Hosting Performance / Hosting Convenience

Frank Lämmer
grown up graffiti kid

One of the greatest challenges our PHP PaaS startup is facing is not a technical one: We need to change the way people think about hosting. Today there is still too much attention on the performance / price ratio. Think different.

Of course i browse Hacker News for fun. But it is also a good source to learn about our target audience with lots of threads about PHP and hosting. Some days ago there was a discussion about an article by Ronald van Woensel. He compared the performance of three hosting services: Digital Ocean, Linode and Amazon Web Services. Most of the comments discussed the quality of the benchmarking and other services that were missing in the list. I posted:

My two cents here: Benchmarking is all fine, but from my point of view, the performance-price-ratio is not sooooo important in hosting.

This discussion reminds me of PC customers buying behavior in the 90ies. What’s better AMD or Intel? … Nowadays other features are key: What’s the weight of this device? How thick is it even? Apple has changed the way we look at these things today.

Convenience also matters in hosting a lot. How much time do i have to spend to have my app up and running? Do i really want to set up and maintain everything myself? How good is the support? Do i want just bare metal computing resources or a solution provider with an eco system?

What matters the fastest server ever, when your queries are slow (because of poor design)? The performance of any app/website relies heavily on the engineering skills of the developers. See caching, see i/o load, see frontend technologies, see page load, see #perfmatters.

It is easy to say that AWS just sucks and is overpriced. Think again, what is AWS really charging for? What does it cost to develop and maintain a website compared to what it costs to host a website? Are virtual private servers or containers the future of the cloud?

Another example: Is horsepower still so important to you when buying a car? What about design and fuel consumption? Do you need your own car at all? Maybe car sharing is an alternative?

  • David Mytton

    Benchmarks have their place for absolute values, when you want to compare things which are exactly the same, this can be a good indicator of what component to buy. But they’re perhaps more useful when used in a relative sense, to get an idea of what kind of performance differences you expect generally. rather than caring about the absolute numbers. This is useful when you’re tweaking configuration options e.g. on a database trading performance against durability.

    The comparison of the cloud providers is useful as a pure value for money overview and perhaps to encourage vendors to improve base performance, but benchmarks almost never reflect real world usage. There are just too many variables, from your own code to config options to OS tweaks and what software versions you’re running.