My review of Webfaction

One year has past since I bought Webfaction‘s virtual hosting service. Today, I want to share my experience.

Webfaction’s virtual hosting is more than virtual hosting

What does it mean “virtual hosting is more than virtual hosting”? Well, normaly, people think virtual hostings are all like that, upload your application by ftp, there is only few types of web application you can run, might be php, asp or some out-of-date web stuff. And you configure your site with control panel like cPanel or whatever, and that’s all what you can do with your host, pretty little isn’t it? You buy the service, but they limit what you can do.

Webfaction, they give you full access to your SSH account, you can do almost everything you like with that. You can install whatever you like in your home directory, but indeed, they already installed most of popular tools for you.


login to WebFaction's SSH account

For example, you can compile and install software you like in your home directory, You can even compile a server wrote in c language and run it on Webfaction! I wrote an article to demonstrate how. You can read the article here: WebFaction能不能跑自己的C/C++語言Server? (it is in traditional chinese)


Create a custom application by Webfaction's panel



Compile and run the c-server


That's it!

Another example, as I said, it is more than virtual hosting, actually, that also means it is more than web hosting. What if you want to run a non-http server? You have to buy a VPS, right? No! You can use Webfaction virtual hosting to run your non-http server! I wrote a little chat room server for my Andriod chat room client, and it runs well on Webfaction! (It is not running now, because I have no time to maintain, and there is lots of problem in my client, it consume lots of cpu even it is running in background, I did’t handle the life cycle event well, so I just stop running it, until I got time to update)


Also, full access to SSH brings much more convenience to deal with your web applications. For example, it is a big trouble to deploy your web application by uploading all stuff by FTP. You have to remeber what pages are changed, and upload them manually, it is killing me. With Webfaction, I use SVN to deploy my web application. I do develop web application on my machine, then, I check out my web application on Webfaction, and everything is there! If you just modified some pages of you site, you can commit them and run “svn update” on your application directory, and that’s it! Well, if you don’t like svn, you have your choice! You can install git, or if you like mercurial more than git, you can install them, too.

在WebFaction主機遠端執行svn update

run svn update in my application's folder

Easy to use panel, install most popular web applications in few minutes

What if you don’t know anything about linux commands, SSH or those geek’s stuff? Well, actually, Webfaction give you extra right by allowing you accessing SSH. But if you don’t know how to use SSH, that’s okay, you can use their powerful and easy-to-use control panel to install most of poplular web application without typing any lines of command, just fill the form, and click, then everything is there.


There is so many popular applications that you can install with their control panel, e.g. wordpress, django, turbogears, trac, joomla, ruby on rails, subversion… and etc. They use a simple but powerful architecture to let you configure your websites.


As you can see in this figure, you mount domain names to application, that is, a website. It is pretty easy to use once you knows how it works.

Friendly customer support

Webfaction provide the best customer supporting I have never seen. When I encounter problems, they always give me good answers, they are willing to help you out. That makes me feel happy, they do care about how customers feel. Also, they know much about techniques, although they provide so many cool new stuff, they still know technical details about those stuff, and they can help you out with their sophisticated experience. Their nice customer supporting never let me feel regret to recommand.

It’s balance between convenience, freedom and price

You might ask, why I don’t just buy a VPS? Well, that’s obvious. First, I have not time to manage a VPS, it is not a happy job to upgrade your server, monitor it all the time. It is annoying to receive a database down warning message when you are sleeping. All I want is to run my sites, why I have to take care about so much details? Second, as you see, I got some new stuff to run, like TurboGears2, I also got some non-http servers to run, why I have to buy a VPS just because some new stuff or non-http server? Finally, the price is the matter, it’s not cheap to buy a good VPS. So the conclusion is, Webfaction is the balance between convenience, freedom and price. That’s why I choice it.



Finally, if you’re interested in WebFaction‘s hosting service, you can just try it, they do provide 60-days money back guarantee, so you can get the money back if you don’t like it for any reason. And when you’re filling the signup form, you can fill my account “victorlin” in the “Promo code or referrer” field. I will be appreciate.


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