07 Feb 2006

Who’s your favorite website hosting company?

Website Hosting Companies.

We work with several hundred hosting companies. I hate 98% of them. In fact, I hate so many of them, that the only website hosting company’s name I do remember are the ones that I hate the most.

If you could only choose 1 website hosting company to work with, what website hosting company would that be?

Feel free to add links, just not affiliate links ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you work for a hosting company, tell me, but also tell me your best competitor.

 

[tags]website hosting, web hosting, website hosting companies[/tags]

Comments

  1. DigitalGhost February 7, 2006 at 1:21 PM

    >>If you could only choose 1 website hosting company to work with, what website hosting company would that be?

    Rackspace. I’ve had problems with every host I’ve ever used except for Netnation so I guess I’ve named two eh?

    Jeremy and I just had this discussion about hosting last week after the database went down.

  2. webprofessor February 7, 2006 at 1:51 PM

    Rackspace[full service] and Serverbeach [discount dedicated hosting]

  3. Stephen Vardy February 7, 2006 at 2:07 PM

    wedohosting.com
    They phone me up to see how they can do it cheaper.
    They saved me $200 with one of their calls.
    All the domain and site costs integrated into one transparent charging system.
    They keep adding free services that are really useful.
    99.9% up
    They are only down for preplanned changes.
    A human answers the phone!

    S

  4. Sebastian February 7, 2006 at 2:43 PM

    You can’t beat NationalNet.

  5. graywolf February 7, 2006 at 3:38 PM

    The only one I’ve never had a bad day with is Pair, ain’t cheap though.

  6. Greg February 7, 2006 at 4:38 PM

    until just a few hours ago, i would have definitely recommended bluehost. however, in light of the spam i got from the CEO today, i may reconsider.

    equally disturbing was his reference to pagerank in his email, and his decision to not display my tame, albeit sarcastic, comment on his blog.

  7. Justilien February 7, 2006 at 4:51 PM

    Pair.com. Great customer service. Response is quick and thorough (even when the error is your fault).

  8. Jim February 7, 2006 at 4:52 PM

    Stephen – your “wedohosting.com” seemed like too much a plug..so I put it to the test. I found one of our sites we have hosted with them and called them up to ask them a question about it.

    The phone was answered before the second ring, and the guy did 30 seconds of research to find my answer to my question and was helpful. Score one for them.
    Jim

  9. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:00 PM

    Tried Netnation…called…got 30 seconds of menu crap…choose option 3 for tech support…after 3 minutes on hold, I hung up. I don’t have time for that. They fail.

  10. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:03 PM

    Rack space – heard of them….couldn’t find any sites that we had hosted with them…kinda suprised me, so I went to thier website…how much is it…so hard to tell…can’t find pricing…now a dang pop up chat window is crashing my computer…ahhhh…they fail too.
    Keep trying guys.

  11. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM

    continuing on…supportbeach was recommended…I called them…got a menu with choices…but none for “tech support” (or anything like it…that’s who I want to get ahold of 95% of the time I’ve got a hosting issue)…message said “for all other enquiries” go to http://www.blblblblb.com and fill out a support ticket.

    that’s not good eneough for me. I want to talk to a human, filling out support tickets just pisses me of…they fail in my book to…
    moving on here…c’mon guys, isn’t there better?

  12. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:14 PM

    National net passed my phone test with flying colors – real human, good knowledge, and FAST.

    as they say on their site:
    Experienced administrators on staff 24/7/365
    Support by phone, email, and online support ticket system
    The staff member who answers the phone at 4am can help you 100% of the time
    Your tech support call is answered in three (3) rings or less

    http://www.natnet.com/hosting/ – Passed my phone tech test.

  13. Brian Turner February 7, 2006 at 5:24 PM

    What are you after, Jim? Is it phone support that you’re after first?

  14. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:28 PM

    to me that’s a good sign…if the shit hits the fan, and I need someone to yell at, I want to know there’s somethere there I can get a hold of fast to yell at ๐Ÿ˜‰ (to fix what ever problem I’m having).

  15. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:44 PM

    next was Pair..yes, I’ve heard everyone say that “Pair is the best”. I found their contact info, then found one of our accounts with them and grabbed my 6 digit code they said I’d need, then called and choose the tech support option, and then after 3 minutes on hold I hung up…and yes, I’ve timed all these, it’s no estimate.
    I can’t stand being on hold…and if my site were down, those 3 minutes would just steam me up even more.
    I’m paying $49/month for that host, and for the prices they offer (higher end), I’d expect a tech guy to answer the phone before 3 minutes…or are my expectation too high?

