Thursday, March 02, 2006

Managed Hosting Has You Pulling Your Hair?

Today, I had a very long conversation with a client and his hosting company who would not apply a few basic configuration changes to their site and who refused to upgrade his MySQL installation from MySQL 4 to MySQL 5.

The conversation was so intense that after I got off the phone, I had to take a few hours and write about it.

Many managed hosting customers do not know what exactly they are getting when they sign up for "managed hosting" leading to numerous troubles in both the short run and the long run.

I have come across many such instances where the client thought that if they needed to upgrade MySQL or PHP, the managed hosting company would do it for them.

The hosting company went from "we provide fully managed hosting service" to " basically your server is non-managed" all in one conversation.

Read about my rant and tips on managed hosting and let me know how I can make it better.


Talking about MySQL, I really really like the new graphic on MySQL.com home page. Here it is for record (in case it's taken down).



I seriously think that such representation can help change some people's perception about MySQL.



-- Frank

4 comments:

Chris said...

I think it depends on the host and you as well.

My work uses rackspace.com for hosting and they are proactive in some regards (eg checking for badly set up dns to check for the recent reverse dns attacks).

As a host I'd say I'm not upgrading your software.

Why? Look at the php4.3.x to php4.4.0 upgrades where behaviours were changed.

Even mysql 4 to mysql 5 will break some apps because mysql 5 sets "sql strict mode" on so it actually checks table definitions properly (ie it won't let you insert a null item into a not null field anymore).

As a host you want to make sure that the client's site isn't going to break. Unless the client is acutely aware that the host isn't responsible for the content of the site (ie making sure that the shopping cart isn't going to break, that their apps are still going to work) then go for it. It's easy to upgrade - it's extremely difficult to undo that upgrade and go back to the previous version if something doesn't work.

Ronald Bradford said...

I've also expecienced this problem, especially with sites offering for example cPanel.

It's clearly a problem, and was part of a good discussion at the last Brisbane MySQL Users Group. It's clear that offering for example both 4.1 and 5.0 is easy, but it requires some education.

It may be of benefit for MySQL to target this area to help promote 5.0 and to provide education, and even assistence in running parallel installations.

Chris said...

I don't think offering both is easy. How are you going to get php, perl or python to recognise and support both versions? You compile against one library, you can't compile against multiple libraries for the same application (ie you can't compile in support for mysql 4 & 5 at the same time).

The only thing you could do is either set up completely separate systems - set up one server with mysql 4 & one with mysql 5.

managed hosting said...

Your post is really very useful to clear all the confusion and also helpful to solve numerous troubles. thanks