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07-01-2022, 06:06 AM
McCarthy McCarthy is offline
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I just went through the stickied "Top Web Hosts in 2021" thread on this sub forum.

It tells us how bad those affiliate driven "Best Hoster" blogs are. And I agree, they are garbage!

When I click on one of the top contenders, InMotion, the URL entails this "affiliates=133516". I thought this may be a copy & paste mistake, so I checked the link to the 2nd "best" hoster and get to see this "afcode=4bf9533f463a179179626447f7e51b40"

With other words, why do you condemn affiliates blogs when you do the exact same thing over here? Why should I trust your top list any more? Why is that thread closed?

I don't see ANY relevant metrics or test data that would make this list any better.

For the record: all those 5-dollar-a-month-hosts are garbage. If you want to run a proper business online, you need a 1 or 2 U dedicated server in a data center.

Just on a side note: I have worked in this field since the early 90s. I hold a degree in Computer Sciences, sys admin on many Unix systems, can code in 13 scripts and languages. I colo in different data centers in the US and Europe, for my own company. No, we do not host, we use all resources for our company's websites and e-commerce systems.
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  #2  
07-01-2022, 07:37 AM
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With other words, why do you condemn affiliates blogs when you do the exact same thing over here? Why should I trust your top list any more? Why is that thread closed?
You made a mistake. The thinking is too binary. It's not all-or-none.

Affiliate-driven blogs rank by whoever pays them the most, not by quality. That's why almost all affiliate splogs give "advice" (not legit advice) to use all the EIG/Newfold brands like Hostgator.

We recommended based on quality, not rank by payout. Most pay a small commission. Few hosts pay nothing, and those tend to be tiny operations that are unproven long-term. Larger hosts tend to pay a larger commission simply because that's what everybody in the industry currently does.

When commissions are offered, we accept. It would be stupid not to, as this site has bills to pay. But it's not a money grab, where we whore ourselves out to the biggest payer.

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For the record: all those 5-dollar-a-month-hosts are garbage.
That's not true at all. Quality is not determined by price. Expensive hosts can be crappy, and budget hosts can be exceptional. Hawkhost is a great example of a $5 range shared host that is exceptional, with features and support that surpasses hosts that cost more than double. But the key is to properly use hosts, and to properly optimize sites.

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If you want to run a proper business online, you need a 1 or 2 U dedicated server in a data center.
Most hosts will have multiple servers, and these days many run cloud stacks.

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Originally Posted by McCarthy View Post
Just on a side note: I have worked in this field since the early 90s. I hold a degree in Computer Sciences, sys admin on many Unix systems, can code in 13 scripts and languages. I colo in different data centers in the US and Europe, for my own company. No, we do not host, we use all resources for our company's websites and e-commerce systems.
Similar experience here, since early 90s. Though not a CS degree, not really useful for web content, but comm.

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I just went through the stickied "Top Web Hosts in 2021" thread on this sub forum.
BTW, it needs to be updated. During the worst of the pandemic, 20-21, we wrote new criteria, and just haven't had time to publish it. However, you can still consider all the current rankings decent to excellent. But we may expand it, shuffle some companies around.

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  #3  
07-01-2022, 08:23 AM
McCarthy McCarthy is offline
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Once you do your own colo, owning your own servers, and paying for metered bandwidth and racks in a quality data center, and know what they pay to backbone providers etc, you will quickly understand that ANY 5 dollar a month offering can't be done without cutting massive corners, and that will limit and outright hinder the growth of a business. I'm talking about real companies, not some noob trying to sell his lame artwork with zero demand in the market or a HVAC self employed guy offering some info and a contact form.

In the end you too claim that your list is better based on some experiences without going into any details, much like those blog sites, there is no imperial data to back it up, all subjective.

Set up 3 servers across the nation, get hosting packages on all listed and de-listed hosters, and do ongoing latency, load, transfer and up-time test for a year. Create support tickets at different times of the day and rate response time and quality of content. That would be data that makes sense and I could trust.
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  #4  
07-01-2022, 08:34 AM
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you will quickly understand that ANY 5 dollar a month offering can't be done without cutting massive corners, and that will limit and outright hinder the growth of a business. I'm talking about real companies, not some noob
And I'm referring to companies that have been around for at least 10 years. $5/month shared is possible, with features (cPanel, SpamExperts, etc), when well managed and to scale. Most will be lousy, I agree, but not all. And then companies that charge twice as much (and more) can also suck. It's not fully an issue of price. Hosting is somewhat of a commodity, and the differentiating factor is skill of the business.

