Just need a stable webhost
September 9, 2008 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a new webhost, with PHP and MySQL

I'm with Network Solutions right now, but their upgrade script from MySQL 4 to MySQL 5 broke something. The site runs fine locally on my Apache server, same PHP version, and connecting directly to their DB.

Their tech support is useless. I've been in contact about 6 times and
their not telling me anything I don't already know, and don't answer my questions. Apparently, it's not in the support flowchart.

So, I'm ditching them. The site isn't high traffic, but does need PHP and MySQL. Preferably Canadian, but not essential. I'm using webserve for another site, but don't like it.

Other suggestions, preferably cheap...?

And yes, I've already looked at previous threads.
posted by hungrysquirrels to Technology (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
pair.com has been recommended before, I've used them for 13 years, no problems. They have some reasonably cheap hosting plans, depending on what you need.
posted by maxwelton at 2:21 PM on September 9, 2008

I can never say enough good things about JaguarPC. I've only used them since 2003, but they're cheap (for shared hosting) and I've never had a problem that wasn't resolved promptly. They have a forum that the owner of the company, as well as the head of customer support, and many CSRs frequent.
posted by miscbuff at 2:28 PM on September 9, 2008

What do you define as cheap? I've only been with two providers ever and have nothing but good things to say about both of them. A Small Orange (asmallorange.com) offers inexpensive and reliable hosting plans with excellent support to back it up. I'm currently with Media Temple and also like their service a great deal. Media Temple's service is $20 per month, but you can find coupons that will bring that to $17. For with ASO, they offer a wider variety of plans varying from 'Tiny Oranges' to 'Large Oranges'. PHP, MySQL, Ruby, etc are standard with both of these providers.
posted by cgomez at 2:29 PM on September 9, 2008

How about getting your own virtual server? They're pretty cheap now and you have the option to install and upgrade your own stuff. I've had a pretty good experience with VPSLand.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:35 PM on September 9, 2008

Contra CGomez, I've had no end of problems with Media Temple, and advise you to stay far away from them unless you're renting an expensive dedicated system.

Layered Tech was good for awhile, but they recently hiked their prices by more than 40 percent, scaring away a lot of customers and annoying the rest. Not sure what their financial situation is like.

Hurricane Electric is still good, IME. Rackspace is fine.
posted by rokusan at 2:36 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Cheap being defined as <$10/month. Ideally good FTP support, catch-all e-mail, even better if it supports multiple domains pointed into sub-folders, control of DNS entries, etc.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 2:42 PM on September 9, 2008

Ready Set Connect has been my web host for the past three or four years. They support PHP 5 and MySQL 5.

Their tech support is top notch (any issues I have are resolved quickly) and the few times when I get hit with lots of traffic, my site stays up. They even weathered a handful of Slashdottings and Digg storms with not even a hiccup.

The service is cheaper than most, but don't let that discourage you. They're definitely reliable.
posted by plasticbugs at 2:44 PM on September 9, 2008

I've been with Vidahost for a couple of years. Cheap (but not so cheap that you worry), superb uptime and lightening fast replies to support queries, no matter what time of day/night. I've recommended them to a number of people, all of whom report the same satisfaction.
posted by ceri richard at 2:45 PM on September 9, 2008

I really like and recommend Genuian. They are cheap, reliable, offer great, timely support, and are hands-off. I've used them for many years. They're not as well known as some of the others, but that can be a good thing!
posted by karizma at 2:49 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Looks like there's a few options. Thanks everyone. One thing I want to avoid is resellers. I want shared hosting, but only if the company has ownership or direct access to the data center.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 3:07 PM on September 9, 2008

I use NearlyFreeSpeech and like them a lot. I don't think there's a cheaper option out there for low traffic sites. Cost is all usage-based instead of monthly fees for a particular limit of storage or bandwidth. I have seven sites hosted with them and it can cost me as little as a dollar a month.

I don't recommended them for users who rely on CPanel for managing sites but if you're running Apache locally then you're probably not one of them. NFS's management interface is custom and is sparse but does all that I need and I prefer it to all the GUI-based stuff. Their support has always been responsive and helpful.

No mail hosting but they offer robust mail forwarding service (it does cost extra -- $0.02 per domain per day) -- I use Google Apps for my mail so it isn't an issue.
posted by camcgee at 3:30 PM on September 9, 2008

Found this review site recently which surprisingly (for lists of web hosts) doesn't suck.
posted by kamelhoecker at 4:10 PM on September 9, 2008

ps - I recommend dropping your canadian requirement. Virtually all the data centers are in the US, and you'll probably just get a canadian reseller.
posted by kamelhoecker at 4:11 PM on September 9, 2008

MediaLayer is the host I've been using for around a year. I've not had any downtime issues with them, they're quick to respond to technical support requests, the speed is good, and their cheapest option is around $9 a month. I've used a lot of hosts the past couple of years, and they're the best and most reliable I've used to date.

