Web Hosting is a minefield...
Seeing the web hosting feature in the latest edition of .net Magazine has confirmed my feelings about the web hosting industry: it's a minefield. A completely over saturated market of small-fry & big brands, most of which you will never have heard of unless you've heard a horror story or two. In my experience it doesn't seem to matter where you turn, something unexpected goes wrong.
For years I was a happy client of Lonex. Their support was good enough although there was no status page, the servers were reliable, and generally things went ok. Then they got DDoSed and never recovered - my sites suffered downtime a few times a week, everything was slow, and I couldn't get support to acknowledge or fix the problem.
So I moved to Surpass: a seemingly huge company with a public community, status pages, good support, and reliable service. Then I started work on this blog and found the pages loaded really slowly. I queried this and after ages of back and forth with support I got a message which simply read: "Thanks for your patience. We have completed some work on this server and performance is back to normal. Thanks for hanging in there." - Nothing had changed as far as I was concerned.
Next I opened a single account on PeartreeUK and started prepping my blog for launch. For some reason I couldn't get Wordpress to work properly. In my frustration I gave up without giving them a chance and tried yet another company.
This time it was Clook. A more expensive company but they had good reviews from friends so I figured I'd get what I paid for. My blog had the same Wordpress problems & I realised it was entirely my fault. So I got it all fixed and launched my blog on Clook.
4 months later and I have two niggles with Clook:
- Because Apache is running as "noone" PHP scripts create files that I can't delete through FTP. There is no way to remove the files through the control panel so I have had to install a PHP File manager which I really don't like. It just makes my life far more complicated than it needs to be, especially when trying to work with a publishing platform like Wordpress.
- For some reason there is no way to setup recurring payments. I have to remember to pay my bill each month. Yet again just something dumb that makes my life harder than it needs to be.
PeartreeUK - my Web Hosting Solution
So last weekend I decided to finally sort out my hosting life. With all my resold accounts still hanging around on slowly-slowly-Surpass, and my blog on clunky-Clook, I've turned back to the one place I know I'll get what I pay for - PearTreeUK. They may be relatively small, but there's nothing like being able to get hold of an intelligent human being whenever you need one! Having kept my original account open as a test bed, I have now upgraded to a reseller with them.
I doubt you will find better customer service than PeartreeUK's - having one person consistently deal with you from day one means that you are always taken care of without the frustration of trying to explain yourself AGAIN everytime there's a shift-change. If you've visited here before you may notice how much faster pages (and FTP) now loads - my Wordpress backend feels like it's on speed. Add to that their prices & the excellent attitude of their employees and you have a value-for-money service that I highly recommend.
Note: Expect an update post in 6 months documenting my experiences with Peartree!