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In the end you too claim that your list is better based on some experiences without going into any details, much like those blog sites, there is no imperial data to back it up, all subjective.
Well, not exactly. The origin of that list being published was due to emails and private messages asking for good info on hosting (as I was known for good info, and still am). I maintained some short lists, and started to share those due to these requests. So these lists were not initially made in the sharing format, with lots of data (graphs, etc). Nor did I have time to add it. But in more recent years, it's something we want to add to the site. And that will eventually happen.

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  #5  
07-01-2022, 08:58 AM
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And I'm referring to companies that have been around for at least 10 years. $5/month shared is possible, with features (cPanel, SpamExperts, etc), when well managed and to scale. Most will be lousy, I agree, but not all. And then companies that charge twice as much (and more) can also suck. It's not fully an issue of price. Hosting is somewhat of a commodity, and the differentiating factor is skill of the business.

Well, not exactly. The origin of that list being published was due to emails and private messages asking for good info on hosting (as I was known for good info, and still am). I maintained some short lists, and started to share those due to these requests. So these lists were not initially made in the sharing format, with lots of data (graphs, etc). Nor did I have time to add it. But in more recent years, it's something we want to add to the site. And that will eventually happen.

Ok, providing this list based on request in your forum makes sense, and that is indeed a valid course.

Most shared hosting pushes web developers into technical limitations. No SSH or limited rights on SSH is often a factor that forces clients to move to dedicated hosting after all, or they will deal with a web system that limits reach and opportunities in the market.

Any new online business asking me for suggestions gets to hear "Plan in at least $100 to $200 a month for a dedicated place in a server rack, in a quality data center, 3k for "decent" server hardware, and fees for being managed if you don't hire a LOCAL sys admin".

New business starters spending 100 bucks a month on a business cell phone plan with 100 GB hotspot so they can stream nonsense in breaks but trying to get away with 5 dollar hosting for their online business, will fail in most cases. Seen it many times.
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  #6  
07-01-2022, 09:24 AM
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Well, as I mentioned, you must properly use shared hosting. It's not for SSH, relaxed limits, etc. It caters to the customer that needs lower costs, usually for minimal resource use. When you need full control, that's what VPS is for, also noting VPS is a type of shared environment, as are most "cloud" offerings. For example, at Hawkhost, I mostly need SpamExperts for low volume personal emails, and a small personal site. After licensing and utility, even at $5, there's room for profit to cover operations. Now multiply that to scale.

I don't at all agree with needing dedicated server (or a whole rack), but $100-200 for the web presence IT spend is accurate. I think you're assuming needs that don't always exist. It reminds me of the story where Godaddy tried to sell a grandma a dedicated server to check her email. There is a big gap between $5 shared and $$$$ for dedicated racks.

We're in complete agreement on business phone and hosting spend. My advice, for years, is that the hosting budget must at least match the phone+internet bill. If that costs $20 (ha!), your budget is $20 minimum. If you spend $200 on it, then you'll usually easily spend $200 minimum on the hosting. It's a very good match in most cases.

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  #7  
07-01-2022, 09:25 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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I don't hold a degree in this stuff, but I've worked on fairly novel IT projects and can write C (embedded), NodeJS and even a bit of Python under duress. Oh and PHP but I think that's assumed any numpty can write that. Occasional flirtations with various assemblers when required.

The hosting model for anything beyond niche is, in my opinion, dying.

I moved from one host (names.co.uk) here as they would not permit SSH access without paying a considerable sum. I always install my own SSL certs, I refuse to pay somebody 50/month for the courtesy of doing it for me!

Site hosting/builders have come a long way, all of my businesses have now switched to Wix (others I'm sure are equally as good, I'm not a Wix 'stan') as the quality and feature set of the online building platforms for general public-facing pages is now very good with the ability to flex-in custom code. Two of our sites integrate perfectly with various third-party systems (invoicing/accounting), CRM and payment gateways. It could be done the long way round, but why reinvent the wheel - doubly so when I don't have to pay somebody to maintain the code.

It is not a fit for all sites might I add rather clearly, but it's not viable for a good deal of small projects.

They had a bad reputation back in the days of WordPress being the king, but that was 2012, it's now 2022.

