Paying for Web Hosting
December 18, 2003 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Searching for a web host is excrutiatingly painful. Tons of options, tons of discrepancies between hosts, how and who did you choose?

What's a reasonable price to be paying? $5, $10, $20/month?

I'm currently on Webstrike Solutions with 100 meg space and 2 gig bandwidth. I'm paying $7/month for great service, but sometimes I feel like I could be getting 10 times the space and bandwidth for the same price/service somewhere else. Is that reason enough to be moving, though?
posted by jacobw to Computers & Internet (45 answers total)
I'd reccommend Verve Hosting. I was totally fed up with so I put out a call on my blog (including my particular needs) and several people reccommended Verve. Several months down the line with them I'm happy as a clam and have yet to have a single issue with them. I pay $10 a month for a plan that gives me everything I need.
posted by vraxoin at 3:21 PM on December 18, 2003

Subquestion: why can't I ever spell "recommend" correctly?
posted by vraxoin at 3:22 PM on December 18, 2003

I've been extremely happy with Pair Networks. I shopped around after enduring a couple of years with an incompetent local ISP. Pair's support is fast and polite, and their FreeBSD boxes are speedy and stable. They're a little expensive compared to others, but in this case I think you get what you pay for. And Pair will waive your setup fee if you're moving from another host. (Note that I'm not affiliated with them in any way.)
posted by hyperizer at 3:25 PM on December 18, 2003

Dreamhost has been fantastic for me and my clients. I've used cheaper and more expensive hosts but have never been more satisfied.
posted by dobbs at 3:34 PM on December 18, 2003

Webhosting Talk Forums are the place to find good hosts, and research any host you are considering.

I pay $60/year for 1GB space, and 5GB bandwidth per month at 24HostingNow.
posted by riffola at 3:35 PM on December 18, 2003

I'm at HostRocket. I'm very happy with them. 50 gig of bandwidth and 1000 megs storage with the special they have right now.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:36 PM on December 18, 2003

Oops. I should add that's for $10/month.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:36 PM on December 18, 2003

IMO, $100/year is quickly becoming a benchmark for decent, few frills hosting. ReadyHosting and both offer generous disk space, unlimited bandwidth, acceptable control panels and web-based email. As expected, service leaves a bit to be desired, though I've heard Catalog's is better than RH's (I soured on RH when they lost the backup of my site -- after they let my site get deleted by a hacker).

I personally was just shopping for a new host and (thanks to this Ask MeFi thread) found 1&1, an enterprise-level host that is making a move to the consumer level. Their current promotion provides 3 years of free hosting -- no catch. I signed up yesterday and I am quite pleasantly surprised at how much I am getting for my $0 (very good control panel, ok web-based email, unlimited domains pointed to any directories you want).
posted by o2b at 3:39 PM on December 18, 2003

I host and manage a lot of sites over at Michal is a blogger, runs the place himself, and offers easy-to-use sites that vary according to your skill level, starting at $5/mo, ranging to $20/mo for full shell access. I've been happy with their reliability and his accessibility. As you can see from what some people are posting here, you need to think about what you need in advance. Someplaces are cheap but give you little disk space, or they have severe bandwidth limits. If you have an idea of what you are looking for, it will be easier to choose from among the many hosting companies.
posted by jessamyn at 3:39 PM on December 18, 2003

Dude, LunarPages ... great deal, good service, FAST servers.
posted by SpecialK at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2003


RIDICULOUS hosting plans
posted by lotsofno at 3:50 PM on December 18, 2003

right now? sign up for 3 free years with Expires 1/14/04.
posted by muckster at 3:52 PM on December 18, 2003

I use Small Packages. The owner, Shelagh, is very accomadating, for example she allows me to pay by cheque cos I don't have a credit card. For 100meg space and 2gig transfer, you can pay either $6 monthly or $60 a year.
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:53 PM on December 18, 2003

Pair is very good. I ran sort of parallel accounts with Pair and Dreamhost for six months and Pair was rock-solid. In the end I went with dreamhost (moved a small pile of domains over) primarily because I could support myself more easily with forums than with local usenet groups. Dreamhost drops the ball once in a while, but always seems to recover gracefully. They upgrade plans regularly - compared to when I signed on I now have twice the bandwidth, more than twice the disk, twice the number of allowable hosted domains/account, etc. all without a price increase. Dreamhost has a slightly goofy ethos that I find endearing. DH is debian linux, if it matters to you.
posted by cairnish at 3:55 PM on December 18, 2003

I vote for 1&1. There seem to be absolutely no strings attached.

Other than that I can't get them to explain to me how to simulate the Alias and ScriptAlias commands in Apache, 'cause they don't seem to let me use 'em in the httpd.conf file myself. Grr.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:23 PM on December 18, 2003

I am happy at Insider Hosting, in addition to utilizing the currently free 1&1 mentioned already. A decent cheap Windows host is Parcom.
posted by sageleaf at 4:27 PM on December 18, 2003

I'd echo the recommendations for Pair. They are certainly more expensive than other hosts, but I have had absolutely no downtime with them for over two years of service, and they have provided very quick and reasonable support. If someone else is paying for your webhosting, Pair is absolutely the way to go.

