I decided to move my blog hosting back onto the North side of the border. There were a couple of reasons, but by far the largest was the ongoing poor server performance I’ve been having at Dreamhost. It seemed like there was nothing I could do to improve performance, or at the least reduce bottlenecks. Enough was enough, and it was time to move. CanadianWebHosting.com has some good prices – a touch more expensive than Dreamhost, and not with the insane (i.e., infinite and imaginary) limits on bandwidth and drive space. It felt like Dreamhost was overextended, at least on the server I was on. Whereas my old Dreamhost server had typical loads (as indicated by top) around 50, my CanadianWebHosting server has a more sane 0.1 average. In initial testing, dynamically generated page loads went from 20-60 seconds down to 400ms or so. I can live with that, especially with static page caching enabled so most accesses should be almost instantaneous.

The other factor was repatriating my hosting back onto Canuck soil. There are a couple of sub-factors here. First, the Patriot Act and DMCA scare the hell out of me. It’s not like I’m writing anything that could invoke either, but just having them hanging over me felt uncomfortable. Although CSIS can strongarm access to any server in the country anyway, it’s not a legislated standard operating procedure.

Subfactor 1.2: a slight move toward local hosting. Sure, CanadianWebHosting.com is located in Richmond, which isn’t exactly “local”, but that’s a full 2000 km north of Dreamhost’s LA datacentre. And it’s kinda nice knowing at least my data is able to live in Lotusland.

Dreamhost to CanadianWebHosting.com

CanadianWebHosting (B) is just a scootch closer to home (C) than Dreamhost’s LA datacentre (A).

I feel a little bad, having recommended Dreamhost so highly, and being at least partially responsible for a few people moving onto it. Hopefully, they’re happy with the service – when it worked for me, Dreamhost was really great. It’s just that I somehow hit the ceiling, and it was much lower than it should have been.

13 replies on “blog repatriation”

  1. I haven’t had trouble with Dreamhost lately, though some months back it was slow on my server as well. Out of curiousity, how is the distance in Intarweb geography? How many hops to dreamhost vs your new host?

  2. @davidicus: I’ve been working with their support folks since I got there – they waver from blaming other users on the box for sucking up the resources, to saying WordPress is to blame, to suggesting file-based caching (which I had already enabled). I eventually just gave up trying to convince them that the server is dog-assed slow (I’ve run WordPress on my own servers, where it has been an absolutely trivial load)

    @aron: from here, it’s 15 slowish hops to Dreamhost, or 8 fastish ones to CanadianWebHosting.

  3. Yeah! A Canadian solution! You mentioned these folks to me a while back but I was too scared to go it alone. Who would I bug for advice? But now that you’re moving on, I think it’s only a matter of time before my closest web consultant goes too.

    It just feels better to have the Sustainable Living Arts School hosted locally.

  4. I currently host a few sites with Dreamhost – and apart from their billing screw ups, their performance has been great so far. Performance must depend on the box you are on. I also host with Bluehost but I find there is less latency between Calgary and LA than Calgary and Orem, Utah. Both are low cost, kind of flaky hosts though so I expect performance to drop off sooner or later. Would love to find a decent Canadian host – I will check out CanadianWebHosting.

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