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Desperately seeking web host recommendations

If you’re the sort of person whose eyes glaze at the very mention of “disk space” and you’re positively snoring into your dinner at the thought of mySQL databases, you might want to stop reading now. Our apologies for the tedium … rest assured we’ll be back to our bubbly sparkling selves tomorrow [ahem].

Now, for those of you still with us …  I’m still in a pickle about a new web host. As many of you will know I had every intention of moving to a new host last week, signed up for an account and everything, and then they proceeded to just totally mess up. The transfer didn’t happen, the support team clearly didn’t know what they were doing, and before you could say I’mindeepdoodoo our YT had done a 180° turn and decided not to switch to the new host after all.

So here we are, back at square one, which isn’t such a terrible spot to be in since this current host is pretty reliable most of the time and – to their credit – they offer excellent support. The problem is that they have lagged behind other web hosts significantly in the last while in terms of disk space and bandwidth, and it is starting to cost me a small fortune [well, a few extra bucks a month] to keep up with my current bandwidth needs.

Meanwhile, other web hosts out there are starting to offer massive amounts of diskspace and sometimes unlimited bandwidth for approximately the same price as I’m paying now. I know they’re out there, and a few names have been whispered into my little virtual ear lately, including Dreamhost and GoDaddy. I know there are others; thing is, I want to be sure their reliability and support are up to standard, because those are the two absolute essentials in a good web host – something in the neighbourhood of 99.99 percent uptime and a 20-minute turnaround on support tickets. And it wouldn’t hurt if they cost around 10 bucks a month, or less.

So I’d love it if you would share your web hosting experiences in the comments below – which web host you use, are you satisfied/dissatisfied with them, and why.


It was lovely this morning, sunny and calm, everything just delightfully benign. Then just past noon the wind started picking up and by late afternoon it was miserable out there. A little earlier I decided to take my nasty cough out to the store and then to a meeting, and when I came back home I had to bail on our plans for this evening – meeting up with our hiking group to look at photos from last year’s hike and plan this year’s. I’m still feeling really rough and couldn’t subject my poor lungs and throat to the cold. It’s -1°C [plus massive windchill, I’m sure] which is 30F, the sun came up at 8.45 and went down at 6.37 pm. And notice how I got through this entire post without once mentioning Doddsson.




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Blank Xavier February 26, 2009, 9:54 pm

    When you say host – do you just need web space hosting, or blogging software?

    I’ve had my home page with serve.com since about 1998. Excellent support, sensible prices.

    One thing – *NOBODY* truly offers unlimited bandwidth. If you start to use a lot, they will cap you/charge you. You will find two classes of providers out there – those who are dead cheap (and often offer unlimited bandwidth) and those who are sensibly priced. The former offer unreliable service and poor customer support. The latter offer what you’d expect – a realistic service and good support. You get what you pay for – and if it looks too good to be true, it is.

  • Adrian February 26, 2009, 10:28 pm

    99.99% uptime, plus 20 minute turnaround on support tickets, and reasonable bandwidth, is not really obtainable for under $10. Dreamhost is not bad – I have a couple of websites on them myself – but they don’t have 99.99% uptime and I find the hosting a little slow. For rock-solid hosting, I would go with Pair.com – they’re not cheap, but you won’t have to worry about uptime or support reponsiveness.

  • Daniel Hardarson February 26, 2009, 10:33 pm

    sorry i can’t help with your webhost enquiries, you did really well to not mention dodson considering this news: http://www.icenews.is/index.php/2009/02/26/the-two-key-figures-at-central-bank-of-iceland-resign/#more-6025
    is it true? i can’t find any further information on it anywhere.

  • JoeInVegas February 26, 2009, 10:46 pm

    I do NOT recommend GoDaddy. I had several customers there, and had problems getting support answers and found it almost impossible to get sites off of them when we wanted to move elsewhere. I use catalog.com, have for years (since before most hosting started) and am happy with their support and service.

  • alda February 26, 2009, 10:53 pm

    BX – web space hosting.

    Adrian – yeah, I know, just overstretching it a bit, I do that occasionally on this site, *very* occasionally. But, you know, close to 99.99% / 20 minutes. And close to 10 bucks.

  • Schneelocke February 26, 2009, 11:30 pm

    I’ve had good luck with df.eu, myself. They’re not the cheapest around, but they’ve got great service and support.

    GoDaddy apparently has its share of problems, though – check out http://nodaddy.com/ .

  • Gudmundur February 27, 2009, 12:06 am

    I’ve been using different hosts in USA & Canada for the last 10 years or so. In my experience GoDaddy is great to buy domains but their webhosting division isn’t exactly great to put it mildly. And although i haven’t used them myself, Dreamhost has got a lot of bad reputation on the net (See Webhostingtalk.com).

    Recently i’ve begun to use a company called GeekStorage (http://www.geekstorage.com/), i highly recommend them. Quick replies on support tickets and super fast servers. (Look for their offers on WebHostingTalk, and you’ll get 50% more bandwith and etc.)

