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I've purchased hosting for a site I'm having developed from Hostgator. However, the developer is saying that the site he is developing for me can not be hosted there because he needs to be able to have cron jobs running in the background, and wants me to host on his servers (which is significantly more expensive). I know that with my hosting I can set up cron jobs via cpanel. Are these jobs not running in the Background? Do I really need to switch hosting or is this developer just trying to milk me for more cash? Can someone tell me what my developer is talking about?

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You could of course just ask him to try anyway? –  Izzy Sep 22 '10 at 1:22
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5 Answers

Is my dev trying to milk me for more cash

Maybe. It could also be that he is not familiar with your web host, and he isn't in a mood to try and figure it out. Hanlon's razor may apply here.

Do I really need to switch hosting

Maybe, you haven't really provided enough details. You probably need to get the developer to be more specific.

Can someone tell me what my developer is talking about?

Probably not. Second-hand mind reading is pretty difficult.

You are probably going to need to press him a bit and get him to provide specific details about why the hosting provider you wish will not work.

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+1 for Hanlon's razor! –  Dustin Laine Sep 21 '10 at 23:41
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If you have access through cpanel then I dont see why he wouldn't be able to implement the cron jobs there. Unless he has a VPS with root access and for some reason runs the cronjobs as root, then I can see why he said that. Other than that, you should be able to stay with hostgator.

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And if you have to run something for a web site as root, you're probably doing it wrong. –  VxJasonxV Sep 22 '10 at 0:54
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Deploying a service is more than being able to get it up and running, it's being able to keep it up and running and being able to automate processes.

Humans entering stuff via a web UI is not scalable; insufficient access to the hosting to be able to check crontab is a sign that automation as a whole will be difficult.

The developer might be so good that he's trying to keep you from creating a maintenance nightmare, or he might be trying to milk you. The pointer to use his own web-hosting is certainly a conflict of interest. You might try asking him to recommend three other hosters who provide sufficient access, so that you can compare.

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+1 for calling in the disinterested parties to mediate pricing - that's probably the only real solution here (and a reliable litmus for the developer). –  danlefree Sep 22 '10 at 2:06
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I second everything Zoredache said.

I'm guessing that his reasoning may be because the cron scripts need to be tailored for the host (based on file paths, etc) or that they require some specific binaries that most shared hosts don't have installed, in which case the developer has a point. You may need to pay extra for him to configure the website on your host of choice.

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hmmm, hostgator, cron jobs on we based application, "trying to milk me".

The picture I get is that your trying to do everything as cheaply as possible and now may be starting to reap the rewards of your previous penny pinching.

Sometimes cron jobs are the only way to solve a problem, but they should always be the very last resort for an online application.

There's very little information provided (that's not an invite to provide more here - to make a proper determination would take days if not week of analysis).

I know that with my hosting I can set up cron jobs via cpanel

Have you discussed this with your developer?

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Cron jobs are a regular OS facility; I would not say that these are a last resort. In case your system has no real daemon component that can guarantee periodical execution of some tasks there is nothing wrong in using cron for such a job. –  Unreason Sep 22 '10 at 9:29
    
I'm not suggesting that cron is not a viable substitute for a daemon - I'm saying that modifying the state of your system periodically is wrong and affects availability. Some actions (log rotation, backups) are unavoidable - but for a web based application as much processing as practical should be carried out synchronously with the request. Asynchronous processing should be purely demand driven. –  symcbean Sep 22 '10 at 14:27
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