Alternatively, for serious back-end, we use AWS Lambda functions (Elastic Transcoder, Aurora, S3, Glacier) which allows businesses the flexibility to spin up and down as required and offloads a lot of hassle. AWS used to be an absolute ache to use, but whilst it's not an amateur dabbler platform it's now considerably more approachable for the hobbyist or small business.

Now sites can be hosted solely within a function, the shift, I think, has started.

It's also easy for prototyping code as a quick machine can be spun up in seconds and completely sandboxed from production machines.

I'm not an AWS expert by any stretch of the imagination, for all clarity.

I'm not sure where raw 'hosting' services fit anymore by and large for most small businesses. Happy to hear input, I'm a sample of one. They sort of straddle a weird centre position between the ease of drop-and-click and the whole awesome but complicated world of 'the cloud'.

You guys pay so much for cellular data! I pay just under $25US/month for full unthrottled and unlimited 5G data. It's pretty common here now to 'cut the cord' and ditch cables entirely and just get a 5G router and pay 20 a month for unlimited 100mb+ internet.

Speaking of affiliate links, the eBay one on here does amuse some of us, given the rather negative remarks made out eBay daily.
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  #8  
07-01-2022, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobustReviews View Post
The hosting model for anything beyond niche is, in my opinion, dying.
True story: A friend told me this before. Years ago. 2005 to be exact. "We already have MySpace, why do I need to pay for hosting?" This prognosis of hosting dying is nothing new. I still remember some of the crazy stuff from the 90s.

Quote:
all of my businesses have now switched to Wix (
Wix will mostly likely not survive, nor does it deserve to.
Shopify probably will.

Quote:
we use AWS Lambda functions (Elastic Transcoder, Aurora, S3, Glacier) which allows businesses the flexibility to spin up and down as required and offloads a lot of hassle. AWS used to be an absolute ache to use, but whilst it's not an amateur dabbler platform it's now considerably more approachable for the hobbyist or small business.
The problem with AWS, Google, Azure, is the utility billing model can easily outstrip the budget, then you have major issues. For most businesses, this is not desired. For example, you don't need AWS for a site to showcase your eatery menus, or even to place to-go orders.

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I'm not sure where raw 'hosting' services fit anymore by and large for most small businesses.
It's still used by small businesses. Perhaps you're only thinking of physical shops, and not things like book authors or consultants. Many businesses need modest sites, even sole proprietors.

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You guys pay so much for cellular data! I pay just under $25US/month for full unthrottled and unlimited 5G data.
For $25 you get a decent prepaid smart phone plan, unlimited phone/text, and very limited data. If you want more data, it quickly doubles, or triples, or more. Data is not cheap.

Quote:
It's pretty common here now to 'cut the cord' and ditch cables entirely
This only works if you don't watch sports, and don't want local news (if not living in the heart of the city, to get those weak modern DTV signals). Cutting the cord means something like Netflix only, which leaves lots of gaps in your viewing wants. Some people don't care. Then again, some people only watch YouTube and TikTok.

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Speaking of affiliate links, the eBay one on here does amuse some of us, given the rather negative remarks made out eBay daily.
I've also made comments internally about the irony here, but the links have never paid very much anyway. Sort of like how Hostgator is linked, but not suggested. I've explained the reasoning here before. Sometimes people will still stubbornly do what they were told to avoid, so why not collect the commission on it? Somebody was going to. At least we tried.

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  #9  
07-01-2022, 10:07 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
True story: A friend told me this before. A years ago. 2005 to be exact. "We already have MySpace, why do I need to pay for hosting?" This prognosis of hosting dying is nothing new. I still remember some of the crazy stuff from the 90s.

Wix will mostly likely not survive, nor does it deserve to.
Shopify probably will.
Potentially, I'd be intrigued to know the state of the hosting industry trends though.

Quote:
The problem with AWS, Google, Azure, is the utility billing model can easily outstrip the budget, then you have major issues. For most businesses, this is not desired. For example, you don't need AWS for a site to showcase your eatery menus, or even to place to-go orders.
Yes, this is an important consideration and I agree and something that should be investigated by any individual considering this. It's a very good point to raise.

Quote:
It's still used by small businesses. Perhaps you're only thinking of physical shops, and not things like book authors or consultants. Many businesses need modest sites, even sole proprietors.
But then if you want a classic '5 Page' static, why go to the hassle of hosting when you can set up a nice, smart-looking site for a few 'bucks' a month without the hassle? I still don't know where self-operated sites really fit in for a good deal of businesses now.

