Searching for the right hosting for your web application is a challenge often overlooked. During my past 7 years of experience on Web designing, I’ve realized How important it is to choose a service provider which guarantees up-times and that too at decent support.
Its virtually impossible that any hosting provider will give 100% uptime. Higher the uptime, higher the cost. Industry standard of Five 9s (99.999%) is impossible for shared hosting, what we look to compare int his review is 99.9%.
Few of the popular Hosting Providers I have tried so far:
- BlueHost – Discount Coupon BlueHost $6.99/mo
- GoDaddy – We have limited experience with them, we will publish a review, soon
- DreamHost – Discount coupon DreamHost $55 off (Coupon: “MAXDISCOUNT55“)
- HostGator – Discount coupon HostGator. (20% off Coupon “SPRING“)
Truth be told, most of the big Brand don’t deserve the credit they have been accredited for. They are just piece of hype and promoted by Affiliates/bloggers just to earn money by advertising them. And for the Supporters of those Hosts, this is a Game revealer. In this review, I`ll reveal all the insiders, the nightmares you an get into with these web hostings.
Most of the shared hosting providers are squeezing more websites into the same servers to attain higher ROI. Makes sense for them, but wait, did they forget the quality?
Note: Every point mentioned here comes from my past experiences and finds perfect accordance with “Genuine Reviews” over the Internet. If you doubt a point, don’t hesitate, immediately Google it and compare the other user’s opinion about it.
I`ll walk you through each of the important points which everyone should prioritize while choosing the right hosting.
Reliability/ Up times
This is the first thing everyone should look for. I can give you a list of 100s of hosting providers who claim (and not guarantee) 99.9% uptime. On the front page the write “assured 99.9% uptime” but if you read TOS, they don’t guarantee it, and there lies the catch.
Fore my detailed review, I monitored each of the service using online uptime monitoring service Monitor: HostTracker, averaged over 4-6 months.
BlueHost: They used to be great until last year, when they didn’t have enough customers, all squeezed into the same servers. If you look into their reviews till last year, they look awesome. Reason is clear, they were good at that time, they were not that greedy. Due to the greed that they have been possessing over last year, they suck on quality. Practically, I have attained practical uptime of 97.21% (This means 15 hours downtime monthly) and if you get frequent account suspensions (discussed later) downtime increases further.
DreamHost: They seem to follow a similar trend with BlueHost, continue to fall in quality. The uptime I was able to attain was 98.59%
HostGator: Like others, they are also getting bigger, squeezing more people but still they seem to have quality as they are the ONLY Web hosting providers that ACTUALLY GUARANTEE 99.9% uptime. Woohoo, this forced me to try their service. And trust me, I actually achieved a figure very close to it. My averaged score over 6 months was 99.84 %. This is brilliant. (during October, I even got 99.99%)
Traffic Capacity / CPU Usage Restrictions
On a shared hosting service, don`t expect to get unlimited capacity. If you cross a certain limit set by the Hosting provider, you will get your account suspended temporarily. WebHostings use CPU time as the bases of measurements for this. And if you dont use a caching mechanim on you blog, you are gone.
BlueHost: They are pretty cheap at this. They don’t quote a User understandable value. Practically, If you own a website with decent traffic, you are already in trouble. I`ve seen people reporting account suspensions for very low traffic indeed ( of the order of 2,500 per day or even lower, without caching plugin).
DreamHost: They do quote some numbers, but they are practically bad at it. With a WordPress blog without caching, they can broke off somewhere around 3,500 PV per day (varies from type of theme you are using).
HostGator: No wonder, they have surprised me here as well. During my peek times, I’ve experimented alot during a trial with them. On a day on which I had a killer post that fetched me 26k Pageviews (in less than 24 hours), I had no caching enabled. At that time, I had recently migrated to HostGator but forgot to enable my HyperCache Combo. CPU usage lied in 11 – 19% range. The max set by HostGator is fairly large around 20-25%. Surprisingly, it survived the days traffic without a complain.