  16. Jim February 7, 2006 at 5:48 PM

    so far it’s nationalnet and wedohosting – all others listed are failing me.

    What do you guys look for in hosting? (and don’t tell me “uptime”…they all say 99.7 or 99.9…and they’re all full of s%*&)

  17. kid disco February 7, 2006 at 5:51 PM

    Cool info here. I have a few personal/fun websites hosted by HostDepartment. I went the cheap route and they do okay with what I need. I would not suggest them for a corporate website, though. They only have chat and email support – full of idiots.

  18. Andy Hagans February 7, 2006 at 6:00 PM

    I heart DreamHost

  19. Jim February 7, 2006 at 6:20 PM

    Dreamhost – no phone #’s listed.
    not listing your phone # is just rude. I’d never recommend a hosting company that does not list their phone #

  20. DigitalGhost February 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM

    Good point about Netnation. I’ve never had to call them so I didn’t know the phone support was so bad. I hung up after 25 minutes.

  21. Richard February 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM

    Jim, dedicated servers may be more cost effective overal. Try Ev1servers.net however don’t call them, instead use the online methods. (view and select packages). I prefer using email or online signup forms for everything. How many products can you compare at one time (or in one day) over the phone versus using email? If emergency tech support is important, you can test your top results by calling them after you have narrowed down the field. You could be calling a company on an abnormally slow day or an unusually busy day. Just some thoughts.

  22. Jim February 7, 2006 at 6:45 PM

    If my site is down, or I’ve got an issue, I want to speak with someone…I don’t want to fill out a form and wonder when they’ll get to it. like I said earlier…if the shit hits the fan, I want to be able to reach out and touch some one…not fill out a form.

  23. Sebastian February 7, 2006 at 7:27 PM

    Jim, NationalNet once chartered a jet to fly my server (and a few others) from Dallas to Atlanta as a data center where I was hosted went belly up. I was able to track the move from one DC to the other and they’ve even provided photos from packing, handling, unpacking and mounting my box in real time. Guess what I’ve paid .. yep, the usual monthly fees. Their support is awesome, try it on 2:00am or a national holiday and you know why I recommend NatNet.

  24. randfish February 7, 2006 at 7:54 PM

    We use a small local firm called Swiftco – http://www.swiftco.net/flashlink.cgi?3 – there’s the phone numbers. Very likable folks and we haven’t had the hosting problems we used to with Rackspace and RackShack (and many others).

  25. Aaron Pratt February 7, 2006 at 7:59 PM

    Please do not make funny of me but I use lunarpages with dedicated IP’s for pennies, works for me and they have only messed up once. Registrar – Godaddy (No problems with them either)

  26. webprofessor February 7, 2006 at 8:14 PM

    Jim the rackspace is custom pricing and relatively expensive but worth it if you have a mission critical set of sites. THey have a thing called “Fanatical Support” and they do mean it when they say fanatical.

    You need to call them to get an idea of what your qoute would be.

  27. kb February 7, 2006 at 8:25 PM

    If support is your number one priority you can’t do much better than Rackspace. You’ll need to talk to someone to get pricing. They specialize in managed dedicated servers. They’ll tailor a configuration to meet your specific needs and price can be somewhat negotiable.

    In the past five years I’ve had two issues where my server has experienced hardware failure. Once the mother board failed early on a Saturday morning. They contacted me before I was even aware of the problem and by the time I contacted tech support a new board had already been installed and my server was back online. I got a free upgrade in the process.

    My second failure was late on a Sunday night (holiday weekend no less). Tech support answered on the second ring and my site was back online within 20 minutes.

    Can’t get much better than that.

  28. Jim February 7, 2006 at 9:40 PM

    In a way I’m seeking 2 types of hosting here.

    The first is one, is one that I can recommend to clients
    Sure, a dedicated server ~$180-300/month – but for that I want real customer service, and a real tech support staff, and real uptime, and real response time. 

    The second type would be "Cheap Hosting" ($5 to $25 month). 
    I bet a lot of use use this type 10 times more than dedicated (we work with hundreds.)

    When getting cheap website hosting, I strive to get a unique (not shared) IP address that’s static, and we always ask if we can have a Fresh IP address…not recycled.
    With cheap hosting, you might think that you get what you pay for…and ya know, you’d be right 95% of the time with “cheap hosting”.
    We’ve worked with some real clowns, and still do, in hosting companies…I just can’t find enough "decent ones".


