December 14, 2010

Web Hosting Experience (updated)

I have tried several web hosting companies (Windows platform, shared hosting) since 2006: GoDaddy, 1and1, webhost4life, and recently Arvixe. They all have their own advantages, as well as disadvantages. Below is a brief comparison of their shared hosting of the middle level plan (as of Dec 2010 and to the best of my knowledge and experience).

- As many websites (domain and subdomains) as you want to setup with only $8/M.
- Good database support
- Very flexible settings
- The web admin UI is slow
- Their own website is bad design in terms of information architecture; difficult to find information.
- Support/help is a separate system.

GoDaddy (stopped using its Windows platform since 2009)
- Cheap ($6.99/M)
- Big storage (150G for $6.99/M)
- Comprehensive domain management
- Easy switch between Linux and Windows
- Limited database storage and support for SQL Server (only 2 databases with 200MB with managment studio support)
- No easy data transfer
- Only one FTP account
- Weird sub-domain setup

1and1 (stopped using it since 2008)
- Big storage
- 3 free domains - Limited database storage for SQL Server (only one
database with 200MB)
- No easy data transfer
- No static IP offered
- Switching platform is a pain

- Big SQL Server database storage (up to max storage)
- Remote SQL Server access
- Latest Windows platform
- Static IP included (needs to request setup though)
- Support ticket system is good - More expensive ($20 setup fee)
- Domain on sub-directory is not free
- sub-domain setup is not flexible
- Only 3.5!

In summary, Arvixe is what I am using now for .Net websites; GoDaddy and 1and1 are cheap with big storage, but offer weak database support (good for beginners); Webhost4Life is more expensive, but is (was) more flexible and more configurable (good for advanced users). You get what you pay for.

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