Since I bought my own domain 3.5 years back, I have been associated with dot5hosting. At that time I got the web hosting plan at an unbelievable price of $18 for 2 years including domain. I felt so happy to shell out less than $20 to avail both the domain and web hosting account. This was around Oct ’06, dot5hosting were running a promo where in I got almost 80% off on the 2 year plan. I had no idea of what I was going to do with that account by then, but still went for it to have an identity of my own in the internet world!
Since I had no concrete plan, the domain and web space was simply lying idle for next 6 months. Later, I gathered my interest towards blogging and chose to make the best of already purchased account with a self hosted wordpress blog. I was hardly getting any readers in the initial days until late 2008. I renewed my account with Dot5Hosting for another 2 years term at a cost of $3.95 per month! Since the traffic was less on my site, I never had issues with the performance or the speed. But as the reader base increased to current levels of ~1500 unique visitors a day with about twice that of page views, I could clearly make out that dot5hosting was not scalable. Every now and then there were ‘Error in connecting to Database’ kind of messages. This got into a totally annoying situation a couple of weeks back when my blog used to have a down time for more than 50% of the time.
I never needed their tech support until that point since I was good enough to handle and sort out issues by myself. The system failure is something that is not in my control and thus the ‘database connection errors’. Though I provided them all the details, they were helpless and kept on asking for silly things like screenshot when the error appears etc., to delay/deny the solution. After fighting out with their pathetic and technically incompetent tech support for over a fortnight, decided to give up on them. After my initial evaluation, I zeroed on two web hosts – DreamHost and BlueHost. Dream host has an amazing offer of 97 day free trial period, if you don’t like their service, you can always cancel the account without paying anything! But if you register a new domain, you will be charged about $10. I searched on net for any promo codes for these 2 hosts, I got one that said $97 off on 2 year plan with Dreamhost. I went on with registration and when I looked at billing console, I was charged differently! Instead of $97 discount, they had given just $50. When I enquired with customer care, they said that promo code is only for US citizens and not for rest of the world.
Why the hell they do not say so while creating an account? I got really skeptical about the not so open charging modes and decided to give up on DreamHost too immediately. The only option that I had evaluated was bluehost. Over the weekend I purchased an account with BlueHost. Though the price is almost twice that of what I used to pay all these days, I am happy with the speed and the way it is responding right now. Not sure what is in the store as the days pass by, I am happy for now at least!
Because of my expertise with WordPress, I was able to migrate to new host in less than 30 minutes! I shall post a detailed article on migration from one web host to another as well as things to keep in mind while preparing for a migration. Now the lesson I have learnt is that, never get distracted by heavenly discounts while going for self hosted sites. Look for reliability and scaling. Do a though review of the web host you have finalized on and evaluate the pros and cons, then finalize on a web host. Since a majority of blogging friends at IndiBlogger were thinking of moving to self hosted accounts, I thought this would be of some help on evaluating web hosts.