    Starting to rant some…. Other issues would be “Billing” as my #1 next website hosting gripe.
    How hard is it to include my URL that you’re charging me for in your invoice and bills that you’re sending me?
    Why do you need to send me “We’re about to bill you email, then a invoice email, then the payment receipt, then the “make sure you’re payment information is correct email”??
    Can’t you just make that 1 bill?

    And please don’t put me on your newsletter list either.

    Then there’s this issue….of any time a site gets boinked in the engines, I’m quick to start by looking at the
    host first.
     
    From big companies down to smaller hosting companies…many have done “dumb” things like having a hosting company employee who doesn’t know what a search engine is and goes and do something stupid, (like the often extreme of blocking search engine
    bots because they don’t like all the bot traffic). Stupid stuff like that. If they’ve got an SEO moron with access, and thought of “I’ll save some bandwidth costs"…ahhhhhh! It happens!

    ….so back to the 2 kinds of hosting I’m seeking.

    The first kind is for “higher end” dedicated servers. 
    I know we’ve got some on Host Rocket (who we’ve had some good experience with).  I’ll keep rackspace in mind too from now on, as well as wedohosting and NationalNet. 

    I’ll also keep some of the companies brought up here in mind with the second type of hosting the "Cheap Hosting" on a shared server, unique static IP address… but with good customer services, real tiny tiny downtime, less time wasting emails, easy billing, but with no “dumb” mistakes on their end. Did I mention for between $5 and $25 month for this type?

    There must be more hosting companies that can “stand up” to being a "Good" hosting company.
    Having someone to answer the phones is at least a good start…show at least that someone is there (or are some in other contries..yes, we’ve found some of those too.)?

    What are your thoughts?

  29. Stuart McHenry February 7, 2006 at 9:41 PM

    Jim-

    We have and use numerous hosting companies. The one we have the best service with is http://www.liquidweb.com/. I have called sooooo many times and they have answered the phone within the first couple of rings. I often work late at night (when everyone is asleep and it’s quite) and they seem to have several people burning the midnight oil as well.

    Good luck with your research. I think I found another hosting company from the list above… will give a try.

    Stuart

  30. webprofessor February 7, 2006 at 11:30 PM

    I have such a hard time understanding why an SEO that can afford it would allow their sites be put on anything but a server they control. Why would you open yourself to the risk of someone elses admins ? Why would you host your sites on a server shared by others ? People actively try to fish other peoples data & files from their shared hosting accounts and its easy provided the host if a moron or wants the site to be “easy” to use.

    my 2 cents

  31. ken_o February 8, 2006 at 12:57 AM

    I did what you did Jim, and spent ages looking around for the right host – for me.

    For the $5 site hosting I don’t expect to see a call answered in three rings, and I’m okay with online chat and email for general questions.

    I never see them mentioned on forums and they are not as sexy as Rackspace and Pair, but I use http://www.websitesource.net. It works for me.

    The main features I like are:
    4 sites can be hosted, and one of those sites is provided its own IP address.

    They use a Hsphere CP which I like – atleast on my plan.

    You can add shared domains at a dollar a piece per month or unique IPs for $5 (I think). They provide linux type servers, several databases, php, crontab,and python, just to name a few, with shared accounts.

    I pay just under $8 per month on a yearly basis for 3 shared accounts plus 1 dedicated IP account.

    One of my sites went down in the last six months while they were doing an upgrade. I got on the online chat, they told me what happened, I said – fair enough. For $2 per site I’m not complaining!

  32. aaron wall February 8, 2006 at 1:03 AM

    >Why would you open yourself to the risk of someone elses admins ?

    It is all about margins. $5 – $10 a month vs $200 a month is a big difference when you scale that across a hundred websites. Many SEOs also use false whois data and dont want all their sites on one box…just in case something goes wrong…with that server or if they fall out of good graces with search engines, etc.

  33. Jim February 8, 2006 at 3:10 AM

    Keep in mind the last post about becoming a millionaire, 547 sites at $5 per day is one way. If your hosting is $200 per month, you’re loosing money. ($150 sales, $200 hosting bill = -$50)

  34. IncrediBILL February 8, 2006 at 3:19 AM

    ServerBeach rules

  35. nuevojefe February 8, 2006 at 3:27 AM

    That about sums it up Aaron.

