63

I've used many over the years like Media Temple gs, dreamhost, slicehost, and some others that I don't care to remember. But it's pretty hard to find a new host with search engines, because they normally give you those crappy affiliate driven reviews sites.

Which host would you use for:

  • Small personal websites with small traffic.
  • Medium to large websites/applications with medium to large traffic.
  • What host would you use for your assets (large images, media, etc...).
  • Favorite dedicated/vps host.
51

Rather than just telling you my preference, let me teach a man to fish... so to speak. We can all name one or two hosts that we personally think are excellent, but most subjective advice like that won't help you at all, even after 10 or 20 upvotes.

Fact of the matter is, most of the popular web hosting providers are hit-n-miss experiences. IF you happen to end up on one of the 'lucky' servers, that you share with a bunch of static web sites with niche appeal, you'll be getting great uptime, no server crashes and great response times. If you happen to be on an 'unlucky' server, you'll be cursing the name of your web host every single day.

Because of this, for nearly every hosting provider out there, there are ten guys praising it to high heaven and ten other guys ready to burn down the company. What you need isn't a bunch of coders in a shouting match, but the means to finding your way in the hosting jungle.

And here it is: The WebHostingTalk Forum (WHT). That's where web hosting geeks meet to discuss this question - essentially an entire forum dedicated to tracking, analyzing and discussing which web hosts are crooks and which are the 'real deal'. And these guys are good.

What you want to do, is take a few days (or a week if you're serious) to research the latest advice from the WHT forum. They will probably tell you to stay away from all the major players, like BlueHost, GoDaddy, DreamHost, pair Networks, HostGator, Media Temple, etc., and instead lead you to one of five or six slightly smaller providers, most of which you've probably never even heard of. These are the real gems that the pros use, the well-kept secrets of web hosting. The places with 100% uptime, good prices (though not unrealistically so), honest staff and great support, more features than you'll ever need, and very few users per shared server.

Listen to the guys at WHT, and you will not regret it

P.S.: oh, what the hell, I'll tell you my favorite host (by advice from the guys at WHT): InnoHosting

(full disclosure: After moving all my own domains to InnoHosting, I have been praising and recommending them to all my friends and contacts, so now they give me a little discount whenever I refer clients to them. If you don't want that, just use this link instead of the one above: InnoHosting)

47

For small sites, I use NearlyFreeSpeech. It's a great idea (pay only for what you USE, not an arbitrary monthly rate) that is very well executed. I use this for all of my personal LAMP sites and projects. I've had it for 5 months and I've only paid something like 12 bucks to date. Excellent, knowledgeable support, which is rare for the cost.

I think Dreamhost has some of the best support and certainly one of the best user interfaces I've seen on the web (if not the best). Zero confusion - everyone should do what they do. I use it for most of my LAMP needs and my clients absolutely love it.

For ASP.NET, I use CrystalTech and DiscountASP. DiscountASP wins for me, but CrystalTech is very good. DiscountASP has lighting fast support and their support staff are unusually informed. All issues are dealt with in a day and usually within 2-3 hours of the support request. Also, they don't charge me 5 bucks to restore a SQL DB (I'm looking at you CrystalTech).

I build almost exclusively small-to-medium sized web sites and applications. I develop in both ASP.NET and LAMP. My criteria for evaluation are: speed and quality of support, uptime (duh), speed of performance, quality of UI, and amount of Admin features. I've used maybe 30-50 hosts in the past 10 years, these 4 are my favorites.

6

I'm very happy using ASmallOrange. As someone with a very low traffic site, their Tiny plan allows me to get quality hosting for very little.

6

Putting in my vote for pair Networks (http://www.pair.com) -- great network, great hardware, great price. And their support's pretty darn good too.

A happy customer for half a dozen years.

4

For smaller sites, Dreamhost is pretty good. For larger sites that require more control and industrial-strength, I'd generally recommend going with something like Rackspace. You have dedicated machines, you can tweak them however you need to, and you have ridiculously good support behind the scenes, should you require it.

There are also hosts like EngineYard or Heroku that are dedicated to a single platform (in that case, Rails) that are worth looking into.

4

Arvixe at arvixe.com is excellent for your first 3 categories. As for Dedicated/VPS I don't have anybody to recommend.

EDIT: Arvixe now offers Linux and Windows VPS hosting.

