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  #1  
03-13-2011, 01:39 AM
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UPDATE: HostPolar was bought out by AltusHost in August 2011. This review no longer applies.

An extremely negative review of the AltusHost-owned HostPolar will be written very soon.
To be brief, chimps with a keyboard could run a better server than these Engrish-speaking clowns. The definition of incompetence.
By October 2011, my server was completely screwed up by HP staff -- wiped clean as if it had never been used (VPS image reloaded).
By November 2011, WHT was flooded with complaints of excessive downtime by other customers.

Several better hosts can be found here: List of Best Web Hosts - Shared, reseller, VPS, cloud, dedicated


______________________

Consider this an early rough-draft pre-review review of HostPolar.

Preface:

It's not very often that I form an early positive opinion about a product (or service, person or company). Indeed, in the media fields -- no thanks to cheap cameras, computers, software and "turnkey" schemes that makes lofty promises -- professionals regularly come into contact with quacks, charlatans and wanna-be's, so most early opinions tend to be very negative, as these clowns are easy to spot. The hosting industry is saturated with "kiddie hosts" -- literally children (under 18 years old), or 18-24 college students, running "hosts" from their bedrooms or dorm rooms, via cheap reseller accounts. Many more are non-English speakers that want to compete in the English-language market, and do a terrible job at it because they can't even grasp the language to communicate with their clients. So when I see advertisements about a "new host" entering the fray, I tend to just roll my eyes -- another kiddie/foreigner at play, 9.9 times out of 10.

HostPolar Early Review - Overview:

Within 10 days, I've formed a positive opinion of HostPolar.

HostPolar's CEO actually found me, at one of my online haunts (another media-related forum where I frequent), and passively suggested I give them a try. At that point in time, they were still pre-launch, connecting with new clients directly.

I just happened to be in a testing mood, and figured it was a safe gamble. HostPolar offers a money-back guarantee window, and prices were reasonably low anyway, so risk was minimal. At this very moment, they have two coupons:
  • 25% OFF recurring discount on a VPS with coupon codes VPS25, VPSList, or WTFPROMO
  • 50% OFF recurring discount on shared hosting with coupon code 50OFFWHT
I went for a Level 6 VPS, which has a 2.5Ghz CPU, 1GB RAM, 75GB hard disk space, and 500GB bandwidth. Not that I'll need the space or bandwidth, but I may need the RAM for smooth operation of a PHP CMS with some plugins (WordPress, Drupal, Symphony, etc). That comes out to all of $24.99/month, or $18.75 after a generous 25% discount. Not bad! If you want management, cPanel, more IPs -- that's all available too, for added fees. I tacked on management for a few dollars more per month, because sometimes it's easier to just let somebody else fix it.

The VPS was setup within an hour, and I was ready to go.

HostPolar Early Review - Details:

I've been building websites for 15+ years, and admin'ing my own servers for almost as long. In general, I don't need much help. Give me a computer that works, and get out of my way. But to test a host, it sometimes helps to "play stupid" -- or essentially be a typical customer. I wanted to know that tech support was competent, should I need them in the future. So I asked for some help.

Request 1: Install the free Kloxo control panel.
Request 2: Install PHP and MySQL.
Almost immediately, a tech responded to the ticket, asking if it would be okay to bump this down to a low priority while they were busy dealing with some VPS setups. Sure, no problem! A good host would ask that sort of thing. A bad host would either ignore you, or push it to low priority without even asking. The next morning, it was all installed.

Request 3: Kloxo + MySQL issue
That afternoon, I discovered Kloxo could not see MySQL. There was no way to properly admin MySQL from within Kloxo, as it should be. I re-opened and replied to the Kloxo install ticket, noting the issue, as well as mentioning it was a "low priority". Immediately I received a response that they would reinstall MySQL and PHP in a few hours. And that's exactly what happened.

All communication from HostPolar has been professional, prompt, courteous, and well-written. They may have a chilly mascot and theme, but their demeanor is warm and inviting. I don't (yet) know the age or background of the staff or owners -- something I tend to insist upon knowing if a host wants my business long-term -- but I'm not seeing any kiddie-speak or butchered English. That's a good sign. Nor does it strike me as a one-man show.

