Web hosting recommendations

It’s renewal time at the web host my agency currently uses for its web site. The host is In Motion Hosting, and they want almost $500 for the next year. The agency has fallen on hard times, and I’m finding it hard to cough up that kinda cash when I’ve been using Hostmonster for less than 20 percent of that for my personal hosting needs.

However, I can’t move the site to Hostmonster because HM has what I consider some pretty draconian e-mail limits that will make it next to impossible for me to run the 225-member listserv I have been running for 12 years now. It’s not high-traffic, but it can generate 10-15 messages a day, depending on what we’re discussing.

Any suggestions on hosts I should take a look at? I prefer cpanel hosts that allow plenty of databases. Support for add-on domains is good too.


Dreamhost has always been great for me in the past. It’s always done everything I’ve needed to, it’s very affordable, the people are conscientious and easy to deal with, plus they’re carbon neutral if you care about that kind of thing!

Thanks, Hippo. I’ve submitted a request to them asking about whether they have e-mail limits in place that might interfere with my mailing list.

I don’t really have a recommendation at the moment, but I want to comment on Dreamhost. I’ve got two accounts with them, one is for a non-profit (which they host for free), and the other is sort of a dump space, where I have two forums currently setup. The non-profit site is nothing but files and HTML, and has never had an issue to date. The forums are a different story.

The MySQL server on my account typically bogs down a little at least a few times a day. At least once every 1-2 weeks the server becomes completely unresponsive, and I have to submit a ticket to get them to look into it. They claim that other users on the server were running some bad queries which were tying up the MySQL server, so they stop them from doing so and restart it. Things run pretty well for a bit, and then 1-2 weeks later I’m submitting another ticket.

In the 2-3 months I’ve been with them, I’ve submitted 6-7 tickets easy. At this point I’m going to move the sites once I find better hosting as I’m pretty confident that these issues aren’t going away. Fortunately they have a 97 day guarantee or something like that, so I should be able to get my money back.

I understand from the other people I know on Dreamhost that downtime and performance issues are somewhat par for the course with them, so I’m not the only one having issues.

I have no personal experience doing so, but from what I’ve heard your best bet would be to go to the Webhostingtalk forums and read a bunch of reviews, then see what offers look good in their offers forum for either virtual servers or shared servers. As far as assistance goes with performance tuning and such, Qt3 is on servint, a very well reviewed and relatively expensive vserver, and their “managed hosting” was essentially nonexistant. If you don’t have any sysadmin and dba skills or friends with those skills you’re out of luck pretty much anywhere.

Take a look at WebFaction. They may have what you are looking for.

I’ve been using Wing Six for years (they were spun off as the consumer-level version of Server Central) and have no complaints. I first heard about them from Ars Technica, who uses them, and they have a few other high-demand clients (Stile Project comes to mind).

I’ll throw in a nod for Dreamhost. They can go down more than I would like but it’s generally fixed quickly when they do. I like the services they offer (like the 1-click installs for a lot of software) and they are pretty cheap for what you get (unlimited domains hosted, 1 TB+ bandwidth per month, etc). And they add new stuff all the time.

Another vote for Dreamhost here. I have 4 domains hosted there (unlimited domains with your account!), and I’ve only ever had the occasional problem which is quickly fixed.

Despite their dreadful advertising, I’ve used godaddy hosting for years, including basic website hosting, VPS and a couple of dedicated servers. I have had very few problems in all of that time and the few times I did, their support was fantastic (they actually have people who answer phones and talk to you! Kind of a big deal when it comes to web hosting places.) When you sign up for anything with them they do try to upsell the hell out of you, but not in any way that is tricky or misleading, so I just ignore it.

I have no idea what their policies for email traffic are, though.

I’ve run majordomo lists through POEHosting for years without any problems.

What does it mean to have unlimited domains? Can you have email to all the domains you have web sites for?

For example, if you have foo.com and bar.com, can you make email addresses for [email protected] and [email protected]?

If you can do that at DreamHost, that pretty much cuts my hosting bill in half right there.

If you only care about email, why not just use google apps for domains?

My wife and I both want a custom domain to blog and email. Right now I am paying for two web hosting accounts, because it seems like the only way to get there from here.

If unlimitted domains means I can get one account and have foo.com resolve to one folder and bar.com resolve to another folder on the same account, AND we can both have custom emails, then I am cutting my costs in half.

It probalby doesn’t mean what I think it means because that would be too good.

Huh. I didn’t even know about Google apps for domains. If I understand what they’re offering, you can use your custom domain for gmail and calander, etc. It’s not clear that blogging is included in the package. If blogging were included and if the service is still free, it might work for my wife. All we would have to afford is the domain name.

I like all my custom WordPress dodads too much to switch to blogspot.

Another nod for Dreamhost. Been using 'em for a while and love 'em. They have a tiny bit of downtime here and there, but so does every other host I’ve ever used. ;)

Another Dreamhost vote. Been using them for years and am still very happy.

You can’t run WordPress on google apps for domains, but you could still use it to handle the mail for both of your domains even if you host the actual website with another webhosting company.

I have no idea who you host with now but you should be able to host both you and your wife’s blogs on the same web hosting machine and not pay 2 hosting fees. That’s a pretty standard feature. The HTTP Host: header was invented many years ago!

Mail has been the sticking point with getting two domains to work from a single account.

It’s not obvious to me how the DNS would work. Wouldn’t Google for apps need to host the dns records? If their hosting the domain foo.com (so I can send email as [email protected]), how am I also going to be able to host my blog on another server as foo.com?

Does google apps for domains just use dns for pointing a mail host record (MX records?) and then I just setup my hosting to use host headers to point to point requests for one domain to one folder, and the other domain to a different folder? If that’s how it works, I should look into it.