Rails Hosting Info

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Country: United Kingdom
Has servers in: United States
Website: http://www.hostingrails.com
Average rating: 6.4/10 (20 reviews)
Plan Hosting type Transfer (GB)
Bandwidth (Mbps)
Storage Memory Web server Operating system(s) Monthly cost Setup cost  
Beginner Shared 20 GB 5 GB Apache + Mongrel
Apache + fastcgi
Apache + fcgid
Basic Shared 50 GB 20 GB Apache + Mongrel
Apache + fastcgi
Apache + fcgid
Professional Shared 75 GB 35 GB Apache + Mongrel
Apache + fastcgi
Apache + fcgid

Reviewer: sb, 13 August 2008
I've got 4 applications running on hostingrails
using beginner, advanced and professional plans.

It is a good starting point, cheap, good forum and a support team that replies usually within 2 hours.
But, running a production application, that should be online 24x7, I do not recommend you hostingrails. I experienced many downtimes ranging from 5 minutes to 2 hours, there was at least once a week an issue, sometimes every other day.
The causes of errors ranged from database socket errors, overload, or simply unexplainable outages.
Naturally those downtimes occur, when showing the site to important people, when having a press release, etc.

Use it as a development, testing server. But go for something else when going into production mode!
Software Engineer
Reviewer: Sean, 30 July 2008
What a disaster. In the first 24 hour of my signing up, I bumped into some problems. They do not provide any phone number, so you end up emailing them and opening tickets. Their poor technical support was enough reason for me to give up on them after a week and sign up with another company.
Oh, and after 6 months, I got an email today from them that they are charging my credit card again for another period. Again, there is no number to call them. So I have only been able to email them and ask them not to charge me. I have a bad feeling they will anyways.
So, if you like to be tortured and pay for it the HostingRails provides that service for you.
Very, very happy with Hostingrails
Reviewer: Scott, 17 April 2008
As a newbie to Rails development, I have been so happy with Hostingrails. Their tutorials and knowledge base (along with excellent google search) usually produce step-by-step instructions for anything I do. In addition, their support is quick and very knowledgable. Everything I need to do is easy. Highly recommended, especially for newbies and solo developers

Pros: Great pricing, great offering, rails knowledge, great 24/7 email support, reliable

Cons: No phone support for emergencies, occasional performance issues (but it seems like they're actively working to improve it).

Overall: Best mix of value/features/knowledge/support available on the web.
My opinion..
Reviewer: Sasa, 07 April 2008
Hi there ppl..

First of all sorry for my English.. I am hosting with Hostingrails for few months now.. i was sick and tyred of my old host provider so i decided to change them.. I found hostingrails and wanted to give them a try! now, i can tell u that there is no better hosting provider then them! The support is great and they are all really friendly! It is true that the server had some minor problems but they are really doing their best to make us happy! As i said, i am really pleased with their service and will contiue to host all of my portals with them!

The only thing that i dont like is that there is no phone or skype contact or so, cause my written English sux! But thats just me! :) I find it easyer to speak then to write English.. But, maybe in the next few months this will change to! Anyway, i give them 10 out of 10 cause they do desererve it! :)

On performance and other matters
Reviewer: William, 06 March 2008
Shared hosting always comes with the risk of one or more clients hogging resources and slowing services. In these cases it is the job of the hosting company to both stop the offending users and make sure those clients affected are getting the service they paid for. If you signup with HostingRails and experience performance problems, I'll echo my comments below to please contact me personally (or any member of the team for that matter) so we can resolve the issue. We're here to help and will do whatever it takes to get your application in a stable environment ASAP.

Regarding Ethan's comment's below. I'm not calling our clients who experience problems and post on this site liars. Their concerns are real and legitamite (I know what it's like to be on a server with poor reliability and uptime, it's horrible!) and I appreciate them pointing out our shortcomings; I'm a firm believer in turning our critics into coaches. By "Each one" I was not referring to just upset clients (please read my post about 5 posts down), but also extremely happy clients or clients trying to push their affilaite links. My point was that reviewers who take the time to write on sites like this are usually motivated to voice their opinions by said reasons, and that its a good idea to approach a hosting company skeptically yourself even if it has positive or negative reviews.

