Help megnut find a new home

For ages and ages now this site has been hosted by the very generous Matt Haughey. But the load on the server (it hosts Metafilter, among other sites) has been heavy from the beginning. And I think it's time for megnut to find a home of its own. So I'm looking for recommendations for great hosting plans.

My requirements are fairly straightforward: I need to host more than one domain and want the ability to create sub domains. I want Apache/Linux. I would like MySQL, PHP and Perl. I'd like something that's very reliable and can offer a fair amount of bandwidth. Oh yeah, and customer support that's not staffed by assholes. That's it. Do you have someone to suggest? Do you love your hosting provider? Is there someone you think I should avoid? Tell me.

46 thoughts on “Help megnut find a new home

  1. bloghosts. I’d stay away from Dreamhost and a couple of others, mainly based on their downtime.

  2. Probably a bit out in left field, but the Canadian dollar is cheap and I have had tremendous experience with Blacksun in Saskatchewan (!!!) It’s cute – someone named Pam calls you once everything is set up just to make sure you’re OK and that things are working as they should.

  3. I’ve been with Pair since 1997, and I love them. I’ve never heard a negative comment about them except that they’re not the cheapest, but I figure that you get what you pay for.
    It appears that they fit all your requirements except that instead of Linux, they run BSD–would that be a huge issue for you?

  4. I’ve had a great experience with totalchoicehosting. I checked out their ratings at several of those “rate your host” places, and they average 400+ reviews, at 96% satisfaction rate. Also meets all of your requirements. Also, really cheap. No, I don’t work for them, I’m just immensely satisfied with my service.

  5. I adore and my Webmaster account there. They have everything you list as requirements and would-likes, they consistently up both storage and bandwidth allowances without raising the price, they have fantastic uptime and thoroughly competent, friendly support.

  6. all the way. Been with them since 1995 and they host all my sites now. No problems, ever. Can’t remember any downtime, except for a few hours a couple of years ago when they moved to a bigger facility.
    I have a Dreamhost account too. Avoid Dreamhost.

  7. I’m now hosting all of my sites at and I’ve been very happy with them. They’re very responsive, and when the server went down, they emailed me right away with an explanation and how they planned to keep it from happening again. It didn’t happen again 🙂

  8. I’ve used for a few years now. They’ve just bumped up their disk quotas (I’ve got 1.2GB), and their prices are still pretty good.
    They have good management tools (cpanel), shell access, phpmyadmin, subdomains, and a choice of 3 webmail apps (incuding horde).
    Their tech support is quick — and senior techs will often jump into the fray to help out on complex problems.

  9. I disagree about Dreamhost–I would definitely recommend them. I’ve never had a problem with them in 5 years.

  10. Another vote for — the only place I’ve strayed in nearly 10 years with them was Dreamhost, and that was an awful experience. Customer support at pair Networks is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.

  11. Owen: Never had a problem with Dreamhost? What about the 20+ hour outtage last week? (affecting all their sites, to my knowledge.)

  12. My uptime with Dreamhost, hovered around 88% according to the Netcraft stats at the time. They would never acknowledge a problem, but I couldn’t reach my domains from home and neither could my clients. I moved and it’s around 98/99.9 %. are ultra cool and fast if you have a problem. Blogcritcs and Moxie are hosted there as well.

  13. I’ve heard good things about
    I use Dreamhost and they do try. I’ve considered switching, but for my (piddly) needs it works for right now.

  14. I’ve used Pair, and they are quite awesome, great support, and all the access and tools you would need. As mentioned, they aren’t the cheapest, but they are one of the best. (That I’ve used anyway…)

  15. I’m with Dreamhost and I’m not happy. Outages occur a little too often. There’s nothing like trying to update your site and your provider won’t allow it let alone not having access to your e-mail. MediaTemple is on near horizon.

  16. I have ICDSoft and they’ve been great. Fast, reliable, good support, inexpensive, get subdomains galore. Highly recommended.

