6 is probably best used as a dev environment, in that there are so many features and technologies they provide, and you don’t have to worry so much about uptime on a dev box.

Here’s just a tiny sample of the downtime issues I had with M6.Netuptime 1 uptime 2

 

 

No longer using Somee.com’s free web hosting, but it wasn’t so bad.

So, I signed up for a plan on m6.net that allows me to host 12 different sites for $7.75 a month.  Everything from one host? much easier for me, and a good price too.

So, Somee.com’s free service was ok, the biggest thing I didn’t like was their banner ads enforced on the top of the page.  Other than that there was uptime that constantly hovered around 92%, something I probably could’ve achieved hosting at home on a Virtual Machine server, or an old desktop.    

The other odd thing was the fact that they will shut off your site if the average of all the files in your webroot is over 150kb per file.  Add a few movies or pdfs, and yolu’re pretty much not going to stay live on their free site long.

BUT – AS ALWAYS – any free web hosting service is a great thing, and Somee.com was ok if you can live in with those 3 drawbacks.

 

The 150kb policy email:

 

"The service: website mojobudgie.somee.com,
Has been disabled for the following reason: Website's average, per 
request bandwidth have exceeded a limit that is set for the website 
hosted with a free hosting package! Although we do not limit the file 
size that can be uploaded or downloaded from your website, we set a 
limit of 150KByte on average file size that can be downloaded from the 
website hosted with free package. The average is calculated every 
several hours for all files together, including *.html, *.asp, *.aspx,  
*.jpg, *.png, *.gif, *.mpg and other text and media files. Your website 
is scheduled to start again in about 12 hours, or you can start it 
manually  from our control panel any time. But if you will not take 
actions to decrease the average file size that is sent from your website
 it will be stopped again and you are allowed to start it 5 times only. 
You can also switch to any another hosting package where such 
maintenance is not performed.! "

 

 

A sampling of the uptime graph

 

www.mojobudgie.com
----------------------------------------------------------------------
date          uptime       dns   connect   request      ttfb      ttlb

2010-10-22     98.97     0.159     0.206     0.206     3.087     3.090
2010-10-21    100.00     0.279     0.326     0.326     3.083     3.087
2010-10-20     94.95     0.104     0.333     0.333     3.442     3.443
2010-10-19     94.95     0.155     0.417     0.417     3.142     3.146
2010-10-18     95.88     0.062     0.263     0.263     3.222     3.224
2010-10-17    100.00     0.116     0.164     0.164     2.982     2.986
2010-10-16     49.48     0.155     0.202     0.202     1.675     1.677
2010-10-15     95.92     0.050     0.131     0.131     3.330     3.382
2010-10-14     94.95     0.045     0.121     0.121     3.375     3.378
2010-10-13     98.96     0.115     0.288     0.288     2.863     2.865
2010-10-12     95.92     0.111     0.279     0.279     2.780     2.784
2010-10-11     77.00     0.432     0.601     0.601     2.772     2.775
2010-10-10     95.96     0.036     0.205     0.205     3.039     3.042
2010-10-09     96.94     0.100     0.302     0.302     3.037     3.097
----------------------------------------------------------------------
minimum        49.48     0.036     0.121     0.121     1.675     1.677
maximum       100.00     0.432     0.601     0.601     3.442     3.443
average        92.13     0.137     0.274     0.274     2.988     2.998

 

BlogEngine.net and Somee.com’s free ASP.Net 4, MSSQL 2008 hosting

After months of being too busy, I got a chance to rehost the blog.  This time I’m trying out a free ASP.net & Microsoft SQL Server hosting service from Somee.com.  I also switched from the XML powered version of BlogEngine.net to use a SQL server backend.  I needed to do a find and replace, removing all [dbo]. and GO references in the installation script, however, after that the BlogEngine setup SQL worked flawlesly and within a few moments I had a partially working site.

the hosting specs;

when you setup your Somee account you choose the .Net flavor you want 2, 3.5 or 4

  • you can also choose MS SQL2005, or 2008R2.  Both are Express editions (a big reason I dont want to use Brinkster.com, as they only allow Access databases)
  • you get 150mb of storage space
  • you get 15mb of SQL data storage, and 20mb of SQL log storage
  • you get a FTP login (another big reason I dont want to use Brinkster.com)
  • you can host on your own domain (again, Brinkster only allows subdomain hosting)
  • they do place a banner of ads at the top
  • and a link back to somee.com down the bottom.  (Though Brinkster has no ads, so far I’m ok with it)

The site management tool is basic and as a free customer you only have a few things you can do; custom errors, report on storage space, setup SQL login, backup your databases, do restores… things like this.
You cant set granular file permissions or create pw protected directories.