    I also highly recommend MonteCarloHosting (http://www.montecarlohosting.net). A small company but very dedicated. Top class service and if i’m not mistaken their number one guy Christian would probably move your website over for you in a jiffy…

    And like Blank Xavier said, there is no such thing as unlimited bandwidth, it’s just plain overselling and in the end you the customer are the one who will suffer from it.

    Just email me if you need any more tips or help.

  • meloukhia February 27, 2009, 12:21 am

    I use 2MHost, and they have been very good to me. They also meet your parameters, more or less.

  • Andrew February 27, 2009, 5:12 am

    Are there any decent local companies you could use? Doing your bit for the Icelandic economy and all that!

  • sirb February 27, 2009, 6:04 am

    I use godaddy for hosting, I’ve been very happy with them, since 2000 or new site since 2006. They are by far the cheapest ones I’ve found, and if you get a good person for support it’s great. I’ve only once had a guy who talked/thought like a robot.

    fyi – to simplify a whole lot for myself I used synthasite.com to create my site and they also have blogs I think and wix.com is another new one you might find fun to play around with

  • PhilippeP February 27, 2009, 8:04 am

    I use OVH.com (based in France) which is almost perfect on uptime and prices(these goes from almost free to very pricy), the ticket part might be the problem because they’re not as good on the administrative thing …

  • Neil February 27, 2009, 8:27 am

    http://www.firewebsitehosting.com has been great. They are very reasonable and the customer service is great. basically the owner picks up the phone when you call. He is very knowledgeable and reliable. No problems after 2 years. NO down time yet. I dont have the direct number but his name is Ron Tomassetti.

  • Benjamin Sternthal February 27, 2009, 9:18 am

    I have been using dreamhost for about 9 years, both for personal web hosting and for corporate extranets and lots of side projects.

    A few hiccups now and then but that will happen everywhere, even Amazon and Google go down now and then.

    So yep I would recommend them.

    Feel free to email me if you have specific questions.


  • robert February 27, 2009, 10:55 am

    I have had good support and service from Terra-byte and they seem fairly reasonable. I have used the 4u service that gives 800mb of disk space. How big is your database?


  • alda February 27, 2009, 11:31 am

    Takk, takk everyone!!

    Boy, it’s a jungle out there – so many companies and so many plans. I’ve been looking into some of these but will have to leave it until I have a bit more time.

    Still, I’m noticing how important it is to make a good first impression through your website – some of the sites I’ve seen make me want to bolt at the first opportunity! 🙂

    Andrew – no doubt there are, but they are far from competitive up here!

    robert – I’m currently using just over 300 MB of disk space. It’s really not that which concerns me, but rather the bandwidth aspect. That said, I could easily upgrade to a larger package with my current host, but they’re just not as competitive as others out there. Even the next package up only provides limited bandwidth.

  • robert February 27, 2009, 1:01 pm

    You might want to consider getting a package where you pay based on the bandwidth. most of the professional hosting space have those kind of plans, but in most cases you would have to provide the computer hardware. You would just pay based on the number of GB of transfer and power you use. This leaves you open to larger bills if you have a huge spike on bandwidth as they don’t cut you off automatically.

    This can happen, my sister posted a blog post about a celebrity and his hair ( it self washes ) and Google drove 5 times the normal numbers of hits to her blog. Thankfully she uses blog spot and doesn’t pay for band with.

    If this happens and you are paying bandwidth then you pay for it. With a limited account this kind of spike doesn’t cost you anything other than your site being down.

    If bandwidth is your problem i would take a look at your site, maybe compressing some images more, or shrinking them would reduce the bandwidth you use.

    BTW love your site, it is a interesting read, and gives me a bit of the Icelandic point of view in English, there isn’t a lot of news sources here that are in English.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  • Grif February 27, 2009, 3:22 pm

    I’ve been using Bluehost for quite some time now.

    As most hosting services, they seem to have problems from time to time as well (downtime/server load).

    So far I had a good experience with their level of support and their price is about average. Disk space and bandwith are insanely high.

    The images are already compressed to a acceptable level. Compressing them further could result in quite bad artifacts. (of course, I didn’t scan the whole site, but only took a quick look to the most frequently viewed images)


  • robert February 27, 2009, 3:43 pm

    Cool, I am just a programmer, don’t know much about web design, making games on the other hand 🙂

    Then it must be the legions of fans eating all the bandwidth 🙂

  • Paul H February 27, 2009, 6:09 pm

    Our hosting is not so good, we are in a worse boat right now.
    So the responses are something I am paying attention to.
    I hope you find a decent replacement host in good time.

    On a completely different topic…
    I came up with another Iceland news tweet…

    Appointed chairman of New Kaupthing resigns after two days. Says job proved to be more complicated. Previous job: Rocket Scientist.

    Does that fit within the realms of Icelandic humour?
    Apologies if it does not. I am trying to gauge any differences.