Regarding the month-to-month payment - that is a good observation. We've listened to such feedback and have loosened our restrictions on the trial period by providing after that time, on a case-by-case basis, free upgrades, credits, refunds, etc... and are working on providing monthly billing for all shared and reseller plans ASAP. We already have it available for VPS and Dedicated clients.
Performance problems, support unhelpful
Reviewer: Ethan, 25 February 2008
I read the review from William from HostingRails. I really don't like the way he tries to discredit reviewers who have legitimate criticisms, and even suggests that they're being deceptive ("Each one will appear, however, to sound reasonably balanced in order to effectively push their agenda.") These are your customers, dude. You're not going to get anywhere by calling them liars when they point out your shortcomings.

William tries to make it sound like there were problems in the past and things are better now. "The most significant weakness in the past has been in identifying #5 and moving these clients up to dedicated environments." My personal experience is that the slow performance is happening right now. I submitted my third ticket about the problem a couple weeks ago and got the "someone is maxing out the server, we're going to move them" story. Performance has not improved since then. This has been going on for several months.

I recommend avoiding companies that don't offer month-by-month payment. A one-month trial period doesn't cut it, because service can degrade after a month. You need the incentives to be in your favor, not theirs.
If you don't enjoy your hosting experience, contact me
Reviewer: William, 19 February 2008
At the beginning of this year (2008) we released both Reseller and VPS plans taliored toward Rails developers, even offering fully-managed VPS options (that have received a lot of positive feedback). For the past 6 weeks we have been pulling our heaviest clients over to dedicated evironments and they have appreciated the pro-active scaling up. Each day more and more of our clients are chosing VPS options and it is a pleasure helping our clients succeed.

To address Brad's comments below, we went through a couple of weeks where our normal custom install team was not available as often and there were a couple installs that were not handled corrrectly. I am now personally handling any that cannot be properly assigned, so if you ever have a bad experience let me know (william [at] hostingrails) and I'll make sure you are taken care of. That promise goes out to any of our clients for any aspect of their hosting experience with us.
They don't live up to their marketing
Reviewer: Brad Tayan, 05 February 2008
I signed up for a HostingRails account because I wanted a place that specialized in rails apps, and where I could have reliable documentation and support. I also liked that there was an option to have them deploy my app for me and set up SVN and Capistrano. Well, I was able to deploy my app by following their documentation. When I had questions, support seemed to know their stuff, but often they just sent me back to the online docs, when I think they could have helped more directly.

I eventually gave up on setting it up myself and paid for their 'custom deployment'. This was a truly disappointing experience. My app did not function properly online, and, having already accepted my money, support was not terribly helpful. They continued to direct me toward online documentation, and pretty much left me on my own to make the site actually function.

Also, the site was extremely slow, even for pages with no graphics.
Ditto To Great Documentation & Questionable Reliability
Reviewer: Edwin, 18 December 2007
HostingRails.com has hosted some of our in-development applications for the better part of a year now, using FastCGI.

I've never had occasion to actually contact support because of the great online documentation, and because the one outage I experienced was about a half hour.

However, I have regularly experienced slowdowns in accessing the web app, shell access, and FTP, and that has raised doubts as to whether I should use HostingRails for production apps accessible by the public.

However, under the theory that you don't get what you don't pay for, I intend to upgrade from the currently free plan (thank you, HR) to a Mongrel-capable paid plan, and see what happens.

Edwin $AT$ Pictolink $DOT-COM$
Highly Recommended
Reviewer: William, 26 October 2007
Given that in general our press and reception in the Rails community has been positive, a number of potential clients have contacted us recently to request our side of the story in response to some of the negative remarks on this site, especially those regarding server stability and performance. These requests are understandable; as a developer of any experience or skill level you want to make sure to avoid the classic shared hosting scenario of over-packed servers and under-capable support staff.

I'd like to begin by pointing out a couple of things that may or may not be obvious. Reviews you read online about a hosting company are usually written by people who are either extraordinarily pissed off, extraordinarily happy, or extraordinarily’ trying to get you to use their affiliate/referral link to make some cash. Each one will appear, however, to sound reasonably balanced in order to effectively push their agenda without sounding crazy. In order to get a true idea of a host and the service you'd get from them (and don’t have a close friend to tell you about it), you really need to 1) ask the host a few questions, 2) see how fast they respond, 3) see how intelligent the answers are from their normal day-to-day support and sales staff, and most importantly, 4) give their hosting a try. Take the trial period to walk around their servers a bit to see how it’s been setup, what the load and memory levels are like at different times of the day, and what kind of software is installed. Try pinging some sites around the world from the server and wget-ing reasonable-sized files to get an idea of the network connectivity stability and speed. Follow the online tutorials to see how easy it is to setup svn/trac/etc and to deploy a Rails app (e.g. via cap or manually) and use their control panel to addon domains and email accounts and databases, etc……. you get the idea….

