When we initially launched our reality TV blog, Unreality TV, we hosted with Dreamhost. Unfortunately, when the site became popular, the shared hosting environment didn’t work so well for us and the site became unresponsive and slow.
To add insult to injury, we lived through the worst of Dreamhost’s datacenter issues, and had extended periods where the site was offline.
We’d heard good things about Media Temple, and decided to move to their newly launched grid service. As the site grew, we discovered that the Grid Service wasn’t a good fit for us. Again, we were able to get good advice from the Media Temple crew and they helped us transition to their Dedicated Virtual service.
The benefit of being on the DV service is that we have more control over the server itself, and can remotely reboot and manage a number of the features. Also, we can seamlessly scale to higher level services as the site grows and we need more resources.
Impression of services
I’ve always been impressed with Media Temple’s support. They’re generally very responsive and willing to help find a genuine solution. They’ve got a good helpdesk system, and have gone beyond the call of duty to help us out from time to time.
The DV service is based on Plesk and gives high-level control of the server. You can install new features (caching features, etc.) you can upgrade your MySQL installation and customise things to your exact needs.
The Plesk environment makes migrating a breeze: we had to move to a new server at one point and were able to use the support articles and the Plesk migration tools to move domain by domain until a complete migration was done.
When you need help, there’s is quite a good.
Who should use this service?
I’d recommend Media Temple’s DV service for people with large, database driven sites. The easy scalability is important: you don’t want to reach the limit of your capacity and then discover you’re out of upgrade options. I know that I can develop my site on Media Temple and leave it there for the long-term.
The Plesk system is also good for designers and developers: you can resell hosting on your account and use Plesk to give each client/site its own login.
This also lends itself to hosting multiple domains on the one server, so if you manage a number of web properties, you can host them on Media Temple and know that – unlike with shared hosting – they’re the only sites running on that particular server.
Not appropriate for
I wouldn’t recommend the DV service for the novice webmaster. While Media Temple might help you out to a certain extent (and their documentation is good), you’ll have to deal with high-level sysadmin work by yourself. Alternatively, you’ll have to hire somebody who knows what they’re doing.
If you prefer a shared hosting experience, Media Temple’s Grid Service might be more appropriate.
Likewise, the DV service isn’t cheap, but it is reliable. If you’re hosting only one domain/database, it’s too early to move to a virtual solution.
By line: Gerard McGarry is one of the founders of Unreality TV, the UK’s biggest reality TV blog. He’s also the community manager of their new entertainment community site Unreality Shout.