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This page provides the web hosting experiences of Malcolm Graham
Also see Getting on the Web

History

1996-1999. Originally, writedoc.com and writeweb.com were hosted for over 3 years by magma.ca in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada at a cost of us$480/year. I still maintain a dial-in account with magma.ca and recommend them to local clients who don't need their own domain name. Magma provides excellent support but at a premium cost and lack of what I consider standard hosting features (for example, subdomains and auto-responders).

In December 1998, I went in search of a Web hosting company offering more features at a lower cost. I ended up with cihost.com in Texas at a cost of us$200/year (a 58% reduction from magma.ca with more hosting features). Because of problems with cihost.com, in January 2000 I initiated a search for another Web hosting company offering similiar features at a lower cost; I changed to below10host.com. In August 2002, because of lack of disk space, I initiated a search for a new web host offering more disk space at the same or a lower cost; I changed to page-zone.com. In October 2003, again largely because of my growing need for more disk space, I changed to aussiehosts.com. In November 2006, because of a significant price increase by aussiehosts, I changed to ixwebhosting.com.

IXwebhosting host

November 2006. Changed to ixwebhosting because aussiehosts increased their hosting charges from us$6.59 to $11.64 (a 77% increase). The writedoc.com, writeweb.com, plus 5 personal domains are now hosted by ixwebhosting on a yearly basis for us$7.95/month. This is a 21% increase from the aussiehosts cost but with the following main additional features: hosting for up to 8 domains (compared to 2), each with their own dedicated IP address; 300GB of disk storage (600MB before); 1500GB of data transfer (6GB before); a price-freeze guarantee and 3 free domain registrations for as long as I stay with ixwebhosting (this alone will more than recoup the increased cost, indeed I estimate an overall 18% reduction in cost); an attractive affiliate program; and finally 99.9% uptime and 30-day and anytime money-back guarantees.

IXwebhosting experience

  • IXwebhosting has been around since 1999 and it is a subsidiary of Ecommerce Corporation located in Hopkinsville, Ohio, USA
  • Account setup and availability completed within a few hours. I encountered no problems when transferring my web site files to any of the domain host accounts I created.
  • Each domain get their own dedicated IP address, sub-folder, email account, and login id; each subdomain also get their own subfolder, email account, and login id.
  • No need to use mydomains.com to redirect my personal domains, they now get their own domain host accounts with their own login credentials and email accounts; this is a significant improvement over what I had at aussiehosts and I also expect that it will lead to better web site performance (because of no redirects and the associated delays).
  • IXwebhosting provides 24/7 support by toll-free telephone, live chat, and a ticket system; a good user manual is also provided (HTML and PDF versions). I used live chat while setting up my web site and email accounts; I found it very responsive and helpful. There is also a 1-hour support quarantee, for one support ticket I did not get a response within 1-hour; it took over 12-hours, but if I needed a faster response I could have used live chat (where the response is within minutes).
  • Discovered that you can not use ping and tracert with ixwebhosting; so for web site uptime checking you have to use the HTTP protocol. I don't think that blocking ping and tracert responses is a good approach to improve security (see Common ISP Mistakes) because I believe it introduces other performance problems especially for mail servers (which is why I've added monitoring to my mail servers).
  • A mailbox is created with a specific email address. Discovered that you can not use aliases to a mailbox if the mailbox email address is forwarded; the aliased emails stay in the mailbox and only the mailbox email address itself is forwarded.
  • Performance? My FTP transfer speed and reliability are very good and my web site responses are also very good. Initially, the transfer speed and server communication when using Dreamweaver was sluggish, it was caused by a conflict with the CyberArmor firewall which was resolved after disabling CyberArmor.
  • Set up free accounts with Uptime to check all my web sites every 15 minutes; SiteUptime to monitor my marnie.ca mail account every 30 minutes; and ServiceUptime to monitor my writedoc.com and writeweb.com mail accounts every 30 minutes.

