VPS or Shared webhost

hatcat's picture

Hi all, I am fairly new to Drupal. I am re-designing/developing a website for a homeowners association using Drupal 7 that was originally built using tables. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being clueless and 10 being a Drupal guru), I would say I'm a 3. I don't know Php or Linux. I have some basic HTML and CSS skills.

My old site is hosted on Dreamhost using a managed, shared hosting plan and cPanel. The new site is coming together very nicely, and I am feeling pretty comfortable using Drupal 7. I am developing the site on a local testing server using a DAMP stack. For the most part everything works and when it doesn't, I have been able to figure it out or get an answer through the forums or the issues' cue for the particular module that is giving me grief.

I have installed a patch using cygwin and have also downloaded some code from Git. Although, I have to use step by step instructions.

My client wants to see be able to access the site online as I am developing it, so I have uploaded it to Dreamhost via Dreamweaver in a subdomain.

The drupal site is currently 250 Mb. The only traffic is myself and my client. I have disabled the login function and only administrators can approve users of which I have only two (me as a test user and admin). My client accesses the site as an anonymous user.

I recently started having problems with the site running slowly, and I can't update my database when I upload my revised site every few days. My web host says it's because I have too many processes running and am hitting my RAM limits which "kills" my site. They sent me an excerpt from my logs and it looks like the "procwatch kicks in between 39.5MB & 60MB.

I can change to a VPS on Dreamhost for $50/month for 1GB of RAM. It looks like this would be easy, since I would still be using cPanel, I'm comfortable with it and they would be there for support if I need it. Or, I can go with Lionode or Digital Ocean for $20/mo. or $10/mo., but I think I need to know Linux and there is no support (just the user forums).

I have to go live with the site ASAP.

I have checked out https://drupal.org/node/1722250 about optimizing my Drupal site. Some of it is over my head and turning on CSS and JS aggregation in the performance page caused my CSS to go nuts.

Do I need to go with a VPS? Should I stick with the expensive easy to use Dreamhost. How hard is it to use the unmanaged VPS services? You're thoughts in general?

Thx, Sheryl


Shared hosting with page

Greg Boggs's picture

Shared hosting with page cache on will serve 50,000 visits per month. If your client gets more than that, add free cloudflare.com and you'll get twice as many. If your hosting company says otherwise they are either lying to up your bill, or the person helping you just doesn't understand hosting very well.


hatcat's picture

I'll try this. Thanks, Greg.

too much

slsonnier's picture

I use parcom for a few low usage sites for less than 150 a year. You
can get dev space on we enabled for 20 a month. For 5 dev sites. 50 a
month is way too much for what I am guessing you are doing


hatcat's picture

I'll check these out. Thanks!

I say your paying a high price

lesleyb's picture

Hi Sheryl

I'm in the UK. I use the Linux platform, running Ubuntu at home and have Debian on a Virtual Machine (VM) provided by http://www.bytemark.co.uk. I'm currently hosting. amongst other things, test.centrepieces.org. My VM costs me £180 p.a incl. VAT. Warning - test.centrepieces.org might bork IE - it works in Chrome and Firefox on Ubuntu and Windows - I suspect it's javascript/jquery related and have upgraded to the latest jquery but haven't gone to seek a Windows machine to check IE yet.

The downside is you have to manage your own VM, but the people at bytemark are pretty good and I do believe they'll provide you with CPanel if you want.

I've always had good response out of the team when I have needed support and their cloud offering at http://www.bigv.io/ at £10 per month looks very interesting right now. Even with the exchange rate, that's got to be a better deal.

As for Linux, most distros offer a live CD/DVD or USB where you can run the OS off your optical drive or a USB memory stick. You can download these for free and start playing with it without touching your Windows installation.

If you like it or find it useful, you can then set your machine up to dual boot Windows or Linux with the default as you choose or run it as a VM on your Windows machine. Linux distros can manage to install themselves safely onto a spare partition or spare disk drive with Windows existing in either its own partition on the same disk or a separate hard drive and will set up the dual boot menu for you.

Popular Linux distros at the user end are Ubuntu - based on Debian and Centos - based on Red Hat. On the server side I've only ever used Debian so can't comment on others.

There is a lot of help out there for people coming to Linux, #debian-women being one place I know, http://www.linuxquestions.org/ is another . Hope you try it out, sometime.

And I hope you find a suitable solution to your current problem.

Good luck



hatcat's picture

Thank you, Leslie. I will definitely check out the Linux dual boot option when the pressure is off.

I'll look into bytemark to see if they are an option for now.


jane.trimmer's picture


I use Bytemark as well, so can second Lesley's reply. There are step-by-step instructions to set everything up (although I'd prefer Git to FileZilla for copying files to the server).

However, since moving to their BigV service, I've had problems, mainly with my sites going down for a few hours at a time about once a month. I believe the people at Bytemark are trying to fix this. The first time it happened my colleague couldn't log into the site. It turned out that somehow her ISP got black-listed. This took days to sort out!


/me waves to another bytemarker

lesleyb's picture

Hi Jane

Good to meet another Bytemarker :)

And so good to get independent feedback on the cloud operation they're running.

If it's a completely new venture for them - I suppose there'll be teething troubles.

I'm currently slightly suspicious of cloud services in general - okay everything springs into place as and when you need it but how are you handling the DNS to your sites? And how does it stay in place for access ? Personally I like to know how to config Apache etc and I've never found apt-get install that hard to type.

FWIW I got a good deal from Bytemark when I first started with them; their initial VM is now not so attractive imo - but they have never degraded their service to me to come in line with their changing provision structure.

If I had the spare money I'd try the cloud offering because it looks like a good deal. They'll probably do the same - at the moment they're offering a good deal to get the cash in to get the business justification. Once they've stabilised it and got it ticking over the deal may change and it would be interesting to know what happens then.

Hope the cloud service continues to improve for you.

Kind regards


Optimizing your site

geogeektress's picture

Hey Lesley,

Can you figure out what the processes are in your web logs or on Cpanel logs? It's not your assets (vids, imgs, pdfs, etc.) that's slowing it down? I do hope it is not a scam on the part of your web hosting company to get you to sign on with something you don't need? Have you tried doing a partial back-up in your "Back-up Wizard" on Cpanel? Then trying to optimizing your assets?

Regards, g. chalker

No it's IE being borkish that's all ;-)

lesleyb's picture

Hi g

  1. Absolutely nothing to do with the server - I've actually set the test site up on a different server and handled the DNS for that.

  2. Bytemark don't try and sell you what you don't need. At least they don't try it with me ;-) They're just about hosting plain and simple and as raw as you want it. It's why I use Bytemark.

  3. Any place that tries the kind of tricks you're talking about on me fairly quickly gets to know what my heels look like when I walk out the door and how well I can slam a door too. I have neither the time nor money to waste.

  4. I don't use CPanel on my servers - I'm a command line kind of girl. Cpanel, it's derivatives and the different proprietary interfaces I've come across working with other people's hosting providers just get in the way and, at times, drive me nuts with frustration.

  5. There is/was a known IE/JQuery problem a little while ago and, as the same site works perfectly well with Firefox and Chrome in the same Windows environment on the same machine ... plus all works well with any Linux/Mac box ... I really can't get too stressed about it. M$ gets just too stupid to care about these days. Too much other stuff to deal with and the site's pro-bono so it gets done when I have the time.

  6. I have made some changes since I last checked it; I have the JQuery-update module installed so can select different JQuery versions to see if that changes it. Hope to have some time to check it later this week when near some Windows machines.

Thanks for your concern

Kind Regards