I’m ending my business relationship with Media Temple as a customer. Having been with them since August of 2007, I’ve endured a lot of problems with their Grid Service, and it never really got better, despite their promises. It got to the point that trying to contact customer service just ended up in the same canned responses over and over again. Never shying away from the opportunity at an up-sell, their mySQL container never alleviated the problems and wasn’t worth the extra $20/month on top of the $17/month that I was paying. At this point, their long promised (cs) or Cluster Server is vaporware. The replacement to the Grid Server is nowhere to be found. The current iteration of the Grid Server is unusable for it’s lack of speed (which their quick to blame the customer for) and instability.
I think the graph above pretty well sums it up. Using my WordPress Latency Tracker, you can see that all things being equal (identical WordPress installs, the only difference is the server), Web Faction is the clear performance winner. Note that the seconds scale on the left tops out at 0.7 seconds on Web Faction, while the Media Temple scale tops out at 50 seconds. I got the idea for, and created, the WP Latency Tracker plugin for the sole purpose of being able to give (mt) support something more tangible than just “it feels slower today”, and instead provide them with hard numbers. To be fair to (mt), those slow response times were during an system incident that lasted several days. However, slow downs like this were common on the Grid Server.
It wasn’t all bad. On the upside, they kept their promises of 1TB of bandwidth, which I used all of to act as a mirror for CDBurnerXP. Their user forums have a nice community feel to them, and their custom control panel is easy to use. I’ll miss those.
A co-worker mentioned Web Faction to me. I’ve been keeping an ear to the ground for a replacement of Media Temple, but really wanted some far out features like support for Pylons, Django (Media Temple support this too, but only with a container which adds another $20/month to your bill), and custom compiled software. I signed up for an account and have been amazed at the ease of the transition and the performance.
Web Faction costs me $9.50/month. I was paying, at times, up to $37/month at (mt) for their (gs) and mySQL container. I never saw numbers like this, ever. On top of that, I don’t have to pay $20/month for Django, and can install/compile custom apps to my hearts content on Web Faction. They are a developers dream as far as the feature set they bring to their hosting products.
One of these days, maybe Media Temple can live up to their own hype.
See also: Some thoughts on Media Temple
Pingback: Some thoughts on Media Temple « SKFox.com
Can I ask about the “being-able-to-view-every-other-domain on the WebFaction’s shared servers” set-up? Is that normal/acceptable/questionably-insecure?
Obviously you can’t access other’s sites/folders (easily), but I’m not AT ALL a fan of 49 other people being given so a large curiosity carrot. Seeing is Step 1 to Accessing.
nb: via FTP you can indeed see each and every website that shares your server.
Just to throw in my two cents:
I was with Webfaction for around 4 months, and at first when switching from Media Temple, Pingdom stats revealed that my sites were loading faster. BUT after a month or so, it became worse. When I switched back to Media Temple from Webfaction, it was because I had experienced a week with extremely poor loading times, instability, latency, you name it. And the responses from their customer support indicated that they had little interest in fixing it. They were like “it’s probably high load because someone on your server box is overloading it but we have no clue when it will be fixed. We hope in a couple of days…” then after a few days “ehm, well, it’s still slow? Oh I see, sorry bout that…” as if they were cannabis-smokers more interested in rolling joints and smoking them than giving me a realiable hosting and support experience.
Media Temple on the other hand, has always (since I was on their shared server in 2004/2005) been much more professional and reliable. Downtime? Yes! Instability and latency? Yes. But they’ve impproved on that, and considering the horrible experiences I’ve had with other hosts (Livehost for example) I’ve decided to trust MT with my hosting needs;-)
Your article is an interesting and valuable read.
Great plugin, very useful stuff! Now I can tell when to upgrade or move out to a better hosting provider.
One more thing, if someone is interested. I just installed the plugin on my shared account at hostgator, my favourite hosting provider so far. The latency tracker says min 25.532mb, max 34.208mb and 27.604mb
Average loading time per page is about 0.6-1 second. I guess I’ll stick with it the shared account a little longer…
To add to the discussion, here’s my results after migrating a few sites away from Media Temple Grid Service and to a teeny Slicehost slice, a year ago:
These are small static websites, as well as php/mySQL CMS-driven sites. In a years, the little slice never went down once: http://dropbox.jeremyricketts.com/server_uptime.png I only had to restart it when I upgraded the slice.