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Hosting in 2019?

Discussion in 'HTML, Graphics & Programming' started by Beansprout, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Beansprout

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 16,221

    Location: Plymouth

    14 years ago I started a little company in my bedroom because I was annoyed with the bad service and complexity of the established larger providers. Many people back then thought I was mad as they barely knew what broadband or email were, let alone things like web hosting and Linux!

    I (we) sold it in 2015 for reasons best known to me, but after a little time out, I can't help keeping an eye on the state of things.

    These days almost everyone uses the internet in one form or another.

    But often buying web hosting is still confusing and expensive, with the same old tricks like prices that used to include VAT but now don't, free first years made up for by tacking on a second year at full price, extreme price increases announced seemingly at random, products of dubious technical performance, bundles of dubious value, washing of hands for simple technical issues and so on.

    For example a simple .com domain, which I know we used to sell for less than a quid over our cost price, is now commonly sold for around £11 +VAT, in some cases £16 upwards. The cost price being under £7!

    I used to sell a .uk domain for £2.99/year. The Nominet cost price has increased from £2.50 to £3.75 but even allowing for that I'm hard-pressed finding a company selling a .uk for under £8, let alone under £5!

    Getting through a checkout process is in some cases as bad as buying a low-cost flight. Many providers use the old 'trick' of automatically selecting lengthy billing cycles, and another preselects an expensive addon by default, hidden costs to obtain a backup (yes really, I had the unfortunate pleasure of using a hosting company who charged me 5 quid for a cPanel backup!!), and so on.

    I checked out a few cheap hosting 'offers' and the cart price shown to me was 58x the big offer on the homepage. I've no idea how I could have obtained the offer price. I think the 'offer' was a one month discount but I had to pay for 11, 599, or a whole menagerie's worth of extra months at full price.

    Another one worked out to 57x the advertised price!

    These are crazy margins and practices from a complacent industry. If I was making 30-50%+ on a domain alone then I would never have bothered with hosting or running my own servers or handling support at 2am, and I'd presumably be on a beach somewhere!

    Meanwhile the industry for cloud services has moved on hugely. Things like AWS, Azure, Linode....all offer cheap and easy utility computing, presumably because their target marget is tech-savvy and the competition is vast. I admit I'm not a huge fan of AWS but I use Google Compute extensively for a couple of other projects and rate it highly.

    SO just some questions for you guys, since this forum essentially helped me start my first company...

    - If you're happy with your hosting company, what's the main reason?
    - If you're UNhappy, why haven't you changed provider yet?
    - What would make your life easier in 2019?

    Not that I'm planning on going back into this crazy industry, of course.....
     
  2. Maccy

    Commissario

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004

    Posts: 34,259

    Location: Back in Blighty

    I was originally with Vidahost, now Tsohost, and the package I'm on they don't offer anymore. It's £9.99/year for my .com domain and £15 every 6 months for the 'starter plan' which gives me 2gb storage and 25gb bandwidth - more than enough. Those prices are excluding VAT, a bugbear of mine!

    Service isn't too bad, I don't really use it that much and could probably even get rid of it and just use Google drive or Dropbox, but it's convenient.

    What would make my life easier? Include VAT, this is a personal domain so I don't care about prices excluding VAT - we're not in America where everything is 'plus tax'. And maybe reduce the cost, I don't think I need to be paying £30 a year for 2gb of storage and a tenner for a .com domain too.
     
  3. leezer3

    Mobster

    Joined: Jan 18, 2006

    Posts: 2,849

    Location: Norwich

    The biggest thing I ask of a host is the ability to read and understand a technical support ticket.

    I suppose I would be considered a power user, and nothing is more frustrating than trying to get through outsourced 1st level support with a genuine issue to actually get to someone who will take meaningful action.
    Very much related to that, I want a meaningful response not fobbing off.

    Unfortunately, Vidahost would now appear to specialize in the outsourced fobbing off department, rather than trying to address some of the system issues they've got (IIRC you noted that the cloud system had got a little large, I think that's definitely got something to do with it) :p
     
  4. Glanza

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 13, 2007

    Posts: 9,228

    Location: South Yorkshire

    Getting quick fixes without automated responses or long wait times is a good sign for me, example Plusnet will take days to reply to a ticket regarding a domain transfer adding the tag etc as it has to go to 'special team' other providers let you add the tag instantly online.