    ThePlanet.com has been really good in my experience. 7 or 8 dedicateds with them… they always report maintenance well in advance and are accurate with their estimates in terms of interuption or whatever else…

  36. Ton February 8, 2006 at 3:58 AM

    We use http://www.aqhost.com. Very pleased with it, excellent support and a very reasonable price.

  37. djhomeless February 8, 2006 at 5:47 AM

    I used to use UK2[dot]net for several years (not a virtual server mind you, a full 1U Cobalt Raq).

    On the down side, they are morbidly proud that they don’t answer the phone, and only offer email support if you pay them extra.

    On the plus side, my server experienced downtime only a half dozen times in 3 years, and if I ever borked my server, the online reboot request would be dealt with in 30 minutes or less. Also, they are pretty damn cheap.

  38. Nick Wilsdon February 8, 2006 at 6:22 AM

    I feel your pain Jim – but I went the other route of learning *nix admin and hosting myself. None of this easy cpanel stuff either, I broke my balls on Ensim updates which blew the box and command line SSH.

    Anyway, I would recommend this company – http://www.totalserversolutions.com – they were formed by different moderators at the ev1servers forums (previously rackshack) and they do a great job at providing 24/7 support for dedicated servers. No telephone no. but as they work through all the time zones you get a pretty instant response on the ticketing system.

    With the $5 per month hosting – well yes, you get what you pay for there. IMHO people’s expectations are very high for the price. It’s a good test to sit there and do the maths sometime on a companies server packages. For example a decent SCSI setup has a 73 GB hard disk drive, if the company is offering everyone 500MB for $5 per month then you have to ask yourself where the business model is. (that’s right, overcapacity and lower quality hardware).

  39. webprofessor February 8, 2006 at 7:59 AM

    Aaron I am not following you. You can get multiple IP adresses and host more than one site on a box. The SE’s never really need to know that your sites are allon the same box. Also you should always have 2 in different datacenters IMO if your big enough to do that.

  40. Vincent Marcello February 8, 2006 at 9:20 AM

    I feel I should jump in here on this one after we have just flogged a similar thread to death.
    Two nights ago the company we hosted with went down completely due to a DOS attack, it’s been happening more frequently. This time it happened during a critical time as we are in the process of building a large portal that several vendors were logging in to have a look. This made us look bad (temporarily). We of course called the hosting company whose phone is no longer in service (panic set in). I traced the owners name and found out he didn’t actually live in the USA as stated but in Turkey, I called him he hung up, I called him again (after five coffees) he got abusive (I lost all patience and any modicum of reasoning) it went downhill from there.

    Enough is enough I said to myself… I called Liquid Web, purchased a powerful VPS plan, immediate help, phone calls back and forth between US and UK from both parties and were back in business with full customisation, nameservers etc.
    I’m happy with Liquid Webรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs fast and helpful response – it could be down to because we are a new customer or that we will need to upgrade in six months to a dedicated server when all services have been built – or it could be just the way they do business, but overall so far – so good.

  41. Gilad.G February 8, 2006 at 11:37 AM

    I’ve been using Cyberwurx for 2 years now, with no complaints. In fact, their $5 packages get far more than one would expect in terms of service.
    I’ve never called in for customer service, as tickets are taken care of in matter of minutes, and is faster than actually getting on the phone.

    Jim, I am assuming here that by “Cheap Hosting” you care less about specifications offered, and more about the service.

  42. M Romero February 8, 2006 at 12:13 PM

    I’ve been with FutureQuest since 1995. I’ve tried about 6 different hosts and FutureQuest is still the best. They are not cheap, but they are the best in reliability and service. Tech response is usually measured in minutes – not hours. Their control panel is built in house and far superior to those cookie cutter panels like Plesk and Cpanel.

  43. Michael Swartz February 8, 2006 at 1:32 PM

    My favorite hosting company is Alentus.

    The most important consideration is uptime and through the 4 years I have been with them (and 20 of my customers) I have only witnessed about two or three bad connections. And these were pretty minor.

    Recently one of our web servers was down. Instead of giving us the run around, they were very accurate with their predictions of when the server would be back up and were quick to inform us of their progress.

    Other reasons, why I like them?

    When you call, you get a human being right away. When you email support, your response is taken care of in minutes.

    I haven’t left them and I don’t intend too anytime soon.

    P.S. Great topic and worthwhile post.

  44. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:00 PM

    Alentus – fast response. First tech person didn’t know what C Class IP blocks were, but she transferred me to someone with the answer. – passes.

  45. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:02 PM

    FutureQuest – “Phone support is something that we do not offer…” that’s a “No” in my book.