Still getting a few odd errors saving certain types of data into BE’s tinyMCE editor windows now and then. will work it out and post the fix.

Winhost.com web hosting review

My experience with Winhost.com was a short three months, but they impressed me.  I used the monthly ASP.Net hosting plan – $4.95 for 1 domain name until I tried out M6.Net and gave it a good side by side review.  Ultimately, I chose M6.net because for about $3 a month (paid over 2 years) they let you host 2 domains on your account.  It really just came down to a frugal matter of costs for this site, which in essence is just a hobby for me.  The way I looked at it, over a 2 year period I could host two sites for about $90 on M6.Net vs $240 on Winhost.com.

That said almost everything else I found about Winhost was better – the servers were faster, Blogengine.net installed dirt simple (even in MSSQL mode), heck they even let you hook up IIS7 manager to administer your site!  Winhost also has MSSQL 2008 support, which you can hook up SQL manager (or management studio express) too… sooo much more user-friendly than the typical web interfaces a lot of these hosting providers give you.

If I was setting up a site for a business, hands down I would’ve chosen Winhost over M6, and I am a little sad to let them go.  Look for a review of M6.Net when I have a chance to let this blog settle in on their servers.

For the record, here were the specs I had on my Winhost account;











Windows 2008 Hosting
WinHost BASIC Windows Hosting Plan

Web Hosting Fees

 
Windows Hosting Monthly Fee
$4.95
Hosting Plan Billing Cycle
Month to Month
Web Hosting Setup Fee
None
Long Term Contracts
None
New Domain Name (.com, .net, .org, .biz, .info)
$10.00/yr
Domain Whois Privacy
$5.00/yr

General Windows Hosting Features

 
Website Disk Space
1000 MB
Monthly Bandwidth/Data Transfer
50 GB









Windows 2008 hosting
windows 2008 hosting
IIS7 Hosting (Internet Information Services 7.0)
iis7 hosting
IIS7 Manager Access Allowed
manage hosting with iis manager access
Remote Delegation Supported
remote feature delegation support
Switch Between Full Trust and Medium Trust
full trust and medium trust support
Switch Between Integrated and Classic Mode
asp.net integrated and classic pipeline mode support
URL Rewrite Module
microsoft url rewrite module support
Site Memory Allocation
100 MB
Isolated Application Pool
each site hosted in isolated application pool












Microsoft SQL 2008 Hosting
free sql 2008 hosting
SQL Data Hosting on Separate Servers
sql 2008 hosting on separate server cluster
SQL 2008 Database Hosting Disk Space
100 MB
No. of SQL 2008 Databases
1
SQL DBO Rights
dbo rights for sql hosting
Stored Procedures
sql stored procedure support
Full Text Search
sql full text search enabled
SQL Management Studio Access Allowed
manage with sql management studio
ASP.NET ReportViewer Control
asp.net report viewer control
SQL DSN
Unlimited
Microsoft Access Database Hosting
Unlimited
Access DSN
Unlimited



















ASP.NET 3.5 Hosting SP1
asp.net 3.5 sp1 hosting
ASP.NET 2.0 Hosting
asp.net 2.0s hosting
Run Multiple .NET Applications
multiple asp.net application hosting
ASP.NET MVC Hosting
asp.net mvc hosting
Silverlight Hosting
silverlight hosting
ASP.NET AJAX Hosting
asp.net ajax hosting
Entity Framework Hosting
entity framework hosting
LINQ Enabled Hosting
linq hosting
/bin, codebehind
codebehind and bin folder support
XML Web Services
xml web services support
Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
wcf hosting
Microsoft Charting Controls Compatible
microsoft charting control support
Classic ASP Hosting
classic asp hosting support
PHP5 Hosting
php5 hosting
WAP Enabled Hosting
wap hosting
Flash Enabled Hosting
flash hosting
HTTP Streaming Enabled Hosting
http streaming enabled
Dedicated SSL Support
No
Shared SSL
No