    Another example I had my domain with 123-reg and felt like I was getting outsourced support, switched to Krystal and I get support within minutes no matter the time, needed help around 22:00 Friday night and got sorted.

    Price does come into it especially with sites offering cheap domain names but now they throw so many extra items at you the price on the homepage rarely is the price you'll pay at the end.
     
  5. Beansprout

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 16,221

    Location: Plymouth

    Thanks everyone, very useful to see what's going on :)

    Vida never charged VAT originally then we hit the threshold and I figured it looked more professional to put "+VAT" - and we couldn't afford to take a 17% revenue hit! So sorry, that's my fault! Tso was always VAT included tho :/

    As for the cost, I think 30/year is reasonable - but certainly I think these days disk limits should be higher. Reliable disk costs just tens of pennies per Gb at scale. But bear in mind that included backups cost too.

    I do however hate the word 'unlimited' because I'm a sysadmin and I don't have any unlimited disks!

    Domain prices are my current hate. They're so expensive almost everywhere and for no reason - simplest thing to automate and sell!

    Absolutely, it's obviously hard to expect a first-line person to know everything about hosting (bear in mind most of first-line is extremely simple stuff) but they should be able to quickly get the right assistance. We were lucky in that the 4 of us were hyper technical and always ready to help anyone in the company. Almost always anyway.

    My pet hate. Some things are genuinely useful but shouldn't be 'pre-ticked' and basic modern functionality should be standard and all included.

    Hosting should be simple and easy, 30 seconds to order, a few more seconds to login and upload!

    Watch this space ;)
     
  6. Steeps

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 8, 2003

    Posts: 4,744

    Location: Bedfordshire

    I don't understand how monitoring resources can be so poor these days, I don't have a huge budget for websites and I'm not technical enough to go it alone and manage my own server as that would be what I would like to do ideally, keep it all in house. I had to move from one host to another because they updated their hosting without notice and forgot to migrate the databases. Left another host because the response times were just too slow. Next host I found out the file system was completely open through SSH and I had access to edit the sites of 22 others on the same server, then had to call them if I ever had any downtime. Current host I supposedly have dedicated resources but I've had 2 days of downtime because another user on the php server was using too much and everyone else's sites went down, that's not the service I should be getting from dedicated resources.

    Ideally I'd love to have a host where there is an option to pay by the hour for support on hosted platforms to identify and fix patches, or have recommended partners to help with those platforms.
     
  7. Beansprout

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 16,221

    Location: Plymouth

    What I've seen is that there are a huge number of hosts I've never even heard of, using archaic systems and so on. I'm working with www.fixed.net and every day we seem to be dealing with a new strange situation! Though, yes, lots of good hosts and solid platforms too.

    With Cloudlinux, or heck just some time developing custom modules, there's no reason to have resource issues on shared hosting these days. DDoS issues are still a pain but can be partially or fully mitigated with the likes of Cloudflare.
     
  8. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 5,807

    Location: Bromsgrove

    So I have managed servers and self managed ones, first up, the managed servers these basically are my "web hosting customers" where they have basic html or simple cms sites on a shared server. This I use a company who are more expensive than your average host, but...

    1) I ring up and whoever answers the phone is capable of resolving the issue. From basic config down to server failure.
    2) Fixes are usually in the minutes zone, rather than hours.
    3) They are happy, to a degree, to investigate whatever I've installed if it stops working.
    4) If I ring up in a rush, I can literally say "X isnt working" and they will deal with it.

    Literally they provide the gold service and mean I can forget those boring sites and know my customers are going to be happy as their sites are working so they keep paying me.


    My self-managed servers are on DO. I have self created images for servers which blow people away at the performance. My latest customer I have reduced their monthly hosting with a very well known, very well respected host from $1800 a month to $600+my management fees.

    Needless to say, customer is happy, I am happy and digitalocean just works. I love it, AWS and Google cloud compute suck in comparison to the VPS management.

    What would make it easier? No idea really. I dont mind paying for a quality service.
     
  9. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,243

    Location: Surrey and London

    If the price is broadly in line with ithers then quality of service when I need something from them is a key factor for me. Service is king.
     
  10. Shoeyuk

    Gangster

    Joined: Jan 31, 2018

    Posts: 238

    Location: Bury St Edmunds

    I had used one provider, I won’t mention names as they have closed down now, who provided a fully managed service.

