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Web hosting companies

We currently host graphpad.com on a shared server at DataReturn. They've done a good job, but we'd prefer to move to a solo server, to reduce down time.

We also are wary of staying with DataReturn because they have been acquired by divine.com. I can't imagine they'll last long, because they can't even say what they do. From the home page: "By combining solutions in collaboration, interaction, and knowledge, divine enables companies to stretch the edges of the enterprise into new territory, increasing profits through greater revenue, productivity, and customer loyalty." I wonder what that means?

We host another site (statmate.net) on a shared Win 2000 server at  CrystalTech.com. They are really great in every way. But if we switch to a solo server there, the rules change. It is our server, and we (not they) have to worry about security patches, OS upgrades, etc. We can pay them hourly to do stuff for us, but it is our responsibility to stay on top of things, not theirs.

Being on a shared server is like living in a penthouse with room service. I want that to continue. I just want to pay more rent to get rid of the noisy neighbors. I don't want to move to a codo. I don't want to learn how to manage a server -- I want someone else to do it. Basically I want the services of a shared Windows 2000 server (with SQL and ColdFusion), but am willing to pay enough to not have to share it with anyone else.

Any suggestions of hosting companies? Ones to seek out? Ones to avoid?

Harvey Motulsky
Sunday, December 16, 2001

I would definitely avoid Blueberry Hill Communications ( www.bluehill.com ).  See, for example, this story about Blueberry Hill's business practices:

http://www.snopes2.com/inboxer/scams/bhcom.htm

Caveat emptor
Sunday, December 16, 2001

If reliability is your problem then I would recommend against a dedicated server and host with a really *good* shared host. You will experience more uptime because it's watched 24 hours, the system adminstrator keeps security patched up to date, etc, etc.

A lot of people don't like shared hosting because they have selected a bad host and God knows there are a lot of bad hosts out there.

My recommendation would be to go with
http://www.FutureQuest.net

They are not the cheapest, but if your web site matters it could not be at a better place. Just check out the public forums at:
http://www.aota.net/forums/

When searching for a host or a dedicated server you should always check out:
http://www.webhostingtalk.com
and do google newsgroup searches. Beware of the so called top 20 best host lists, because it's generally the host which buys the most advertisement which is on top.

Here are some more links for people looking for hosts:
http://hosthelp.com/
http://www.forumhosts.com/hosts.htm

Jan Derk

Jan Derk
Sunday, December 16, 2001

I suggest going to a place like like webhosters:
http://www.webhosters.com
(I like the use of narrowing parameters on their search engine)

After you check the reviews and use their search engines to narrow your parameters.  Then go to google.groups and see comments posted by prior users.  After this sifting process, e-mail their sales divisions of the ones you think you might want to use with *detailed* queries and see how long they take to respond, if at all.  You might also call their sales division and talk to the people-mostly to see that you get through, because sales people don't really know much and will try to sell you things they have no clue about.

Watch out for the following....

No phone number on the website -I've worked in customer service before, and I understand a lot of calls are nusciance, but you *need* more than one way to contact these people if you're going to actually give them a credit card #.

"Unlimited bandwidth" - this actually means unlimited *within* reason, the webhoster determining within reason.  I suggest you ask them point blank if they can handle say 10 GIGs a month (if you have 20 GIGs or more of traffic, dedicated is mostly the way to go, though I've seen one service that offers shared with 25 GIGs of traffic).

Don't respond to your e-mail queries -if they can't get someone to get back to you-I don't think that says much for their customer service.  Customer service is in my opinion a *major* value-added feature.  A lot of things like space, server type, etc. are pretty commidified, so you can almost always find a place cheaper with the same general specs, but you're not guaranteed the same service and possibly uptime.

Ignore the most positive and negative reviews on the usenet -see what the median is.  Sometimes there are server problems that hosters can't do anything about-and that leaves a bad taste in their mouths.  On the other hand, some of the rave reviews are from people who don't need specialized features like database access, mod_perl, etc.

I use two primary hosters.  OLM ( http://www.olm.com ), and Webxonline ( http://www.webxonline.com ).  OLM is for my more serious accounts-those that are more "mission critical."  They have a very prompt customer service division and you can actually get through to tech support on the phone.  They also have a good web based interface for changing your files quick & dirty without having to load an HTML editor or FTP ( much better than cobalt's site manager ).  Webxonline I use for sites that are less mission critical and for those on a budget.  Webhosters did a promotion with them that had a $6.95/month for 400 MB and MySQL, PHP, ASP (chilisoft), Perl, etc. (vs. $34 a month at OLM for comparable specs).  That's a pretty good value-though they're customer service seems to be one guy and their uptime can leave a little bit to be desired occasionally ( the deal is no longer on Webhosters, but the file still exists at http://www.webxonline/webhosters , and they still honor the deal).

Best of luck

razib kahn
Sunday, December 16, 2001

Rackspace claims to provided dedicated machines with system admin work including security updates.  The keyword is "managed hosting"

Carl Coryell-Martin
Monday, December 17, 2001

MMAWeb is quite good when it comes to features.

www.mmaweb.net

They kept my site running without problems for some months already.

Philippe Back
Tuesday, December 18, 2001

I have used Innerhost, and found them to be excellent.  They have some sort of new plan which is supposed to be a combination between shared and dedicated.  They are located at: http://www.innerhost.com

Another one I've heard is excellent, especially for high end systems like dedicated clusters, is OrcsWeb.  They are located at: http://www.orcsweb.com

The next time I start hosting again, I will get two shared plans, one from each of the companies mentioned above.  Small plans, with no time commitment at all.  It shouldn't take too long after that to figure out which to keep and upgrade, and which to dump.

Scot Martin
Tuesday, December 18, 2001

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