  • James McNally February 27, 2009, 8:10 pm

    I’ve used Dreamhost since 2000. They’re not perfect, but they’re pretty good, and I’ve found their control panels and web site easy to navigate.

  • Dorothy Gale February 27, 2009, 8:31 pm

    I have been using one and one http://order.1and1.com for about 5 years now for my work’s website, and I have yet to have a problem. And support is instantaneous.

  • Phil Barron February 27, 2009, 9:06 pm

    I can wholeheartedly recommend my own host, Steadfast Networks (Chicago). My uptime with them in 2009 has averaged at 99.790%. Their ‘Bronze’ shared hosting plan offers 1200 MB of disk space and 50 GB of monthly bandwidth for $9.95. Customer support is professional and timely. Their control panel is something called H-Sphere, which takes a little getting used to if you’re accustomed to something else (I had been using cPanel), but I’m quite comfortable with it now. They have a blog and a community forum as well.

    I’m using their ‘Silver’ plan (3000 MB space, 100 GB bandwidth, $19.95/mo). It’s more than I really need, but I like having the cushion. And who knows – I might need it someday. 🙂

  • lectric lady February 27, 2009, 9:35 pm

    Have you heard the sad news that Bill Holm has died?

  • alda February 27, 2009, 10:20 pm

    Yes, I did hear that. How did he die – do you know?

    – And thanks everyone for all your suggestions. Needless to say, I’m even more undecided than ever before…

  • Jon February 27, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Alda, Bill Holm died from complications of pneumonia. We will miss him.

  • alda February 27, 2009, 11:18 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that.

  • GB February 28, 2009, 1:37 am

    Paul H:

    >Jon: Alda, Bill Holm died from complications of pneumonia. We will miss him

    >Alda: I’m sorry to hear that.

    That is Icelandic humour. Inadvertent, I think… And,

    >> http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/article658382.ece <<

    This is Danish humour (Headline, picture and caption) . Also inadvertent, I think… But if we eat oxen and horses, why not workers, too?

    (This is the kind of humour you try to keep your children from)

    Oh, and Alda, If you had only used ” whats-his-name” in the last line of your post…

  • Stan February 28, 2009, 3:48 pm

    I spent a little time with Bill Holm in Hofsós where he used to stay right down by the waterfront at the emigration center. I shot some video of him at a re-opening of the horse farm, Kolkuós. I’ll take a look and perhaps see if there is anything as a memorial that I can post on my website, http://hestakaup.com . I hope that he is honored by the Icelanders because he did much to promote their culture abroad and he loved and knew it so well. It was a joy to hear him recite and talk about the sagas in an informal chat. I will never forget his tales of Grettir as we stood on a windy day facing Drangey.

  • michael February 28, 2009, 6:46 pm

    SquareSpace. Use promotion code TEKZ (for teckzilla at Revision3) and get 10% off for the entire length of time that you use their services. They make it very easy to set up and run your website.

  • SnoDad February 28, 2009, 10:23 pm

    Try BLUEHOST for web hosting – very economical and very good, I have used them.

    Also, the following link contains a video about the economic crisis in Iceland it is from the WSJ – http://www.capitalismgonewild.com/2008/12/how-iceland-melted.html

  • Flygill March 1, 2009, 12:06 pm

    Happy Beer Day, everybody!

  • alda March 1, 2009, 9:15 pm

    THANK YOU for your recommendations, everyone!

    A couple of these got caught in the spam filter and I accidentally deleted one from “Schroedinger’s Cat” who recommended A Small Orange (who, as it happens, I am using now) and Laughing Squid.

  • Dankoozy March 1, 2009, 10:36 pm

    I heard blacknight.ie is good around this part of the world.
    also not too far away from iceland 🙂

  • John Hopkins March 1, 2009, 11:41 pm

    Blessadur Alda; I’ve been using godaddy .com for the last two years with very good results. using a linux account, the deluxe plan you can implement 25 sql databases, 150 Gb of space, etc etc for USD 6.99/mo… I’ve had dedicated servers myself in different countries, Finland, Iceland, etc, but godaddy definitely had the best uptime stats… My site http://neoscenes.net is media-heavy (audio, video, image) and around 5000 pages of html content and my 14-year-long blog, etc.. and it works very well, serving all that content…

  • john March 2, 2009, 12:17 am

    I used Fatcow. $66/year. Wordpress, Drupal, etc. support. Minor irritations with mail every now and then, but where wouldn’t that be the case. Hope it helps.

  • Rob March 2, 2009, 9:42 am
  • The Other Katherine Harris March 12, 2009, 5:16 pm

    I’ve subscribed to the Yahoo “small business” option for several years and had no problems (yet). It costs only US $12.95 a month for more storage than I’ll ever need for two businesses and assorted literary and personal purposes. (This is my main site, http://www.glitzqueen.com, not the site where I blog.)

    On principle, I’m not crazy about being with one of the giants, but the service works. When I used lesser hosts, there were regular annoyances, including far too many outages.