Web Hosting

 

This was originally written on December 9, 2006 for my personal test blog: Decoherence. It was then reprinted on the Hidden Business Treasures blog on December 13th. I hope to keep it up to date as I make changes to my hosting situation.


My host of choice Atlnetworks has giving me good service over the years. The web sites have been up and stayed up and they have all the flexibility that a good Linux server gives you. I have lots of email choices and can run just about any kind of script or database. Unfortunately, the service has slipped of late. In November I lost email service three times. The first time the servers went down so the websites went down too. The second time I lost email service for six days over the Thanksgiving holiday. It has caused me to question whether ATL is the right host for me. It wasn’t the lost service that bothered me the most but the lack of communication. I would submit Support Tickets and they wouldn’t get answered. I would call and get voice mail and would recieve no call back.
I thought they were moving in the right direction earlier this year. ATL added some new features such as automatic scripts that would install common applications such as WordPress blog software. They updated the control panel and added a chat feature. The first time I tried to use the chat feature there was no one available, but they called me back right away and left me feeling good about ATL. They have since dropped the chat feature.To start my search I checked Dealmac.com to find out what other people were using. In the past I was most concerned about price and features, but now that I have paying customers and now that ATL’s service has slipped I am willing to pay more for service. Note: I’m only going to mention plans that appealed to me or that I thought were interesting.


ATLnetworks.com

Many of these hosting sites now support multiple domains in their plans; a feature ATL has added. I mentioned it to the last support guy I talked to but I don’t think it went any further. Unfortunately, ATL has locked their customers out of the billing screen!
Originially the deal was 50 mb for $30 per year per domain, which at the time was a great deal particularlly with all the email and features. Even now it’s not bad.
The current hosting plans:

  • Standard: $39/year, 1gb, 1-domain
  • Standard Plus: $69/year, 15gb, 2-domains
  • Inter Plus: $99/year, 20gb, 3-domains

BlueHost.com

This host appeals to me because the owner Matt Heaton has his own blog. This is something I think ATL should be doing. I think it makes the most sense to communicate with the customers if you can’t or won’t communicate one on one. Even though Blue Host seems the most like ATL, this blog makes me feel Blue Host is the best fit for me. hosting plan: $83.40/year, 50gb, 6-domains

05/31/07 Update: Heaton also owns Hostmonster.com which features unlimited domain hosting and a lower annual price.


Godaddy.com

I have registered all my domain names with GoDaddy and like them except for one thing: their web site and online checkout is full of advertising; it’s pretty intrusive too. They have many products and services- most of questionable value. I feel lucky to make it through the check out without buying some odd service I have no interest in. On the other hand they seem to have good customer service both on their web site and via telephone. They’ve offered hosting for a couple years and lately this service has become more competitive. I do worry that they’ve setup their hosting for novices. (This is always code for difficult for everyone else and rarely any easier for novices.)
hosting plans: $43.08/year, 5gb; $75.48/year, 100gb, unlimited domains- wow! Just make sure you pick the Linux hosting and not the Windows hosting. (If you sign up for their newsletter they send lots of coupon specials where you can save even more money.)

Update: I’ve since downloaded the PDF for Linux hosting and they use a control panel, which looks similar to the ones I’m familiar with.


Nearlyfreespeech.net

This may be the cheapested hosting for small and low traffic sites. The downside is they don’t directly deal with email. I have a couple web sites where that isn’t a problem.
This may be a smart move- break down each service and let the best company handle it. ie let Godaddy do the domain registration, Nearlyfreespeech do the hosting, and everyone.net do the email.
hosting plans
: $0.01/mb/month and $1.00/gb/transfer.
Everyone.net Email only, useful as an add-on.
email plans: $35/year. Godaddy also offers email only services.

05/31/07 Update: I’ve moved two small domain over to nearlyfreespeech.net- so far so good. I’m seriously considering moving my personal domain over as well.


Others

1&1 Hosting – $36/year, 5gb, I’ve bookmarked this a couple times. They seem to bill by the month so there may be discounts buying annually. They also have a $120/year, 200gb, 3-domain package. (other packages too.

icdsoft.com – $72/year, 1gb, 1-domain

powweb.com – $93.24/year, 20gb, 1-domain

allenhost.com – $72/year, .5gb, 1-domain; $144/year, 1gb, 1-domain

pair.com – $120/year, .5gb, 1-domain

web.com/icom.com – $95.40/year, 1gb, this is the hosting service my dad’s cousin uses. It’s a little on the expensive side but when I first saw it I was impressed by the amount of space he had. Now, everyone offers at least 1gb so it’s not very impressive.

itsamac.com: $99.50/year, 1gb, 1-domain. At one time (before my Mac hard drive failed and I switched to WindowsXP) this would have strongly appealed to me. It still does. If you think about the problems Windows has- so do Windows Servers. Linux servers are just as popular so there can be just as many problems with those servers. The Mac Server has very little market share and hence fewer problems with attacks.


Final Thoughts

At this point I’m not in any big hurry to start moving my web sites. I will try out some of these other hosts. Nearlyfreespeech seems like a no brainer for some of my tiny sites with little traffic and no email requirements. I would like to see how good the service is at Godaddy both the customer service and the performance of the site(s). The big winner in my eyes is BlueHost. If I had to change hosts today I would go with Blue Host; yet I’m not convinced that I’m going to be any happier on another host.

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 Posted by at 9:09 am