Looking for good, cheap hosting
October 1, 2004 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Since web hosting companies tend to come and go like ships on the tide, I would like to revisit this question ... with a few alterations. I want the price to stay below $10 a month, possibly even under $5. Instead of 20mb of space, I want 500mb or more. Also, I want PHP, MySql, CGI scripting, FTP, webmail, etc ... and if their servers run on Apache, then all the better. Any recommendations?
posted by grabbingsand to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A while back, a company called 1and1 had a special where you could get 3 free years of web hosting, no strings attached. I thought it was too good to be true, but heck, I had nothing to lose. A year later, I have absolutely nothing but excellent things to say about them.

Their customer support is fantastic. Their package includes MySQL, PHP (with the gdImage libraries), FTP, webmail, all that jazz. This was for an account they're making zero money off of.

So I checked out their site for you, and here's what their general package offers:

1 Domain name registration Free
2 GB web space
50 Sub-domains
5 FTP accounts
500 POP3 email accounts (50 Mb storage each)
50 GB transfer / month
MySQL, PHP, FTP, CGI, Webmail... etc., etc., etc.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:39 AM on October 1, 2004

Oh, that's $9.99 / mo.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:39 AM on October 1, 2004

Dreamhost has always been popular with the... uh... bloggerati. My brother-in-law quite likes Globat but he might not notice short outages or similar problems.

My money is on pair Networks as the best in terms of reliability (and any other benchmark you'd care to apply to hosting) but it doesn't fit your price criteria. They have sub-$10 plans but they are a bit feature limited at that price point.
posted by bcwinters at 10:43 AM on October 1, 2004

I'm no blogger, but I second Dreamhost as feature-rich and convenient. Nobody touches Pair for reliability that I know of, however. I used both concurrently for a while and settled on DH despite its occasional outages. You can find some DH horror stories - I won't deny anyone else's experience. Mine have been serene for the several years I've been there with multiple sites.
posted by cairnish at 10:55 AM on October 1, 2004

As always before deciding on a host search for them at WebHostingTalk.com to find out just what their customers and peers think.
posted by riffola at 11:11 AM on October 1, 2004

Dreamhost no doubt. Pair is better but you pay for it in terms of price.

Unlike Civil_Disobedient I've had nothing but trouble with 1and1 and would recommend them to no one. Customer service has been awful and don't dare register a domain with them or your asking for trouble.

My account with them is free and yet somehow I still feel ripped off. That should tell you something.
posted by justgary at 11:53 AM on October 1, 2004


Like justgary, I had a domain hosted with them for FREE and it was a ripoff. I've had sites on various hosts for almost 12 years and they're the worst I've ever dealt with, bar none.

On the other hand, Dreamhost is the best I've dealt with.
posted by dobbs at 12:06 PM on October 1, 2004

hijack: dsl/cable internet providers with possible good wireless capabilities?
(current free dial up access from friends and corporate shame payback)
posted by ethylene at 12:16 PM on October 1, 2004

No problems with 1&1, but I do this stuff for a living. Not sure if that makes a difference.
posted by yerfatma at 12:18 PM on October 1, 2004

Not sure about Apache, but Total Choice Hosting meets the rest of your criteria. $4 for 450MB, $5 for 850MB.
posted by hootch at 12:20 PM on October 1, 2004

I've used Dreamhost for years and recommend it.

The main criticism of them is that they only do customer service via email and can take up to 24 hours to respond. They're very active about resolving problems promptly and send out messages when they happen.

Also, their control panel gives you a lot of control over your settings (which mitigates the customer service aspect for me), but it can be a little overwhelming and intimidating for people who are less technically inclined.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2004

Seriously, I have three free years with 1and1, but I signed up with a different host instead -- Lypha, at $9.95 per month. Lypha's quite cheap and cheerful with fewer limits on things than most webhosts impose, but their uptime can be a little shoddy.

1and1's hosting, though, is really slow and decidedly nonstandard (ie. it's damn hard to get most software to work on it), with tech support that seems to be almost nonexistent. Absolute rubbish.
posted by reklaw at 12:36 PM on October 1, 2004

To throw in my lot with the 1&1 complainers, their webmail stinks. I only use my account for image storage, though, and cannot say anything at all about their support.
posted by codger at 12:51 PM on October 1, 2004

fatcow. i love love love them. great customer service, very knowledgable, always straightforward. they have all you want (including Apache servers -- though they charge $10 extra (one time fee) to set up MySQL) for $99/year. no monthly plan option, but if you can pay it all up front, it works out to less than $10/month even if you get the MySQL.
posted by sa3z at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2004

Vizaweb, can't say enough good about them. In addition to great uptime, they actually post a phone number on their site & answer their phone (occasionally) to help with tech issues. NO ONE does this.

Plus, they have about 30 great open source software packages (gallery, nuke, etc.) set up for one-click installation through cpanel.

$5.95/month for 1000MB space, everything you asked for, 70GB bandwidth, a few different kinds of webmail...email meif you want to know more.
posted by luser at 1:27 PM on October 1, 2004

I've been using phpwebhosting for years. It's $10/month but less if you pay a year's up front. It's sort of a "for geeks, by geeks" kind of company. All customer support is through e-mail in the control panel, but they're really good about responding within a day. Traffic and disk space are basically unlimited as long as you're not hosting anything illegal. I've never had a problem with them.
posted by web-goddess at 2:28 PM on October 1, 2004

I would never ever choose Dreamhost again in a million years. Running the Mirror Project with them was like banging my head against a brick wall.

Tech support sucketh greatly with cycles of canned responses to questions taking days to resolve issues. I don't think they do more than skim the first email.

