Web hosting for geeks
A smaller segment in the shared hosting industry with focus on supporting more and newer technologies is best known as geek hosting. I don't like to put the term geek on every webmaster/developer who might purchase this type of hosting but it seems to be the most common term for this small part of the hosting market.
The identifying features of geek hosting are support for non-mainstream programming languages/frameworks/database/servers and better/more updated support for more common environments (PHP5 vs PHP4, 3rd party modules). Note the framework part, because every web host on the planet supports Perl as CGI, but you have to find a geek host for hosting your mod_perl applications (mod_perl = Apache module for Perl). The same can be said about Python but the borderline between normal and geek hosting here is better placed between "We have Python on our servers for running Mailman or some other application" and "We have an updated Python version and will install popular 3rd party modules on demand".
What are some "geek hosting only" features?
Besides what is already mentioned you can find support for languages like Ruby, Mono (multi-platform .Net), more databases (Postgresql, Firebird, Sqlite). Within all these languages you can also find support for multiple frameworks, including frameworks where your applications are running inside their own web server.
What about virtual private servers?
(Unmanaged) Dedicated servers and virtual private servers (VPS) are definitely for geeks too but some geeks just want an easy way of hosting their own applications without hassling with server maintenance and upgrades. So there is definitely room for geek hosting within the shared hosting market too.
And with a VPS you can install anything so the feature list is can be expanded with anything you like. Perfect for geeks with even more special requirements.
Some geek hosts
- GrokThis.net - Updated and extensive support for Ruby, Python, Mono..
- Zettai - Zope and Plone hosting besides regular VPS hosting.
- Python-hosting.com - definetely the shared hosting provider with best support for Python. Multiple Python versions and the most popular frameworks/modules already available.
- TextDrive - supporters of open source projects with hosting for Ruby, Python, Perl, PHP5, Lighthttpd/Apache2 and multiple databases.