by Alex Duncan | October 10, 2010 – 10:16 amBuzz
Anyone who runs an e-commerce website knows speed is king and downtime is simply unbearable. This week I helped a client make the final switch from the simply awful GoDaddy to the wonderful Rackspace Cloud in the process improving speed AND saving both time and money.
As this graph shows our website now loads like greased lightning. Response times have dropped from an average of 1000ms to about 300ms. To give you a little more info on the details of it all; we have a Rackspace Cloud server with 1GB of RAM running CentOS 5. Our site is built in PHP & MySQL using the Codeigniter framework and it’s fantastic HTML caching. We’ve also recently been testing CloudFlare.com, but so far it’s debatable as to whether this is having a positive effect.
This switch has also saved us money too. Our old GoDaddy VPS cost us $53 per month, our new Rackspace Cloud server costs only $45. We’ve actually used this saving to allow us to have an extra identical Rackspace Cloud server except with only 256MB of RAM which we use as a staging server. This has actually hugely increased the speed of our development workflow (a topic I’ll cover another time).
I’m not the most technical person and tend to get a little bit confused sometimes when configuring CentOS over SSH. I frequently ask what are probably quite dumb questions on live chat when I’ve had no luck googling to find the answer. GoDaddy’s live chat operators never seemed that technically capable or even that invested in helping me find a solution, I often received “it’s not our problem” type responses. Rackspace by contrast are always super helpful and willing. As a cloud server customer I still receive the fanatical type of support I experienced from my previous company who had several dedicated servers. They seem genuinely concerned whenever I have a problem.
In the end it wasn’t the speed boost or the support that led me to switch, it was the downtime. We’re serious about e-commerce and GoDaddy simply wasn’t serious enough about keeping our website alive. Even once we upgraded our package to their more expensive VPS service downtime was a frequent occurrence. With Rackspace cloud I can sleep easier knowing my site is in good hands.