Finding the best web site hosting service for your needs can be a nightmare.
There's many very cheap deals around offered by hosts - some of them fly-by-night operations; others not offering the level of service that serious online business owners need.
I've seen both sides of the hosting fence - as the owner of web sites for over a decade, and working in a management capacity in the web hosting industry itself for just over 6 years. I know the tricks, the traps and the pitfalls. It's a tough, cutthroat industry.
Web hosting is a commodity item
The hosting industry has changed substantially over the years and now just about anyone can start up their "own" hosting service for next to nothing - often they are just reselling another company's service. The problem is, the onus is on the reseller to provide support a great deal of the time - you're basically caught with a middleman.
Need real support?
Many hosting companies outsource their support to overseas, or to people who really have no technical knowledge; they've just been armed with a fistful of canned responses. That's why so many site owners complain about back and forth with support - because the person at the other end doesn't understand English well ... or hosting for that matter
Downtime equals lost dollars
"Uptime" can be a rubbery figure in web hosting. Some companies claim 99.99% uptime - but what sort of uptime is it? Just because a server is switched on and connected to the network is of little use if HTTP or MySQL services running on that server are snafu. Downtime costs dollars.
I could write a book on all the nasty stuff that goes on in the hosting industry and the sleight of hand that occurs in marketing web hosting; but I'll leave it at this - if you're looking for a solid host, consider WestHost. Their slogan is "when you expect more from your web host". Well, I certainly do and I can honestly say that WestHost delivers.
I've been hosting with them for a couple of years now and in all that time, I've only ever had to contact their team on several occasions because, well, their hosting is excellent. It just works. On the few occasions I needed to contact them, I was responded to promptly, politely and professionally and the problem was resolved - not shuffled around for days on end. And that's exactly what every online business owner needs.
WestHost offers VPS technology with all its Shared Web Hosting Packages. Less than 5% of web hosting companies offer this technology and even fewer offer as many features at the price WestHost does.
With "virtual" or "shared" hosting, which is what most companies offer, you share server resources, applications and environment with often hundreds of other users. This means compromises to a single site can affect the performance and security of everyone else on the same server.
In a Virtual Private Server environment, the server is divided into multiple isolated areas, each with its own server software and CPU/memory load allocation. The bottom line is, if one site on the server gets hit with a ton of traffic, it doesn't pull down sites hosted under other accounts.
Semi dedicated and dedicated servers
As your site grows, WestHost grows with you. Even if you've grown beyond and normal shared hosting account but really don't need a fully dedicated server, you can opt for a semi dedicated plan (which is what Taming The Beast uses) - it's an excellent step up. My account is only one of 20 hosted on the server, giving me more access to resources; and WestHost's VPS technology ensures sites belonging to other account owners can't affect my sites.
If you need dedicated servers, WestHost has you covered too - excellent hardware, backed by a thoroughly competent team.
WestHost often appears in Netcraft's top 50 list of most reliable hosting providers, including several top 10 rankings throughout 2006, 2007, and more recently in February and April of 2008
Affordable - compare prices and features.
We advise you to shop around; compare prices and web hosts - be sure to check the fine print. There's a lot of hosts who will offer you the world and not deliver. It's been my experience that WestHost will.
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In Loving Memory - Mignon Ann Bloch
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