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Website Hosting - Make it Make Sense

Been quite a few years since I had my own website, but am now starting up a business and am looking at putting together an information site, with possible online selling in the future. Countless hosting companies out there and as many price and package offerings.

Visit one site and it's $20 a month for 1500MB/month storage and 80GB/month transfer, then the next site and it's $4.95 a month for unlimited storage and unlimited transfer. Obviously there is some catch or the $20 a month companies would all be out of business. 2 examples, »www.pair.com/ and »www.hostgator.com/. How is HostGator so much cheaper? What's the catch? How does pair compete?

Thanks to anyone who can make this make sense to me.

South Richmond Hill, NY
Depends on the host so always good to do research like at »www.webhostingtalk.com/

There are hosts that owns their own datacenter along with sister companies that spawns from them that can provide service cheap and advertise unlimited storage/bw. Some hosts oversells their server to break even. Then there are hosts that charges quite a bundle so they don't oversell and provide better uptime (but not the case all the time).

Always pick out a list of hosts that you find, look up reviews, read their TOS to see how much resources you can use at any given moment (cpu load, memory usage, etc) and determine a middle ground to stand on.


Urbandale, IA
reply to SquirlyBob
Yes, the larger hosts with plans that seem unbelievable usually mena they oversell their servers. So they will have unlimited plans and will just max out the number of accounts on any one server.

I would really suggest going with a smaller host one that you can have a good relationship with.

Try contacting a few via their sales or support and see what kind of response you get.

Energized I.T.
A Full Service Web Company
Hosting | Template Customization | Domain Names

There's a reason I'm Command.
Washington, DC

1 recommendation

reply to SquirlyBob
These days, there are so many folks selling hosting it's all about hooking people with what genuinely are too-good-to-be-true deals. If you take the time to read through the Terms and Conditions of most hosts (including a lot of the big name ones), they all have gotchas that make them not a good deal. Support is also the one thing that customers rarely think about if price is what they're most concerned with. Dollars to donuts, the big name hosts, and the anon/just-signed-up posters who pop up here with deals like "$2/year unlimited hosting" offers are nothing but total rip-offs. Period.

I offer managed Windows ASP.NET hosting for my small business clients...mostly I'm the site developer/maintainer/webmaster but I'm branching out to offer it standalone (customer is responsible for site upkeep and I handle tech support issues if something goes awry). I've been using two US-based providers (depending on what a particular need is) for the last 3 years...they're not big names but they're reliable, aren't oversold, and are easy to deal with if help is needed. The first one I came across on ASP.NET when I just couldn't take PureHost's lame platform and cluelessness any longer; the other a colleague turned me on to when I was helping him on a project.

My minimum config is based on pretty much the "basic" one around (2g storage, 10g/mo bandwidth, ASP.NET 2.x/3.x, SQL Server 2005/2008, ftp, email) is currently $425/yr for do-it-yourself space. (PHP5 and MySQL are available but I don't support them.) I can also provide eCommerce, Dedicated, VPS, Hyper-V, SharePoint and Exchange (they do cost considerably more than shared hosting). In my world, everything going in or out of the domain (including ftp, email, page views) count against bandwidth.

I haven't gotten into defining specific package tiers so far, though if I start getting more self-serve customers, I will probably have to. Thus far, I just tweak the provisioning for what a specific customer needs and adjust the billing accordingly. Generally, for a maxed-out do-it-yourself shared hosting package (80gb storage, 2TB monthly bandwidth), I charge $2,495/year.

Managed hosting (includes the server space and bandwidth, but no programming) runs $1,800-$50K per year depending on what all is involved. Programming and design is $150/hr (4 hr minimum), or fixed-price ($5K minimum) depending on the client.

My restrictions are few: US-based business, non-profit, educational, advocacy, campaign and independent professional sites only (no personal or club sites); No spamming/MLM/get rich quick; Strong, pro-visitor privacy/security policy; Nothing X-rated, no gambling, no games; no file-sharing, warez or P2P or serving content that is not an integral part of a site's presentation; no hate/bias/polarizing or highly-controversial subject matter; I'm the sole decider of whether something is acceptable or not. Oh, for ecommerce, I have to verify that the business and whatever is being sold are legit.

My pricing and policies aren't cheap because my market is SMBs and that requires a platform that is capable and reliable...and, frankly, I do not want to deal with low-rent/trailer trash websites that look like they were created on AOL or GeoCities in 1997 (or the people/companies who can't comprehend why they suck). I got started hosting to make it easy for my clients to get their sites/apps up and maintained without hassles. I would rather have a good relationship with my customers than be a mass-market host. That's something that none of the $2/yr people or HostGator can provide.
Equality and respect is for everyone, not just those you deem worthy.


reply to SquirlyBob
Thanks for the information folks. Makes perfect sense now.


Williamsport, IN
reply to SquirlyBob
Redundancy and uptime are a big thing to look for these days. Sure a host can guarantee uptime, but you can "guarantee" anything. Anyone shopping for a host should ask what their disaster recovery plans are. How is the host redundant? Things like clustered servers, VMWare clusters, and other tactics are the sign of a good host.