Considering the level of appreciation I got from my previous list of recommended vendors for t-shirts, buttons, postcards, biz cards and more, I have done the same for web hosting.
“Where should I host my website?” is a question I get a lot. Requested needs range from personal (which I usually end up hosting ;) to small business (see below) to massive business plan estimations. (E.g. “Dear Mr. Rheingold would you agree that $8,000/mo is a required expenditure to maintain sites like Dogster/Catster” … no, I’d say $2,250). So with no further ado here are my answers to where I would recommend you find hosting.
Web Hosting: Single Site
San Francisco’s Laughing Squid is the gold standard of web hosting. For not much more than bargain basement prices you’ll enjoy the most reliable web hosting ever offered. SF culturalist Scott Beale treats all his clients with a NormalRockwellian level of respect. In the rare event a server or service is down, before I know it, there is an email waiting for me describing the failure and the expected solution. If there is a delay in the resolution, there will then be another email explaining the unexpected set-back. Once resolved, there will be an email detailing the entire extent of the problem and a stated plan of action for ensuring it doesn’t happen again. They also now have a status blog (on a third-party server with up-to-the-minute news and a permanent archive of all problems. How many companies do you know that offer a permanent archive of all their bad days?) Laughing Squid is also very committed to the arts and offers great artist and student discounts.
Web Hosting: Bulk Shared Hosting
I can’t really recommend anyone at this level. I used to use WebIntellects and have moved to the better DreamHost. DreamHost’s quality, however, appears to be slipping as they increasing their hosting accounts by the hundreds. These services are ideal if you want to very inexpensively host a multiple of sites. But for the price savings, realize that hundreds of other sites are sharing your server’s apache, mysql, bandwidth etc. and if they go down, it’ll all be down for at least 20 minutes. Expect such downtimes at least 2-3 times a month.
Web Hosting: Dedicated Server
Dogster uses ServerBeach, an inexpensive server rental farm now owned and run by Peer1. We rent servers that are plugged into their network. We’re responsible for all the software, they are responsible for all the hardware and helping us when the server needs hands-on attention. Here as well, I can’t formally recommend them due to a couple really stressful problems, but the price is right, and their servers and support are, for the most part, pretty good. They also have some good forums that are free.
Another option is Servstra, a new Australian company. Their prices are as cheap as you’ll find and their support has been good enough so far.
A big step up would be RackSpace where they manage the software as well as hardware, provide backups, emergency response and will even hold your hand and tell you everything will be okay. But it’ll cost you. About 3 to 4 times what the above two options are.
Above that is buyng your own servers and renting space and bandwidth from a server farm, but if you’re doing that you don’t need my advice.