Being a “web guy” means that hosting is kind of a huge part of what keeps everything going from day to day. In the past we kept and managed our own servers at The Planet. It was largely good, though not perfect. But, after 4 years of self management we decided to go less stressful and also get some “Digg proofing” from the Media Temple (gs) service. In theory the service sounds great and their site makes it sound like the next best things since Twitter. Unfortunately the reality is a bit different.
Here are some things that have really bugged me about (mt). I’m not saying this because I hate the company. In fact I like their philosophy but…
1. They say you can host 100 sites on the service but you can only really host 1 SSL site.
I wrote to them about this several months back and they still haven’t updated their site. They state that you can host up to 100 sites on the (gs) service. Sounds great right? Well not if you have to have more than 1 SSL site. So if you run 5 e-stores you’re SOL. I asked them to clarify that small point in their marketing copy and they never did. I find this borderline deceptive and at the very least absolutely useless to making a purchasing decision between their (gs) and (dv) offerings. Especially if you already go through the arduous task of moving to their service. (see point #3)
2. The (gs) service has constant downtime and they post photos of their office parties online.
As I write this we’re going on over 2 hours of downtime. Thanks for nothing (mt). This was happening at the exact same time a client was on the phone with me inquiring about our service. Looks really good for a web developer when he can’t even keep his own site up and can’t get through to tech support. In fact I think this may have cost me the sale for an e-commerce site development project today.
Finally I said enough is enough but step #3 will explain further.
Did I mention the office parties? I wouldn’t really care but promoting their extravagant parties through Twitter at the same time my site is down is kind of rubbing salt in the wound. (This actually happened.)
3. There is no way to migrate to, from or between their services. #lame
We ran Cpanel on our server for over 4 years. During that time we could migrate sites between our servers, to and from other services with the push of a button. When moving to Media Temple we had to manually port over 30 sites including files, databases and e-mail accounts. A stupendous pain in the ass. Now that we’re here I decided that the (gs) is (bs) and wanted to upgrade to a virtual dedicated server solution and take up managing our own server again. Hell, I could keep a server up with only 2 incidences of downtime in 4 years (5 minutes total). But wouldn’t you know it, Media Temple couldn’t be bothered to come up with a migration solution between their own services. This is really inconvenient and an extremely stupid business practice. Not only are they giving me a good reason to just move to a proper dedicated server again, but they lost my business today because I can’t easily move 30 sites that are on their own servers. This one really boggles my mind.
4. Their MySQL solution is always going down so you have to upgrade.
Unless you upgrade to a MySQL grid container don’t expect your site to stay online for any reasonable amount of time on the (bs), I mean (gs). If I had a dollar for every minute I spent dealing with issues before upgrading, I’d be a rich man. It’s much easier to just pay the extra $20/month and save yourself the headache.
5. Putting in a support ticket takes at least 8 hours (and sometimes 24 hours) to get a response, and the phone wait time today was 27 minutes.
‘Nuff said about that.
6. Useless SSH access to anyone but the main user.
If you’re on the (gs) and want to give SFTP access or SSH access to a developer you’re boned. I mean you can set up the user and give him access but he will only be able to access a subfolder within his own account. Unless of course he wants to use plain FTP. Does (mt) even care about security? My answer here is going to be “not so much.”
This is rudimentary stuff for any business. Do you want to give your web guy your master password? What if things go wrong? It just doesn’t seem very useful to me. I can’t even figure out why you’d want to give someone SSH access to a useless folder. “Hey super cool programmer. Here is command line access that you can use to do absolutely nothing of use within this one folder that only you have access to.”
I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the company will improve things drastically because I like the idea of a clustered service. But Media Temple, next time you have a party, please make sure that my site is up before you post the pictures.