Since working on the ComicPress Dev team and being there for the webcomic community helping them with their sites I’ve seen a lot of different hosting options.  It’s time to share what I have experienced again.

My #1 recommendation at this time, get this.. is something I would *not* recommend for shared hosting;   I know I have talked really serious smack about the shared hosting plans of Dreamhost and I probably still will.   However,  I have seen a redeeming quality to Dreamhost and it is the Dreamhost PS hosting plan.  Its a VPS plan (virtual private server) which in essence is your own operating system on a server that is shared with others.

The difference between the shared hosting and the VPS is even though you can share the same computer with others the processor usage is your own.    What does this mean to you?  Well it means that whatever sites you have on that system will never be ‘stopped’ cold because your using too much of the processor, 100% of the processor is yours to use, your only limited by how much RAM you have available – what you pay for is how much of that you need to use for your hosting.

The lowest cost is around $25 dollars a month for the hosting.   Its a big chunk more then shared.   For WordPress MU or Multisite users an additional cost of around $50 a year for your own dedicated IP.   There are several big bonuses, the important one is ‘unlimited bandwidth’, the next is how easy it is to navigate through the control panel to have a server that is perfect for those who do not know unix command line and setup.

What I personally like about the Dreamhost PS plan is that it allows for something called opcode cacheing, with WordPress what it does is cache the execution of the PHP which basically brings down the processor usage to almost nothing.   This allows you to have more sites running on the VPS then you could have even thought of on a shared hosting.  For WordPress Mu and WPMU sites this is a huge boon which means more subsites will be available for you to have for yourself or your users.

I really suggest everyone at some point move to the new WordPress Multisite (old WPMU) option with their installations.    This will allow you to have as many different blogs as you want to have – all of them with the ability to have their own domains pointing to them.

The plan does come with an SQL database setup but also offers if you use alot of MySQL connections to purchase a plan in addition to the hosting of your own MySQL PS server.   I have not yet found that necessary.

If you’re a site that hits less then 1000 hits a day then it might be a little bit too much for you, however if your in the 10k+ range, this is a necessity.   Since the amount of RAM usage is configurable as you need it, your sites growth or as many sites you want to have on the hosting is configurable on the fly to the usage you need to use.

Yeah, i’m as surprised as you on this one.   Dreamhost, go figure.   I did not expect them to have such a powerful and inexpensive VPS plan like this.

- Phil (Frumph)