WriteDoc Mail ServiceUptime

WriteWeb Mail ServiceUptime

Aussiehosts host

2003-2006. The writedoc.com and writeweb.com domains were hosted by aussiehosts on a month-to-month basis for a cost of us$5.25/month ($63.00/year, a 6.1% increase from Page-Zone but with 3 times the disk space and 6 times the traffic allowance) with two accounts (writedoc.com and writeweb.com) each with 300MB disk space and 6GB data transfer, unlimited subdomains and user accounts, unlimited POP email accounts, catchall email address, email forwarding, web-based email (Horde), IMAP email support, unlimited mailing lists, unlimited auto-responders, password-protected directories, anonymous FTP server, 5 MySQL databases/account, frontpage extensions support, PHP/Perl/CGI/SSI support, web-based control panel (Plesk 7), no setup fee.

Aussiehosts experience

  • Gary and Marita Meadows, Enhanced Design and Information Technology Group, 532 Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche, Queensland, Australia
  • Setup and availability of site completed within 24 hours
  • Email and online support
  • According to aussiehosts parked domains are not supported in order to ensure better server performance. So I used mydomains.com to redirect my subsidiary domains (for example, diabetestype2.ca) to subdomains on writedoc.com and writeweb.com
  • Host Ping / Tracert response time for writedoc.com & writeweb.com? Averages 84ms.
  • NetMechanic server performance rating for writedoc.com & writeweb.com? Rated as Good with no dropouts.
  • NetMechanic server performance of domains parked and redirected from mydomains.com, during the same time period as the writedoc.com and writeweb.com ratings, rated as Good with no dropouts.
  • Uptime checked my sites every 15 minutes. WebSitePulse monitored my sites every hour.
  • November 2006: price increased from au$8.50 to $15.00/month (a 76.5% increase!)
  • Over the 3 years I was with aussiehosts I was very pleased with their services and I highly recommend them if their services and prices meet your needs.

Page-Zone host

August 2002-October 2003. The writedoc.com and writeweb.com domains were hosted by Page-Zone on a month-to-month basis for a cost of US$4.95/month ($59.40/year, a 29% reduction from below10host) with 200MB space, 2GB data transfer, 2 domains supported, 10 parked domains, 100 subdomains, 200 POP email accounts, catchall email addresses, 200 mailing lists, 200 auto-responders, password-protected directories, anonymous FTP server, 100 directory-specific FTP accounts, 100 MySQL databases, FrontPage extensions, own cgi-bin, FormMail-clone in cgi-sys, PHP, Perl, web-based control panel (CPanel), and no setup fee.

Page-Zone experience

  • Jim Snape, Page-Zone Web Hosting, 840 Pine Street, Wauseon, Ohio 43567, USA
  • Setup and availability of site completed within 2 hours
  • Unable to get FormMail-clone to work with complex forms; installed FormMail and it worked flawlessly. In January 2003, without warning Page-Zone disabled the use of FormMail on all servers and then notified me of their action; while I appreciated notice of their action, I would have preferred some notice before they took action! After some research, I changed to SouperMail and then to my own PHP-based form processor writedocMail
  • Email, phone, and online support
  • Host Ping / Tracert response time for writedoc.com & writeweb.com? Averaged 81ms.
  • NetMechanic server performance rating for writedoc.com & writeweb.com? Rated as Fair to Good with no dropouts. I would prefer Good all the time, but I received excellent value for what I paid.
  • NetMechanic server performance of domains parked and redirected from mydomains.com, during the same time period as the writedoc.com and writeweb.com ratings, rated as Poor to Fair with no dropouts. After changing and parking the other domains on the same server as writedoc.com & writeweb.com (Page-Zone allows up to 10 parked domains at no additional cost, but note that directing these domains to subdomains is not officially supported) the ratings changed to Fair to Good with no dropouts.
  • Uptime checked my site every 15 minutes and reported, over a 3 month period, that my site had been down, on average, 11 times/month for less than 20 minutes each time; however, apart from two occasions, whenever I checked I was able to access my site immediately after receiving the uptime report. WebSitePulse also monitored my site every hour and reported that my worst server uptime during the same 3 months was 97.62% for one day, 99.4% over one week, and 98.79% over one month. I would have preferred over 99% uptime, but it was close enough and I believed I received excellent value for what I paid.
  • In September 2003 I was unable to receive email from writedoc.com or related subdomains; it took Page-Zone almost a month to resolve the problem! In addition, I was told that the way my account was setup (using multiple parked domains pointing to multiple subdomains) was unreliable when using CPanel and that Page-Zone didn't officially support doing this. Strange! I had been using my account with parked domains pointing to subdomains for over 12 months with no major problems with email or anything else at Page-Zone. I received the impression that Page-Zone would now prefer to handle my account using one of their newer, and more expensive, web hosting offerings. I could have changed the way my account was set up to avoid the indicated problems with CPanel and subdomains, but I was also looking for more disk space. I decided that aussiehosts met my current needs better and changed to them in October 2003.
  • Page-Zone offers excellent value and I recommend them to anyone who needs a very good web host.

