I recently moved. Moving is expensive. In an effort to save money I’ve been going through my different web hosting accounts, seeing if I can’t pare them down and get rid of any domain names I’m just not using anymore. Web hosting is cheap these days but if you’re hosting through more than one provider it can add up quickly. As I go through these accounts I’m thinking more and more of why I need each of them. At first I chose web hosts based on price and to see which would serve my needs best but as time went on I realized that the three main hosts I’ve settled on all serve a different purpose and may be necessary to a balanced web hosting life.
Today I’m sharing my three favorite hosts and what I’ve found each is best suited for.
First, I got rid of GoDaddy. Every developer and web worker I know absolutely hates GoDaddy for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the whole Net Neutrality bill they tried to undercut. Let me score some developer street cred here by telling you I got rid of my GoDaddy account long before it was cool to hate on them. Years ago I hosted my very first websites on their shared hosting. I bought my domain names and hosting through them. As a beginner it worked out well for me. Somehow, despite their unbelievably terrible and confusing UI I thought they were easy to use and learned quite a bit from them. As I became a better developer, their UI became more of a chore to use and even things I would frequently do on the site were difficult to find because of the endless modals, popups, and new pages. Their attempts to upsell you are also incredibly shameless and it’s very easy to buy more services without even realizing it. Needless to say, I dropped them quickly maybe less than 6 months after signing up and long before their shameless lobbying attempts a few years ago.
Then I had a period where I only used free web hosting (this was many years ago, mind you). I signed up with 000webhost.com which is the free arm of Hosting24. Hosting24 runs the free site in the hopes that free users will get fed up with having to use a subdomain and the suboptimal features which I must admit are actually damn good for free web hosting. There’s honestly no ads! So after a while I upgraded to their lowest priced paid offering through Hosting24. I used them because they were cheap and offered basic FTP, PHP, and MySQL support. It’s all I needed for the basic sites I was hosting. I soon outgrew them but I was actually quite happy with what they offered for the price and recommended them to a few clients, a few of which still host their sites there to this day without issue. Years ago they looked kind of sketchy but they’ve recently redesigned the entire site and admin area and I have to admit they’re doing much better than I expected.
What I’m using now and why
These days I’m using MediaTemple, Linode, and Digital Ocean. MediaTemple was recently purchased by GoDaddy which made me wonder if the shared hosting I loved was going to go downhill soon. Surprisingly, after some months the service has only gotten better. They redesigned their website and the services are still running as smooth as ever. I like MediaTemple for shared hosting. Their Grid Service (gs) accounts are great for hosting sites and apps needing a basic LAMP stack but nothing too fancy. I use MediaTemple for a lot of mostly static marketing websites, sites that run a CMS, and I even host my clients’ websites on their and collect a hosting fee from them each year. The great thing about the MediaTemple (gs) is that it’s like having the reliability of a VPS along with some of the perks like SSH access and git hosting without having to manage it yourself. I use it for my set-it-and-forget-it sites. It’s easy to set up a quick website or app with matching email hosting. MediaTemple lets you host unlimited domains on the (gs). You sacrifice some flexibility by virtue of it being shared hosting but at the same time you get far more flexibility than you would most other shared hosts.
MediaTemple Verdict: Keep it for quick projects, clients, simple email hosting, and marketing sites
Then there’s Digital Ocean. I’ve written quite a bit comparing Digital Ocean and Linode as VPS providers and I’m very hesitant to get rid of my Digital Ocean account or move my Linode hosted sites to DO. Digital Ocean is great for side projects and quick experiments. The main reason they’re so great for this is because of how cheap they are. Only $5 for a 512mb server and you only get charged for the time you use it. Recently my confidence in them has grown and I’m thinking of hosting some of my more valuable projects there as well.
Digital Ocean Verdict: Keep it for side projects, experiments, and in the future an important project or two
Linode is my baby. I pay a little more for them but they’ve got a great reputation and they’re incredibly reliable. I also like how they upgrade their customers at no cost once a year (at least that’s been the case for the past two years). I host my pet project, Write.app there and I love it. I keep my Linode running for source control and projects that to me are very important or near and dear to my heart.
Linode Verdict: Definitely keep it for my most prized projects and remote git repositories