3

My preferred webhost for Linux/Unix based hosting is webfaction. They are easily the most flexible host I have ever used. Everything is up front and easy to find, not hidden behind layer upon layer of redirection. The best part is you can host applications running everything from static content, php, ruby, python, even java. You can have whatever libraries you need in your home directory. It is approaching the flexibility of a VPS, without as much management or administrative knowledge required. Their prices are very reasonable as well.

3

I definitely need to throw my support for Dreamhost. They offer an unlimited number of subversion repositories, which is a nice bonus. Plus, their storage model is...well, look at this:

Storage

The only issue I've ever had with them is speed; sometimes, it seems like their servers just can't serve data fast enough.

3

I've been super happy with WebFaction for my personal stuff.

2

In the UK bytemark vps's are favoured by the Free and Open Source Software Communities and I've yet to hear a bad review.

Recently I've had to some terrible service with various hosts so I might be returning to them shortly after a absence of a few years.

2

Rackspace for medium to large sites. Had a lot of success with them.

2

I've been enjoying Media Temple's (gs) service. My blog was choking on regular shared hosting, but doesn't justify VPS hosting yet. I found the (gs) plan to be a perfect compromise until my traffic grows more.

For shared ASP.NET hosting, I'll second DiscountASP. I've had a site there for awhile, and have no complaints. Compared to other .NET hosts I've used in the past, DiscountASP generally seems to keep pace with new technologies well.

2

I second the vote for NearlyFreeSpeech.net. The pay-as-you-go model has served me quite well for the past 5 months for my grandmother's art website. I've begun to serve up the images from Amazon's S3, which greatly reduces my storage and bandwidth charges (Amazon's are pennies on NFSN's dollar).

2

I'm happy with Webhost4life. The name is annoying, but they've been solid so far.

2

As the director at a web design agency, I have tried nearly every host listed above. The very best hosting company of all is

Host Gator at hostgator.com

Best support, highest quality service, great price.

I highly recommend them.

1

I'd recommend finding a good local host in your area. Nothing beats being able to deal with your host face-to-face when issues such as DMCA takedown notices or other legal issues arise.

1

pair networks or pair lite for a hobby site.

1

I have had experience with 4 hosts.

1and1 Pretty basic and cheap. Have had some downtime problems but never for more than a few hours.

Dreamhost Cheap, especially the first year due to the large number of coupons available online. I haven't had downtime but the servers can be very slow. One-click installs are really useful.

Mosso Costs more, the basic plan is at $100. The cool think is it is using a cloud instead of servers so it potentially should scale as your usage goes up. It seems very fast relative to the other web hosting companies I have tried. Since it isn't a real server, it is a little different to use but with the customer service we have been able to install everything we needed to, including Wordpress Multi-user. I have been inpressed so far.

Amazon EC2. This is full virtualized server that you have complete control of. The costs are higher $70/month for a dedicated server plus some bandwidth. But it is very cool and it has the potential to replace a co-location arrangement. Also provides some really interesting scalability options. Well worth a look when you move beyond Dreamhost or 1and1.

1

Here are my recommendations based on experience and what I have used:

  • Small Sites - NearlyFreeSpeech.Net
  • Medium Sites - Blue Host
  • Assets - Amazon S3
  • Dedicated - Amazon EC2

Notice that none of the above apply for .Net hosting. I have checked out Media Temple and Mosso and both look decent for .Net.

1

Well ...

Small Website: HostDepartment and 12GBFREE
Lower End of Medium Level Website : DreamHost
Medium Level Dedicated: IWeb and HostMySite and Dedicated Now
Large Level Dedicated: RackSpace

What Would you use for large Images:
Amazon S3 (Works Costly when you have large Data)

Favourite: IWeb They have good Bandwidth to their Dedicated Servers vs Good Price

1

I definitely agree with tpmorg, Nearly Free Speech is amazing, and definitely worth a look into. The way the pricing works and their commitment to their customers convinced me to sign up.

1

I use Dreamhost for all my projects and I never had problems with Dreamhost. They have great support, lots of fantastic features, unlimited database and repositories. There is only one problem with Dreamhost; all my websites respond a little bit lately in my country, but there is no problem when I'm in the US.

1

Slicehost or Linode for small to medium web sites, mostly ruby on rails apps. One of my slicehost nodes has 346 days of uptime. Both are pretty good regarding customer service, uptime and performance.

1

I have to vote for MDDHosting for small sites because they've been hardly minutes behind me when I submit a support ticket. They're also very friendly and willing to handle special requests and needs. They're fairly cheap as well. One of their most prominent claims to fame is that they will not overload their servers. I've spoken to the owner and he understands the difficulty in choosing a host and he makes it a point to make sure the servers are speedy even for us shared hosting guys.

