So far I have to say webFaction is winning my heart so far. Here’s the experience I’ve had with both so far.
Supprt. Both webFaction and mediaTemple have been good with support. With webFaction though I get a more direct and decent answer. mediaTemple’s support doesn’t seem like they read my question fully. Although I believe mediaTemple is larger and I know that most hosts that reach a large number of users have support people who rush to answer a question without reading it fully. Even though, I’m not sure if that can be given as an excuse. I sent in questions about apache modules and some questions about the PHP setup. I also asked about parking a domain and comparison’s with other control panels. I also included some humor about how cool are the people working there. mediaTemple gave me a decent response. They told me about the building and how it was very cool as were the people. When I asked about mod_security, they told me it wasn’t installed and if I wanted it installed I’d need to get a DV. When I asked about a script, they gave me a link to the PHP info page. It was helpful, but I get the feeling they didn’t even look at the script page. They said most people who used cPanel in the past are able to easily adjust to their control panel. webFaction gave a better response. I had some questions about the MySQL setup since I didn’t like mediaTemple’s. They said MySQL is on the same machine your sites are on and when you create a database, a new user is also created for that database. I liked that setup, and they plan on allowing you to make more users with different database permissions later on. They also said that even though they are a shared host, they don’t overload the servers. I’m not sure if that’s the same as overselling or not, but my site has been fast from the different places I’ve tried so far. I also asked about the control panel because their screencasts showed how to use it and it was much different then everything I’ve ever seen. The support person said it’s not hard to adjust and they developed their own control panel to make managaing all aspects of the site a breeze. I also asked about mod_security and it’s not installed. PHP is run under mod_php for speed. They looked at the script and said based upon the requirements it should run on their servers, but if it doesn’t there’s a 60-money back guarantee. mediaTemple only has a 30-money back guarantee, but they only give you back the money at the end of the 30 days, not when you cancel.
Uptime. In the first 5 days of hosting with mediaTemple, I experienced a few times of 30+ minutes of downtime. Their grid apparantly can’t handle the number of sites it is currently hosting. I haven’t had any downtime on webFaction yet. I’ll post an update later on. I stayed with mediaTemple for ~20 days and had slow speeds and downtime. webFaction may not be as fancy offering many of servers to process your site and non-obsolete shared hosting, but they are doing a much better job with managing their servers. mediaTemple say, “We’ve eliminated roadblocks and single points of failure by using hundreds of servers” which thus introduces hundreds of points of failures I guess.
Features. Other than being “hosted on the grid,” mediaTemple doesn’t have much to offer other than hype compared to webFaction. Both offer PHP, Ruby, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and etc. Django hosting is still in beta at mediaTemple while it comes standard at webFaction. mediaTemple does have a nice AJAX based webmail. mediaTemple tries to offer load-balancing, but I feel that dreamHost does better with MySQL. mediaTemple is much slower then dreamHost or webFaction. Both allow for DNS control over the domain. Both try to have a form of load management. I think webFaction keeping the number of sites on the server low on a server is much better than attempting to balance the load across hundreds of servers. If the grid goes out, hundreds of sites are down, while at webFaction if one server goes down, only 30 sites are down or so. One downside at webFaction is there’s no FTP. You have SSH and SFTP. This is both good and bad. FTP isn’t as secure as SFTP, but finding a free nice and usable SFTP client is a bit of a challenge. I use fileZilla or cyberDuck, but some people prefer other applications.
Space and Bandwidth. mediaTemple give you much more space. I pay ~$15 and get 20 GB of space with 1.2 TB of bandwidth. mediaTemple, for only $5 more give you 100 GB of space and 1 TB of bandwidth. The largest plan at webFaction has 60 GBs of space with 2.4 TB of bandwidth. I believe this is because webFaction is trying to limit the number processes running on a server. For a blog and most sites, the smallest plan of 10 GB should be enough. Unless you need hosting for a large multimedia web sites at a cheap price, webFaction should be good. If you do need 100 GB of space for your site with all the features they offer at a cheap price, then mediaTemple might be for you.
Overage Charges. The overage charges for webFaction are $5 for 4 GB space and $5 for 200 GB of bandwidth. Most sites don’t need over 60 GB of space, so webFaction’s largest plan should be adequate for most sites, but if you do need more it comes at a reasonable price. If you do go over your bandwidth, you can choose to have your site cut off, or be charged a fee. The fee is still $5 for 200 GB of bandwidth. At mediaTemple, you are charged $2.56 per GB over and cannot choose to have your site turned off. So 2 GB over is already more than what you’d pay at webFaction. The only issue is if you only go 1GB over at webFaction, you’re still charged $5.
I like webFaction much more than mediaTemple so far. If you do sign up at webFaction, please tell them that emokid sent you in the referrer section.
Yeah… I used affiliate links. None of them are for mediaTemple. We like dreamHost because of their service quality, but they aren’t affordable if you’ve been formerly hosted with them. They are only good if you newly sign up and use a promo code or something like PERFECTDREAM. webFaction is currently at the top of my list along with SurpassHosting.