In the history of our company, which has been offering the Rails apache2/mod_proxy_balancer/mongrel(s) stack for a full year now in both shared and dedicated environments, there have been times when our shared servers have experienced some significant slowing due to high load, which is most often caused by 1) one or more wingnut users running cron/rake tasks they shouldn’t be (they get suspended) – 2) spam attacks (usually promoted by catch-all email addresses and fixed by removing these) – 3) memory leaks in mongrel or fastcgi processes that take up 99% CPU (killing/restarting processes or suspension helps) – 4) DoS or Brute force attacks on the server (which are stoppable by various custom and third-party scripts we use) – 5) clients who have simply outgrown shared hosting.

The most significant weakness in the past has been in identifying #5 and moving these clients up to dedicated environments. Only in rare cases have we genuinely screwed up and “over-packed” a server (which, as you may now realize, is difficult to define, but is generally based on a consistent high-load level not caused by #1-5 above). These servers are only fixed up by migrating accounts away.

Are we a perfect hosting company? No, of course not. But I gave us a rating of 9 because in the Rails shared and dedicated hosting markets I think we’re genuinely offering a high-quality product for a reasonably low price where a vast majority of our users are happy with their experience with us, especially in comparison to their old hosts.

In addition, we will soon be offering VPS plans at competitive specs/rates which will facilitate the process of scaling our clients up and keeping our shared servers less impacted by the “upgraded-to-8-load-balanced-mongrels/300GB+/mo-bandwidth-with-multiple-cronjobs-firing-every-minute” accounts that shouldn’t be in a shared environment. Our goal is to help every client get past shared hosting (who wants to) with success of their apps and transition into virtual dedicated or dedicated environments seamlessly.

Therefore, I would highly recommend HostingRails.com for anyone considering hosting for their Rails apps. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further about what I’ve said or about our hosting please feel free to contact me personally at william [-at-] hostingrails dot com.

CTO / Lead Engineer
Reviewer: Konstantin Gredeskoul, 17 October 2007
Sorry for second post. Here's the link to a more detailed information about our experience:

CTO / Lead Engineer
Reviewer: Konstantin Gredeskoul, 09 October 2007
We stayed with HostingRails for 4 months and moved to RailsMachine virtual server.

The main and only reason we did this is because our site was super slow very often. We used HR for trac, svn, production site and test site. We purchased additional 150Mb of RAM, but it didn't help.

Our observations included the following:
- the server was so overloaded, that the load on it was often 30-60.
- we counted about 70 individual users running mongrel processes on a machine with 4Gb of RAM. The box used over 1Gb of swap at all times.
- page load from out site would take up to 30 seconds sometimes. Trac was practically unusable.
- Finally, we pre-paid for 12 months, and only used 4 before switching; HR refused to refund us for 8 unused month upon switcyh.

- Their support is very responsive and friendly
- Good documentation for getting setup

- I would only recommend HostingRails to a project on a EXTREMELY low budget, which does not care about performance.
- For everyone else - get a virtual server on RailsMachine for $100/mo and have your own root access, so you don't have to wait for their support to set things up.
Overall Good Value
Reviewer: Jim Jones, 22 September 2007
Their support has been excellent usually getting back to me within a couple of hours.

Their tutorials are excellent and will get you up and running in no time (especially if you plan on running your rails app under mongrel).

Pricing is very reason relative to the other exclusive Rails host the only downside being that you have to pay in advance.

I've had to coach them through a couple of issues. Along with my Rails app I have a couple of PHP applications that I need as well and I had to make some suggestions to the Apache proxypass setup.

