Web hosting scorecard

This has been a weekend from hell for my web sites.

It started when Dreamhost moved one of their server clusters, which affected all of my sites. It was only supposed to take 8 hours, but it turned into almost 24 hours. Unfortunately that seems to be their usual pattern. Every planned change they make always runs into unforeseen complications and results in extra downtime. On the plus side, Dreamhost has the best account management & control panel of any web host I’ve tried. Their hosting package also offers the most features, disk space, and bandwidth for a reasonable price. Thanks to referrals, I haven’t had to pay them for a few years.

During the downtime I decided to look into other hosts. Media Temple’s GridServer seems like a great idea, but I had tried it previously and found it to be much slower than Dreamhost. A google search turned up lots of reports of problems with it.

Two hosts that seemed to get a lot of recommendations were Bluehost and HostGator. I first signed up for BlueHost but started running into problems immediately. I host several sites for myself and for friends, so my major requirement is to be able to host each site independently, preferably with a unique login and home directory for each site. As is the case with most sites that use CPanel, Bluehost only allows additional domains to be treated as subdomains, sharing the same directory with the main site. I find that unacceptable.

Next I signed up for a reseller account with HostGator, which is where this site is now hosted. It uses WebHost Manager with CPanel. Did I mention CPanel sucks? Even though each CPanel account can only host a single domain, I can create separate accounts for each domain, which is sort of like Dreamhost but much less convenient. Unfortunately no shell access is available, unlike Dreamhost.

For now I will keep this site at HostGator and the rest of my sites at Dreamhost unless they have another major meltdown. I can create about 40 additional user accounts at HostGator, which I can either use for my own sites or resell.

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