    They regularly made config changes to the our firewall that would cause network outages, that were never explained or asked for. I eventually got a copy of the config and sent to my brother in law who’s a cisco trainer and he didn’t know weather to laugh or cry. There were so many things that were considered bad practice he wasn’t surprised I had issues.

    The windows servers were sold as fully managed yet they were not patched for 6 months, and when questioned they claimed it was not there job to patch the server.

    One customer had had enough and wanted us to move them away as they had enough of the issues we moved them away so at that point I asked them to run a disaster recover on that server to test they backups, after 2 days they counldnt restore the server.

    All I want is something reliable and when it goes wrong to call up and talk to someone who knows what there doing and deals with it not just putting you in a queue and fobbing you off
     
  11. mds1256

    Associate

    Joined: Mar 3, 2011

    Posts: 24

    I have had Vida for the past 6-7 years but I am looking to swap when it’s up for renewal again in May. Their service is terrible and they fob off. The server we have keeps failing (private virtual server) and they just keep saying it’s the traffic but I have set up monitoring and it isn’t the traffic that is the issue it’s obviosuly something else but getting no where with them since they swapped to TSO.

    I am assuming @Beansprout used to own Vida?
     
  12. superleeds27

    Hitman

    Joined: Nov 28, 2011

    Posts: 629

    I was with Vida for around two years then it all went downhill.

    I've moved to Krystal and absolutely love it. Speed, efficient, responsive team. Pricing isn't too bad either!
     
  13. mark128

    Gangster

    Joined: Aug 29, 2003

    Posts: 382

    Location: North West UK

    I've been using TSOHost for a number of years. I couldn't fault the service in the early years. It seems however in more recent times the performance seems to have degraded, resulting in slower loading websites. The support was always great, but doesn't feel quite as good now. Also I've had occasional issues with downtime. How do people feel about Krystal vs TSO/Vida. I seem to hear a lot of people have switched due to similar reasons to the above.
     
  14. mattyg

    Soldato

    Joined: Jun 17, 2007

    Posts: 7,208

    I was with Vidahost for years. Never an issue. Adding new mailboxes etc was very simple.

    Now its TSO I'm having all sorts of issues. I can send and recieve emails from within their network but cant send any emails from TSO hosted domains to any of my 123 reg domains.......

    Its like they have fallen out.

    It may be simple fix. But I'm still considering a move over to another host
     
  15. superleeds27

    Hitman

    Joined: Nov 28, 2011

    Posts: 629

    I've moved to Krystal. Really can't fault them at all. Fast loading and I've never had any real issues in the last 18 months or so.

    Sounds like an internal routing issue. Probably local mail exchanger rather than external. Possibly.
     
  16. 233

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 12,309

    Location: Glasgow

    currently with tso and our business hosting is dog slow ever since we added ssl

    any suggestions for an alternative
     
  17. kindai

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 9, 2013

    Posts: 5,807

    Location: Bromsgrove

    Nimbus Hosting if you need business reliability.
     
  18. Russinating

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 27, 2005

    Posts: 14,850

    Location: Bristol

    I was with Vidahost for like 6 years and they went to pot when they got taken over by TSO/GoDaddy et al. We jumped ship from TSO very quickly; our sites were often down or very slow, ticket responses were slow, a database broke etc.

    We're now with Krystal and they've been ok, but I have seen some site slowdowns at points. We pay £9.99pm for Ruby managed hosting which is fine. Business hosting (which is what I use Krystal for) jumps up quite a bit to £29.99pm and we don't need that much, we just have basic websites such as jonesmillbank.com.

    All I want is confidence in uptime and speed. I don't want to visit our website and it takes 10s to load (we're on a gigabit line so I know the issue is that end) because all I'll be thinking is how long/how often it's been like that and whether it's affected any of our clients or prospectives as a result. It's not too much to ask!
     
  19. Glanza

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Mar 13, 2007

    Posts: 9,228

    Location: South Yorkshire

    Have you looked at giving Krystal's CDN a trial on your site?
     
  20. Russinating

    Capodecina

    Joined: Dec 27, 2005

    Posts: 14,850

    Location: Bristol

    I haven't actually but looks interesting. Last few months and 19GB is our largest bandwidth so looks suitable on their base package. Think I'll give them a knock!