Website Hosting Review
I will start with my recommendation so you don't have to read everything.
We are now at DreamHost. I decided to go with the virtual private server instead of shared hosting. I'm not a great fan of VPS but DreamHost is different than most virtual private server hosts (see below). The VPS is managed by DreamHost. I don't have to worry about hackers hijacking the server and I don't have to do the upgrades and maintenance. The biggest reason we went with DreamHost is their 100% Uptime Guarantee. Their servers just work. Also, their support, though a bit slow to respond, is perfect. The site interface is not cpanel (which is why I never considered them before now) but once you get used to it, it is fine. As of September 2018, DreamHost is my top choice for web hosting.
The following is not a complete list by any means. There are hundreds of hosting companies out there. It feels like I've looked at most of them but the following hosting platforms are the ones I have had first-hand experience with over the years. I'm putting this out there so you will not have to endure the struggle of finding a good hosting company.
One note: Most of the sites recommending hosting companies are affiliates of the hosting companies they are "reviewing". They get paid to send customers to the sites they recommend. Most, if not all, of these people writing these reviews, have never used the companies on their recommendation list.
Now For The Hosting Company Reviews
We were using KVCHosting.net for about a year and they WERE really good but then everything went downhill. The support was the first problem. It took them 2 days to fix anything and the main support guy, Benjamin Johnson, is an idiot. The final straw was when they changed the email server to one central mail server that was blocked by every major e-mail carrier. What good is a domain if your email never works. In case you think I'm just being too hard on them look at the image below. That's what I saw when I tried to get to my cpanel. How can you trust a hosting company that Google doesn't trust?
HostGator was our last host and was really great for years. We might still be there if it wasn't for the flood (60+ inches of rain) in Houston, Texas. During the flood, all our sites kept going down. HostGator didn't answer their phone, online chat would not pick up, and create support ticket was off. I transferred all the domains to A2hosting.com and then to Interserver.net. That was when I discover ALL my domains had been infected with malware. They had been infected at HostGator.com. The Malware was a worm moving from domain to domain and probably came from some other site when HostGator was moving domains around trying to keep the flooded servers up. After a month of nightmares with the two new hosting companies, I came back to HostGator. That same day HostGator shut down my services because of Malware. They were trying to sell me Sitelock, their virus scanner. They gave me the Malware and then they're going to sell me the cure. HostGator.com purchased by the Endurance International Group. If you go to the link you will see they own at least 83 internet hosting companies and these are ALL ones to avoid. HostGator support went from excellent to useless. The chat is now offshore and the people on the other end don't know what they're doing. I once spent 45 minutes on a chat to find the billing email. After all that time he finally figured there isn't one. When I called HostGator to resolve a billing issue, they created a ticket for a manager. Bill A. (customer service manager) wasted days of my time and then gave it back to a ticket representative. I could go on and on about how bad they got but there are several other HostGator haters online. Just Google "I hate HostGator."
Interserver.net is worthless. I found them on one of those internet hosting rating sites. They were rated as a top-ranked host, not owned by the Endurance International Group, and not too expensive. There maximum speed for data transfer to 2mb per second (even HostGator is 30mb per second). After spending all day trying to transfer our domains sites to their server I canceled the service.
A2hosting is less than worthless. Their motto is "our speed, your success". Their maximum speed is 1.5mb per second. (20 times slower than HostGator.com) They use a bunch of free WordPress plugins to make their servers seem faster. I called and asked "why is your transfer so slow" and they blamed it on HostGator (30mb per second). After spending days transferring and setting up the domains I was notified I had 700+ malware infected files on the host. (Thanks, HostGator). After further review, they retracted several of their malware claims. Their Patchman malware detector is a joke. The final straw was when they deleted 700gb of online photos because it violated their terms of service for disk usage. Nevermind that they advertise unlimited disk space on their sales page. (That's what I thought I was buying). This is the worst hosting company I've used.