  46. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:05 PM

    Cyberwurx – Called, pressed the “I’ve got an emergency option” and was put in touch with a knowledgeable person in seconds. – Good.

  47. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:12 PM

    liquidweb – fast respond – took him few minutes to find my answer…but his answer wasn’t what I was looking for. I can’t have different sites on different C blocks…so good customer service…but poor “we’ll go out of our way to help you”.
    get’s a “maybe”

  48. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:16 PM

    aqhost – called number on website…says “if you’re seeking technical support you must fill out a tech support ticket.” – Bzzzz in my book.

  49. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:20 PM

    swiftco.net – yes, they have a nice page with lots of #’s at
    http://www.swiftco.net/flashlink.cgi?3
    the first emergency # I got an answering machine.
    The second emergency # said the mailbox was full.
    THe third emergency # worked and I got a human.
    Ok, I’ll take it.

  50. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:35 PM

    websitesource.com – answered the phone. took him a few minutes to answer my question…not too knowledgeable….I’m going to fail them because tech support didn’t know simple tech things.

  51. Jim February 8, 2006 at 2:38 PM

    So to update everyone. My first test has been “Will someone answer the phone if I call them”.

    THose’s who’s passed are:
    http://www.rackspace.com (due to your comments)
    http://www.natnet.com/hosting/
    http://www.wedohosting.com
    http://www.swiftco.net
    http://www.alentus.com
    http://www.cyberwurx.com
    http://www.liquidweb.com (maybe)

    There’s 7 – that was worth the work.
    I’m going to ask that this thread be closed to comments – I can’t continue to check hosting companies – I don’t have time for that.
    Maybe we can play this game again someday soon.

  52. Michael Teper February 8, 2006 at 2:54 PM

    I’ll throw this in as a Windows host alternative — I’ve had a good experience so far with http://www.webhost4life.com. Havent tried phone but chat and support tickets have been answered quickly and people knew what they were talking about.

  53. Jim February 8, 2006 at 3:10 PM

    anyone posting their votes after my list of 7 above are non subject to my testing – use at your own risk.
    Jim

  54. Sean February 8, 2006 at 4:11 PM

    For hosting a lot of smaller domains (not interlinked) that I might need a database or something for each, I actually prefer HostGator. Easy to use and maintain multiple domains.

    For a premium site that is using dedicated, Pair is the best. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for. I’d love to use them for shared as they provide you with different IPs for each domain, but files are viewable to anyone on the server and you have to setup a CGI wrap to hide them. Just a pain in my opinion.

  55. Charles February 8, 2006 at 4:17 PM

    Dreamhost is just the best.

    I’ve used them for years, and twice made the mistake of using someone else.

    Someone whined about their “unpublished phone number”, but the reality is (1) their email support is great, and (2) customers get a certain number of live callback requests. The support system works, and it’s one of the reasons they can keep costs low.

  56. harveyramer February 8, 2006 at 4:39 PM

    Charles:

    I’ve heard that Dreamhost is exceptional and would also consider Media Temple.

  57. oilman February 8, 2006 at 5:04 PM

    I’m a huge Pair fan. Been with them 7 years. Never had to call support once. Can count on one hand how many times my server has been down. It’s always been fixed without me even having to submit a support ticket or call. Failed hard drive – about 10-20 minutes downtime. Failed network card – 5 min etc etc. In the support section you can see the status of each and every server and they also post when a server has gone down, why it went down, and how long it took get back online. urgent@pair.com is answered in minutes too.

  58. datanumeric February 9, 2006 at 4:25 AM

    Hosting scenario is changing, now many data centers provide good Server hardware and connectivity. Then what you need is good server administrator, you can hire independent admins or small teams.

  59. Christian Montoya February 13, 2006 at 12:30 AM

    Give Dreamhost a chance! They are great through e-mail and live-chat, their prices and features are tops too. 1000 gigs of bandwidth for a basic plan… can’t argue with that!

  60. IRHusker February 27, 2006 at 7:18 PM

    I’ve used so many and still use several now. However for my “money” site I stay with internetconnection.net and have no plans for leaving. So far(after 2 years) their support has been second to none. Very personal and thorough support means as much as anything when it comes to hosting. Their services and up time have never been a disappointment either.

  61. Looking for Web Hosting March 28, 2006 at 3:38 PM

    […] Jim Boykin ’s page asking for web hosting advice is a nice resource. There are some good links in there and I’m looking into several of the places from his roundup. […]

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