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10-04-2011, 06:02 PM
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You're probably already aware of our hosting suggestions list: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/web-...-best-web.html

If you want to find a list of the best website hosts available, read that guide! (Not this page!)

" Then what is this page? ", you ask...

Many people -- both potential customers and hosting owners -- have asked me here (as well as via PM on WHT) what it takes be listed on that suggested hosts list. That list currently shows what we suggest as being the top web hosting company choices, and is based on dozens of experiences spanning more than a decade. I've been creating and hosting websites since the 1990s, and know my way around hosting pretty well. And as is the philosophy of this site, I'm sharing that information with you, so that you can make an informed choice -- as opposed to you simply buying what's cheap (or worse, you being lead to a lousy host simply because the person making the suggestion is paid a huge commission).

The only real way you can make a legitimate "top web hosts" list is by using each host for at least a year, and experiencing both good times and bad -- and then seeing how the host reacts and handles those situations. It's not much different than a good marriage, to be honest: "for better, or for worse"! A bad host can have perfect uptime for 6 months, then act laissez-faire (uncaring, uninterested) when a problem does happen. A good host can be down a few times per year, but handle each incident swiftly and to your satisfaction. Long-term testing is what reveals the true character of a host. You don't want a host with no downtime (100% uptime is an impossible task, I assure you); you want a a host that responds well when downtime occurs.

In all, I've probably reviewed 50 hosts in the past two years, and many of those reviews are being written up for future publication. Anything older is being discarded (reviews expired).

This list does NOT include hosts alreadu found on our Best Web Hosts list, nor does it include expired hosts.

Here's a partial list of some hosts we've testing since Q1 2011:

Stream101$10+Linux cPanel reseller1st10/2011Excellent uptime and support
SpeedySparrow$3+Linux cPanel shared2nd9/2011Established hosted, decent experience
SpeedySparrow$20+Linux cloud VPS unmanaged2nd9/2011Established hosted, decent experience
123Systems$1+Linux VPS unmanaged3rd8/2011Support can be non-existent.
BuyVM$1+Linux VPS unmanaged2nd7/2011Established hosted, servers decent for price.
CrocWeb$1+Linux cPanel shared1st7/2011Canadian host
Evolucix$6+Linux VPS unmanaged1st6/2011Very competent, new host that should be around for a while.
HostPolar$5+Linux VPS unmanaged4th3/2011Support unreliable since 8/2011 buyout by AltusHost
Hostable$3+Linux cPanel shared3rd3/2011Servers slow, like most large hosts.
Semoweb$5+Linux cPanel shared4th1/2011Horrible, inexcusable downtime; Engrish/gibberish speaking techs

* The lowest prices often require 1-year or longer payment. Monthly plans are often about 10-20% higher.
** NOTE: Some hosts give coupons, which gives the low price shown. See our Daily Shopping Deals section for web hosting coupons!

Rankings ... already ?!

You'll notice that I've included some current preliminary grading and notes, which reflect experiences and realistic expectations.
Current because we could change them at any time -- these are in a state of flux.
Preliminary because that's how they're doing at the moment, and these are not final review evaluations just yet. Reviews are in-progress!

The class grades are very similar to our rankings for blank CD, DVD and Blu-ray media reviews: 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class, 4th Class.
Or "N/A" for yet-unranked hosts (no preliminary opinion formed yet).

These rankings have very specific meanings, and are not random or arbitrary:
  • 1st Class - reliable/near-perfect uptime, quick/effective support desk, friendly/professional staff, reasonable prices.
  • 2nd Class - reliable/near-perfect uptime, reasonable/so-so prices ... but support is somewhat slow, maybe brief/curt in tickets
  • 3rd Class - uptime is an issue, but the host can improve; situation not hopeless; support possibly slow/curt
  • 4th Class - the host has screwed up royally -- downtime, incompetent/evasive/lying support staff, data loss, rude/unprofessional.

More detailed mini-reviews are found in the next post.


NOTE: If you're a host that would like to be reviewed, please feel free to Contact Us.

As time permits, we'll respond with the steps necessary to conduct a review. Do understand that this does NOT cost money; receiving standard reviews is free! We're an ethical site, and we cannot be bribed into giving undeserved good reviews. This is a slow process, but it will easily result in the kind of high-quality review that can land you many new clients -- assuming you have a good hosting company!

The Digital FAQ is an established site with respectable medium levels of traffic (50,000+ minimum uniques per month).

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- Need a good web host? Ask me for help! Get the shared, VPS, semi-dedicated, cloud, or reseller you need.
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10-04-2011, 08:19 PM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Detailed Host-by-Host Notes (mini-Reviews):

Evolucix is a new host from late 2010, run by a pair of young entrepreneurs out of the Colo4 datacenter in Dallas. Now I'm highly skeptical of young-run hosts (late teens and/or college kids) in general, because more often than not they'll turn into "kiddie hosts". But Evolucix is no kiddie host! I've been rather impressed by their eagerness to learn the advanced aspects of the hosting industry, in addition to simply being competent around servers. During the Colo4 disaster this summer, Evolucix did a great job at communicating -- better than most (Futurehosting, for example). I don't impress easily, especially not when the odds are bad. If I were an investor looking for a lucrative tech start-up, this is one duo I'd splurge a few thousand on. A more detailed review is pending.

SpeedySparrow is a host that's been around for about five years (formerly aTechHosting), so in some ways a review is almost more of a formality. On the other hand, Speedy is new to the cloud hosting game, as of this past summer, offering solutions powered by OnApp. In some ways, they're learning about the new systems just like customers. The CEO and myself have butted heads at another forum in the past, on various topics -- but after some longer conversations via email, I have to say I'm impressed by his character, which surely trickles down into how the business is run. For example, a recent major outage at the end of September was dealt with swiftly and with great professionalism. I expect a great review long-term.

BuyVM (a subsidiary of Frantech hosting) is another host I mostly know from reputations on other forums, offering dirt-cheap budget unmanaged VPS plans. The owner is very sincere and knowledgeable, and I find it hard to imagine such a person running a crappy hosting company. At this point in time, server testing has been minimal. But I'm still expecting a good experience with BuyVM. Their $15/yearly low-end-box 128MB VPS plans are so popular that they literally sell out in one day any time new nodes are added! Now that's impressive.

123Systems Solutions is a complete unknown right now. I've read bad, I've read good, and none of it is very persuasive. At a cost of $1/month for a 192MB VPS, it's worth the gamble to form my own opinion. It could be gold, or it could be a turd. Let's see what happens! (This is where reviewing gets to be fun, like an adventure.)

HostPolar was a great hosting company when it started in late 2010, but that's over with now. The original owner (Justin) had to leave the industry due to personal reason. He started out as being very professional and responsive to support tickets, but that disappeared sometime in July, when the company was put up for sale. For several weeks the tickets were closed without response, or answered in a very disinterested way; given the issues, it's understandable even if undesirable. Unfortunately the company was hastily sold to the highest bidder, and a host with a somewhat spotty record won the bidding process: AltusHost. On 9/30, my VPS was mysteriously erased, and AltusHost support staff varied from evasive to unprofessional to apologetic in tickets. I have backups of the data, and can easily restore it. Downtime isn't the issue. Erasure isn't the issue. Lousy support is the issue. That's a deal-breaker. A more detailed review is pending.

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- Need a good web host? Ask me for help! Get the shared, VPS, semi-dedicated, cloud, or reseller you need.
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