Host Hunt

14 March 2004

I’ve been researching web hosts over the past several days, preparing to move foldedspace.org to one offering more space and a lower price.

What is a web host?

Foldedspace.org, and every other web site, resides on computer called a webserver. This webserver is connected to the internet at all times, allowing you faithful readers to have instant access to this site’s content.

While it’s possible for a person to host a web site on their own personal computers (a la Matt and his family of sites), there are many reasons to pay another company to do this for you.

I’ve been paying Omnis Hosting to host my web site. In the four years I’ve been with them, they’ve not altered their service packages an iota. When I signed up, it cost $17/month for 100mb of disk space, 10gb of transfer, and 25 e-mail addresses. It still costs $17 for 100mb of disk space 10gb of transfer and 25 e-mail addresses.

The foldedspace.org family of web sites has grown so that it occupies about 95mb of disk space (more if I forget to clean out the stats files, or if Denise uploads a bunch of cute pictures of Ryan and I don’t remember to reduce their size). Combined, we generate about 2gb of traffic every month. Omnis’ plan is no longer acceptable.

Take a look at what other companies offer:

Company $/mo Disk Transfer E-mail Subd.
Powweb $8 1gb 150gb 650 unl.
Citizen Hosting $8 500mb 20gb 300 ???
iPowerWeb $8 800mb 40gb 400 ???
Total Choice(a) $9 850mb 12gb unl. yes
Dreamhost(a) $10 500mb 25gb 75 15
Surpass Hosting(a) $10 2gb 30gb unl. ???
Surpass Hosting(b) $15 4gb 35gb unl. ???
Total Choice(b) $15 1gb 18gb unl. yes
Omnis Hosting $17 100mb 10gb 25 no
Dreamhost(b) $20 1.6gb 40gb 375 75

Omnis Hosting provides the weakest package of the bunch. Whenever I’ve contacted them about adding a la carte features (in other words, adding more disk space at some set fee, say $5/100mb), they’ve refused to do it. They say I need to upgrade to the next plan. Even their top plan, at $27/month, only offers 200mb of storage. A change is in order.

I’m currently leaning toward Powweb. For $8/mo, they offer quite a bit of disk space and unlimited subdomains. I also like their great help forums.

Here’s my plea to you: if you have a web site (in particular, a weblog), please share your experiences with your hosting service. Who are you with? What do they offer? How much does it cost? Are you happy with them? I’m trying to make an informed decision, and the more info I can gather, the better.

Comments


On 15 March 2004 (09:56 AM),
Lisa said:

Matt H. and I both use 1&1 hosting. They ran a potentially too good to be true deal last year (3 years free). I don’t have time to figure out what their deal is now, but they’ve been reliable so far.

www.1and1.com



On 15 March 2004 (11:02 AM),
Cat said:

I’ve been with Cornerhost for a few years now, and I’ve never had a better experience. Admittedly, the online tools are not fully developed, but it’s run by a real person who understand the needs of bloggers.

The plan list is here:

http://www.cornerhost.com/plans/

Good luck on your switch–it’s always a litte nerve-wracking.



On 15 March 2004 (12:22 PM),
Jared said:

My site is hosted off of the ISP that I work for so I get it for free. However I have seen that ReadySetConnect.comhas pretty good rates.



On 15 March 2004 (12:22 PM),
dowingba said:

Something about DreamHost that does not show up in your chart is that they offer unlimited MySQL databases, even on their cheapest (500mb) plan. That means you could use a different database for each of your “family” of weblogs, if you wanted (which would speed up the dynamic loading of comment scripts and would speed up posting entries and comments as well, and so forth).

Don’t use 1and1. I used them for a while because of their 3 years free offer (which isn’t offered anymore) and, quite frankly, they suck. They’re SQL databases (each user gets 1) are embedded in other databases and so on and so on to the point that it’s ridiculously slow and unreliable. Also they don’t offer phpMyAdmin or anything to manually edit database tables and the like, and scripts such as cgi and php don’t even work properly. Their new deals aren’t good value anyway, for what they offer.

Of all those hosts in your list I’ve used (and use currently,as you know) DreamHost, and they’ve been great so far (about a week). I’ve used 3 different webhosts in the past 6 months, and I think I can sniff out a crappy host now from a mile away.

Again, I will recommend you go look at the DreamHost support forums to find out just what kind of a company they are. I think you’ll be pleased at the honest way they run a business. They’ve been around since 1997, too, which gives added stability (they won’t just go out of business all of a sudden, for instance).

DreamHost has the most advanced control panel I’ve ever seen, also. Every option you could ever want is available. You can run PHP as CGI, edit databases, create database hosts, edit .htaccess permissions. I’m just very impressed. But I’ve only been with them a week or two so…



On 15 March 2004 (12:29 PM),
mac said:

I use Ipowerweb…But unfortunately, I don’t have any idea about if they’re good or not. I’ve never had any problems with them and they seem fairly cost effective.



On 15 March 2004 (12:43 PM),
dowingba said:

PS: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Shared hosting is the equivelent of living in a dorm. It’s tolerable, but you’ve gotta get your own place if you want to ever be fully content.

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