Quote:
For $25 you get a decent prepaid smart phone plan, unlimited phone/text, and very limited data. If you want more data, it quickly double, or triples, or more. Data is not cheap.
Looking out of my office window, a litre of petrol (95 RON EU/'Standard grade' gasoline US) is 1.92 a litre or $9US/US Gallon. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

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This only works if you don't want sports, and don't want local news (if not living in the heart of the city, to get those weak modern DTV signals). Cutting the cord means something like Netflix only, which leaves lots of gaps in your viewing wants. Some people don't care. Then again, some people only watch YouTube and TikTok.
That's probably a difference across the pond, here Sky (digital satellite television) is almost defacto, I don't watch television so won't pay for Sky (football and cricket is for the pub!) but still, free-to-air satellite is also well established, which is what is in my living room.

Terrestrial DTV seems to be a mess Stateside but that's a considerably bigger area, with more awkward terrain and a far more spread out population. Terrestrial DTV has been established here since the mid/late 1990s, our PAL analogue services were switched off starting in 2007. Easier(!) to do in smaller countries granted, it's not a sleight on what's happened in the US, it's not an easy puzzle to solve!

That's a whole other topic though.

Quote:
I've also made comments internally about the irony here, but the links have never paid very much anyway. Sort of like how Hostgator is linked, but not suggested. I've explained the reasoning here before. Sometimes people will still stubbornly do what they were told to avoid, so why not collect the commission on it? Somebody was going to. At least we tried.
Your gaff, your rules as we say, but it has been noticed by members too, and it does look a touch hypocritical.
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  #10  
07-01-2022, 10:17 AM
McCarthy McCarthy is offline
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Maybe I should have defined "proper online business" better. As stated I'm not talking about a 1 or 2 man operation that offers local services. I'm talking about companies (of any size) that want to be able to grow INSIDE the online markets.

I have run and tested a bunch of shop systems including current click & go offers. IF you want to grow your business, hence reduce costs by forcing staff to jump through loops in order to operate daily business on the backend, or implement new or custom interfaces to other platforms without being limited, you will need full access and dedicated hardware soon enough.

The reality is, that most don't follow this concept and try to make things work. That's when you not only lose your competetive edge, you refuse to make it possible.

None of our shops are click & go solutions. We would be out of business with those standardized offers. All our current systems run our own forks of the Magento developer framework. There are so many modifications, self made extensions, custom templates, custom interfaces to different payment processors, using custom APIs to all major logistic partners, platforms like Amazon, reporting, etc. There are countless highly customized cron jobs running from every 5 sec to daily / weekly / monthly.

And no, we are not a S&P500 company, our staff on payroll is around 30.

That flexibility (in quality / dedicated hosting) comes with a price. If you don't allow your company to adjust to YOUR BEST workflow, you are only adding one variable that will make survival much harder, let alone let you outgrow the competition.
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  #11  
07-01-2022, 10:32 AM
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The average small business has only 10 employees, and that average is thrown off by the "small" businesses that have 100+ employees. There are many, many businesses that have 5-10 people at most, excluding sole proprietors. Those businesses need sites that are commensurate with what can be handled. Even if it's all outsourced, some employee time is required to manage content, even if just dictating over the phone.

To me, it sounds like you're dealing with ecommerce custom shops. That's why Shopify is still growing. Neither the costly dedicated method work cost effectively, nor the shared method at all.

Magento is a beast of a platform. It does require heavy resources. I liked Magento in the late 2000s, into the early 2010s. I'm no longer a fan of it, not used it in at least 5 years, but won't fault anybody for using it. The CRM and ecomm is nicely integrated. Powerful, but time consuming to maintain and use, and costly.

Do you work for Nexcess?
LiquidWeb is a great operation, even if some of the acquisitions were at first bumpy (WiredTree, Nexcess, some others). Not an EIG screw job, but bumpy.

In that context, I agree with you entirely on everything you've written here.

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  #12  
07-01-2022, 10:38 AM
McCarthy McCarthy is offline
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Originally Posted by kpmedia View Post
The average small business has only 10 employees, and that average is thrown off by the "small" businesses that have 100+ employees. There are many, many businesses that have 5-10 people at most, excluding sole proprietors. Those businesses need sites that are commensurate with what can be handled. Even if it's all outsourced, some employee time is required to manage content, even if just dictating over the phone.

To me, it sounds like you're dealing with ecommerce custom shops. That's why Shopify is still growing. Neither the costly dedicated method work cost effectively, nor the shared method at all.