Ping speeds to New York (NYC), to the WeLink datacenter, have been excellent. All of the control panels load quickly (Solus VM and Kloxo). And finally, all of the sites load fast.

If you actually take the time to read through the Terms of Services (TOS), Acceptable User Policy (AUP), and Service Level Agreement (SLA), you'll also notice that there's no hidden "gotcha" or "fine print" -- something that kiddie hosts and greedy corporate conglomerate hosts use to screw customers. It's also not something that was plagiarized (copy/pasted) from another host, as you often find with unreliable webhosts. Their WHMCS is licensed and verifies. Their knowledge base is not blank, and it has helpful information (although it could still use a good bit of work). There has clearly been some effort expended to set up HostPolar and hostpolar.com.

The only negative comment I would have is that the FTP speed seemed really slow. However, I didn't troubleshoot it -- that could have just as easily been a LAN or ISP is issue on my end. If it happens again, I'll test it if I have the time.

Why Leave An Early Review?

Starting a new business sucks. You have to invest a lot of time, energy and funds into it, and there's no guarantee that it will be sustainable long-term. I recognize this. HostPolar strikes me as a company with a good setup and smart people behind it, and I'd much rather see an operation like this succeed as opposed to their competition -- the crappy over-advertised corporate conglomerates like Godaddy, which provide some of the worst service around. HostPolar is a new company, as of February 2011, and they can probably use all the good-word spreading they can get.

I know some seasoned hosting veterans may look at a review like this and think "so what, that's easy to do," and I would completely agree. The problem is most new hosts would have already failed at something along the way -- especially the kiddies or Indian-owned/Asian-owned hosts. I see it all the time.

A company like this is a good candidate, sometime down the road, for our Best Web Hosts List. We're currently putting together a "New Hosts You Should Try" type of guides list -- and HostPolar will be on it.

What's Next?

Later that night, after Request #3, I had a new domain setup, and manually installed WordPress (because the Kloxo auto installer uses unsafe default settings, like most "install it for you" apps in web hosting control panels, just FYI). I'll be monitoring the server with uptime tools, and the domain will receive a good bit of attention, as it's a new site being developed. If problems show up, I'll know immediately.

After our new site is launched, and more time has passed, I'll write up a more formal review, on the Reviews section of The Digital FAQ. In the meantime, if you're on a tight budget, and you want a good cheap VPS, consider HostPolar. (And if you know anything about The Digital FAQ, you know we don't just randomly endorse or suggest anything.)

You can find HostPolar at http://www.hostpolar.com/


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  #2  
04-27-2011, 06:42 AM
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UPDATE: HostPolar was bought out by AltusHost. This review no longer applies.

______________________

It's been 45 days since this review, and outside of a small billing error that was corrected within a few hours, I have nothing but positive comments for this young host. Not only has this VPS been excellent, with fast speed and solid uptime, but the owner has maintained an excellent professional courtesy and attitude, even when a customer did not deserve it (as observed from posts on another site). I'm quite impressed, and I don't impress easy.

A more detailed, formal review is on the way very soon.

In the meantime, I felt it important to give a quickie update for anybody that may be reading this post. If you're trying to find a good host, then your search may be over. HostPolar is a good host. Depending on your needs and budget, they might be a perfect solution for you.

Savings Tip: Use the coupon code 50OFFWHT and receive 50% off any plan recurring. Also, receive an upgrade to the next plan.

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  #3  
07-08-2011, 12:40 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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UPDATE: HostPolar was bought out by AltusHost. This review no longer applies.

______________________

Since the last update in April, I've used the VPS to temporarily store video project files, develop some PHP code, develop some WordPress themes, and learn more about Linux by "playing around" with the setup (hardening the VPS, for example). The VPS has been nothing less than flawless, with 100% uptime, as tracked with 10-minute pings and regular dev use. It now has a permanent site launched, and I'll continue to monitor that moving forward.

If you want a low-cost OpenVZ SolusVM host, I highly suggest HostPolar.

A long review is forthcoming, as are guides for VPS newbies looking for help.

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- Please Like Us on Facebook | Follow Us on Twitter

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