does anybody have good suggestions for rails hosting? who's reliable, who's good value (pricing), who's not?
You can see RimuHosting (great, amazing support) and Slicehost (automatic back-up option is a plus).
I have had a very good experience with Joyent. Having root access has been very helpful as we build out our production environment. I've also found support to be very responsive via email.
Check out this blog entry:
Though it's not from yesterday, the content is still quite up-to-date.
I've used Dreamhost for more than a year. I've recently heard that they were testing the mod_rails(passenger) with rails, so they should be releasing it soon I guess.
It really depends on your requirements and budget. The minimum level for good Rails performance with good flexibility to make the server do what you want is a VPS. There's many suppliers of generic VPS hosting; with most of them, you'll need to deal with some amount of fussing with the Rails deployment stack.
A Rails-focused vendor is likely to be a little more expensive, largely because of the support they provide. I've been happy with Rails Machine, which makes the deployment easy with a preconfigured Rails stack and Capistrano deployment recipies. It starts at $75/month. Joyent has a similar offering. They're on Solaris, which adds a little more you need to learn if you come to it with Linux knowledge.
At the higher end, Engine Yard has an excellent reputation. When you host there, you're getting a "slice" across a set of machines for web front end, app server, database, etc. These slices run $350/month, and they recommend two for redundancy, so it's not a low-cost solution. But they really take responsibility for hosting your app and making it scream -- they'll give you a root log in, but they say you should never need it; anything that needs to be done is their problem.
Michael Slater "BuildingWebApps.com":http://www.buildingwebapps.com
Another vote for both Rimu hosting and Slicehost. You have root access to both. Slicehost has a killer control panel (less is more == killer) and LOTS of articles for all the sysadminy work.
I'm running "my site":http://www.brandon-martinez.com/ on Dreamhost without too many problems, but then again, I don't get an excessive amount of hits. If you develop your application wisely (I use tons of caching, mostly page, fragment, and database), you won't have too many problems. The main problem I have with DH is that when you upload a new version of your web site (via Capistrano in my case), and you kill the Ruby/dispatch.fgi processes, sometimes it can take up to 5 or 10 minutes for your site to be back up. I think it has something to do with their FastCGI setup; but nonetheless, it's annoying.
Also, since they are using FastCGI, sometimes you'll find that your site isn't technically "running"; I had to setup a cron job to poke my site every 10-15 minutes, just so their is always an instance of it.