  17. I’m with Dreamhost and have no serious complaints, especially since I switched to them after a perfectly horrid (and, happily, brief) experience with
    The outage last week was lengthy and did affect every site they host, but it was a result of a DDOS attack — which, they readily admitted in several extraordinarily humble and apologetic e-mails, they could have handled better. While I don’t like the fact that all my sites were down last week, I do like how they handled it afterwards: apologizing straight-out, providing detailed descriptions of exactly what happened, and laying out the steps they’re taking to prevent it from happening again. That impressed me.
    Oh. I have noticed that my server is occasionally unavailable. Presumably it’s rebooting, because it’s never for more than several minutes.
    I’m not sure what’s behind the difference between people’s impressions of the same provider: maybe some people have higher expectations, maybe they’ve had better (or worse) experiences elsewhere. I suspect we’re all getting the same thing, it’s just a matter of whether we’re expecting more or less than that.
    In any event, it fulfills all of Meg’s requirements, including subdomains, Apache/Linux, MySQL, PHP, Perl, bandwidth and — at least in my experience — the not-staffed-by-assholes thing. They keep raising the limits (domains, megabytes, bandwidth) for the same price — I don’t know if that’s widespread in the industry, but I do like it.

  18. I’ve used Segment Publishing ( ) for around 6 months and I couldn’t be any happier.
    The two guys who run it (brothers in arms, Daniel, , and Jez Bogan) are some of the nicest people you’re likely to work with on the Internet, plus they’re extremely polite and *usually* pander to your every whim.
    Worth every penny.

  19. Wow…I didn’t realize there was such an anti-dreamhost sentiment out there. I’ve been at Dreamhost for years and despite last week’s outage, I can’t remember any others. Their support staff is great, and they offer loads of stuff. The only people I’d consider switching for is Media Temple, but I seem to remember them being much pricier. Seems like that’s changed….and it looks like they offer Urchin for stats as part of the package. Urchin rocks.

  20. I have two recommendations: Future Quest and Micfo. I was with FQ for three years and they were great (I left for something cheaper). I am new to Micfo, but the service has been great so far. Both services have what you’re looking for in terms of requirements.

  21. I can’t possibly say enough about SegPub ( ) – whom I’ve switched to. They do it all, and it’s amazingly cool to work with *actual people* instead of anonymous form-mailers.
    They do everything for you except prepare your meals, their servers are in a highly redundant, fully monitored hosting facility, run FreeBSD and the latest PHP/MySQL/etc. and most importantly, unlike most other webhosts I’ve used, they don’t oversell or oversubscribe their systems.
    Their control panel is a “wicked good” as the kids say, and you can do amazing things in a click or two. Kind of amazing, actually.
    And … you get to brandish your mighty American dollar against their puny Australian “Looney” (or “Crocodile” or whatever it’s called). Which means you pay about 2/3 of the advertised price.
    Plus you’d be in good company – Jon Hicks, Hivelogic/Hiveware/Automatic, the xPad guy, and quite a few of my clients are there … and loving it.

  22. Avoid DreamHost like the plague. They will see this thread and offer you a free account. Turn them down! The 88% figure sounds about right for their apache servers, but their mail and MySQL available is probably lower. And their support people are assholes. is good, but pricey.

  23. After comparing Pair’s feature set with Dreamhost’s I can’t imagine why anyone would go with Pair. For the same monthly fee you get more than double the space, more than four times the bandwidth, unlimited MySQl databases (versus no databases at Pair), etc.
    Sounds like there’s a bunch of good suggestions, but Pair doesn’t seem to offer what you’re looking for at a competitive price.

  24. Ditto on the Segment Publishing recommendation. Daniel Bogan of waferbaby fame and his brother Jeremy jointly run Segment Publishing and I hosted with them prior to going all out and getting a dedicated box of my own. Loved the experience and loved working with them. If I ever go back to shared hosting, it would only be with them.

  25. A lot of people will recommend Pair, but for personal sites, I find them a bit over-priced. (We’re moving our site at work to Pair, though, specifically for their experience and stability.) I’m currently hosted with InsiderHosting ( and have been for at least a year. I’m *very* happy with them. They are very stable, offer great prices, and boast lots of features. The best part for me, though, has been their spectacular support. I bounced from host to host for several years looking for servers that were not only stable, but where I could have near-immediate gratification whenever I encountered a problem. The maximum response time at IH so far has been roughly an hour. And that was very early in the morning on the east coast. (I think they’re located on the west coast – not entirely sure.)
    In any case, if you want a decent price for true multi-domain hosting with great support and stability, I’d highly recommend InsiderHosting. 🙂

  26. Like a child defending his father, allow me to pipe in with a vote for Dreamhost. As Jonathan already pointed out, the recent lengthy downtime as a result of a DDOS attack is the only one I can recall in two+ years of using them, and I was impressed with the way they communicated with their clients.
    I imagine if someone moved to Dreamhost recently and the DDOS attack was in their first month with the company, they’d be rather down on the host, but as I said, I can’t recall anything extended (or even short, for that matter) in my time with them, other than that. I’ve not seen another company that offers the array of goodies for the price, and the support has been topnotch – quick, friendly, and detailed.
    And if I’m not mistaken, they’re offering quite a package at the moment for $19.95 a month – 15 domains, 1.6 GB of space, etc.
    Anyway, my $.02.

