Website hosting providers are a mixed bag for quality of service. Here is a benchmark that may be handy for your own comparisons.
Note I have two providers; one in the USA, and one in Australia. The US-based provider seems to deliver the website just as fast as the Australian one, so having it there is no issue. The US-based provider also answers their phones at 3am, because it’s not 3am their time but in the middle of the day, and I always get though first ring.
Anyway back to the benchmark. For $100 a year I get:
- A control panel to manage every aspect of my account; including websites, databases and emails.
- 300Gb of space on a shared Unix computer running the Apache webserver.
- 3000Gb per month of data transfers.
- 2500 email addresses.
- Unlimited domain names managed (so I can have www.churchillclub.org.au and www.lewisfamily.com.au websites without any additional cost).
- Unlimited subdomains (meaning I can have a whole lot of websites with names such as http://test.churchillclub.org.au or http://special-event.churchillclub.org.au, not just the standard www website).
- 50 databases.
- Access via the control panel, FTP and SSH.
- True 24/7 support.
Now I’m not going to tell you who I use for two reasons. First, I didn’t have to search hard to find multiple providers offering similar deals. Second, whenever I recommend a hosting service, someone normally has had a bad experience with them and immediately wants to tell me I’m wrong and recommend a different provider.
So if the above gets under your skin and you want to have a change, I suggest you have a quick search. When you find someone you like the look of, do another search using their name combined with other words such as “bastards” or “useless” to see what kind of complaints people are making about them.
Now everyone has complaints made about them by unhappy customers, but if you can see patterns of complaints then you know what to look out for.
Brendan Lewis is the founder of two IT service firms, Edion and Verve IT, and executive director of the Churchill Club.
To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.
Walter Adamson writes: Brendan, I think that you’re saying that the Australian providers are expensive and provide second-rate functionality and third-rate service. I agree totally.
If I could I would move all my domains to US providers such as Pairnic.com. There I can do everything very easily. In contrast I am currently struggling with an ISP who ignores all emails requests, telephone calls etc – or rather not totally ignores but just does some little things when they feel like it and without notifiying me, and NetRegistry who is domain name wholesaler who will not accept the transfer of the domain to my control.
People should be aware that even if you own the domain name, and can provide all the records and the signatures and the faxes and make the followup calls, that getting control of your domain back from a feral reseller is a nightmare – and I understand this business!!
I’ve been working for three weeks to change email providers for this domain, I have everything I need except the ability to deal with the recurrent blockages put up by the current vested interests. What’s really furstrating is that WE OWN the domain and are the proven registered owners – that’s not even in question!!
The whole feeling of this industry in Australia, and the whole real brand message, is “gotcha!”. It’s all built around the idea that once we have you hooked we know that we can make it near-impossible for you to move. That’s the whole feeling of every interaction and the whole basis of their indifference.
That’s also why they can offer second-rate functionality.
My strong recommendation is never register an .com.au domain name unless you can have in administered by your US domain registrar. They’re not perfect but they offer a high degree of capable self-service and charge far less.
Richard Wilson writes: DNS sources suggest that you use http://www.bur.st/ as your hosting providor for those that are interested.