05:22 PM
Fred Langa
Fred Langa

Langa Letter: Web-Host Outsourcing

Fred Langa explores the pros and cons of outsourcing Web sites and spotlights reader recommendations for finding the perfect Web host.

Several sites let you search Web hosts by their offerings--you can sort the hosts by criteria such as price, bandwidth, platform, software, E-commerce add-ons, service plans, and so on. Some good examples of this kind of search service include Cnet's "Hosting Reviews", TopHosts, HostSearch, the Web Host Directory, Top 10 Web Hosting, and of course, Google.

Google can be especially useful after narrowing your selection down to a few finalists: Searching Google/Groups for the name of your potential Web host can reveal what others are saying about that host; it's valuable real-world feedback.

But there's a catch: The problem with using Google/Groups is that people tend to post messages only when things go wrong, so a Google/Groups search may over-report negative experiences, and not offer a true and balanced overview on a given host's performance.

Fortunately, that's where your fellow readers can help!

Reader Recommendations
When I recently ran into trouble with one of my Web hosts, I mentioned it in my newsletter, which prompted many, many readers to write in with positive recommendations for their preferred hosts.

A representative sampling of these reader recommendations follows. If you're looking for a new Web host, as I am, this real-world feedback when combined with the tools above can help you flesh out a far more complete picture of a Web host than any single tool can provide.

But the feedback loop doesn't have to end there. After reading the comments below, please click over to the discussion area and share your own experiences, good and bad. What Web hosts have you tried? What were your experiences? What did the hosts do well, and what wasn't up to par? If we pool our knowledge, we should end up with an excellent reference tool!

And now, a sampling of the Web host recommendations of your fellow readers:

I have used DellHost hosting for over 3 years now... I have used FrontPage, Dreamweaver, and just plain HTML on this site and they have kept right up with me. The yearly cost isn't too bad, either. Their tech support is pretty good, too, but only available till 10 p.m. CST.
-- Cheryl

My associates at work and I have had many problems with many Web hosts. However, Dathorn Web hosting hasn't caused us any problems. To date, they have been the best company that we have found for Web hosting. Dathorn is a small business; they aren't a huge company. Their prices aren't bad, and the support team behind them is absolutely wonderful. When I've submitted trouble tickets, the response time has been extremely low, usually within minutes (and BTW, the term "trouble ticket" isn't necessarily in reference to only tech support--they also use that for billing questions, general contact, etc). I've not had any problems with them whatsoever.
-- Drew Shriner

May I suggest that you take a long, hard look at FutureQuest [The owners] are always happy to talk person-to-person about your needs. I must emphasize that I have no connection with FutureQuest, other than being one of their happy customers. The best thing to do is to have a browse through their user forums, as well as doing a Google search for them--I doubt you'll find a single negative comment :) FutureQuest are a shining example of how a hosting company should be run.
-- Simon Lister

Since you are looking for a new Web-hosting company, you might want to check out the company I use, PZ Internet. They have very reasonable rates, good service, and a Unix host. I'm not sure if they have CGIemail, but I'm sure they would install it for you. I was having a problem with a CGI script that required a change to their server and they did the change once they received my E-mail.
-- Bruno L. Cordovado

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