How I Did It

…picked a new web host, that is.

In recent comments, I got asked how I decided which web host to switch to once I gave up on Powweb. Truth is, it was not easy, and I very nearly re-upped with Powweb again, on the theory “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” But over the last 4 years, Powweb has gone from being a great company to one that I barely tolerated. I couldn’t bring myself to give them the $$ for another year. So I switched.

Finding a new host was definitely not a one-time project. I collected information on and off over the course of many months, from a number of sources. Those include word-of-mouth reports from other web folks on 2 mailing lists (WWWAC and SF-WOW) and reports from friends (like Glen). That gave me some anecdotal evidence to start with. Another site that was helpful for giving feedback and potential hosting company names was the WebHosting Talk forums.

I tended to avoid the various websites that list or rate web hosts, since many of them gave the impression of being basically advertising vehicles for the hosting companies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but I wanted user feedback more than anything else. Basic web hosting is so much of a commodity these days that I was more concerned with customer satisfaction within the price point I’d chosen (under $100 a year) than the nitty-gritty of exactly how many MBs of disk space or how many e-mail accounts I’d get with my service. I also gave bonus points to companies that had an actual customer forum, not just a one-way support desk.

I looked at Dreamhost, Laughing Squid, Media Temple, Lunarpages, 1 and 1, iPowerWeb, and a few others before deciding that A2 looked good. I did some more digging into A2, looking for reports of dissatisfied customers, outages, etc. Nothing bad jumped out at me. So I filed the information away.

As I said, this happened over the course of several months. Periodically I’d re-check, to see if opinion about a company was trending one way or another (increased outages, reports of slowness / overselling, etc). A2 still looked good.

Eventually, my old contract was about to run out, and it was time to push the button, one way or the other. So I took a deep breath and signed up with A2. And here I am.

That’s a little longwinded, but it’s the story of how I chose a new web host. I hope it helps someone.

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