Monday, August 22, 2005

Finding a good web host

To find a good value web host, you --

Wait! How much does web hosting cost?!



Ahem. Under $10 per month, if you look around. Or under $5 per month. You can get everything you need (previous) for that price. Seriously. The hard part is getting good quality hosting for that price, but that too is possible if you search. By good quality, I mean their computers don't disappear off the face of the internet for a weekend; and they do answer your emails...

I'm a natural miser. It took me two bad experiences before I realised I had to stop concentrating my search on the absolute minimum price, and look for recommendations. Unfortunately none of my friends could recommend a good host (although two could tell me to avoid the hosting they used). Of course I could find opinions on the web, but I could hardly expect the search engines to throw up unbiased results. Fortunately there IS a way to get recommendations on the web, even on such a heavily spammed subject. Forums. A busy forum is full of contributors who are obsessed with a given topic, and generally happy to show off their knowledge to passing newbies. Try it (results open in new window):

Google
Here's the place to ask if your prospective host has a reputation for problems. One person's good experience isn't necessarily more reliable here than anywhere else, and one person with a grudge can make more noise than 20 happy customers. But the rest of the community will probably unmask such posters. Best of all, if you flick back through the pages you'll likely find a poll on good hosts... simply looking at the top few of these is an excellent place to start.

So who do I host with now? HostingZoom.com. I'm not affiliated with them and I don't earn anything if you follow that link, I'm just happy to recommend them. Although I have a "reseller" account which doesn't provide for phone or instant chat customer service, they've still answered every email within a few minutes, even with our 12 hour time difference. I've just taken a look and currently their giant "basic" package allows 6 different domains, depending on whether you pay in advance or monthly installments, for $5-$10 per month.

Of course this is the internet, so you can't necessarily trust me :-) Please feel free to leave recommendations, commercial or otherwise, in the comments.

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