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Nice article Joel ...

The new one about colocation is just great - informative without lecturing.  You realize, of course, that the Slashdot kids will roast you alive for not running Linux on your shiny new Dell.

One question - what was the high, low, and median prices you got when shopping around for your colocation provider?  Please discard Peer 1's _free_ price when you do the numbers.

Good luck with the new box!

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Actually Peer1's list prices were the lowest even if I had been paying them, around $300-$500 depending on bandwidth and rack size.

The high end were around $1500 (companies like NTT/Verio and Globix).

Nothing against Linux and I have run Linux servers before and probably will in the future, but here at Fog Creek we just know more about the Microsoft world, and an engineer who knows what he's doing on an "inferior" operating system (arguable, but, whatever) will outperform an engineer who DOESN'T know what he's doing on a "superior" operating system.

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Let me say first off that I usually love your articles, but this new one rubs me the wrong way.  Why isn't it marked "advertisement"?  You can't tell me you really got hosting for free.  It sounds to me like a barter agreement -- they give you "free" hosting, you mention them all over the place including a whole article about them.  I don't have a problem with this business arangement, but it should really be noted as such.  By the way, the company I work for does our hosting (managed servers -- colo doesn't make sense for us) through one of those "reasonable small companies" here in Manhattan and they sweep their floors and are very polite.  I agree that the "high end snobs" stink, having dealt with some of them before, but no reason to slam the little guy in light of your "free" hosting.

Justin Frohwirth
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Maybe so, but there's still lots of great info in there. Nice article Joel.

Greg Rosenberg
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

What's wrong with Joel advertising? I like what I get for the $0 I send him every month.

David Geller
Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Yes, thanks for the very nice real world experience article.

I would like to add that there's another option between webhosting on a shared server and colocation. It's a dedicated server. It means that you lease the space within a NOC, bandwidth and the server. With colo you have to bring your own server. On a dedicated server you generally get root access (=full control) to do whatever you want, just like on a colo server.

Recently, there's quite a revolution going on in the dedicated server area. There are now several companies offering dedicated servers with 300/500GB bandwidth for $99 to $150 per month.

There are only two if's for those low priced servers. First, most cheap dedicated servers are  unmanaged. Meaning you mess up your server, you fix it or get a system restore. And secondly they are Linux based. Personally, I'm leasing a Compaq DL320 1U server with 400GB traffic at for $129 per month with very good results. Last year showed zero downtime for the server and about 2 hours for the network.

I recommend anyone looking for recommendations/experiences on shared hosting, colo or dedicated servers to check out:

Jan Derk
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

I'm curious about Peer1's free hosting.  At first it doesn't make much sense.  An overthrow of Dot Com generosity.

Still, the article would be nice for them.  Hosting somebody that people have heard of can be useful in the sales department.

Any other reason why Peer1 are being so generous.  Is it just that Candians are so nice they don't like to ask for the money?

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

[quote]I'm curious about Peer1's free hosting.  At first it doesn't make much sense.[/quote]

[yes I know it isn't a UBB, I just like the clear format]

It does once one understands Corporate Charity, as I shall call it.

They don't even need quid pro quo. The key is, they don't even have to ASK for advertising, because once given something (which to them, by the way, has an exceedingly tiny or no marginal cost) in such a way people tend to behave positively in this sort of position anyway.

Without even asking, if they did much research into reading Joel's site, they could easily predict that chances are that Joel will mention Peer 1, at least, if not write a whole article about it. They might have asked for the link along the side, but they needn't have even done that, and it's probably wise if they don't.

Further, he's rather perfectly positioned to make good, believable referals to prospective customers of Peer 1.

There's a reason many people in various positions aren't permitted to accept gifts of any kind - and there is a reason many people are so interested in giving them gifts. Even if one doesn't understand it, it's clear that there must be some reason for it all.

Once considering all the potential gains Peer 1 stands to make and then comparing them to their costs (which are damn near close to zero), it'd have been a bone-headed move NOT to host the site for free.

Brian Hall
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

First of all, great article! It's bookmarked as a time-saver to explain colocation to IT newbies.

However, Joel, I think you should go back to Peer 1, get a contract, and start paying them. Why? Because for you colocation is a critical service, and with critical services you must have a contractual relationship. And you cannot have a contract for a gift.

Legal issues aside, let's face it - if Peer 1 grows, and they grow smartly, then that means at certain points in their life their techs will be overworked (you must have the work *before* you hire the support for it). When their techs are overworked, guess who gets put last on the priority list?

Finally, if you're like most people, then things you expect as a matter of course from a vendor become "asking for favors" when you're getting it for free. You shouldn't have to feel like you're imposing when you call to bitch about bandwidth, downtime, connectivity, etc. (What's the first recourse of the complaining customer? "What am I paying you for?")

At the very least, negotiate a reduced rate, include advertising in the contract, but sign the piece of paper.

My $.02


Philip Janus
Wednesday, February 5, 2003


I am not saying you are wrong but assuming they took on Joel for free because they thought it would give them high visibility towards a certain audience.

- Trouble Triage dude: Listen up. Stuff is down. What to take care of first?
On the left we have that 400$ paying customer that no-one has ever heard of and that gets maybe one month of free colo if we do not make the SLA.
On the right we have Spolsky, not paying a dime but everybody in the universe knows that we host him and 1.000 fantastic people (Ed: hey this is my story, so I am allowing it) an hour are looking at this and our pants are on the floor. To work people!

If you are in the shop window, you want to keep the windows clean.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, February 5, 2003

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