1

For Windows hosting, I use serverintellect.com, discountasp.net and hostmysite.com. All three have been excellent.

1

SoftsysHosting has worked great for me.

1

My favorite for everything except for maybe small personal things (I use it for my low traffic personal site cause I like playing around with root access) would have to be Linode

Fairly cheap, $20. In a review somewhere they compared it with Rackspace and Amazon and Linode won by a landslide. Their support is good. If you have problems getting your system working they will help you. They won't be like "you have root access so you can fix it." 16G of diskspace, 200G of bandwidth. You get to choose which Linux distro (think they have like 10 up right now) and either 32 or 64 bit. The VPS also comes a little less bare than most. It has Apache and SSH and sudo configured. Also, they include out of band access and a dedicated IP. Also, you can either setup a DNS server on your VPS, or they include a shared one you can easily use. Their GUI is simple yet powerful. I've never had a problem trying to find something in their UI.

Also, I don't believe my site has ever seen downtime except for whenever I shutdown my Linode myself for some sort of maintenance I'm doing.

I love them as a host though the $20 is a bit high for the low usage it gets. My only problem with them is I wish they had like a $10 VPS you could buy that would suite my low usage better.

1

If you want a mega-powerhouse behind you (Rackspace Cloud), but get it on the cheap, check out RackspaceSky.Com. This is a no-brainer for smaller sites that want to be covered for occasional traffic spikes. You're getting the full Rackspace Cloud at a big discount.

http://www.rackspacesky.com

0

I use secondratehosting.com My site doesn't get a lot of traffic so I don't know how they would handle a large amount of traffic but their 'uptime' is excellent (much better than 1&1 and every other host I have tried).

0

I can't recommend anyone better than The Tech Coop. Inexpensive, quality hosting (VPS) with some of the greatest staffers around.

0

I'm a fan of Site5. The one downside is that they do not have phone tech support but their email support is top notch. On the other hand I find their administration suite very easy to use and nice to look at (for those, like me, who care about such things).

iPower was my host for a long time, but their support got so bad and their control panel software so out of date that I had to drop them. That was a couple of years ago so I don't know if they've improved since then.

0

I've had a great experience with HostMonster. You get a ton of space, inexpensive add-on domains, great management tools, shell access, my server has never gone down, and the customer support is terrific.

0

I give a vote for Dreamhost for Linux hosting.

Has anyone had any success with web hosting which offers Linux and Windows hosting in one plan?

I was using this setup with Netfirms but experienced issues with downtime frequently in the past 9 months, therefore I bailed and now am at GoDaddy. Not very happy with GoDaddy, I need to find another ASP.NET host. I am thinking for my Linux hosting I may go back to Dreamhost. They offered everything I needed for Linux hosting. I thought I could simplify my needs for ASP.NET and Linux hosting with Netfirms. Like I said, they weren't very reliable.

0

cdn/assests

Anyone use SimpleCDN for their CDN? They have a pretty interesting pricing strategy. You only pay on per file basis. No bandwidth fees.

Anyone use Mosso? I've heard good reviews, but for $100 a month I would be looking at a dedicated/vps service.

0

I've been with webhost4life (shared hosting) for a few years now and havn't had any major problems at all, they have a very quick turn around on their online support tickets as well.

Though I am on the look out for virtual private hosting in the near future and may look else where due to cost/features.

0

Wise Source - exceptional personalized service - just amazing. Great uptime, very speedy, but the service is what keeps me there.

Ann Arbor Hosting - Nothing beats going local, and they have a good mix of services, including shared, VPS and dedicated. They also have GIT and a few other VCSs, and are reasonable cost. They're touting unmetered disk space and bandwidth plans now, though, so even though my site is fast and I have no issues on that front, I wonder what it's going to be like ultimately (although it's nice to be able to have a cheap place for my HD video...)

0

In the Netherlands I used Lycos, in South Africa I used RSA Web they were very good. And here in Germany I use 1und1 and so far very happy with them.

0

I strongly advocate HostMySite.com for all your hosting needs.

I am not an employee but I did intern there for a while (so maybe a slight bias). They have EXCELLENT customer service for both shared & dedicated hosting. They have their own control panel so you do have to get used to that (for shared accounts). When you call, the phone is answered by a human being before the 4th ring, and they will usually help you right then and there. If not, they get back to you very quickly. They'll even call you back if you prefer that to an email. Server downtime has never been a problem. I also know that many of the people that work there are extremely qualified (overqualified in some cases) to answer the phone and help you with just about any issue you may be having. They're great to have as a hosting provider. They'll even look through your code at times and give you some pointers (make friendly with them first).