NearlyFreeSpeech can get expensive. Just a warning.
posted by Dreamcast at 5:06 PM on September 9, 2008

Also, if you search on Web Hosting Talk for "MediaLayer", you can find a lot of positive user reviews of MediaLayer. All the positive experiences I read there are why I went with MediaLayer in the first place. Plus, I didn't get any results on Google for "medialayer sucks".
posted by Dreamcast at 5:09 PM on September 9, 2008

posted by judge.mentok.the.mindtaker at 5:11 PM on September 9, 2008

judge.mentok.the.mindtaker: He said "stable".
posted by Dreamcast at 5:12 PM on September 9, 2008

Yeah, gotta chime in here. on this one. Dreamhost was the worst hosting experience I've ever had. Avoid them at all costs. Terrible billing practices, frequent site outages. Bad bad bad.
posted by plasticbugs at 5:39 PM on September 9, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, I forgot to mention, I'd prefer to stay far away from dreamhost as well
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:18 PM on September 9, 2008

pair.com has a low cost hosting business called pairlite.com that is in your price range. I haven't used them but I'd be inclined to trust them based on my experience with Pair.
posted by Good Brain at 6:31 PM on September 9, 2008

I use NearlyFreeSpeech for some low-traffic sites as well. It's almost certainly the cheapest option around if you don't have a lot of transfer. Their technical support (email) is really excellent, and answered by people who actually know what's going on, rather than by people just following a script.

I don't recommend them unreservedly -- for some people, having a flat-rate, "unlimited" or very-high-cap hosting plan may be the best option -- but I suspect that their billing model makes sense for 90% of the sites out there. (Maybe a lot more than 90%.) That's why they're one of the few people who do it.

You have a big advantage in comparing their service versus another hosting company, because you have an existing site and an idea of your typical bandwidth requirements (the major variable cost driver).

Their major downsides (assuming the metered billing works out to your advantage), are that they only offer MySQL, not PostgreSQL, they don't offer static IPs, and they don't offer SSL. It's pretty straightforward HTTP hosting, not a replacement for a virtual server or a colo'ed box.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:50 PM on September 9, 2008

NearlyFreeSpeech, without a doubt.

- Pay per use -- if you only use 100MB of bandwidth in a month, you pay $0.10.
- Aggressively pro-free-speech stance. They'll only take down sites in the event of you committing copyright infringement, or receiving an order from a US court.
- FreeBSD cluster-based hosting. Your site won't fall over if it gets popular.
- kick-ass tech support -- need a PEAR module installed? No problem. Got a bizarre library you'd like made available for your CGI app? They'll help.
- They run a whole slew of "front-line" Squid proxies in front of your site to help boost performance under load.
- No overselling. You pay for what you use, and you get what you pay for. They won't "pull a Dreamhost" and boot you for actually using resources.

- No hand-holding -- they expect you to be reasonably competent with things like FTP, MySQL, etc.
- No 24x7 phone support.

I'd recommend you give them a try. They'll give you $0.02 balance free, and if you're anything like me, you'll wonder why you ever used another web host.
posted by -1 at 6:51 PM on September 9, 2008

Best answer: For shared hosting, I use bluehost - it's 7.50 a month for 12 months/6.50 if you go for a 24 month deal. They support multiple FTP server names (jailed to subfolders), catch-all-emails and domains pointed to sub folders. You don't get full DNS control - but tickets for CNAME/MX/SPF changes get answered pretty quickly.

I notice someone else has suggested a VPS server, which I won't recommend if all you need is basic mySQL and PHP access. That said, if you are looking for a cheap VPS - I highly recommend Web-Wide-Hosting. Great prices and good support - They helped me out through a major snafu on my paypal account without any complaints, I get sensible answers for questions (no canned bs) and if there is a problem they work damn hard to fix it.

PS: I just noticed that Web-Wide-Hosting have closed off signups for new VPS accounts on the Data Center I use - first time I've seen a VPS provider actually keep the promise of limiting accounts on a server farm!
posted by your mildly obsessive average geek at 2:51 AM on September 10, 2008

Response by poster: Bluehost looks promising, most along the lines of what I'm looking for. I've signed-up, just need to wait for the DNS entries to propagate. Worst case I'll dump one or more of my other sites onto it.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 6:31 AM on September 10, 2008

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