Nice hosting for Django and Rails nuts

Just thought to post a brief and shamelessly positive note on my current hosting provider, WebFaction. It was actually their one-click WordPress installation procedure that got me playing around with blogging, which then lead to founding this blog. I ran into it when searching for suitable site to host Django-powered software, which lead me to this comparison of Django-friendly web hosts.

Now this probably wouldn’t be worth noting otherwise, but WebFaction is the only provider so far (leave a comment if you find others), that fulfilled all my stringent requirements for a hosting provider:

  1. Support for PHP, Ruby on Rails and Django (this alone is hard without virtual servers)
  2. Support for MySQL and PostgreSQL (to suit the daily mood)
  3. No arbitary limits on subdomains and domains within plans (it’s not like they cost anything to the provider)
  4. Starting cost must be below $10 a month (I’d rather scale up when I actually have traffic, not beforehand)


Suffice to say, requirement for recent web platforms (Rails, Django) combined with relative freedom and low cost are almost impossible to find. Having said that, a brief look on what WebFaction was offering did convince me to finally abandon the real-men-host-their-own-servers -approach, which had been causing me a headache lately (DSL line and a Linux box in the living room isn’t just meant for 24/7 services, if you know what I mean). In addition to my personal requirements, this provider sported additional, and in some points even exceptional benefits:

  • Unlimited domains and subdomains (I did say it already, did I?), e-mail addresses, mailboxes, and databases (yep, you heard it right)
  • Full shell access with SSH and SFTP
  • One-click installers for a dozen of most popular applications (most Python web frameworks, Rails, WordPress and others), which actually make what they are supposed to do
  • Database sizes count towards disc quota (instead of the outrageous “10MB per database” restrictions on many cheap hosting providers)

Overall, the configurability and lack of any severe limitations on applications make the shared hosting plans feel much like a virtual server, without the hassle related to installing everything yourself. However, I do have some minor nags (its not a perfect world):

  • The 60MB memory limit on the cheapest plan (this doesn’t count Apache running PHP and database servers, only Mongrel, the Apache running mod_python and the like) means that several Django/Rails instances cannot coexist (unless they are very, very basic). This can be fixed with Plan B, though. :)
  • Shell connection could be more responsive (it could also be that Finland is too far away from Texas, who knows)
  • Putting Rails behind HTTPS (they have one-click configuration option for that, too) caused a problem with redirects (which continue to point to http:// -addresses, making them not to work). Solutions do exist for this, but…

Now that I’ve introduced the basic hardware powering this Blog, I may devote some posts detailing some of the forays I’ve made so far after settling with a hosting provider. But that is a story for another day.

As a disclaimer, aside from the hosting plan, I have no connection with WebFaction, I was just delighted enough of their service (and responsiveness of the staff, as I had a minor problem with my account setup in the start) to share this information. I do probably receive credits or something if you put me (jokkebk) as a referrer when you sign up, but that is actually your problem, not mine. :)

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Joonas Pihlajamaa

Coding since 1990 in Basic, C/C++, Perl, Java, PHP, Ruby and Python, to name a few. Also interested in math, movies, anime, and the occasional slashdot now and then. Oh, and I also have a real life, but lets not talk about it!

3 thoughts on “Nice hosting for Django and Rails nuts”

  1. I used WebFaction as well and I can’t say enough good things about them.
    I’m in Germany and my SSH connection is very snappy. Maybe some voodoo ISP differences between you and me…

  2. Thanks for the comment. You may be right about the ISP hypothesis, it could be just that. And also they have over 20 servers, so they may have differing loads.

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