I have also heard good things about Dreamhost, although they are not quite up to the perfect standards of Pair.
posted by adrianhon at 4:52 PM on December 18, 2003

I continue to hear great things about Last Home Networks.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:57 PM on December 18, 2003

I vote for 1&1. There seem to be absolutely no strings attached.

As long as you live in the US or Canada. Otherwise, you are completely out of luck with their 3 year free offer :-(
posted by dg at 5:14 PM on December 18, 2003

I'll second the Verve recommendation, I've been hosting my personal sites with them for around 18 months and have no complaints. The shell is especially nice to have, and not that easy to come by with inexpensive hosts.

That said, 1&1 is running the free deal for another month and the price is hard (impossible?) to beat. I haven't moved any domains there -- going with the old, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" theory -- but have an account with them that has worked perfectly for some time now.
posted by cedar at 5:20 PM on December 18, 2003

I'm using 1&1 right now, and it's great. A hell of a lot better than my last ISP,, which seems, at least to me, to be selling account information to spammers, or at the very least, has a publicly known "master list" of hosted email accounts.

They are really cheap though...
posted by SweetJesus at 5:20 PM on December 18, 2003

1an1 has been okay for me, in the few weeks I've used them but the response time for service questions is really slow, several days to a week, and the answer is not always as I'd like. IE, they won't let you write PHP scripts that include files from another (non-1and1) host.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:21 PM on December 18, 2003

billsaysthis: "...they won't let you write PHP scripts that include files from another (non-1and1) host."

Sure they will. I just tested it and sucked in some text with a PHP include from another weblog (different host).

It's the top right box in my never to be public lame porn blog attempt.
posted by cedar at 5:52 PM on December 18, 2003

As long as you live in the US or Canada.

Eh, what? There are other places to live?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2003

I hate 1&1 and would advise not to go there, free or no free. Their interface sucks rocks and is slow as hell. I took advantage of their offer, set up an email address (which says it exists but i can't get it to work). Did I mention it's slow as hell?
posted by dobbs at 6:57 PM on December 18, 2003

I love Dreamhost as well.
posted by ao4047 at 7:39 PM on December 18, 2003

There are quite a few Web hosting reviews here with posts and comments from a bunch of Web hosting users.
posted by wackybrit at 8:19 PM on December 18, 2003

everyone I know says pretty good things about Pair, but I have to stick up for Phpwebhosting. They are a sensible host that offers only one plan, since they seem to carter to smaller sites and they realize that most users don't make a dent in their monthly bandwidth or space alottments.

I tested their "unmetered" (not unlimited, there is no such thing) bandwidth when a video on my site got very popular very fast and I went from about 1 gig a month to over 10gigs in two days. I sent a worried email saying that I'd pay for extra bandwidth if needed, but I got a very polite email back saying that it was no problem at all and that as long as the usage didn't stay that way for extended periods, it was totallty acceptable. I have a lot of resepect for them not gouging me in that situation. That, and I've been there about a year and a half and haven't had a single problem.
posted by Hackworth at 9:29 PM on December 18, 2003

I'm on AffordableHost, which, like others above, I arrived at via the WHT forums, quite cheap with lots of features. (As low as $25/year for a basic package.) The catch is there's no phone support, which is fine since their email and IRC support have been fast and flawless.

(It's also rumored that the company owner, Tina Peters, invented the internet.)
posted by brownpau at 9:56 PM on December 18, 2003

Pair #1, Dreamhost #2.

I'm tried about 7 other host. Those were the best. Hostrocket was by far the worse. Just freakin' awful.
posted by justgary at 10:11 PM on December 18, 2003

I agree with Hackworth. I've had my account with for 2 years? Something like that. No problems for me at all.
posted by gen at 10:33 PM on December 18, 2003

As a former (look them on on forums) victim I just have a couple of comments. First, if any company says something is "unlimited" it is a lie. Period. Second, if they require a commitment of a year, walk away. Finally, never ever use a hosting company's "free" domain registration. Good luck getting control of your domain if you change hosting providers due to a problem. (I never personally had the problem with the last thing because I always used a registrar independent of the hosting company, but I know a bunch of people that lost domains due to this.) Before FP melted down I switched to Dathorn Internet and have been extremely happy since then.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:31 PM on December 18, 2003

Oops. I just clicked that link to make sure it worked and right there on the home page was the word "unlimited". Just to put it in context, these are reseller accounts that can be used to set up any number of domains per account limited only by the disk space and bandwidth package you purchase. I run a small e-commerce site on their Basic package. By beware "unlimited" I meant companies that claim unlimited bandwidth or disk space.
posted by AstroGuy at 11:43 PM on December 18, 2003