Media Temple was the fastest and most amazing hosting company I've ever used right up to the point GoDaddy bought them. Then it became constant server errors (500) and slow speed. Thanks Godaddy for ruining a really great hosting company.
GoDaddy, just say No Daddy! There are constantly trying to upsell you to something you don't need. They are constantly moving things around on their site so it's hard to find anything. It's a roll of the dice when you sign up to see what server you're on. Some of their servers really old and slow. Actually, compared to DreamHost all their servers are slow.
Ipower.com has a non-standard user interface that is difficult to navigate through. They have bait and switch pricing that starts at $3.95 per month but then jumps to $11.95 per month. Very limited options for what they charge. They do have a vast array of instant Website building software.
1and1.com has it's uses. I tried them for awhile with a new domain. They offer really cheap domain registration starting at $.99 for the 1st year. Their hosting plans are really cheap starting at $.99 for one domain. Unfortunately, they have bait and switch pricing like so many other hosting companies. After the first year domain registration and host goes way up. I registered a couple domains there and moved them to Porkbun before my year was up. Porkbun charged me $8.84 and gave me a year free for moving the domains. It ended up being $9.83 for 3 years domain registration or $3.28 a year. Compare that to HostGator at $12.99 for the discounted 1st year, or Godaddy at $11.99 for the discounted 1st year, or register.com at $5.00 for the discounted 1st year.
Namecheap.com s really cheap. This might be ok hosting for some people just starting a website. There pricing starts at under $20 for a full year of hosting. My experience wasn't so great. They offer ssh access but no FTP, SFTP, or rSync. These are the programs which move domains from one server to another. When I called them, they offered to move the domains for me BUT, when they saw the number of domains and the disk usage they told me it would violate the terms of their shared hosting. How is that possible on a hosting plan that claims to have unlimited space and domains? After trying to upsell me to a dedicated server at $58.00 per month I canceled the service. Again, Bait and switch pricing and they don't live up to their promises on their sales page.
Rackspace.com has a minimum monthly charge of $50 per month. They are a solid hosting company. They are so solid several hosting companies use them to host there company and clients. The only drawback is the cost of service.
Amazon.com is so big I have to toss it in. I'm sure there hosting is as good or better than rackspace.com but I could never figure out the cost or which package to buy. They are even willing to let me try it for free. Amazon's Lightsail starts at $5.00 per month but this price is based on usage. You will get billed for overage. Their cost calculator wants me to guess my usage and plan accordingly. It could get really expensive very quickly. I don't know why a company as big as Amazon.com doesn't offer a fixed price shared server option. If they did they might get my vote. UPDATE: I finally broke down and tried AWS after the mess with KVCHosting.com. AWS gave me a month for free to try the service. I know Linux but this is something different. After 20 hours of playing with it, I finally got a website up. Then I tried to configure email. There is no email server on the AWS Lightsail service. I gave up. Two weeks later I got billed for my free usage. The bill read like an old phone bill with charges from a dozen or more servers and services and it was more than $5.00. Seriously stay away.
Dedicated Hosting sounds like a good idea. Every hosting company offers it. I know Linux and Unix better than most people. I started using the operating system around 1980. One would think I could (and should) run my own dedicated host server. Unfortunately, dedicated hosting has several pitfalls.
- The hardware is not dedicated to your server. All the hosting companies create virtual servers which share hardware. You have no control how many virtual servers are running on one computer.
- You have to maintain the server(s). You are responsible for updates to the OS and all the programs running on it.
- Every hosting company uses a free version of Linux for your dedicated server. The source code for the operating system is available to hackers. If there is a vulnerability, hackers will find a way to exploit it.
- You will get hacked. I've had several dedicated web hosts since 2000. Every one of them has been hacked at some point or another. Hackers find and post these hacks on pastbin.com and other sites to share their exploits.
- If your shared hardware is hosting a porn site or video streaming site your speed will turn to s^.
- Cloud hosting shares the load between physical servers. If one server gets busy your requests are served by another machine. The high speed is constant.