This is my personal review of Media Temple’s Grid Server Web Hosting.
Media Temple offers a service that they call Grid Server Hosting (GS). Which is a different flavor of the commonly known shared hosting. It’s more pricy at $20 Month, but if you buy an annual subscription they give you 2 months free.
No matter where you look on the web everyone out there that is selling web hosting boasts they are the best. Unfortunately that is not always true. Reviews can be padded by employees and owners. Reviews also can be written by service hosts themselves. It’s pretty much like “find a web hosting provider with a 30 day money back guarantee and give em a try.” Been there done that.
I continue in my quest looking for affordable quality shared web hosting for a client. His current hosting account was recently migrated by HostGator to an old smelly outhouse. It’s that bad! Good thing is – if anything about HostGator can be considered good, is the account is coming up for renewal next month. Time to say goodbye. 😆
Anyway on to my review of Media Temple Grid Server Hosting. While searching reviews i came across one that was well written and provided graphs of different hosts load times along with the reviewers comments. Media Temple had a good review so i clicked over to their website to check it out. Unfortunately i didn’t bookmark that review site and just now can’t find it, i wanted to put a link to that persons well written review on this article.
I ordered an annual Media Temple account for my client and spent the weekend setting the site up.
The GOOD Point is ~ the site loads lightning fast!
The BAD Points are quite a handful in my opinion.
No cPanel. I’m used to working with cPanel and unfortunately Media Temple has their own custom built control panel that is really antiquated by today’s standards.
Media Temples file manager is a basic design that only allows some editing, deleting, and setting permissions of files. And is quirky, sometimes changing permissions does not save. I ended up using FTP to change permissions of my wp-config file. Also you can not delete a directory. Boy did i get a shock when i zipped up my clients files on the old host and FTP uploaded to MT. That’s when i found out the file manager does not support un-compressing an archive. Ended up FTP transferring the raw directory structure that took a couple of hours to upload. 🙄
Next i dumped my client’s database. Went in and created a new db on media temples gs server. So far so good. I went to upload my database and found the maximum upload size was 10mb. I’m saying to myself WTF is this, Max MySql database import size is only 10MB? So i went back and re-exported the database and this time zipped it up. Thankfully it was under 10mb compressed and imported well.
So as the files are slowly uploading i came up with another idea. I had purchased a WordPress plugin a couple of years ago called Backup Buddy. This is a real nice WordPress backup utility that schedules backups and has a ton of options. I uploaded Backup Buddy to my clients old website (had not switched the name servers yet) and made a full site backup with it. Changed the sites name servers to point to Media Temple and waited a few minutes for initial propagation. Uploaded Backup Buddy’s zip archive along with the import script and ran it. Media Temples server did not like that program and it returned an invalid compression error. So much for that idea! 🙄
After the sites files finished uploading i changed the wp-config database and server info and the site came up with no errors.
I prefer to disable WordPress automatic wp-cron.php and run it via cron-tab job every 15 minutes. Setting up a cron-tab job on Media Temples GS server is strait forward, with the exception they only allow a total of 5 cron jobs. Looking at the server info section of the control panel lists all the site paths. I set up a job to run wp-cron every fifteen minutes and set my email address for notifications. About 15 minutes later i get an email saying failed to open file. I go back in and check the path again and it looks correct.
One very handy tool that Media Temple provides is a chat application in the lower right corner of the panel page. I clicked on it and got an agent in about 5 minutes. I explained what was happening and the agent looked at my cron setup and said it looked OK to him. I figured i would wait until the next day and see if this error was still occurring. Well sure enough it was still not running the task so back to the chat window. The next agent said it was my WordPress installation that was at fault. He apologized and said we do not support WordPress or any other 3rd party software. I tried everything under the sun and still could not get a php cron job to successfully run. Ended up calling it via http with Curl which did the job.
Now that’s what i have experienced so far. The sites load Lightning Fast! And that’s without any compression. Something about WordPress SuperCache that produces 500 Internal Server Errors. Once again MT live support said they don’t support WordPress or any other 3rd party applications. Strange because on their Home Page Media Temple boast’s about their WordPress Capabilities.
My Bottom Line of this Media Temple GS Web Hosting Review Is..
- FAST! I have three WordPress website installed on Media Temple GS Server, Including this one. They all load lightning fast which was what i was looking for.
- But Media Temples control panel is an antiquated design. Even GoDaddy’s control panel and file manager has more functionality than this one.
- A maximum of 5 Crontab jobs. That’s a little stingy for today’s web apps that can use cron to automate tasks.
- Only 10MB MySQL import limit. That’s really too small for today’s WordPress websites especially if you have plugins that write their data to your wp database.
- Handy chat app that’s conveniently located. But agent’s do not offer much help. The ones i experienced referred to old knowledge base pages that pictured a few screen shots of commands, but were just the basic information. Not especially helpful, and support will not help trouble shoot a problem, the ones i experienced just say WordPress or any other 3rd party apps are not supported.
I am pleased with the installed websites performance so far, and that’s what i was looking for. But the limitations would rule out migrating a large WordPress or other website to this platform.
Update 10/24/2013: Media Temple Grid Hosting was Initially Lightning Fast.
Unfortunately for me come Monday afternoon when the net got busy with surfers at work etc mt slowed down to a snails pace. I found out after posting a couple of articles that it just can’t provide the necessary resources needed.
When creating a post in WordPress i will usually save several drafts and review a page many times. Often during save a revision operation the page load would just stop and required a refresh. Out of memory errors are common. Example below when writing this mornings article about CloudFlair.
I use a WordPress plugin called Backup Buddy that i highly recommend to automate my backups that run nightly. I have learned the hard way to always back up my site after creating a new post or making a major revision. Media Temple threw up a 500 internal server error when trying to back up this post revision.
In theory this Grid Server Hosting feature should be better – and at roughly double what HoastGator and many others charge for shared hosting it’s no bargain, but worth every penny of it *IF* it was what it is advertised to be.
It’s my personal opinion that Media Temple has not kept up with the growing need for more resources and enhanced utilities. Nothing beats cPanel in my opinion, it’s got just about everything today’s webmasters need and appreciate.
If you have a question comment below 😉