Magento is a beast of a platform. It does require heavy resources. I liked Magento in the late 2000s, into the early 2010s. I'm no longer a fan of it, not used it in at least 5 years, but won't fault anybody for using it. The CRM and ecomm is nicely integrated. Powerful, but time consuming to maintain and use, and costly.

Do you work for Nexcess?
LiquidWeb is a great operation, even if some of the acquisitions were at first bumpy (WiredTree, Nexcess, some others). Not an EIG screw job, but bumpy.

In that context, I agree with you entirely on everything you've written here.
I don't work for anybody, I retired 10 years ago at age 40 from operations of my own company, holding majority shares, being paid through dividends.

That being said, I still look into certain issues and opportunities when it comes to our IT, do the HR and the finical controlling twice a year.

Maintaining our Magento forks is easy, we harden the servers mainly. Never touch / change a running system is something I learned a long time ago.
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  #13  
07-01-2022, 10:53 AM
RobustReviews RobustReviews is offline
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I don't work for anybody, I retired 10 years ago at age 40 from operations of my own company, holding majority shares, being paid through dividends.
That's my dream, I'm not quite there yet (!), but I've got a spread of small businesses and whilst it's not on the immediate horizon, it's cropped up in my mind.

Quote:
Maintaining our Magento forks is easy, we harden the servers mainly. Never touch / change a running system is something I learned a long time ago.
A hard-learned lesson, I imagine not to your level, but I have spanned things with seemingly inoccuous tweaks!
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  #14  
07-01-2022, 11:50 AM
McCarthy McCarthy is offline
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That's my dream, I'm not quite there yet (!), but I've got a spread of small businesses and whilst it's not on the immediate horizon, it's cropped up in my mind.

A hard-learned lesson, I imagine not to your level, but I have spanned things with seemingly inoccuous tweaks!
Retiring early seemed like a dream come true, but it got boring fast and my health / body didn't like not being used / needed anymore. I'm currently looking into getting back into something meaningful, productive and profitable. Away from a desk if possible.

I measure IT safety by the uptime of the server

Once in a blue moon a bot gets in. They only try to make your server another part of a spamming network. Its much easier, faster and cheaper to find the hole, fix it, and install an incremental backup.

Just looked into one of our boxes... do I need to say more? lol I recall seeing uptimes of 3 years.


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  #15  
07-10-2022, 02:28 PM
Relja Relja is offline
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Ok, providing this list based on request in your forum makes sense, and that is indeed a valid course.

Most shared hosting pushes web developers into technical limitations. No SSH or limited rights on SSH is often a factor that forces clients to move to dedicated hosting after all, or they will deal with a web system that limits reach and opportunities in the market.

Any new online business asking me for suggestions gets to hear "Plan in at least $100 to $200 a month for a dedicated place in a server rack, in a quality data center, 3k for "decent" server hardware, and fees for being managed if you don't hire a LOCAL sys admin".

New business starters spending 100 bucks a month on a business cell phone plan with 100 GB hotspot so they can stream nonsense in breaks but trying to get away with 5 dollar hosting for their online business, will fail in most cases. Seen it many times.
For what it's worth:

I'm an advanced shared/reseller hosting user at best (i.e. not a web-hosting expert).
Over the years, I've used the services of various different providers.
And I'm yet to have what I'd consider to be a bad experience with a provider that comes highly recommended on this website/forum.

Likewise, as far as I can tell, @kpmedia knows a thing or two about computers, servers, network infrastructure and technical support. This is why I consider his opinion and advice to be more relevant than any uptime or performance testing that I might do (or read others perform). It could even be argued that those are pointless (even deceiving/misleading) when evaluating overall hosting quality and making a decision - but that discussion is a separate topic ("can of worms" if you like ).

P.S.
Many reseller hosting providers allow SSH access nowadays.
It is handy - and it has become one of the things I look for when choosing a provider.
Some (very few) offer scaled resource limits (utilizing CloudLinux), which is handy for a resource-hungry WooCommerce shop or similar (with all its pros and cons).
"Shared/reseller" hosting has come a long way and apart from some very custom setups, I think it makes sense to pay less, and have a competent provider do 100% of the server maintenance (compared to a dedi, or a VPS).

Again, I'm no expert, so take this with a grain of salt - only "my 2c" as the Americans say.
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  #16  
10-03-2022, 03:47 AM
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I always look for a few things: Reliability, Support/Knowledge, Price - you get what you pay for really.
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