I did learn a fair bit about properly using Dreamhost. For example it's possible to host a low traffic Drupal site on Dreamhosts shared hosting, if you use the Boost module along with their virtual MySQL server, because I found if you use their shared MySQL for Drupal's database the site runs like molassas. If on a Dreamhost VPS it's best to read carefully the instructions on the Wiki and modify the PHP settings. There's also this cool perl script available to run on Dreamhost VPS's to auto-adjust memory allocation throughout the day, so that as traffic comes and goes your VPS memory rises and falls.
The most important reason I have for hosting with Dreamhost is that their VPS comes with some hand-holding (support). Many VPS providers just hand you the keys to the VPS, give you the default operating system, and it's up to you to handle all the configuration details, make sure marauders stay away, and keep the system running. I've hosted with those kinds of places, and while I know quite a bit about keeping systems running and have had admin rights on Unix systems for over 30 years, I found it was not useful in my life to be a slave to keeping my systems running. For example one time I went on a vacation, was away from the Internet for a week or so, only to come back to find my VPS (at that time not with Dreamhost) had crashed several days earlier and the sites on that VPS hadn't been running.
In other words, a key requirement I have is for the VPS provider to be there watching the systems, rebooting when necessary, and in general being a partner with me to run my sites. Though, not so much of a partner that I'm locked out from doing admin work on the VPS as well. My primary need is to spend the majority of my time on creating content, and otherwise manage the community on my websites, rather than deal with administrative crap like this.
To list requirements for a VPS provider:-
- As I said - management support.
- Provide an OS configuration with known security configuration already set up. While I've been diddling around with admin access on Unix systems for 30 years, it doesn't mean I'm up to snuff on all the latest techniques.
- I prefer a VPS over raw hardware because it seems safer, because in theory the VPS image can be easily moved to new hardware when needed.
- Modern Linux versions and ability to install tools out of the standard package repositories.
- I'd like a whole lot to have nginx properly configured for robust PHP support, because I also want to run Node.js services and doing that behind nginx makes more sense than it would to run Node.js behind apache. See the book image in the left-hand sidebar? I'm interested in Node.js ;-)
- Reasonable cost.
- Good bandwidth out to the Internet from the hosting provider.
- Responsive support.
The main website I run sees 2000+ visits per day and unfortunately that's the one which is down right now.
Green web hosting - some kind of environmental remediation, use of practices to minimize power consumption, etc ..
I'm leaning towards ServInt but have honestly not been in the market for a couple years so I don't know the current state of the various providers. Am curious for suggestions...