Below10host

February 2000 to August 2002. The writedoc.com and writeweb.com domains were hosted by below10host.com on a month-to-month basis for a cost of US$6.95/month ($83.40/year, a 58% reduction from cihost) with 100MB space, 3GB data transfer, 25 POP email accounts, catchall email address, 10 mailing lists, 25 auto-responders, password-protected directories, static IP address, anonymous FTP server, MySQL database, FrontPage extensions, own cgi-bin with FormMail support in the system cgi-bin, PHP, Perl, web-based control panel, and no setup fee.

Below10host.com experience

  • Owned by AMS Computer Services, 299 Midway Rd, Murray, Kentucky
  • Setup and initiation of domain transfer form took under 10 minutes
  • Support is by email only, but resolution and response time is very good
  • Some initial problems transferring large or multiple files via FTP
  • Host Ping / Tracert response time averaged 80ms
  • NetMechanic server performance rating ranges from Poor to Very Good with occasional dropouts (I'd prefer at least Good all the time and no dropouts, but I believe I received good value)
  • Excellent reliability and service throughout my time with below10host

Hosts to consider

Based on my research, for personal and small businesses who need to establish, on a budget, a Web presence; I recommend, in order of personal preference, the following Web hosting companies.

  1. http://www.ixwebhosting.com/
  2. http://www.hostexcellence.com/
  3. http://www.bluehost.com/
  4. http://www.aussiehosts.com/
  5. http://www.page-zone.com/
  6. http://www.below10host.com/
  7. http://www.astrahosting.com/

I also use and highly recommend Trend Micro Internet Security, Norton Internet Security, AVG Free Edition (on my home PCs), Spybot-Search & Destroy, and Spywareblaster to minimize the reception of unwanted emails and spyware. I also recommend that you don't include your email on any web sites or newsgroup postings (I use a feedback form powered by my PHP-based form processor writedocMail, feel free to use it).

Hosts to avoid

August 8-13, 2002. In early August I noticed an excellent price for web hosting in a local computer paper, 250MB for C$60/year. The advertiser was Linuxmotor; they offered a 30-day full refund trial period, so I decided to try their service. After repeated attempts by both myself and their support staff, I was unable to get FormMail to work on their server, I also had repeated problems trying to access my site, and even when I did response time was very slow; so I cancelled my account with them. After 5 months of trying, Linuxmotor had still not honored their refund promise; I reported them to the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and WebAssured. Because of my personal experience, I consider Linuxmotor a bad host choice and do not recommend the use of any of their services. February 13, 2003: Received $60 adjustment on my Amex account. March 29, 2003: Marc-Frederic Gomez, CEO, declared that Linux Motor is out of business.

Based on my personal experience, I recommend you avoid the following Web hosting companies.

  1. linuxmotor.com, linuxmotor.net, or any company associated with Marc-Frederic Gomez
  2. cihost.com