compare Hostgator with Softlayer in terms of price and server specs (dedicated server)

 

Choosing a dedicated server ? Since I’ve used hostgator, softlater and jonesolutions I will compare two of the them in  terms of price, server performance and server specs.

Hostgator

I’ve been using hostgator for more than 7 years, so far so good until one night I had a traffic spike on one of my site. I m using the basic dedicated server with the specs :

  • Intel Xeon 3360* (Quad Core)
  • 2 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 2 x 250 GB Hard Drive
  • 10 TB Bandwidth
  • 5 Dedicated IPs
  • FREE cPanel

I have to say that no much choices you can have with hostgator if you really need a powerful server, they have only 4 dedicated server for your choice and the most powerful server is the ” Pro Dedicated Server” :

  • Intel Xeon 3470+ (Quad Core)
  • 8 GB DDR3 Memory
  • 2 X 500 GB Hard Drives
  • 10 TB Bandwidth
  • 5 Dedicated IPs
  • FREE cPanel
How about support ? I have to say that the ticketing system is just OK. You have no way to restart you server if the server hang, you need to send them a ticket and they will restart the server for you within 48 hours. How many hours you can afford for your server down ?

However if you manage a site with less than 5 million uniques a month is good to go for hostgator since I’ve been using it for so many years without any issue.

The traffic spike almost killed my Hostgator server even I’ve implemented the CDN and caching all the webpages. It was a good problem to have though, so I spoke with their technical support and they told me that i need a stronger server. Before I move to the new server, I am having 800k uniques per day and that’s pretty much how far this server can go. I will not complaint about the performance by paying less than $200 a month for the server for getting this kind of traffic. I know there is a limit 🙂

 

Softlayer

Softlayer is a bigger player compare with Hostgator. How big is it ? Well when I spoke to the sales person in Softlayer asking for their advice since I am having good experience with hostgator, guess what they said?

“Well, Hostgator is good, but we host them.”

Softlayer allow you to customize your own server, from the Processor, RAM up to the monitoring and security hardware. The beauty of Softlayer is you can ask them to upgrade your RAM, add extra hard disc when needed without actually moving to another server.

The server monitoring ping service is also a credit where hostgator don’t have. It basically notify you whenever your server is down or hang.

All right, the day before I go with Softlayer, I chat with the sales person and I am actually got some free gift from a special offered quote, try to talk to them and ask for some advice before choosing a server. I bought a hex core dedicated server from Softlayer ($400 ++ / month) with the specs:

  • Operating System: CentOS 5 (64 bit)
  • Single Processor Hex Core Xeon 2620 – 2.00GHz (Sandy Bridge) – 1 x 15MB cache
  • Ram: 8 GB DDR3 Registered 1333
  • Disk Controller: 500GB SATA II
  • Public Bandwidth: 3000 GB Bandwidth
  • Uplink Port Speeds: 1000 Mbps Public & Private Networks
  • Private Network Port 1000 Mbps private uplink
  • Public Network Port 1000 Mbps public uplink
  • Reboot / KVM over IP
  • Primary IP Addresses: 1 IP Address
  • Monitoring: Host Ping

All right there is a bit different for restarting and managing your hosting using softlayer. They have a manage panel for adding dns, domain, subdomain and restart server service even your server is hang. Compare with hostgator I have to send them a ticket in case of server hang and they will restart it manually, in Softlayer you can go to the manage panel and restart your own server.

How about the performance ? I can get up to 1.4 million uniques per day by using Softlayer and yet it almost reaching the server limit. I will not complaint about it and I know there is a limit for this server and I am still looking for a better server just in case the server reaching it limit.

As a reminder you have to make sure your php source code is well coded as bad programming practice will create alot zombies process and each zombie ate up 0.3 % of the CPU usage. I had once looking at my server and there were 100 zombie processes in a real time. which mean 30% cpu usage are gone, this will usually casuse your server overload and you can always optimize your server performance by getting rid of those zombie process.

 

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