I will eventually move all my remaining sites to Pair.
posted by heather at 3:56 PM on October 1, 2004

I like 1and1. Grodworks.com and openinghooks.us are both hosted with them and my GF uses them for agapihan.com and we've never had a problem. The free account is somewhat limited in terms of bandwidth but they don't charge much for extra and their $10 plan sounds exactly like what you are looking for. For those who bitch about 1and1, if you got a free 3 year plan, just how much support did you expect? I mean, php, mySQL, cgi, ability to install perl modules, shell access, low overage charges, unlimited domains... what more could you ask for in a free plan? So they don't give any support to those of us who don't pay. Big deal. If you support is critical you are going to pay for it with anyone.

I'd say check out 1and1.com. note that has my referral id if this is a problem for you the direct link is http://www.1and1.com
posted by Grod at 4:08 PM on October 1, 2004

My company sends people to fatcow, the service sa3z mentioned. I am also partial to Hurricane Electrice, who, seriously, just never has technical issues. Well, maybe twice in six years of having an account with them. I keep thinking I should cancel it, because I have accounts/hosts where I can park any number of domains, but because they never go down, I can't bring myself to.

Used to send customers to aplus.net, too, which was mostly good.
posted by weston at 4:44 PM on October 1, 2004

Running the Mirror Project with them was like banging my head against a brick wall.

I'm sure your site gets a ton more traffic than 99 percent of the personal sites run by mefi members.

Grabbing sand, there's no host that's perfect. People have bad experiences with every host. You have to look at the big picture.

Of all the hosts I've used even briefly hostrocket and 1and1 were the worst. Phpwebhosting is good. Dreamhost to me is the perfect blend of price and features.

Pair is also the best I've used, but for a personal site their prices are really of hight. If you compare what you get for the price pair isn't even in the same ball park as dreamhost. So you should get better service. If you didn't , with their prices, they'd have no business. Really, when people compare pair with dreamhost it's like comparing apples with oranges, wal-mart with a high priced specialty store. It's really not fair.

I'd use dreamhost, since most people seem to love them. And if they don't work for you, try the others listed here. If none do the job for you, I'd go to pair if you can handle paying twice as much, but I think its a little much for the majority of personal sites.

If you're talking about running a business, then you probably need to pay more than 10 bucks a month,.
posted by justgary at 5:08 PM on October 1, 2004

I'll second the recommendation of phpwebhosting. They rock. No noticeable downtime unless something goes seriously wrong (fiery server death for instance), prompt response to questions and emails (I once had a problem with my website on Christmas Eve - they responded and fixed it in less than an hour)... really great.
posted by sailoreagle at 5:24 PM on October 1, 2004

Recent homework on this chez moi, some duplication of info above, but it helped me to see it this way. I haven't changed or decided anything based on it yet, though.
posted by mwhybark at 1:12 AM on October 2, 2004

No complaints about Dreamhost, here. I've been with them since 1998, and I've had my own server elsewhere for one year now, but I still kept several sites with them because the sites have been running on their servers for many (mostly) trouble-free years and I don't see any reason to move.

I'm on the $19.95 Code Monster plan, but since I've been referring their services to a few of my visitors (which means I get referral payments), I've been paying between maybe $5 or $10 a month on average these last years.
posted by ckemp at 1:41 AM on October 2, 2004

I would normally shy away from posting a response to a thread of this nature, but this is an important question.

(I actually remember working with you, grabbingsand, when we were experiencing massive problems with our mutual host: DBWired.)

I read once, at webhostingtalk, a statement by a poster exclaiming simply: 'pair: you get what you pay for.'

I have been with pair ever since (three years) and have found their support unreal in comparison to my trials with other hosts.

The people of pair have actually gone as far as to aid me, unsolicited, with a PHP program I was building, all because of a question I had regarding MySQLDump. The gentleman assigned to my plight continued to assist me well in to a Saturday, after I had sent the ticket the Friday afternoon before.

This is only one example of pair going out of their way to help, and their attitude towards their customers has solidified my relationship with them for as long as I need a place to store my items on a server.

I understand the importance of cost, though there are some things that are worth paying the price for excellence.
posted by tenseone at 6:31 AM on October 2, 2004

A quaint aside: because of the turmoil experienced mutually in regards to DBWired, grabbingsand became my first referrer.
posted by tenseone at 6:35 AM on October 2, 2004

I too jumped on the free 1and1 hosting offer and have kinda regretted it. I have a decently trafficked local music news site that has suffered some pretty intense downtimes over the past year or so. although in fairness, I recommended them ages ago to a friend and as far as I know his paid account has been spared any outages. I reckon they keep the free ones on a different server?

I rather like hummingbird hosting and have been working on migrating the sites I have hosted on 1and1 to my account there. the cheapest $10 a month offer gives you 1 gig of space and 15 gigs of traffic on an apache server, 5 domains, mysql, php (with gd), phpmyadmin, perl, webmail (you can have up to 50 different pop3 e-mail accounts), and smtp access. most of their service is done via e-mail and I've never had to wait more than a few hours for a reply.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:42 AM on October 2, 2004

I'll second Weston's rec. of Hurricane Electric (he.net), though they aren't exactly price competitive these days. I hosted with them for about 6 years as well and only had maybe a handful of instances of downtime.
posted by shoepal at 5:02 PM on October 2, 2004

i use hummingbird hosting too and i've never had any problems with them. they've let me swap between plans without any extra charges, they answer support emails within a few hours. my sites have never been down, so far!

mcsweetie says the cheapest deal is $10 p/m but they actually have a secret $4.95 p/m plan too. sometimes it's on their page as a special offer, but mostly it isnt. i think you can specifically ask for it by email and they'll let you have it, though. the $4.95 plan has 500MB of space and all the other doobywhatsits, and you can use it for 2 domains.
posted by kv at 8:23 AM on October 3, 2004

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