Goodbye Hostmonster

Posted by james on July 11, 2008

I used to use HostMonster for my website hosting for quite a while. I chose them because they had tons of features that I never used (Ruby, Perl, SSH, etc) and were pretty cheap (something like $5/mo if you sign up for 2 years). They've been barely adequate at times, and bad at others. Most of the problems stem from completely unprofessional server maintenance and unhelpful tech support.

But for the past few months, I've been on Godaddy for hosting. While I do have complaints about them, they're still tons better than HostMonster was.

Servers have gone done often for no reason at all for small periods throughout the day (15 minutes here, a couple hours there). Longer outages usually prompt me to contact their tech support, at which point they claim that they've checked and nothing is wrong until I prove that something is happening on the server, at which point they usually state that "an admin is working on that server". Then there are the random server config changes that break my site every once in a while. They also lost *everything* for a few days, then restored the whole server from backups.

So in the end they were frustrating to deal with, and my older simpler host <a href="http://www.e-rice.net/">e-rice</a> was much, much better. Their prices were lower, they offered the basics (no fancy ruby, etc), and the server admin was personally available usually within a 4 hour time window. Amazing service, great prices... just a great cheap host. Those are hard to find, even harder to trust. I'd recommend anyone starting out to use e-rice, then move up to a larger host when the time comes. Most websites will never need more.

With my new host, Godaddy, I already had my domain names through them. They had a ton of space and enough features (python, ruby, jsp, etc) with a decent price. I was a little wary since I heard some mediocre things about them, but decided to try it anyway. Their uptime has been great so far, no outages that I can recall (unlike HostMonster, which was down at least once a day). My biggest complaint with Godaddy is their crazy burdensome admin interfaces. I must log into the main godaddy.com website, then click on my hosting accounts, then click on the hosting account I want, then "manage hosting account", then I get into a second hosting admin panel. From there, I must click on the task I want, the specific database I want, then "open manager", and I get a third admin panel (phpmyadmin).

I have to do this every time, there's no way to directly log into the hosting panel without going through the main site first. That means if my login times out, I have to repeat the process. And while the admin panels are a bit slow and annoying, the phpmyadmin is incredibly slow and takes 30 seconds or more to load up. I may start installing phpmyadmin on my own site and avoiding use of their built-in versions.

Besides the admin section nightmare, goddady has been good so far. They have some funny quircks with .htaccess files and similar, but nothing that's caused too much trouble so far.

So goodbye hostmonster. You've been adequate at times, and a thorn in my side at others.