DSVR. They used to be pretty cheap, but they aren't so cheap any more. £300.00 a year for 300 Mb of space. (They also have cheaper and free options) The service is great though. I've been using them for 3 years now; no complaints.
posted by seanyboy at 1:56 AM on December 19, 2003

re 1&1. Rumour (THAT'S RUMOUR - I'M NOT SAYING IT'S TRUE) has it that the reason 1&1 are giving away Disk space and Bandwidth is because they shelled out a fortune on a huge data-center in Germany. They've only managed to fill a tiny fraction of it, so have resorted to giving away what is left in the hope that they'll scupper the competition before they (1&1) go bust.
posted by seanyboy at 2:06 AM on December 19, 2003

I've found Brinkster to be reliable if you want an ASP host with SQL Server space.
posted by normy at 2:34 AM on December 19, 2003

This doesn't really belong here, but from what I've read, the rumors about are from people who are angry about the service coming in and "stealing" customers from them. Some people think they are similar to a Microsoft who has so much money that they can just roll over the competition by giving things away for free (remember when you had to *buy* Netscape?)
posted by ajpresto at 3:24 AM on December 19, 2003

You can get around the 1&1 US/Canada only thing if you get one of your friends (or, even, someone from here, as I did) to fill out the form for you. Once that's taken care of and you've got the passwords and whatnot, they really don't give a damn where you're living.

For my own sites, I'm currently using them and Ventures Online. I pay a little more than usual, but I also know they won't drop-kick my fan site just for existing, which happened when we were on Simplenet. I also use Slashcity, but that's a purely fandom-based webhost. Great if you've decided to make a fanfiction archive, bad if you're not a big ol' geek like me.

And, finally, if you're in the UK and just want some basic space, I've discovered that Qbic isn't too bad. You can get a decent amount of stuff for £25 a year.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:01 AM on December 19, 2003

I've been on for nearly two years and the only time I have ever had a problem was this past summer when there were all those viruses and they were filtering them out of email. Other than that, it's been great. I usually get responses to my support requests within a day (usually within hours) and my site has never been down. Or if it has, I haven't noticed.
posted by eilatan at 6:23 AM on December 19, 2003

The 1&1 deal seems too good to be true, but enough people here have signed up, apparently without sacrificing any children, that it must be worth looking into.

Regardless, I'll put in a good word for my host, DR2, which is cheap and has al the bells and whistles I might want. Good support.
posted by adamrice at 6:30 AM on December 19, 2003

I see you use Movable Type, so you might want to take a look at the MT support boards for some recommendations about hosts that are specifically "MT-friendly" (meaning that by default they provide all the access and Perl modules you'll need, and they're aware of the existence and nature of Movable Type, and therefore don't give you grief about "server load" from rebuilding your MT site). Search the Feedback forum for "hosts" or for the specific provider you're thinking of using.

I realize that the above advice may give you exactly what you were trying to avoid by posting this question, which is a ton of undifferentiated information, so I will add that from what I've seen of the MT forum threads, the most frequently recommended host is Dreamhost.
posted by staggernation at 7:29 AM on December 19, 2003

if your're running a really complex web site, avoid dreamhost like the plague. as the former host of the mirror project, they made me want to poke my eyes out with sticks with alarming frequency. dreamhost routinely makes "improvements" to their servers which break everything.

i still have my personal sites there and have found that they typically respond to mt problems with "it's a crap app" kind of attitude.

my main beef is that for what i was spending, i really wanted a company where i could pick up the phone and talk to someone when things went bad. their support forms take over 24 hours to respond and many of the times, the response is canned and unhelpful.

i've heard great things about pair.
posted by heather at 9:31 AM on December 19, 2003

Hello, I just wanted to add that I think it's quite worth it to pay a little more in order to do business with a company that is accountable and can provide quick and competent support. In my experience the dirt-cheap crazy-unlimited diskspace/bandwidth/features companies are great about support in the pre-sale and immediate post-sale period, but it sucks when things deteriorate from there on out and eventually you can't seem to get ahold of a human at all.

That said, I've been with Modwest for several years now, and have found them to be an excellent host. I feel they are very responsive and accountable to their customers (always reporting downtime - planned or not) and I find their knowledge base to be an excellent resource. While not the cheapest game in town, their server setup seems quite mature to me, with all the open source software you could want (Apache/Perl/PHP/MySQL/Python/Ruby and so on) and the means to fully support it.
posted by lpqboy at 10:24 AM on December 19, 2003

This should become the ultimate thread for finding a host. And as such, I cannot fail to add mine: ICDSoft. I've been there for over a year, and they are incredibly inexpensive, reliable, and responsive. ($5/month, 333 MB space, 5 Gigs Transfer). Love 'em.
posted by taz at 5:45 PM on December 19, 2003

Response by poster: Interesting about I found FTP'ing to be remarkably slow. I'm located in the U.S., and my current host is in Australia. It's very speedy. I figured with the distance, though, that speed would improve. Nope. Remarkably slow FTP response/ping.

They did have a nice 30-day money back guarantee and continued helping me transfer a domain name away from them several months later.
posted by jacobw at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2003

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