I have used a few other web hosts in the past but will never in the future go with anyone other than HostMySite.com.

P.S. I pay full price for my hosting account and would even pay more for the great quality service they provide.

0

I've had good experiences with ServInt Internet Services of McLean, VA. I've used them for Linux virtual servers and have found them to be very dependable with excellent support. Friendly people, too -- they're professionals but they stay out of your way so you can get your work done.

On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend GoDaddy for anything other than cheap registration of domain names and for hosting free or very simple web sites. For anything serious, their support seems nonexistent. Plus they're always emailing you with advertisements (if they're going to overuse Danica Patrick, at least get her some different outfits to wear instead of that dark leather racing jacket all the time!).

0

I'm with RackForce and their Windows VPS has been pretty solid.

0

I've had great experience with Slicehost. Their APIs are nice and easy to use, their service is excellent, and I've successfully hosted a number of servers there for a while.

I run about 20-30 small websites with fairly low levels of traffic and use some servers for just tinkering around with.

I know you mention you've tried it already, but still -- I thought I'd mention it.

0

I use Network Redux and have been happy with their Virtual Private Server for the cost and performance. They offer shared, reseller, virtual private server, and virtual dedicated server.

0

I have a great experience with Bluehost. They are an excellent compromise between features and price, and every time I had a problem, they fixed it very quickly. I actually ended up upgrading my account to premium.

0

I've been using HostMonster for over a year now without any headaches. I liked the actual 24 hour phone support. Watch out for hosts that say 24 hour support yet only answer the phone 9-5. - No limits on bandwidth or space, -unlimited domain names on one account - i have over 10 -everything you could possibly want for a php based site.

0

I use Media Temple. The offer a great shared hosting package and automatically scale your platform up if you experience infrequent spikes in usage.

0

in case you are still reading ... i grew tired of the dreamhost interface and their "trying to be hip" speak all over it. setting up certain things just isn't that intuitive.

Hostgator is top notch imho. their support has always answered my question with 5 - 10 min and with their reseller package im making a nice profit of passing hosting on to the small - medium sized businesses i make sites for. every single account i "sell" has cpanel which if im not mistaken comes at a price with most other hosts.

0

Indeed, Check webhost4life, whatever, their fast clients support can make you memorized, please trust with me!

No doubt, webhost4life is fastest clients support web hosting company, you can try to contact with them on Live Chat, they're much more professional than other web hostings. You can chat with every web hosting to Compare! And you'll believe with this..

All of my websites are hosted with them, such as www.Webhost4lifereview.com www.servefault.com

Webhost4life is the first option for your web hosting!

0

Media Temple has been my host for a while and it's been pretty solid, really cool interface too. No complaints, but I am thinking I need to switch from this larger hosting site to something smaller.. I saw ASmallOrange mentioned, I think I'll check em out.

-Rich

0

I use ReliableSite.Net for my Windows needs. Free restores, and they don't charge you $10/mo per MS SQL database like DiscountASP does. Good support, the best uptime I've ever seen.

0

My Suggestion For Hosting is reseller Hosting...I have a good Experience in Hosting..I am happy...Because i saved my money lot..I own more than 5 website for my business so that i can't able manage,also how can i find the safe and secure Hosting site,in the site http://www.goresellers.com/ i got the Pro-reseller account..I hosted my sites at very low price...So i think that is Best web hosting!!!

0

DUDE! How's it going? It's me, your buddy from Columbus, :D. Anyways, slicehost has been the most fun for me. I wasn't exactly a Linux guru when I started, but after a bit, I got the hang of it and I can't use anything else. Thanks for getting me started with all of the hosts you mentioned. You rock man.

0

One more vote for WebFaction. Been hosting personal and business sites on there for years, everything from WordPress to Django, and it's been great. Certainly doesn't have all the gloss of MediaTemple, but great value, uptime, and support for the cost with just about all the same features.

0

Favorite web host is efuzone.com which provides you various free, cheap, premium cPanel web hosting Packages domain name registration. You can get affordable, unlimited web hosting for all types of websites including asp.net,php etc.... If you want web hosting in pakistan this is best option.

-4

I use godaddy, management sometimes annoying, but it works.