After many, many years of hosting, I have finally switched to a paid web-host, called Stablehost.
As I never really wanted my site to be of anything more than a hobby of mine. I never really invested in a paid webhost. But over time, my priorities have changed. I now believe that I do require a reasonable sense of reliability when it comes to web hosting.
You will remember quite a while back how I strongly recommended Heliohost. I recommended them for good reason. They had a very reasonable uptime and for a free service, was unprecedented. Unfortunately, the quality of the service that I have received from Heliohost has deteriorated. It started with the failure of their Stevie server. Soon, their Ricky server failed. Now the slowly degradation of quality of their Tommy server.
What particularly annoyed me was that while their response to the Stevie failure was great (I received all my site backs and SQL databases intact), their response to the Ricky server was less than satisfactory. At that time, I was already in the process of moving my web host, and so, I was using Heliohost as a testing platform. One of the applications I was testing was OpenCart, an eCommerce platform.
When the Ricky server failed, I asked to get my site backups. They told me that they had suspended my account for spam and so they never backed up my data. I asked for more details, to prevent it happening further, and they never replied.
So, yes. I have officially stopped using Heliohost. Also, I am going to stop sending in my donations. I did a lot of research to try and figure out which web hosts to use. At first glance, a quick google search would recommend you use HostGator or BlueHost. However I was not happy with the fact that the “New Customer” fees were significantly lower than the renewal fees. That is, yes, I would be getting a good deal on web hosting during my first subscription cycle, but any renewals would make me see my costs go up. Additionally, after a little more digging around, I found that these companies are owned by the same company: Endurance International Group. These people appear to have done a great job at SEO and littering the internet with their (apparently poor quality) web hosting services.
It was only after I did a lot of digging around on the internet, that I came across a forum called Web Hosting Talk. There, I checked the advertising forums and came across a web host called StableHost. They seemed to offer great services for very affordable prices, and so I decided to take the plunge.
I was not disappointed. They have very reliable uptimes, and so far, I have never tried to access my site to find that it is unavailable. Additionally, I’ve found my site loading times to be significantly faster as well.
Not only that, they have excellent customer service. I’d like to think I am fairly competent when it comes to anything with computers. However once in a while, I do stumble and will require expert help. Such a thing happened during my site migration where I was unable to access my site, despite everything looking okay. I submitted a custom service ticket, and received a response within an hour.
Overall, I am really happy with StableHost. They offer a great service, at a great price and they will be the web host I intend on using for a long time to come.