Account Suspension Policies
None of them have tolerance for Piracy, SPAM, phishing, which is all justified for good. But post processing overload, the suspensions are a serious issue.
BlueHost: They are the most unreliable at this. I`ve seen people reporting account suspension for traffic lower than 400 pages per day. Their policies are so harsh on the customers. Everytime they feel you are overloading their servers, they straightaway suspend your account leaving your visitors in disguise and unlimited dissatisfaction. I’ve faced 15 account suspensions with them over 2 months, all of them being “High resource utilization”. At that time (like 5 months back), I was getting traffic of 4k+ PVs everyday with proper caching in place. Thanks to them, it reduced to 3/4th.
DreamHost: They are bit-more co-operative at this. They warn you over the (so called) illegal stuff you do or when you near your CPU/RAM limits. They don’t allow some of the most used things on blogging platform like “All in one SEO pack”, it’s strictly prohibited in their TOS. If they see it being used on your site, they will ask you to remove it and if you fail to do so, be ready for an account suspension. One of my clients had DreamHost account for 5 months (coz they were bounded by 3 year plan). With Drupal, and a forum, they used to have 6k page impressions everyday. With proper caching in place, they faced several unethical accusations from dreamhost of exceeding the quota of CPU and temporary unavailability was pretty frequent.
HostGator: Takes all the good points of DreamHost, but no restrictions as such. They don’t suspend your account unless they have warned you. Need Proof ? Google for each “BlueHost account suspended”, “Dreamhost account suspended” and “hostGator account suspended” See what kind of reviews you get for the first two vs. third one. User experience speaks for itself.
When it comes to Tickets and support issues, who is more helpful?
BlueHost: Seriously, they forgot the meaning of customer service. I had one client hosted on them, they had been facing performance issues for a long time, Bluehost had no one who could help them in anyway. One of my another client got account disabled for linking to a (legal) rapidshare file and reactivation took over 3 days. Imagine a website going down for full 3 days. Nightmare! This is just one instance, I’ve seen worse.
DreamHost: Though their hosting, reliability are tolerable, they are the worst on Tickets and support. Average resolution of tickets takes long time. I`ve been with them for 2 months unless I decided to quit. And one of my partners survived 6 months with them. Well ,I’m not alone Google for “dreamhost support sucks” you will know what I’m talking about. One of the best example goes here. I’m sure you will find plenty of them 🙂
HostGator: They are happy to help in all the cases I logged so far. During my tenure with them, I hardly had any issues. Two of the minor ones were quickly resolved over the Live chat (which DreamHost doesn’t have) or via Toll Free U.S. number, that I used to connect free over Skype (it’s free from around the world).
This is also an important parameter one must not ignore. DreamHost creates large figures but lots of Coupons are available to make them competitive. Here are the packages they offer:
HostGator COUPON Activate – 20% Off on Any subscription “SPRING“
HostGator COUPON Activate – $9.95 off Coupon code “hgc25“
HostGator COUPON Activate – $25 off on ANY yearly (or higher) plan with Coupon code”HOUSTON” -EXCLUSIVE OFFER-
If you go for 2 or 3 years of subscriptions, prices drop further for all of them. You can choose that while registering.
Moneyback / Refunds
I won`t really get into this one coz all of them have almost comparable policies over this ranging from 30-45 days trial period during which you can opt out with full refund. And I bet you will need that if you were on Bluehost. On DreamHost, HostGator, they are so much better.
Don’t worry about the Features. Practically, all 3 of them are mature at marketing this. They all have same CPanel, same Fantastico (for installing apps) and good ways of managing MySQL database (PhpmyAdmin), unlimited accounts. All of them offer Unlimited space, Unlimited bandwidth which ofcourse is tied up with CPU/RAM usage that we discussed earlier.
All said and Done
This is not the end of the world, this is my opinion and experience over the WebHosting.I would Highly recommend use of HostGator.
Well, my experience may not be everything that happens with all of the customers but, they have been very common among the people using same Hosting and a quick Google search for each of that parameter reveals the truth, hence, my Review inclines with them.
Feel free to share your experiences below.