I started to use DigitalOcean cloud web hosting two months ago after I signed up for $10 credits. I was happy with it for a while. However, when I tried to find out how to request additional public IPs for SSL purpose for my other websites on the same instance, I realized that there is no way to do it. Many other web hosting companies allow you to add extra IP addresses to an instance as long as you pay for them or have a valid reason for doing that such as extra ones for SSL. I was assuming that DigitalOcean is the same but it is not. Upon knowing that, I started to look for alternatives that allow extra IPs, and I found Vultr. It not only allows extra IPs per instance, but also offers specs more suitable for me than DigitalOcean for the same $5 per month.
After I tried to use GoDaddy to forward my old domain to my new domain using 301 redirect and test if t works, I found out that if you connect to the old domain for the first time after a while, it returns 302 found first with the same url! When you try it for the second time, it returns 301 redirect correctly. After noticing that, I just switched back to using my own server for redirection.
Here are the sample outputs of another domain that I have set to use 301 redirect in GoDaddy:
Yesterday when I was trying to make some post on my blog, the whole dreamhost was down really hard, including the main sites and the dreamhost status site as well, that sucks! I then tried to post some comments on the status site, for some reason it look like hacked and I got stuck on the leave reply page showing that I’m logged in as micah, which I have no idea who is. I just went to sleep and hopefully I didn’t have to “dream” about the host outage.
Today when I went to check this blog at about 3:30pm PST I figured out that it took very long for it to respond and it can’t connect to the database. I then checked other websites but also the same. Later on I figured out that’s because steadfast’s mysql2 database server was down as their hard drive screwed up :(. I checked their website and they said they replaced the hard drive, but they needed filesystem check as well. I waited and waited for a few hours but at 7:55PM CT they said the filesystem check process restarted and I have to wait again. I kept on checking their update about the problem and at 9:45pm they said the filesystem check is completed and some data are corrupted, but they have the backup from the morning. I then checked my website and it worked for a like a minute or so but down again. Later on I checked their update again and realized that the good news is gone; instead they replaced it with a bad news in 10:00pm saying that the RAID card screwed up and they’ll look at it. An hour and a half later the bad news came, that the whole RAID array is gone and they had to replace the whole thing! After another hour wait they said they are installing the system back to the new drives and finally at 1:13 AM they are up again, and they restored the backup that was taken at 1:30AM CT on October 21, ahhhh. Fortunately nothing was changed on my websites at that time of period.
I have never had any issue with this hosting company before. My websites were almost never down until yesterday, but this time it is been down for too long. It was down for more than six hours. On all other hosting companies that I have before they have downtime as well, but only for a very short time rather than this lengthy delay. However, this issue is not common and I hope that this won’t happen again.
Hostgator right now is giving you unlimited space and bandwidth for all shared hosting packages. Also, for the Baby and Business plan they allow unlimited domains. It’s a very good deal for just $4.95, $7.95, and $12.95 a month for the Hatchling, Baby, and Business plans if paid 3 years at once. If you don’t want to pay for 3 years at once you can pay it for 2 years, 1 year, or even monthly, which is $8.95, $9.95, and $14.95 a month, still not that much higher than 3 years at once for the Baby and Business plans.
Yesterday I started to look for a reliable web hosting. I searched online trying to find a good yet reliable web hosting and realized that many of them either require you to pay for a whole year at once to get a cheaper price(which is still not cheap), or have too few bandwidth per month in general.
After hours of struggle I found Host Department and almost signed up for it, but its website was very unprofessional and very tricky, i.e. you have to click “Php Web Hosting” in the bottom of the page where it says “Host Department’s Specialty Hosting:” in order to get php hosting package at the same price instead of the non-php, also the advertisement in the home page is very confusing and the sign up process is very poorly designed, i just gave up before paying for it.
I then tried GoDaddy’s hosting’s Economy Plan, it allows you to pay about $8 for the first two months and $4 each month afterwards. But alas, while GoDaddy is good for domain registration it really sucks for hosting, it takes about thirty minutes to do what you could have done instantly in other hostings, like setting up the account and creating a mysql database, its server software is very outdated, it gave me hard time to import mysql databases because of its older version of mysql. Finally it doesn’t seem to support .htaccess that well, you can’t make custom error pages there, but only in the freaking control panel that takes even thirty minutes to change custom error page. I also heard other people say about the lock table issue when hosted on GoDaddy. Because of all these I gave up GoDaddy and asked them for refund on the hosting account calling the non-toll-free number.
Later on I stopped looking for cheap web hosting because for me they’re unreliable unless they provide less features like space and bandwidth. I looked for some more expensive yet reliable ones and found HostGator and DreamHost. HostGator got many positive honest reviews from some trusted sites like whreviews.com, while for DreamHost it has more disk space and bandwidth. I had asked some people who is using it about its reliability and many of them didn’t have any problems with it. But I first decided to use HostGator anyways with its baby plan since it allows me to pay with paypal and I can try it the first month for $0.01, the plan is $9.95 each month and with a promo code like “jury” you can get $9.94 off for the first month on plans other than hatchling(the cheapest one, billed annually and 1 month free with promo code), I was very satisfied with it and didn’t have any reason to switch.
But today I had one little problem, a problem that probably won’t apply to you. I asked one friend from China to visit my blog and surprisingly they said they can’t open it anymore since I switched to HostGator, I then asked others to try to open it and they can’t either! I started to realize that HostGator is blocked in China by its “Great Firewall”, just like Blogger had been blocked! That really frustrated me since I’m planning to develop a Chinese website with other registered domains in the same hosting account to take advantage of its multiple domain hosting, I also didn’t want to lose any visitors from China. I had to switch again since what I’ll lose is just one cent. I then switched my blog to DreamHost today, which has a lot more nice features, space and bandwidth, and I’m very satisfied with it. It has many more features than HostGator plus 200 GB Disk Storage and 2 TB bandwidth even with its basic plan with the same price as HostGator’s baby plan.
Bonus: if you sign up with the promo code USEFULHOST50 for DreamHost you’ll get
$50 off (the maximum possible) on any hosting plans
You can find a list of free web hosting sites at http://www.free-webhosts.com you won’t need to register domain for almost all of them, I listed some that I think the best below.
If you don’t want ads in your website
http://www.phpnet.us/ and http://www.freewebtown.com are the best for you. http://www.phpnet.us/ gives you 300MB web space and 80GB bandwidth a month, no file size limit at all; while http://www.freewebtown.com is the only one that offers 2GB for free with no file size limit either, but the drawback is it only has 2GB bandwidth per month, the same as its space. if you want to get additional bandwidth you have to pay for it.
If you don’t care about the ads and you want a website with unlimited bandwidth and lots of space http://www.prophp.org is best for you, it gives you about 250MB space, no bandwidth limit and no file size limit either. The ad they put on your pages is only a banner on top.