How big is this hosting company?

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Due diligence in looking for good web hosting companies.

Many web hosting companies are quite small. Personally I don't like the
quality and speed of support at the really huge companies; I prefer
dealing with one where the owner is still involved in day-to-day

However, I'd probably prefer an operation with at least a handful of
staff rather than a one-man show. So I'm putting together my pre-sales
questions in this area, and looking for help here in two areas:

1 Please help me refine my questions - delete/add/edit, or just comment

2 Please tell me how/if I could independently find any of this
information out myself using various utilities and websites available.


Do you resell hosting? (My definition - yes to all three:)
                Do you own your servers?
                Do you have root access?
                Can you physically enter the data centre and maintain the
hardware yourself?
        If yes, who is your upstream provider?
        If not, what data center/NAP do you use?

How many servers?

How many technical support staff do you have? How many employees total?

About how many domains do you host?

About how many active customers do you have?  

Can you provide a few ULRs of the larger or better-known sites currently
hosted by you?


Thanks in advance for your help.

Re: How big is this hosting company?

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I'm not sure if I would classify an answer to the last question as a
good thing. That seems like a privacy violation, or else my idea of
privacy is out of date. The rest of the questions seem legitimate
though. Maybe add:

Can you give the the main IP of the server I'd be hosted on, and a few
more main IP's of other servers?

Then you can set a monitor on the IP which sends GET requests for a
while, and look up the IP for past abuse reports.

Re: How big is this hosting company?

Thanks for your detailed response!

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No you're right, unless the host has received prior clearance to use the
customer as a reference. Many hosts do this, and some even actively solicit
testimonial postings as well, all sound marketing practice IMO and a
positive sign of a well-run company that will be around in the long term.

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Good idea on the abuse idea, but wouldn't the IP of their main mail server
be more relevant - or are you talking about other types of abuse - I have
to admit I have little knowledge in this area.

And even less so about the "GET" monitor - is this for uptime? I've already
verified that the hosters on my shortlist consistently have over 99.9%
uptime, or I wouldn't be wasting my time asking them these later-stage
questions. . .

Re: How big is this hosting company?

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Yes, that would be the main reason. If the mail server is running on a
different machine it'd be nice to have both since it isn't likely that
website forms would use an external mail server. You wouldn't want to
sign on only to find out later that your neighbors are spammers or the
server is full of abused/abandoned web scripts, or IP has a history of

And typing the IP into google might return other information it might
be good to know. For instance, on a godaddy hosting account that (I
don't know why) I have putting the IP into google shows nothing more
than an old proxy site hosted there and no abuse issues, and backing
out to cover the whole c-block turns up pretty clean. Its a nice

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Uptime may be 99.9% but how many times a day (if any) does a GET
request on a server generated page take 5 seconds or more to respond?
Does ping time go from 50ms at 3:00AM to 700ms from 9:00AM to 9:00PM.
Of course that might be too much investigation. I wouldn't do that
myself. And it seems to me like the one thing you didn't check out is
the one thing you should have checked. The last time I fully checked
someone out, everything looked great, everything I could find about
them looked great, product was great. Ordered it, and never heard from
them. Double checked everything I had checked out and all of it (that
had dates) was dated 2004 or earlier. Which reminds me I should cancel
that before it bills again....

Re: How big is this hosting company?

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Great concept, hadn't thought that far into it. I was concerned that
some of my shortlisted hosts have *very* adamant statements about spam
in their TOS with (what I thought was) draconian enforcement measures.

But now I suppose I'm coming around to see this as a good thing!

I'm webmaster at a private school, and my headmaster asked all the
parents to provide their email addresses so we can quickly contact them
in case of emergency about school closures, etc.

He's now also asked me to set up an 'e-newsletter' to go out every few
weeks, talking about what's going on at the school, promoting upcoming
events, etc. We'd planned to make this opt-out, with the first mailing
explaining what we're doing and giving them a one-click unsubcribe link.

Now in the past I would personally have thought this procedure was OK,
as all of the recipients are current "customers" - parents of existing
students. But it seems that many hosts' rules wold require us to send
out a paper form to all 3000 people and ask them to tick yes or no to
"do you want to receive this" and keep that on file in case of any
future abuse complaints.

Or I suppose one in-between options would be to do a once-off "emergency
testing" mailing, and give them an opt-in link - I'd just have to figure
out how to keep "records" of that to produce when asked, and of course
I'm afraid many people wouldn't bother signing up. . .

Feedback please - and/or where's a better place to post this?

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No, I've pretty much ignored hosts that only have a few good reviews
from years ago - all the ones on my shortlist have had lots of stellar
ones in the last six months, many right up to the present. . .

Thanks again for your valuable input. . .


Re: How big is this hosting company?

hansBKK wrote:

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If this were in the UK, the school would be legally obliged to seek
further permission before subscribing the parents to a newsletter, even
if there were clear opt out links. This is because the Data Protection
Act (1998) states that if you collect personal information for a specific
purpose and later wish to use it for another purpose, you must obtain
permission from the person first.

In other countries with looser data protection legislation, this may not
be illegal, but would certainly be impolite.

Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
Contact Me ~
Geek of ~ HTML/SQL/Perl/PHP/Python*/Apache/Linux

* = I'm getting there!

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