6sync

We <3 6sync

by Adam McLane on September 3, 2011 · 1 comment

All of our web properties (and the few clients we host) are on 6sync hosting.

I have this theory about webhosts. Most of them suck. It’s like a trip to Home Depot… you just wander around looking for what you want and the people working there are hit or miss. I have lots of experience with the big ones. Godaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator, Network Solutions, Dreamhost… they are all 5 shades of the same color. (Of that bunch, I recommend and use Hostgator for blogger clients.)

Why do I like 6sync?

  • They specialize in VPS. [virtual private server] I don’t need (yet) a dedicated box. And most hosts really suck at VPS because they specialize in either shared hosting or dedicated hosting. And I’d really love cloud hosting but I really can’t afford that either.
  • They have great gear. I don’t know how these guys are financed, but they have great equipment.
  • They are personable. I actually like them. You actually get to know them as opposed to live chat operator Steve B. When I’ve had a problem I’ve been able to get my questions answered within minutes. (By comparison, on Thursday night I had an htaccess issue with a client site and didn’t get a response from MediaTemple for 7+ hours!)
  • They built their own user interface. The backend of most webhosting packages is typically ridiculously difficult. This one is almost too simple. When I login it gives me just what I want an not a lot else. But if I want to drill deeper, I can.
  • They are flexibile. I prefer to use WHM/cPanel for my hosting stuff. That’s not native to them, but I asked and they set it up within a couple hours. Try that at one of the big guys.
  • They are beginner-friendly. VPS is new to me. I’ve always either used shared hosting or managed dedicated hosting. Their team helped me with the learning curve whereas most hosts just brush you off with links to their help area.
  • They upgrade crazy fast. This past week I needed to level-up my hosting. They were able to recommend what I needed and make the changes without any downtime or waiting. Minutes, not hours. (Or days!)

What types of folks should use 6sync?

  • Small business who need more power and security than shared hosting but don’t really need or have the ability to manage dedicated hosting.
  • Small sites with ecommerce. (Don’t do that on shared hosting, period.)
  • Power bloggers. (When you get past 2-3k uniques per day, shared hosting isn’t going to cut it.)
  • Web entrepreneurs who want to expand and contract with the needs of their business.

I’m just getting started. What kind of hosting do you recommend? Go with Hostgator. I recommend the Baby plan. A bunch of my clients are on it and it’s fine for 99% of bloggers out there.

* Note: Links to hosting are affiliate links. I’m no affiliate whore. But if you are going to buy stuff I’m recommending, I’ll take the kickback.¬†

Launching a business has lots of start-up costs. In this post we’ll show you how we’ve eliminated lots of traditional start-up costs by using cloud-based tools that are cheap to start, but can scale with your business.

Here’s a rundown of 6 cloud-based applications which allow us to run light and nimble at this stage in our development.

Dropbox

We make it mandatory that all of our monsters share their working files and final files on Dropbox. This eliminates the excuse, “I would have done that but you didn’t send me the logo.” Since we work collaboratively, everyone needs access to the same stuff at the same time. Seamless and beautiful.

Ballpark

We are small but we want to come across to our clients as professional and as elegant as a group of monsters could be. Ballpark allows us to build beautiful estimates and invoices. It’s easy-to-use. I trained Kristen how to use it in about 15 minutes. It has a mobile site that works great on my iPhone as well as a Mac notifier which helps me know when a client has responded or even paid an invoice.

inDinero

I’m a decent writer. I’m decent at design. And I’m pretty OK at creating campaigns for my clients. But I suck as an accountant. In my personal finances¬†Mint.com has been a salvation. inDinero is that same type of service for small business. This allows me to manage all of my financial transactions in one place. It syncs with my bank accounts and my Paypal account so I can see what cash I have. (Or don’t have!) Plus, I can add incoming invoices and outstanding invoices so I can see how much cash I have as well as cash flow I can expect. That’s nails at this stage of the game.

