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On Hosting a Website

I’ve talked a lot about hosting websites over the years on this blog. I thought today that I would write a brief post summarizing my experience with all things.

  • Globalhosting – Had solid uptime and good support. However, not as many features as I wanted at the time. I believe they are Cpanel based. Also a little pricey for the services, but they aren’t overselling, which is good. I last had a site hosted with them in 2002.
  • ReadySetConnect, Formally Alterahosting – JR moved here from Globalhosting back in 2002, on the recommendation of some people on TechTV. They had a great reseller program at the time (which allowed me to host all my friends). They’ve changed names I think 3 times since then, and each time, I felt it lost something… They again had decent uptime, cost less than Global, but ultimately I ended up moving away from them.
  • Do-It-Yourself Colocation – This is a horribly expensive method of getting your website hosted. On the upside, you get full control. On the downside, you have to do ALL the maintence, and control your own fate this way. Long story short: there less expensive ways to do this, where you don’t get stuck having to do everything. Although, I must admit… It’s fun.
  • Godaddy – Decent hosting. Decent features (SSH is always a good thing). Phone support is a plus. And they are relatively cheap. However, they have always felt fairly low end, and their email solution is scarry when it comes to spam (in a bad way). In any case, they seem to work well for small to medium sized sites. I have always recommended buying your domains here… They have a nice, robust transfer system in case you aren’t happy, and on the price scale of things, are relatively cheap. I always use promo code OYH3 (which saves me a little money on every domain I buy). I also have begun recommending hosting your DNS here… It’s just easier that way.
  • Westhost – These guys are my preferred hosting company these days for smaller sites. They are a VPS solution (virtual private server) with limited root access. They take care of most of the maintence, while you get plenty of control to make your box do whatever you want (it’s great when you have control over files like the httpd.conf and php.ini). Their control panel isn’t that great. Their email setup is a little messed up, BUT they make up for it all in phone support and uptime (check them out, they have like a top 10 hosting company uptime almost every month)
  • Dreamhost – Better known to me as Nightmare host. I recommended them for a little while due to their large amount of bandwidth and storage, and an insanely low price. When they aren’t having problems, they are great. When they are having problem, they are horrible. If you don’t mind a week of downtime and email only support that can take up to 24 hours to reply with no solution, then they are a good choice… Otherwise, at this point, the only thing I use them for is non mission critical stuff (ironically, this blog). And anything I have with them, is backuped elsewhere.
  • Google Apps – I strongly recommend them for email hosting. Gmail’s spam filters are hard to beat, and with imap and pop support now, there isn’t anything you can’t do, short of having an inbox greater than 50gb (if your willing to pay for it). But if you have 50Gb in your inbox… your probably screwed anyway. All my personal email is now run using Google Apps. For those of you who think Gmail = Google Apps… Go do your research :-). Only downside, limited phone support (again, unless your willing to pay for it). I also recommend mirroring your email if you can, just in case.
  • Linode.com – The latest host I’ve given a whirl. They are like having your own colocated server, but at 1/20 the price. Choose your OS, get root access, etc. Limited support, but great freedom. I’m currently using them to host a site or two, as well as JR’s new IRC server.
  • Rackspace.com – By far and away my favorite host for mission critical applications. Their SLA litterally pays you if your site goes down. However, they are very pricey… But when an hour of downtime means possibly 1000’s of dollars lost… they are the only way to go besides do it yourself.

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that pretty much covers anyone I have ever paid for webhosting. Hope someone found that useful. I know there are some others out there I hope to one day give a whirl (joyent, orange, etc.) But hey… I only need “so many” hosting accounts. And why change horses midstream? (wag the dog reference there)