Web Development

What Does A Guy Have To Do To Find A Good Web Host?

One month ago today, I found out that my web hosting provider, Bloghosts, suffered a catastrophic loss of data, which they claim may have been intentional. Because, of this, they are closing for business as of January 1st, 2005. I have to say that in the year they have been hosting this weblog, Bloghosts has provided great service, especially for the price (I was paying something like $3.00 per month). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same since finding out they are closing for business.

For some reason, when initially setting up, I had Bloghosts purchase the domain name and handle all of the setup, etc. I didn’t really think much about it at the time, but I’m regretting it now. I’ve been spending the last month trying to get my domain name transfered to my name, but with little success. For requests such as mine, they wanted some simple contact information emailed to them. I did this the a month ago today, and I still haven’t received a word back from them. Thinking maybe my email message somehow didn’t go through, I resent it again on two seperate occasions. I checked their homepage again today, and saw this updated message:

UPDATE #2 (READ ME): A lot of people have been complaining about their domain names in various public forums. If you have not received word from us, it was because you have not followed the simple instructions above. As we are busy with these requests, emails without the proper information will be ignored. This is a simple and FREE process. We need ALL of the requested information to place the domain in your name. If this cannot be done then we cannot help you. It’s really that simple.
This note actually made me pretty angry. As far as I could tell, I provided them all of the information they wanted, but they still haven’t processed my request. And if I did miss something, how hard would it be for them to reply back with a quick message letting me know what they need. Is that too much to ask for? I’m really not that hard to please. I just don’t like being talked down.

Anyway, because of all of this, I’m in the market for a new web hosting company. I’ve been looking on and off for the past month, but since January 1st is going to come quickly, I’m starting to look a bit harder. There are so many choices out there, making it all pretty overwhelming. Yesterday, I came across a site called the Top 10 Cheap Web Hosting Directory, which has helped a bit. I read some of the reviews, and I quickly narrowed it down to their top three: Lunarpages, PowWeb, and Globat.

After visiting each provider though, I’m quickly finding out that each is missing something important that I want. Lunarpages looks really good, but they only provide one MySQL database – adding an extra costs an extra $1 per month. Global seems sound on the web server side of things, but they only provide POP3 email instead of IMAP4 – that one rules them out in my book. The other, PowWeb looks good except they don’t use cPanel, the web site control panel I really grew to like while using it at Bloghosts. That one isn’t a deal breaker though, so right now their my top pick. One interesting thing about PowWeb is that they only offer one plan, although you can get the price down by prepaying for one to two years in advanced.

With any luck I will be able to get my situation with Bloghosts resolved soon. In the mean time, I’m hoping to settle on a host and start to migrate everything over. Then, when time comes to point this domain name to the new server, it will all be ready to go. I’ll let you know if it all plays out this way ;)

Update 2 (@ 9:57 AM 12/06/2004): I’m going to add Quality Host Online to my short list of finalists. For $44 per year, they offer 200 MB of storage space (not much, but enough for me at this point), 5 GB of bandwidth per month, unlimited MySQL databases and IMAP email accounts, and SSH access (something not offered by most web hosts). They don’t use cPanel either, but that is forgivable given the price.

Update 3 (@ 10:00 AM 12/06/2004): I take it back. It looks like they do in fact use cPanel. They just may have made a sale…