...1and1: hedoo, velcum to vun and vun, my name is Iqbal, how may I elp you today?
Me: Yeah, Hi, I’m having some trouble setting up a Mysql database with you guys?
1and1: <pauses> berry sorry sir, you’re - you’re having truble wiv your squeal?
...Man, I hate call centres.
LOL! That is so funny about the "squeel"... hehe. Anyway, I understand your pains about call centers. More importantly, I understand everyone's pains with hosting in general.
Let me just share with you my thoughts on the hosting matter. First off, hosting is a problem for EVERYONE! This is like solving which came first, the chicken or the egg. We, as customers want a good quality hosting with no issues at affordable rates. We go to the cheaper ones and usually it falls short. The expensive ones are like pradas and gucci stuff... do you really need them? Not really. Because there are very solid hosting companies out there. Maybe not the best, but really good. I love ferraris, but Acura NSX to me is just beautiful. You don't have to share the same ideas on pradas and ferraris, but you get the point.
Here are list of companies I've been with or have researched and want to comment.
I've been with Go Daddy. They ARE slow! Many, many people using Joomla CMS say the same. Research and check for yourself.
I've also used Bluehost. They are not bad. Faster than Go Daddy. And, you probably do get more CPU. However, our website was constantly getting CPU exceeded errors. Bluehost support staff were basically useless: they could not and would not tell you nor give you ability to figure out what's using all the CPU. Still, for smaller websites that are not too resource-intensive, Bluehost is probably one of the better shared hosting companies out there. At the time of hosting at Bluehost, our site TANHIL.mn received about 400-500 visitors a day viewing 7 pages/visitor. We did have shoutbox extension on EVERY page, which needless to say was VERY resource intensive. We have killed it and have not used it. Even just the use on homepage required to much resource.
Anyway, I spent about a week researching tons of hosting companies last year and also recently. Hostgator also seems to get decent reviews and feedback. So, I would look at those two: Bluehost and Hostgator for smaller Joomla or other [drive] sites. Other shared hosting, such as 1and1, dreamhost, site5, siteground, hostmonster, etc have not received as good feedbacks.
Everyone seems to agree Rochen hosting has AWESOME support, but very and very pricey. I think the Rochen guy made a great sales pitch about 30 cents a day hosting, but realistically I cannot think of any site I that I can actually host there. Well, my company site WEBGURU-CO.com is a candidate, but that's only because we are launching that site as we speak. I suspect the traffic on that alone will very fast outgrow the basic offer... I mean, TANHIL.mn now receives about 1,100 visitors a day with 6+ pageviews per visitor does not fit into any of their reseller plans. Only the VPS seems a candidate. However, their VPS is $150!! You can get your own dedicated server for that amount! Seriously, Rochen! You are wonderful, but way overpriced. The VPS option at $150 will be outgrown within about one month because TANHIL.mn traffic is going to double or triple over the next month. 200GB bandwidth is NOT going to be enough. I am interested in seeing their server pricing, but then again I am scared to hear the price.
Yeah, I'm griping about their price, but maybe I might host my company site there IF their servers are fast. I'm not worried about their support, which seems world-class. The thing is... their servers are at THE PLANET. Yes, THE PLANET is wonderful and many Fortune 1000 companies and even HostGator buys and have their servers at their server super centers, but still... for the price they charge, can't Rochen afford their OWN servers? I mean 15 pings to get to their website from Mongolia? This is 6 more than ServInt, my last hosting company. My websites loaded FAST!!
ServInt, by the way, has THE BEST support staff I have experienced to date. The only problem? They are allergic to Joomla. I was using 1/5 bandwidth and 1/10 storage limitations, but my websites were starting to be worn down in speed and performance on the essential VPS package from the increased traffic this year. You have to get to the engineers to get the deep answers... although regular 24/7 support is FAR MORE knowledgeable than most commercial shared hosting companies.
In any case, ServInt had their OWN servers. And, they were blazing FAST! So, maybe if you have websites that are not as resource intensive, maybe you should consider ServInt. If so, make sure to have them install suPHP if you go with cPanel. We spent 3 freaking months dealing with file permissions issues. Wow, the issues took up all our time!
I guess you won't have any issues like that at Rochen, which in the end, I guess is worth it. But for most of us, we still want to see more affordable pricing and/or faster hosting. Your own servers, please!! 15 pings?!!
Anyway, long story short... I am now at InteractiveOnline.com. Their website did throw us off a bit at first, because out of ALL the hosting company websites, InteractiveOnline and most other "Joomla" hosting companies had amateurish look and feel on their website designs. (I'm talking about hosting companies listed at that link that shows hosting companies with 300+ comments here in Joomla forums.)
It's been about a week at InteractiveOnline. Their support has been anything but amateurish. They are very professional and fast. Sure, there aren't many options for contacting them, but if you don't mind emails or support tickets, they are FAST and RESPONSIVE. And, I have not had any major issues.
All seems good. I do like their professional and fast responses and lack of major issues. However, there is one small thing to caution. I am a bit concerned about their unlimited and unlimited sales pitch. Why go that route? I mean, come on! You have to limit resources somehow, so that current customer website performances are not compromised.
InteractiveOnline currently offers unlimited storage and bandwidth for something like 6.95 right now. I just hope that they put some limits and restrictions for two reasons: a) it's not possible to host something like BBC.com not because of the unlimited limitations, and b) it takes away from the professionalism and the good hosting they have been for us.
So the final jury?
Best shared hosting goes to InteractiveOnline.com - they are well-versed in Joomla hosting!
followed by Bluehost and HostGator - if you can deal with some issues and shortcomings, maybe consider these guys
Best Joomla hosting for the price-unconscious or those with small storage and bandwidth requirements: Rochen.
Best of luck, everyone! Please feel free to let your comments come to me! I may have been a bit blunt and a bit tough, especially on the Rochen folks! hehe
ps: here is a free plug for joomla hosting reviews folks. there are many hosting reviews out there. most are crap! they just want to sell hosting that offers biggest bucks. while these guys still make money from affiliate clicks, they are at least honest in their reviews. http://www.joomlahostingreviews.com/
ps2: InteractiveOnline has the same customer reviews posted in at least a dozen different sites. they again take away from their professionalism and building rapport, but ignore them anyway. they have not been major issue for me so far. i will update this post if there are!
[moderator note; url's removed, self promotion]