Zoho CRM

I’m a longtime user of Highrise. But at this stage of the game Highrise wasn’t exactly the right solution for tracking the myriad of leads, accounts, and deals we are working. Upgrading to their $49 plan just wasn’t in the budget. And while I’d love to move to Salesforce.com we just aren’t quite ready to make that financial investment either. That’s where Zoho’s CRM fits in perfect for us. It’s free for our size organization and a good enough CRM for now.

Collabtive

I love Basecamp from 37 Signals. But, just like with Highrise, we just aren’t at a place where $49 per month makes sense for the amount of project management we need. Instead, Collabtive lives on our server and is just fine at managing projects, tasks, files, todos, and milestones. And, since it is open source, it’s completely free.

6sync

At this size, it’s all about scalability and resource management. All of the sites and projects which we host are currently hosted via VPS at 6sync. Their customer service, price, and reliability has been great. Actually, in 10 years of buying hosting at this level, I’ve learned to love the small shops with just a handful of servers. As much as I like Mario and the team at 6synch, I hope they never lose the start-up feeling they have now. It’s fantastic.

Are you a start-up? What are some cloud-based apps we should look at?

6sync VPS

by Adam McLane on December 4, 2010 · 5 comments

It’s hard to believe but completely true that I’ve built multiple online businesses but never used anything but shared hosting.

I chose to instead push my host, Bluehost, to hold to it’s sales pitch that my high CPU shared hosting account was truly unlimited web storage and unlimited bandwidth… even when I was running 20+ sites on a single account, one of which was a massive and thriving forum community.

This wasn’t without its pitfalls. There were times when my sites were so active that it shut down the server. More than once the SQL server crashed and had to be replaced. Many times my sites were hacked and infected with malware. And, increasingly, Bluehost began to experience unexplained and unapologetic downtime.

Putting the client first

When your own sites go down and your own customers are effected by a strategic choice you make, it’s one thing. But now that I’m beginning to host more McLane Creative projects as part of the services I provide, I felt it was important to make the move to something more professional.

So, over Thanksgiving weekend, I moved all of the projects I manage to my new host, 6sync.

As I did research there were several things I knew I was looking for:

  • Scalability: Most of the projects I host now are relatively small. But I want them to know that I’m ready to grow infinitely as their needs grow. To do that I needed a host who could allow me to simply click a button and move up to the next level of service.
  • Cloud-like: I looked at services like Amazon’s cloud server (too complicated) and Rackspace. (too expensive) In truth, my skill level isn’t quite there. But I wanted something that was created to act like a cloud service and even has potential to go that direction in the future.
  • Proud to offer VPS: I’m proud to upgrade to VPS… so I don’t want to try to get talked into a dedicated server and talked out of what I want. As I was researching it seemed pretty clear that most hosts bury their VPS services. Either they are a shared host who offers VPS as an upgrade. Or they are a dedicated host who offers VPS with hopes of an upcharge.
  • Ridiculous customer service: When I started with Bluehost back in 2005 they had excellent customer service. But as they grew from a few thousand clients to a few hundred thousand clients, their customer service absolutely tanked. I have a theory about web hosts… the bigger they get the more like Godaddy they become. And since Godaddy is the AT&T of the web hosting world… when a company becomes like that it is time to bounce.
  • A website that doesn’t feature a headset hottie: You’re an idiot if you think people who really know their stuff in web hosting sit around in business suits wearing headsets while answering customer calls. I know it’s a silly reason to not like a host. But when I go to the host’s site and it looks like a Windows desktop… I know that doesn’t fit the persona I’m looking for. I don’t want headset hotties. I want nerds who were probably up all night playing video games on two monitors while their third has the webhost dashboard up.

You’d be surprised how few hosts meet those common sense requirements.

But after a lot of looking around, and a timely message on Twitter, I discovered 6sync.

They had great prices, great customer service, weren’t ashamed about who they are, and aren’t ashamed to offer (and believe in) their VPS product.

Over Thanksgiving weekend I began the long process of setting up cPanel accounts for the various clients, migrating DNS, moving data, and testing all the domains to make sure everything was moved over correctly.

So far, so good.