There’s nothing wrong with responsibly using off-the-shelf software packages. Whether it’s a WordPress blog or a commercial shopping cart, they often represent an affordable way to avoid reinventing the wheel, both from a development and a user-interface perspective.
In addition, many of our clients also find that commodity shared hosting is a fair choice. Face it: if you’re operating a fairly light-weight site that’s getting a few hundred visitors per day, tops, you don’t need that much performance. There’s also a “too big to fail” aspect to being one client of many on a huge machine with a fast connection– odds are, if something fails on their end, you’re the 67th person to report it and they’re already working on it by the time you find out.
However, combining the two can open yourself to surprising difficulties.
Having built as many sites as Web-Op has, you get pretty familiar with different hosting providers. Many users wish to supply hosting for their projects, to ensure they’re in control in the event of a dispute, or control costs and features. For these users, I offer a strong piece of advice. Choose a smaller hosting firm!
“But why? 1&1 or GoDaddy (or other large firms) offers hosting with supposedly huge limits for the change that fell between my couch cushions!” I knew you’d say it! There are several reasons:
Two scriptlets lifted from Jack – the first will randomly forward each visit to a split test variant if there is a “gclid” variable occurring in the URL query string. (e.g. http://www.domain.com/?gclid=2234823958729385 ). This is the standard way Google passes visitors to a site via adwords.
This second little scriptlet first checks for the existence of a cookie variable “BTDT”. If it doesnt find BTDT in any cookie contents it sets the cookie, checks to see if the visitor arrived from adwords and then forwards the visitor to a random split test variant. If its not an adwords visitor it does nothing. If it does find a cookie it does nothing.