Web Hosting Reviews & Thoughts

Web Hosting Thoughts

I’ve had a bit of experience with a plethora of web hosting companies over the years and thought I’d post some of my thoughts and experiences over the years.

Speaking of “a plethora of web hosting companies” here are the ones I’ve dealt with over the years (that I can remember) in order of when I had my very first family website with e-access.net:

e-access.net – had our family website here for about 3 years starting around 1998. Their site hasn’t changed since.
tripod.com
geocities.com
hostonce.com – BAD COMPANY. Lots of downtime, terrible support.
freeservers.com
netfirms.com
cfm-resources.com – a bit of downtime
ehostingbiz.com – pretty good product and support
worldwebhosters.com – bad support and product
host4students.com – very short stay
prowebspace.com – started off really well, but couldn’t handle growth and had lots of unexplained downtime and data loss
dathorn.com – Very happy with them, but outgrew their services after a bit over a year

I’ve now moved to a server that provides me with way more resources, features, and access than I’ve ever had before!

Update – 1/11/09:

Boy, I haven’t touched this page in a while!   I’ve been at my current datacenter for almost 5 years and couldn’t be happier.   I’m paying a premium for top of the line hardware, management, and trunk internet connections, but it is worth it to have the security and scalability, especially as BYC grows.

One thing that has been frustrating over the years, especially since taking on BYC, is dealing with some people that don’t have server management experience that say, “Why not use one of those unlimited hosting plans for $5.00 a month!?”    It is really hard to convey to some people that these cheap plans are usually provided by companies that are overselling their servers.

I learned the hard way that these cheap plans (50 GB disk space and 500 GB transfer) are perfect for a family, hobby, small business site, but try loading a CPU / Memory intensive database driven website and you’ll quickly get a SUSPENDED notice from the host and wake up to 300 emails from clients and site visitors (I know from experience).   You, like me, will say, “But I didn’t go over my disk space or bandwidth!!!???”.   The host will either not answer you or will say that you need to get a dedicated server (I’ve received that email a few times too).

There is a light at the end of this tunnel!  Every once in a while I run across members of my communities with server management and/or large website hosting experience and find that they totally get it.  They empathise with me and know that as the site’s usage grows linearly that the complexity of running the services and keeping them up, along with other challenges grow exponentially.

Update – 3/05/11: I’ve been with my webhost for 6.5 years now.  I’ve upgraded many many times with them.  I’m on a pretty beefy dedicated server and am really happy with the experience.   I always try to put off having to upgrade, but every time I do I say, “Dang, I should have done this months ago!”   The extra headroom of a larger box is always a breath of fresh air!

2 thoughts on “Web Hosting Reviews & Thoughts

  1. >>>One thing that has been frustrating over the years, especially since taking on BYC, is dealing with some people that don’t have server management experience that say, “Why not use one of those unlimited hosting plans for $5.00 a month!?” It is really hard to convey to some people that these cheap plans are usually provided by companies that are overselling their servers. <<>> http://support.hostgator.com/articles/linux-vps-virtuozzo/what-is-a-vps

    And for Dedicated Server, that’s quite self explanatory. You pay the hosting company, and they give you a server all of your own, nobody else uses it, it’s all for you to use, no sharing at all. You get your own IP (sometimes more than one IP), full root access and more. It’s all your server. This is good for very large websites, eg. BYC.

    Host’s I recommend and don’t remcommend…
    HostGator – Great service, including Shared, VPS and dedicated. The don’t seem to be over selling compared to other hosts. Best Shared host i’ve used, plus they offer some pretty good VPS and dedicated plans. Excellent UPTIME! This is recommended by me. cPanel Access included.

    SiteGround – good host, GREAT UPTIME! Recommended by me. cPanel access included. I would however, recommend hostgator over siteground.

    FreeHostia – A free host and cheap host. They do offer a “free plan”, but mainly cheap hosting plans, however, not unlimited. I don’t really recommend these guys, they dont have very good uptime (although I’ve seen worse), support is a little slower, they’re “over selling” i guess you could say. They don’t offer cPanel, but they do have their own “control Panel” they made thenselves.

    HelioHost – Horrible. While it is a completely free host, you get what you pay for. This is where I started out at, and now looking back, I don’t even know why…. although it was “free”, they had catches, like post in forums and get more, ads if you want more. Only 2.5GB bandwidth and 250MB space free, without ads. They are REALLY over selling here, they have ALL KINDS of users on one server. Horrible uptime as well, at least, once every 5 days, and not always announced, comes unexpectedly. A little while ago i went back there to check out their forums, just to see what they was “up to”, and no, I was not switching, they had just went through a 3 day downtime. Good for starters and people who want to “test” and play around, as they give you cPanel access, but no good if you use a website that you actually want traffic.

    Anyway, that’s just my little blab. Cheers,
    Jonah

  2. I tried to include this below in the above comment, but i see it didnt all go through. This came right after the “quote” I had above…

    I’ve used many of them free and cheap plans on many websites i’ve ran in the past. I currently host with Hostgator.com and run a very small forum, Hostgator doesn’t seem to do much overselling and speed is very good, but it all depends on what your site is, and how much traffic you get. I expect if in the future if it my site grows a lot, I will switch to VPS, then a Dedicated Server. I am really happy with the service hostgator offers. Many people starting out small, a Shared host like what I have now is useful, but for really, really big websites, VPS, and even Dedicated servers is good.

    When it comes to site like Rob’s, a “cheap” unlimited hosting plan probably wouldn’t cut it. Most of the unlimited hosting plans from a lot of companies are “over sold”, but the ones that do pretty good have other limits. Most people look at monthly transfer and space. And I have to admit, I did too. Hostgator seemed to offer a good package because they give UNLIMITED transfer and space. Sounds good, right? But you have to read the fine print. They do limit you CPU, RAM and iNodes (index nodes). Mainly it’s the CPU and RAM is the main concern if you was to run a very large website, the inodes are the counts of files on the server. Hostgator gives me a 250,000 inode limit. An’t inode is files, folders, emails, databases, and all that other cool “stuff” that goes along with this server stuff, so if you are going to run a big website like Rob is, a VPS, or even better dedicated is good. Now, I am very happy with Hostgator and their shared hosting package they are offering me, because they are giving me more than enough for what I need for my small website, plus, uptime is AWESOME, they give you 24/7 chat and phone support, and they don’t seem to be “overselling” their service like many of the other hosts i’ve been with. I really do recommend them if someone is looking for the cheap unlimited packages, aka, Shared Hosting. And Shared hosting means just what it’s named. The one server is shared with a few other people, but sometimes, a lot of other people when it comes to other hosts, but so far so good with Hostgator, be I’ve been with.

    For those that don’t know, you can see what a VPS (Virtual Private Server) is here >>> http://support.hostgator.com/articles/linux-vps-virtuozzo/what-is-a-vps

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