Surprisingly, it seems this question hasn't been asked yet (or at least I couldn't find it). I'm after a "good" PHP hosting solution. Obviously "good" is a subjective term, so I'll provide some guidelines:
- Scalable solutions from cheap shared to dedicated with easy transition between them (ie a smooth and relatively painless upgrade path);
- MySQL 5.1 (preferably);
- PHP 5.2.8;
- Relatively good uptime and support turnaround (yes, I realize this is one of those "you get what you pay for" criteria);
- Secure. I came across this question on shared server setup. What is the typical security situation with hosting providers?
- Relatively generous quotas, particularly with database storage;
- Opcode caching of some kind (eg APC); and
- memcached access would be a nice-to-have.
Anything else I should be aware of when shopping around? There are a plethora of PHP hosting providers out there so it's hard to tell what the differences are (if any), apart from the obvious metrics (cost, bandwidth, disk space, etc).
EDIT: added requirements about opcode and other caching.
I spent a good deal of time last year researching hosting companies when I outgrew my shared host. Most of these companies offer the same types of services with similar tiered pricing structures, to the point that it's become a comodity.
But after using several hosts over the years, the difference is in their customer service and support. I cannot stand calling with a technical question and having to explain it three times as my problem gets escalated through a support group. This happens a lot with shared hosting companies that cater to the end user.
I had great experiences with Rackspace when I was in the corporate world. They are very attentive to your needs and issues, but that comes at a price.
My goal was to find a company that took customer service seriously, but won't cost me hundreds a month. My research led me to ServInt, where I have a VPS solution, and every time I have called with a support issue, I have spoken to an engineer in their NOC (not an operator or front-line customer service person). My issues get solved in a tenth of the time that they used to take, and that makes me look good to my clients.
They are geared at developers, agencies and resellers, so their solutions are more sophisticated than the shared hosts--their basic setup is a VPS with everything you'd get in a shared host, plus root access and no limits on databases, email addresses or subdomains. Charge your clients $20 a month and you only need three of them to break even on the service.
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