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Good Web hosting?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Dale D Dilly, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Dale D Dilly

    Dale D Dilly Monster

    Jul 1, 2008
    All TB search results were pretty old so I thought I'd start a new thread.

    TB is full of folks creating digital content or running a small business, so I thought I'd turn to OT to see what hosting services you guys are using for personal and small business websites.

    I'm trying to put together a website for a non profit I work with; they've told me to choose an online hosting service and have no idea where to turn. I've been scouring various review sites and articles about choosing one, but they all either seem like thinly veiled advertisements or are out of date. I'm also aware of how much "planting" companies do on review sites, both in their own favor and against rival companies, so I've perhaps been overly skeptical of everything I've read.

    I'll be doing a lot of work on this website that's new to me: it'll have to have database features for the sake of mailing lists and data collection. Because managing something like that is intimidating to me, being able to reach customer service reps that can actually walk me through things is probably my number one priority. Easy plug and play software for pagedesign, ftp, etc. is my second (again because I know nothing about any of it), and of course I want fast, stable servers if I can find them.

    I'm really a babe in the woods here, even suggestions for good books or websites that I can use to educate myself are appreciated.
  2. Fawkesguy

    Fawkesguy The sea refuses no river.

    Mar 5, 2005
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I like and use arvixe.com, which I learned about from another TB member.

  4. Dale D Dilly

    Dale D Dilly Monster

    Jul 1, 2008
    Fawkes, are you still using dreamhost? It seemed to be very well rated overall, but multiple reviews from supposed long-time users claim it's gone pretty far downhill in the last year or two. Of course angry reviews pop up more often because people don't write when they're happy, but I was worried when some mentioned major issues with server down time and speed.

    I hadn't seen arvixe pop up in any of the research I'd done so far. I'll be sure to look into it as well, thanks.

    Surely a few other TBers are hosting some cool content through shared web hosting servers. I'd love to hear from more of you on the topic, thanks!
  5. Fawkesguy

    Fawkesguy The sea refuses no river.

    Mar 5, 2005
    Hey Mike,

    I no longer use Dreamhost, but not because of any customer service or performance issues. I simply decided to consolidate my domains and hosting in one place and went with GoDaddy since that is where my domains are registered.

    The few experiences I've had with GoDaddy support have been positive. I was able to get someone on the phone quickly, and although I don't know this for a fact, it seemed to me that phone support was U.S. based, not offshore.
  6. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    You must be joking about GoDaddy - Godaddy is so repulsive to most web people that ANONYMOUS has attacked Godaddy's servers serveral times. A few times successfully. You should be SHAVED for not knowing that. And you use Guy Fawkes as your avatar. B-zar!

    Godaddy has a seemingly endless layering and dead-ends to their menus to both navigate your account and to setup an account. Their billing practices aggressively dump on extra services and they are MOST unco-operative if you try to migrate away from them. They are very high prices for what they offer and their service is nothing special. I state this having hosted over 50 web sites in the last 6-7 years, some were sites I had to wrestle away from GoDaddy in order to get moving forward. Bob Parsons need to stick to business and quit playing head of the racing car department.

    www.hostgator is really bad. Bizarre sign-in:what I need to sign in again for service, again for billing, again for the cpanel? I give!! Their only positive is they take paypal if you don't have a c.c. Otherwise, siteground is bout 2/3 the price for better service.

    My recomendation:www.siteground.com - fast, efficient,easy to navigate and fast service response. Great prices.
  7. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Build yourself a Wordpress site. The setup is free and fast from most hosting companies. But understand there is no such thing as a highly configurable template for page design - configurable page design means you could mess it up, templated page design mean it is less configurable.

    PM me and tell me about this project (I will maintain strict confidentiality*) - I might be quite willing to give you some assistance and steering. * I've built everything from "weed-finder" to "adult" sites. And ambulance chaser (attorney) sites. And sites for churches, charities and bands.

    My 2 main sites may seemed a bit wack but they work flawlessly and are a nod to the retro product line I carry.
    www.thedigitalwatch.com (fan site, in progress).
  8. Fawkesguy

    Fawkesguy The sea refuses no river.

    Mar 5, 2005

    No, I'm not joking. I haven't had any issues with them.
  9. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    Have you had to interact with them much? I understand you snipping my rant - but consider researching attacks on Godaddy. They really do earn the revulsion of thousands of former customers each year. GF would have attempted the Gunpowder Plot on them for sure.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I have been using Dreamhost for years, with no real issues. The reason I say "real" issues is they have had some outages here and there, HOWEVER this is true for almost all web hosts--the big difference is that Dreamhost is super transparent about these outages, they tweet and post about every little hiccup in the system. Most other hosts stay mum about any issues, and will basically blow off anyone who complains or questions them. So it's not like I mean DH is perfect and flawless, but I respect their honesty.
  11. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    There are a number of other considerations beyond hosting. Since you need a database and mailing tools, you'll require more than a simple page builder.

    Have you investigated the various Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal and WordPress? Does any of them really appeal to you or have the features you absolutely need? Do you have friends/colleagues who are familiar with a particular CMS? There are a bunch of online CMS demos here.

    Is your org running Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) or fundraising software that you'll need to interact with?

    Do you have any experience with system administration, computer programming, or graphic design? Do you want to learn such skills?

    If you answered "No" or "***?!!" to most of these questions, IMO you're better off with a cloud-hosted website solution like SquareSpace or Virb that do the heavy lifting for you.

    I created a website for my school's art program last year. To get a reliable, good-looking site up and running with minimal time/expense, I chose SquareSpace. There was a learning curve involved but I was very pleased with the result.

    For $8 -- $24 a month you get:
    - Beautiful, mobile-friendly starter templates that can be easily customized with HTML and CSS
    - Good customer service from a single company providing both the cloud hosting and the CMS running on top of it
    - The ability to focus on your content, message, and communication instead of security, compatibility, upgrades, etc.
    - Access to development tools to tweak the code under the hood
    - Forms, surveys, the ability to hook into MailChimp

    This route might be less appealing if you're a "do-it-from-scratch" kind of person. Don't want to start a flame war, but this is the website equivalent of Tablature, versus actually learning to read & write music.;) Also, if you have existing databases you need to integrate in real-time, the roll-your-own approach would be better. But...if this is just another task being piled onto your plate, you should strongly consider a hosted platform.

    I enjoyed the SquareSpace experience for the school site, but for my personal site I'm taking the DIY approach (learning the Ruby programming language)...I'm a tinkerer and want to increase my marketable skills.

    Feel free to PM if you have any questions.

    Awesome sites, you're a true believer! I do like how the design matches the content!
  12. I used to have a site hosted through 1and1. I liked them. Decent pricing, unlimited traffic, and more features than I ever used. The only thing I didn't like was the new webmail client for the associated email addresses you could assign, but you can set up a mail program (outlook, eudora, etc..) to download it if you didn't want to use the webmail setup. The uptime on their servers was impeccable in the 7 years I had a site through them.
  13. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
  14. I'll +1 this. We use 1&1 at work and have had a very positive experience. Customer support has been smooth and responsive.
  15. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    www.arvixe.com been there for years without complaint.

    I will NEVER use godaddy or dreamhost. I've dealt with both on billing and technical issues enough to actually feel the need to discourage people from using them.

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