If you're fairly technically savy, then this is a great value. This is the cheapest you're going find Mongrel hosting anywhere (because if you're serious about Rails stability, you shouldn't be using FastCGI).
Great support, poor reliability
Reviewer: Julian B, 24 July 2007
I have to echo the sentiment that it feels as if these guys are learning as they go. I've been with them for about 5 months now and whilst I haven't had any long term major outages, many many time a week I experience slow response times or timeouts. In the early days I put this down to my rookie Rails skills, but it's clear now that's them, not me. Their support is pretty good though, and whenever I've raised a question it's responded to very quickly and by someone who knows their stuff. I get the feeling that they'll be a great provider when (if) they get their act togther and get a bit more proactive.
Amazing service, support and value
Reviewer: Mike G, 24 May 2007
As a webmaster, I have a number of websites hosted in various locations. Hosting Rails offers the fastest, friendliest support and provides the most reliable uptime of them all. The guys at Hosting Rails are Ruby on Rails developers and they know how to get your app installed and going asap. They have a number of addon services that you can take advantage of at a very reasonable price to help you get going asap.
I use HostingRails.com exclusively now
Reviewer: Will Clark, 21 May 2007
Ever since I decided to begin developing sites with Ruby on Rails, I have been looking for an affordable, Rails-centered host. I have tried numerous hosts. Once I found HostingRails.com, I've used them for all my new accounts. So far my experience has been great. They don't nickel and dime you and provide all the support I've ever needed for my Rails sites. Their tutorials and support staff have definitely improved my Rails skills. The uptime I've seen has been right in line with or better than the other shared hosts I have used, so I'm very happy in that regard.

I wouldn't mind another admin interface besides cPanel, but then again once I get everything setup, I rarely use it.

All in all, I couldn't be happier with HostingRails.com.
Best support i've seen
Reviewer: bitbutter, 16 May 2007
After site5, dreamhost and mediatemple this is finally a host that seems to approach customer support properly.

(email) Responses are always very fast, friendly and knowledgeable. I usually get responses within a couple of hours of filing a request or posting on their forum. I never get the feeling that i'm 'bothering' support by filing a help request.

The option to get hostingrails to deploy my app for a small charge has been very useful, this provided a fast way of getting familiar with deployment in general and with the particular characteristics of the hostingrails accounts.

I get the sense that the support really try to understand your problem rather than spinning off a half-baked answer in order to down another help ticket as quickly as possible (the impression i've gotten elsewhere).

Even in the situations where the ultimate issue had nothing to do with hostingrails the tech support where happy to help me find a solution.
Shoddy Uptime
Reviewer: Paul, 05 May 2007
I read a few good reviews about hostingrails.com which led me to give them a try. After a few months, I've had 4 bouts of downtime - one of which lasted nearly all day long. Often when trying to reach my host it is slow or completely unresponsive. I've tried conneciting from various machines I have shell access to located around North America and Europe all with the same results at those times. Unless you're happy with that kind of "reliability" I'd look elsewhere.

The only pro I can think of was that when contacted they were generally prompt in acknowledging that their service was down but unfortunately never mentioned doing anything proactive about the rate at which it happened.
Great uptime, reliability, speed, and personal support
Reviewer: Brian, 16 March 2007
I've been using HostingRails since OCT 2006 on their 'business' plan which gives my app 100MB of dedicated memory so I can operate a Mongrel cluster of 2 that's load-balanced via mod_proxy_balancer. Uptime, server response times, and tech support have been fantastic. It's obvious they haven't overstuffed my server because the swap and CPU loads are always pretty low. Their step-by-step tutorials make deployment relatively easy; they even have guides for Subversion and Trac – and for Capistrano. I have no problem calling HostingRails the home of all my future Rails apps where shared hosting is appropriate – they have dedicated options, too, but I haven’t used them for that yet. Lets see, negatives – the year upfront payment wasn’t fun but the 30-day money-back made that easier. cPanel is archaic but seems to work. Installing a SSL cert was a bit of a chore because I couldn’t set it up myself – and I can't control my own DNS (so I'm thinking of using something like Dyndns.org or my own registrar)….Anyway, I'd highly recommend these guys. Way better than site5 or Dreamhost that I've used before (painfully) … where fastcgi and overstuffed servers was a bad combination…
Reviewer: Angel, 14 March 2007
We're currently using hostingrails.com - here's my experience:

- resonable inexpensive
- you get a lot for your money
- fairly easy out the gate setup
- good set-up/config information available in their forums
- service is pretty fast so far but few users on our server

- not much help if you have a real problem - they try but responses can be slow (we were down 3 hours last Thursday - didn't respond to help requests until sometime after we were back up)
- requires a year upfront payment
- I get the opinion they are learning as they go

So, if you want to do some simple strightforward hosting and you know your way around cPanel then it's probably fine. Pretty cheap, even given yearly payment and you do get a lot for your money (at the top end 150meg dedicated for mongrels)

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