Am looking into choosing a hosting service to test out and ultimately deploy a web mapping service. I want to test out Mapserver, Geoserver, Geonode and Ushahidi towards making a decision so looking into a hosting service. Does anyone have any advice/experience with GreenGeeks or WebFaction ?
Short answer, consider an entry-level VPS service provider. I am using Host1Plus (silver plan) for basic VPS hosting, and Contabo for more resource intensive deployments. Other popular options include DigitalOcean and Linode. All of these providers have options for $5-$15/month.
Mapserver, Geoserver, Geonode, and Ushahidi all have different system requirements. Most of them need more resources and/or user permissions than are often available shared hosts. This means that you might have difficulty trying these applications on a shared host, such as GreenGeeks or WebFaction.
Mapserver and Geonode
Mapserver and Geonode will probably require a VPS service, as mentioned in the short answer. This is primarily because of installation and system resource requirements.
Mapserver installation is non-trivial, and I have never had success with that one.
Geonode has great packaging for Ubuntu 12.04 (at the time of writing). It also has really high server requirements (recommending 6Gb of RAM). For Geonode, you might consider a VPS provider such as Contabo.
I have successfully installed Geoserver on WebFaction, so this might be a viable option for you as well.
Basically, follow the WebFaction community instructions for installing the Tomcat server, then follow the Geoserver WAR installation instructions.
Ushahidi 2.x will run on most shared hosts. I have successfully installed Ushahidi on GreenGeeks, for example. All it needs is PHP and a MySQL database to run. Follow the Ushahidi installation guide on your shared host.