This is a departure from my normal content here, but I wanted to take a moment to thank the wonderful folks at HostingMatters web hosting. Looking at my file modification dates, it seems that I officially migrated to HM two years ago today. I haven't regretted it one bit.
I've gone through a lot of web hosts. I've used seven (five commercial), and over the last two or three searches I also created a 20-something point questionnaire that each host was inspected by — and I inspected a lot, something to the tune of probably 800-1,000 companies in 1999 and 2001. Very few hosts met my criteria, even fewer earned my trust to actually deal with them.
I've had ups and downs in commercial web hosting. I first moved away from free web hosting to DataRealm. They were fine, although there plans were just too expensive for what they offered. After spending most of 1997 with them, I moved on in April 1998. I then moved to SmartHosting.com. They started out great, but my site was down a lot, their control panel wasn't very good, and it was often impossible to get a response — after one issue in early 2000, I finally had to phone them long distance after having my site down for a week. Things got worse and the whole deal ended with a $90 overcharge in July of 2000 (I hadn't been really using them since October 1999).
I had known things were going down hill for awhile so I had already started migrating in the fall of 1999 to BurstNET. They were fairly big then and are now much bigger — they have their own datacenter, etc. But in July 2001, things went from sort of unreliable to bad. They were constantly breaking Perl modules with oddball upgrades. They'd deny problems that I clearly demonstrated, etc. Nice people, but they wouldn't fix things. Finally, everything just died during the week of August 13, 2001. They got the web sites back up a day later, but after four days they were still denying the fact that e-mail was down. I needed a new host.
I tried one, which I'll not name because there was nothing wrong with it, it just wasn't for me, but they turned out to be a reseller for HostingMatters still at Alabanza (I noticed HM's domain in the e-mail headers of the welcome message). I jumped over to HostingMatters and everything looked like exactly what I wanted and more. So I signed up.
And what a great decision that was. Annette set me up with exactly the plan I wanted with reseller features (rather than having to get the normal reseller plan), answered all those questions I had, and got me started. The rest of the staff (or sock monkeys as they called themselves at the time) was great too. And as an added bonus the HM client community on the HM forums was delightful too!
Since part of my time with SmartHosting I had already migrated away but was still paying because I wanted to keep the subdomain I had been renting, I was really with them less than two years. Likewise I've never made it with any other host two years… except for HostingMatters. There's a reason too — they really genuinely seem to care. They are great people (I now consider one of the HM employees a friend, but that's another story), fast to respond, and their servers are ultra reliable and at a discount hosting price.
Oh, and did I mention that OfB.biz, a site of mine that is “Slashdotted” (hit by thousands of users from Slashdot.org all at once) a few times a year, is hosted there and fairs fine under the pressure? It's so good, we awared HM an award last year and at least one other large GNU/Linux site now uses HostingMatters.
If you need a host, check them out.