[pmwiki-users] Fwd: Hosting Qs: reseller, wikifarm

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Tue Feb 10 12:04:06 CST 2009

I have and use reseller accounts on my VPS (provided through 
powervps.com) to set up multiple domains and wikis.  Maintaining 
a wiki farm in such an environment is fairly easy to do, and the 
individual accounts are able to manage their own mail settings,
mailing lists, and other items through the cpanel interface.
It works very well.

That said, I've never actually done any invoicing or bookkeeping
for these accounts, as I host them as a donation/courtesy to
various organizations I'm involved with or feel like supporting.

In 2006 I also wrote a longish message on this subject on 
another list [1], and what I wrote there continues to be
true today -- it's important to find a service provider where
their "typical client" fits your profile, because their support
systems are then tuned to meeting your needs most effectively.
For many years I would be at providers where the issues I had
were not the common ones for the provider, and I had many
frustrations and delays as a result.

[1] http://www.ntlug.org/pipermail/discuss/Week-of-Mon-20060828/026653.html

To answer some of the specifics of your message:

> Do reseller accounts typically include Virtual Private Server service,
> or not?  If not, that is something I should also look for, right?  

VPS and reseller accounts can be either separate or combined --
i.e., one can have a VPS-only, reseller only, or VPS+reseller.
I have the latter.  I decided to go with VPS because I wanted
better ability to troubleshoot and tune things myself without
having to go through support (and would probably choose this
even if I didn't already know how to do that because I can always

> In
> either case, I would need the host to provide support for hardware and
> LAMP system stuff, as I would have no clue how to administer my own
> environment.  How do I ask for this - what's the correct terminology?

This is normally provided for you as part of any VPS or reseller
package -- the provider takes care of the basic operating system
and software updates, you're responsible only for any customizations
you perform.

> AND I'd ideally like to be able to manage the client sites as fields
> in a wiki farm, so somehow I'd like to be able to have the PmWiki
> engine installed on a parent account that the client fields would take
> orders from.  Is this possible, in a reseller environment?

It's certainly possible, but in this case you probably want to be
sure to get a virtual private server.  With a reseller-only account
you might not have sufficient access to be able to easily make
the wikifarm installation available to your clients -- having a VPS
means you almost certainly can do it.

Another reason to favor having a VPS is that with reseller-only
accounts there may be other resellers' clients sharing the
server (virtual or otherwise) with your clients.  This can make
things a bit more complicated if you ever want to upgrade
your service level with a provider, or migrate to another
provider.  Also, having your own VPS means you don't have to
worry about other resellers' clients being able to
(accidentally or maliciously) access your clients' data.

If you decide to go with a VPS+reseller combination similar
to what I have with pmwiki.org, I highly recommend PowerVPS.com .
I've had very good experience with them, both in terms of
long-term stability and in the responsiveness/quality of their 
support teams.  Unlike many providers, they _only_ offer VPS
and dedicated hosting packages, and not individual site accounts.
The advantage of this (and the primary advantage I was looking for)
is that my support questions aren't buried in a flood of
"How do I change my password?"  and  "What is a domain?"  types
of questions that come from the people buying smaller packages
available from other providers.  The potential disadvantage
is that I don't know how much "hand-holding" they're able
to provide for those types of questions if you're likely to
have them.  However, it appears to me that the web interfaces
they provide are such that even someone with limited LAMP
experience would be able to function well in their vps.

Hope this helps; if I can provide any more details or answer
other questions I'll be glad to do so.


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