Rails Hosting Comments: Site5

I’ve used Site5 for a couple of PHP sites, and they were one of the earlier entrants onto the rails hosting scene, so when I recently needed to find hosting to recommend to a new client they seemed worth a try.

Like dreamhost, about whom I wrote a few days ago, they use a basic apache/fcgi setup for serving rails applications, but so far it’s felt like processes can be killed a bit more reliably, making deployment a little easier than it is at dreamhost. I’ve not really pushed the servers, but they’ve seemed pretty responsive so far. This is another app which can be fairly heavily cached, so that helps.

There are plenty of instructions floating around for getting set up, which is basically a case of putting your rails app in a new folder on the server and then symlinking your public_html folder to rails’ public folder, and for the most part capistrano works well either from the subversion setup provided or from another.

The one significant issue I ran into ended up taking many hours to resolve, particularly since there wasn’t any log output to help. It turns out that Site5’s configuration is very picky about permissions, and that capistrano’s standard approach to setting permissions conflicts with that, resulting in a lot of dropped requests.

The solution is very simple. Simply override the set_permissions task in your deploy.rb file, to stop capistrano from changing anything.

task :set_permissions, :except => { :no_release => true } do
  # do nothing
end

As I mentioned in my previous entry on hosting (and extended in the comments) apache/fcgi is not my preferred setup, and I’m not likely to choose this setup again. But if you’re happy with it, and particularly if you might want to host PHP sites alongside your rails apps, Site5 seems a solid choice.

Anyone following along with these entries might also like to check out The Host With The Most over at nuby on rails.

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2 comments

  1. If you get a chance maybe you could leave a review of site5 to help other people?

    http://www.webhostingunleashed.com/site5

    Direct link to review form:
    http://www.webhostingunleashed.com/rank.php?host=2781

    Thanks, Ben

  2. We had a horrible time with site 5; for even a modest site. Back when buddystumbler first started – they weren’t able to keep the site up for more than a day without crashing for hours on end. The customer support was awful and the servers were overcrowded. My impression was that most of the support people did not understand how to cater to ruby/rails customers; they don’t allow a mongrel option and when asked about it they flatly refuse to even consider it (ever). We’ve since moved on to hostingrails.com, and while we’ve had our hiccups – some of their support staff write real Rails apps so they generally know what they are doing (they support capistrano, mongrel, etc.)