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Bwana
21st September 2008, 18:16
Guys,

I need some advice on choosing a website hosting firm. Here is my criteria / thoughts on this:

1) I must own the domain name. I don’t want some unscrupulous firm trying to screw me just because I decide to move to a different host. If the website were ever to get a lot of traffic and become valuable (unlikely but not impossible!) then obviously I would want to own the website and the domain name.

2) Privacy – When I first heard about it, the idea of using a proxy firm to register the domain sounded like a good idea, because I would like to remain anonymous. But then I did some research on the web and found out that apparently, the minute someone complains about a website, the proxy firm will be quick to reveal the website owners’ identity anyway, because they are scared of getting sued in the event that they don’t cooperate in revealing the website owners’ identity. Seems like proxy firms don’t really provide true anonymity, they just make it a little more difficult for people to find out who is behind the website. With this in mind, I decided to forget anonymity and instead just register the domain name under my own name & address.

3) Cost. This is just a leisure-time project. I hope to make some money out of placing adverts on the website (the holy grail of a passive income!), but realistically, I’m not likely to get rich from this idea. Therefore, I would like to keep the cost down to £5.00 (five uk pounds) per month in total. Is this realistic?

4) Should I register the domain name myself (eg through GoDaddy.com) or get the hosting firm to do it? Either way, I want the domain name registering in my name so that I own it. Some of the hosting firms advertise a “Free domain name for the life of the package”. WTF does that mean? Does ownership of the name revert to them if you don’t keep using them as the hosting firm? Or do they charge a fat fee if you want to move the domain name to another host?

5) Reliability. The host must have good uptime, and must have reasonable support. I don’t want to have to call some expensive premium rate number and be sat in a call queue for ages (at great expense) every time I have a problem with the service.

6) Gotchas. Are there any “Gotchas” that I need to look out for in the host’s terms & conditions (e.g. hidden charges, onerous obligations etc). I’ve read some horror stories on the web about people finding that their credit card has been billed for services they didn’t agree to and for service even after they had cancelled the hosting agreement.

7) Are there any other questions I should be asking?


I plan to search google for some sites that review website hosting firms, and also search for the website hosting firms themselves, and draw up a short list from there, and then see which one seems to best meet my criteria.

Cheers,
Bwana.

scaryfast
21st September 2008, 18:56
I've always liked Fasthosts (http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/) - big company, excellent uptime, cheap shared hosting packages and fairly quick tech support responses.

Having said that, I've recently changed all my stuff to a dedicated server with streamline.net (http://streamline.net/) as their offerings were better in that area.

Use either 123-Reg (http://www.123-reg.co.uk/) or Fasthosts for your domain name registration as they give you complete control over your domain (including whether or not your name and address is visible in the whois record).

Personally, I prefer 123-Reg (http://www.123-reg.co.uk/) as the domain name control panel has more features (particularly DNS), though if you get your domain name and hosting through the same company, everything will be configured straight away.

NickFitz
21st September 2008, 19:40
I use http://easily.co.uk/ to host several domains. Depending on what you require they are very reasonable, don't try to rip you off for any hidden charges, and will allow you to register a domain but host it elsewhere.

I use the Virtual Linux Enhanced package which gives me PHP and mySQL; there are cheaper packages available if you're just hosting static content, rather than a dynamic application. They also offer Windows ASP.NET hosting, but the Microsoft licensing fee makes that a fair bit more expensive.

Data transfer (often erroneously called bandwidth) is charged separately, again at reasonable rates. Unused quota can be carried over from one charging period (for the hosting) to the next - the clock isn't reset each time you renew the hosting package.

I've found their support to be very good on the rare occasions I've used it (always for technical enquiries, as I've never had a problem requiring support). It's not uncommon to receive a detailed email response to a question in a matter of minutes, even on a Sunday afternoon.

bogeyman
21st September 2008, 19:52
Another vote for Easily. Have used them for years for various small projects and they haven't failed me yet.

ferret
21st September 2008, 20:56
Registering domain with 123-Reg is fine if you don't mind their DNS servers going down occasionally... If you can register with 123-Reg and utilise other DNS servers then that is cool but I have a feeling you are not quite up to this so my vote goes with other two fellas, http://easily.co.uk (http://easily.co.uk/). They give you full DNS control which means yo register the domain here, and then you can use the control panel to point the A record (the portion of the domain that dictates where traffic requesting your website will be directed) so if you outgrow a host or get tired of their lameness then you can take out a hosting package elsewhere, repoint the DNS to whatever the new host tells you and your site will then be served using them...

As for packages, again Easily are very good. Depends what you are looking for really.

So in reply:

1) - Easily

2) Register the domain as a UK individual and not a Ltd Company. This way if it is a co.uk domain you can opt out of WHOIS so it will only show your name. No address details are shown. Think Easily allow WHOIS opt-out, call them and ask if you can't find the answers on their site.

3) With Easily it depends what you want. As long as you don't want DB (MySQL) then yes, £27.79 (not including domain registration) per year will get you 5GB of data transfer - if serving basic pages this is a lot of data to try an idea out with.

If you want DB then the Linux enhanced with 10GB of data transfer and MySQL access will cost £65.55 before VAT.

If you have a Ltd Co then you could be sneaky and pay for it through the Ltd, reclaim the VAT but still register the domain in your name and not as a Ltd Co if you want some privacy ;)

4) Register it yourself. Yes, a trick if you use the "free domain" type hosts is you often have to pay a release fee to them if you want to register the domain. These hosts are 10 a penny and tend to come and go. Listen to the people here and do it all through someone reputable, the costs may be £20 a year or so more but you will get a more reliable service and will cause you less stress.

5) Easily customer service is v good. Support is now a freephone number by looks of it.

6) See above regarding domain transfer fees... Not sure about being stung for extra charges, but it would not surprise me.

7) No - just go with Easily :D

Don't bother searching for hosting review sites, most of them are simply cash generators where all links to hosts contain affiliate codes so just earn revenue, hard to trust their opinions really. None of the links on this page earn commission for anyone so you can trust the advice here.

Good luck with the project.

Bwana
22nd September 2008, 20:29
Guys,

thanks very much for all of your comments & suggestions. I decided to go with http://easily.co.uk. It was an easy decision (ha ha! :laugh).

Cheers,
Bwana
(Webmaster of glory! :cool:)

realityhack
22nd September 2008, 21:32
You know, given the amount we bang on about how good easily are, we should get commission. Let this be the thread we point people to re hosting, until they stuff up royally. Then let this be the thread where we bitch about it.

:rolleyes: