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Choosing a Web Host November 3, 2006

Posted by LearningNerd in Personal.

So many choices! The worst part is that for every great review I read, there’s an equally terrible one. The web hosting plans offered by the biggest companies look too good to be true: tons of disk space, nearly unlimited bandwidth, and an endless list of features all for less than $10 a month!

Take a look at DreamHost, for example. They offer 200 GB of disk space and 2 TB (2,048 GB) of bandwidth for as low as $7.95 a month. Looks like overselling to me, but they do get many great reviews. Then again, some of the great reviews include a coupon code created through the DreamHost Affiliate Program, which has to be one of the most ingenious affiliate progams I’ve seen. Entire websites have been made solely to share these DreamHost Promo Codes, and people have even paid money to advertise them on Google! But DreamHost certainly has its share of bad reviews. Take a look at the horror stories showcased on DreamHost Sucks.

Here’s what I’d like to know: just how bad is DreamHost? Are all overselling web hosts equally as bad? Are there any web hosts that don’t have any terrible reviews? Your input would be much appreciated! For now, I’m relying on the following websites:

The general consensus seems to be that the most reliable web hosts are the smaller companies that don’t offer tons of space. So far, I’m leaning towards Precision Effect. They certainly look like a small company, and I’ve yet to find a single bad review — and trust me, I looked! Of course, that may be because there aren’t many reviews in the first place.

Another small one is MozunkHost. In fact, it’s so small that I haven’t been able to find a single review! Maybe that’s a bit too small.

So, any web host recommendations?


1. Dana - November 3, 2006

I’ve been using doteasy.com – I have the Unlimited package. The unlimited refers to unmetered bandwidth, so if you are expecting a ton of visitors, you will never have overage charges. The package also has 20GB of storage. It’s $9.95/month. They have pretty good email support (turnaround time is usually about a day) and they have “callback” telephone support and live chat support, but I have never used either of these.

I have been using Doteasy for about 5 years, and I have recommended them to a few people who have been happy with the service as well. I haven’t checked out any reviews lately (and honestly, I have no idea how I found the company in the first place), but if you check them out, I’d be interested to see what you find.

2. Donna - November 4, 2006

Hey there… I found your blog from your 43 Things site so I figured I’d help you out with your goal to get more blog readers. :)

I just recently bought a domain for a music group I’m in and decided to go with a commerical webhost. (All my personal sites are currently hosted on Blogger.com or hosted by the university/computer science club.) I had considered going with DreamHost but ended up starting with GoDaddy.com. I made this decision because GoDaddy didn’t lock me in to a long term plan or charge any setup fees.

I started off buying 2 months on the most basic Linux-based plan, to find out what I really need. I’m currently paying $3.99/mo. and will gladly lock in to a one- or two-year term for the cheaper monthly rate once I (a) know what I need for the group site — and also if I want to host my personal site off of the same space — and (b) can afford the pre-paid route.

So far so good, although the group site isn’t officially live yet, I’ve been working on it for about a week now and am pleased with the service.

3. LearningNerd - November 4, 2006

Thank you both for your feedback! I took a quick look at Doteasy and GoDaddy, and they’ve both gotten good and bad reviews. The low prices and large amounts of space look enticing, but again, I’m weary of companies that look like they’re overselling.

I know I don’t need much space for my site yet, so I want to get a plan that gives me only as much as I absolutely need. :)

4. Melissa - November 6, 2006

My post is off today’s subject, but I wanted to share a potential future topic with you: proper use of “too” or “to.” I’ve noticed a lot of improper substitution of “to” for “too” on the Web, including your post today, and thought you might find like to cover the topic one day. This comment is not intended to be snarky or critical. I really enjoy your posts and your enthusiam for learning.

5. LearningNerd - November 6, 2006

Fixed! Thanks for pointing that out. That’s one of those typos I tend to miss when proofreading. Even if I used a spellchecker, it’d slide right under the radar!

It is a very common mistake. I’ve even been known to accidentally throw a W in there! So yes, this is something I’ll definitely address in a future post. :) There must be a way to detect these kinds of spellchecker-deceiving errors!

6. Melissa - November 6, 2006

As you can see from my prior comment, typo’s are common. :) That’s why I’m just posting comments and not my own blog!

7. dave - November 6, 2006

I use hostgator, and I can say I have had no complaints. The pricing is not the best, but this is one of the selling points for me, like you suggest they don’t seem to be overselling. I have received email support in less than a day, but I have never had to contact phone support. (I just discovered your blog via lifehacker . . .nice work worthy of adding to the RSS feed. . .looking forward to future reads.)

8. LearningNerd - November 7, 2006

Thanks, Dave! I’ll have to take a closer look at HostGator. They sound promising. :)

9. Jim - November 8, 2006

I’ve been using Dreamhost for >2 years, and my recommendation was without any fiduciary interest. (Case in point: I offered to piggyback you off my site gratis. So there! :)

There’s a good article on their blog about overselling (see: http://tinyurl.com/yy3dcz ) and why it’s done. The disk and bandwidth allotments are continuously increasing, but so greatly exceed my usage that I rarely look at them.

As you look for hosting options, one question to keep in mind is how comfortable are you with linux and command lines? Some of my non-profit customers (ACLU WA, Cascade bicycle club) have used Crystal Tech because they offer a Windows-based solution with more emphasis on customers support and hand-holding. They pay for the additional support, which makes a lot of sense for their use patterns.

10. LearningNerd - November 8, 2006

Well, that’s reassuring! I guess DreamHost can’t be all bad. ;) I’ll keep them in mind for when I need more space. Thanks for the feedback!

11. Hosting Plans - November 9, 2006


Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future

12. Learn About Wordpress with Learning Nerd at FreshBlogger - November 13, 2006

[…] Liz from Learning Nerd has finally gotten her own domain at LearningNerd.com, but she’s still working on getting it set up. During this time, though, true to her nature as a learning nerd, she’s learning all about how to install and customize wordpress. She’s posted a series of articles on her old blog about her search for a hosting company, downloading and installing wordpress, finding and installing a custom theme, and how to modify the CSS, PHP, and XHTML in a wordpress template to get it to work and look just the way you want it to. […]

13. katak - December 20, 2006

Vantagehost.net is not that bad a choice…

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