  27. i also host with segpub. i don’t have any other company or experience to compare it with, but one of my better friends went with a company that eventually screwed him over. he then turned to segpub, and was very satisfied with what they had to offer.
    everything dan benjamin has said describes it exactly how i see it. there’s one thing i would like to add, however. customer service is by far the best i’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. email response is speedy quick (though because it’s an aussie-based company, you have to catch them in their waking hours). i’ve been with them for two years and never looked back.
    their servers are all custom built, as well as their control panel which allowes you to easily navigate through all of the available options and do whatever you want, set up/manage mysql users, ftp users, set up/manage domain names, and a whole lot of other stuff.
    you’d love it.

  28. I’m a segpub guy, too. I love ’em to death. Genuinely good guys with kickass software who really understand the web. Can’t begin to say how much easier it’s made my life.

  29. If you feel like keeping your money local (ie paying a NYC based service provider) — Panix is great, but they are going to be more $$$.
    Customer support is excellent, and is handled by the people doing the work, so if you are technically inclined, you can communicate very efficiently with them. (They are actually really great with normal folks as well).
    I’ve been with them for 7 years, and have never been disappointed.

  30. i’d suggest maybe not for you, but they’ve (real people!) been really helpful with my silly questions in the 8 or so months i’ve been with them. for 15 english pounds (they’re based there)or 30 american dollars, you get 50 mbs of space and 5gbs transfer. plus, of course, databases, php, perl, mySQL, etc. i definitely reccomend them for anyone, especially total novices at having a website.

  31. Try
    It’s a new look for a company that’s been around for a few years. Their hardware, prices and SLA are pretty impressive. Disclosure – a friend of mine works for them, but I have no other ulterior motives.

  32. I was surprised not to see a vote for Hosting Matters. I have a reseller account with them and host 8 other bloggers. We’re happy as grigs with the company, and the services. By using a reseller account, each of the bloggers pays less than they would normally and I do any interaction with HM. Which is basically turn on SSH.
    Depending on your package you have multiple databases, subdomain and parked domain capability and some pretty interesting installation programs.
    A lot of webloggers are on Hosting Matters, so check it out if you get a chance.

  33. I absolutely love and I know many other bloggers like Dr2 as well. Been with Dr2 for over a year with NO complaints and I’ve recommended the host to tons of folks who also have had NO complaints.
    Dr2 fits all the requirements you mention with quick and extra-geeky customer service and it is cheap. Good packages at under $100/year with tons of space and transfer and no setup fees.

  34. I’ve been using NetSpace ( for awhile now. Very affordable rates and their admin staff are very responsive, knowledgable, and helpful.
    Plus, they’ve got a cool history…they used to be a support group for Brown University and hosted things like the first BugTraq listservs until they spun off into their own group.

  35. Hi Meg,
    I’m being quite satisfied with 1&1 (one of the leading European hosters) as well for my own site, as for many of my clients’ sites, for more than two years now.
    They are doing an good job keeping everything going: no breakdowns, no power-shortages and anything from a single mailbox to dedicated servers, meeting all of your mentioned requirements (which are quite similar to mine, by the way 🙂 ).
    Support ? Hm. No Assholes. But occasionally no geniuses either. Though I got any issues I encountered (not too many) solved so far.
    But altogether really good performance at a very reasonable price. However check out their traffic pricing. Above 25-50G it usually gets somewhat expensive.

  36. I too must recommend Segpub. Even if Dan Benjamin referred to me as “the xPad guy.”

  37. I know you probably don’t have this requirement, but I needed to be able to run Java on my hosting provider so it took me awhile to find a decent hosting provider where I would have a) a “honkin'” box, b) a lot of bandwidth, c) root, d) ability to run Java, and e) ability to administer the box as necessary. So, I went with a dedicated hosting provider, Server4You ( and it’s been great. I believe they had the box up and running for me in less than 2 hours. The web-based control panel (I chose PLESK) has been great for the mundane administrative crap like setting up new domains and such quite easily. The box runs Fedora Core 1 and had all the bits and pieces I needed to be up and running pretty quickly. Hope this helps.

  38. Thanks for all this info. There’s plenty here to make a decision so I’m closing the thread to further comments. If you simply must recommend something to me, please shoot me an email. Thanks!

Comments are closed.