The Search for Good Web Hosting or Why DreamHost Sucks

Posted by – July 27, 2009

Some Random Server Room

I need to get me one of these.

[EDIT: This is an old article.  Arvixe was bought out by EIG and now sucks.  Ugh.]

As you may or may not have noticed we’ve changed servers.  In fact my blog has even moved to http://www.freedom-uplink.net.  This was due to a recent failure that took place with our main server Hal.  I was able to get it back up but we still haven’t figured out why it went down.  We decided it best that we move to web hosting and keep Hal strictly for shells and wanted daemons.  Thus began my quest for a Good hosting company.

This came at a time where just a week or two ago I was looking for hosting for the company I work for.  For them we decided upon DreamHost which I thoroughly enjoyed for a week before we attempted to get an account on there for Freedom-Uplink.

So to test DreamHost out to see if it’d fit our needs, I added freedom-uplink.net as a domain in their control panel but didn’t change the domain’s nameservers.  I was then able to configure pretty much everything we needed.  At this point we decided to sign-up and start using them.

So when we signed up we used a promo code I found in Google to waive the setup fee as we were going to pay monthly (in the event that we found a better solution, or ran out of funds).  Everything was going swell until I tried to add the domain freedom-uplink.net to our new control panel.  It stated that the domain had already existed on the DreamHost servers under a promo’d account and thus we couldn’t use a promo if we wanted to keep our domain.

I tried troubleshooting the issue just in case by making sure the domain was not installed on my employer’s account.  I then proceeded to contact their support, this is where things went downhill.

It turns out that my employers also happened to use a promo code when they signed up to save $50 dollars or something.  And since I was able to “test” my domain and see their control panel, I was not eligible for their promo as it’s for new customers only.  I explained that we’re a non-profit (but not registered in the US) but they were unsympathetic and wanted to charge us $50 dollars which is almost our whole hosting budget for this year.

I continued to try to explain the situation about how I am a new customer which just so happened was able to try it before I buy it and now want to give them money for hopefully years to come.  I even explained that my employer would allow me to host the domain under their account if I wanted, but I’d prefer this setup which meant they get more money.  They were still uninterested.  The closest I got to anyone who understood was a rep who explained that they know that I’m not abusing the system at all, but that the policy is there and they have to be vigilant.

Needless to say I canceled my account with them and got a refund.  Am I sure glad I did too, as I found a hosting company that is several folds better than DreamHost.

Arvixe's Logo. Best. Hosting. Ever.

Arvixe’s Logo. Best. Hosting. Ever.

After searching around, and conversing (see: monologuing) in our IRC channel #Uplink, Sabrebutt made a suggestion.  He suggested using Arvixe.  I had not really heard of them except for a few mentions of it’s good pricing.  At the time I wasn’t looking for hosting so promptly forgot about them.  I revisited them though and after looking over their plans decided that it’s practically the same deal as DreamHost but they have better customer support (24/7 chat, phone or email) and much better reviews online.

So I signed-up and it’s been the best move I’ve made when it comes to web hosting.  Their customer support is extremely helpful and will pretty much bend over backwards to help with any weird requests (Freedom-Uplink is a lot more complicated than I remember it being).  I’m so impressed that I might be looking into seeing if we can get a PromoCode made so we can entice Freedom-Uplink users to sign-up.

So while it was a pain, it worked out extremely well.  And while DreamHost seemed quite awesome at first, in comparison to other hosts such as Arvixe, it has a long way to go to be anywhere near as great.

I’d also like to point out that since we recently moved, please let me know if you find broken links or anything not working like it should.  I think I fixed FeedBurner but won’t know till after this is posted.

I’ve also NOT received any payment from Arvixe or incentive in anyway to sing about their good graces.  Nor will I ever sell out like that.

2 Comments on The Search for Good Web Hosting or Why DreamHost Sucks

  1. BlackTaxi says:

    Very interesting post – I’ll be checking out Arvixe shortly. Dreamhost’s promo limitations are truly ridiculous. I just tried to sign up for a special hosting deal for $9.72 for the first year. Unfortunately, I missed the box to enter the promo code (it’s labeled referrer’s email address or promo code, and I didn’t read the whole thing — duh!). I contacted them to see if they could manually apply the promo, since I am a new customer, etc. etc. Nope. Nothing they could do. They did offer me a $20 discount, but that leaves another $80 I’d have to pay. Really? Never mind. If I’m going to have to pay “normal” rates I’d rather find a host that has normal tools — like cpanel or plesk — and has some sort of control over their billing system. No more referrals for Dreamhost!

  2. Inferno says:

    @BlackTaxi: Firstly, thanks for the comment, I get a lot of visitors but very few actually choose to comment!

    I’ve been happy with Arvixe since I switched, they really are an amazing company. I’ve never had problems with downtime or any real service issues (Although my employer’s Dreamhost account has had quite a bit of downtime, suffice to say we won’t be renewing our one year agreement).

    The support is great and there is always someone there to help you out with something if you run into a snag and their prices are more than fair. It’s cheap hosting, but it’s of good quality and .

    My only real complaint is they don’t offer any hosting with the option of a shell with background processes (I run an IRCd on a few other machines I actually own, and would like to have another run by Arvixe) but I can’t really complain too much about it.

    Anyway, I’m sorry that Dreamhost tried to screw you, and I’m sure you’ll be much happier with Arvixe.

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