Is Media Temple a Good Host, or have I just been saying that for so long I’ve convinced myself it’s still true?
By paul | February 12, 2011
I’ve been hosting my sites on Media Temple for almost 5 years now. In general I’ve been happy with them, and I’ve recommended them to friends and clients. But, with my recent troubles with the GridContainer, I started to wonder if they’re still as good as they once were, or if they gradually went downhill and I just hadn’t realized it.
It’s a hard question to answer definitively, but I can safely say that your experience with Media Temple is much more hit or miss than it used to be. I should qualify this by saying I’m specifically referring to their Grid-Service (gs), which is the hosting package that I use. I hear far less complaints about their higher end packages… but you’re in for at least $50 per month with any of those.
I think even Media Temple will admit that the Grid-Service has never quite lived up to expectations. There are some inherent latency issues due to how the grid is constructed. Media Temple has supposedly corrected these issues in their next major release of their shard hosting solution, called the Cluster-Service (cs). But, they first announced (cs) back in 2008, and it has yet to even enter private beta. Despite their claims to the contrary, it seems as though they’ve all but forgotten about shared hosting and concentrated most of the efforts into their higher end packages.
The reason I refer to the Grid-Service as hit or miss, is it all seems to depend on which cluster you end up on. The Grid-Service is divided into clusters and segments. How well each cluster performs is determined by how many other sites are on that cluster, and what kind of traffic / resource-demands do those sites have. In my own informal testing, I’ve found that one cluster may have multiple times higher latency than another cluster. If you end up on a slow cluster, you may have a bad experience with Media Temple. And, it does seem that in recent years there are more bad clusters than good. At least, that’s my perception of the situation based on my own experience and how often I read unfavorable reviews of the Grid-Service. To make things worse, Media Temple usually assumes it’s you, and not them, that has the problem, so they’re often not quite as helpful as they could be.
While thinking about writing this post, I actually came across an extremely well-written review of Media Temple by Dan Knauss. He wrote it just under a year ago, and he pretty much nails the current situation. I highly recommend you read it if you’re considering a Grid-Service account.
The Bottom Line
I don’t think Media Temple’s Grid-Service is horrible (How’s that for a recommendation?). I think it’s more accurate to say that the service isn’t always as good as it should be. And, there’s no longer a degree of separation between what they offer and what other shared hosting providers offer. They’ve kind of become six of one, half dozen of the other.
As for me, I’ll probably stick with Media Temple for a while longer. The service hasn’t dropped so far that I feel compelled to move on. Although, in all honesty, that decision is partly based on the fact that moving to a new host can be a big pain when dealing with multiple sites. I’ll probably even continue to recommend Media Temple to others. I said probably. I’m definitely not as gung ho about them as I once was.