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Q: Finding a good web host ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Finding a good web host
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: sheldon-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Apr 2002 13:39 PDT
Expires: 04 May 2002 13:39 PDT
Question ID: 6368
The simple question is: What are the best web hosting companies for my
needs? I am the webmaster for a site ( and am looking
for a new web host. Here are my specific needs:

(1) Reliable service, meaning as little downtime as possible, plus
knowledgeable, helpful technical support.

(2) I want my site to be hosted on a Unix or Linux platform.

(3) I want to be able to use the XBitHack directive for enabling
server-side includes (SSIs) on web pages that end with the extension
".html". Some web hosts only allow SSIs on web pages that end with
the extension ".shtml". This isn't adequate for my needs.

(4) I have an email distribution list (listserv) that I want to be
able to host through our website. Currently it is distributed by Yahoo
Groups, but I want to be able to get rid of the annoying ads that come
with Yahoo's emails. I won't need to transfer over the existing old
messages that are archived on Yahoo's server, but I WILL need to be
able to import the 1500 or so names of our current subscribers to this

(5) I want to be able to add an online discussion forum to our site,
using software such as Infopop's Universal Bulletin Board (UBB), or
some other comparable alternative.

Of course, I want the best price deal possible in terms of storage
space and throughput. (Currently 50 MB of storage space would be
adequate for our needs, but this may grow in the future.) A shared
server should be adequate for our needs.

Finally, where can I find independent reviews of web hosting services
online? I've visited a number of sites that purport to review web
hosts, but it's hard to tell which information is legit and which is
paid advertising.
Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
Answered By: alexander-ga on 28 Apr 2002 00:19 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
I would strongly recommend pair Networks ( ), my
own provider.

1) They've been online for over 6 years continuously, "with the
longest service interruption being our first datacenter relocation in
January 1998, which took about eight hours". They host over 134,000
sites, so they're not some tiny little provider. I've hosted with them
since 1997, and have literally zero complaints. I've contacted their
tech support on several occasions, and while response time for
non-urgent matters isn't always the best, their responses certainly
are. These aren't tech support people, they're administrators. They
know what they're talking about. (I should note that for the account
level I'm going to recommend, they just recently added free telephone
support. I'm not familiar with its quality, but it should certainly
provide good response time.)

2) Yep, FreeBSD.

3) Yep, I just tried this. Works fine. Just add the "XBitHack on" line
in your .htaccess, chmod 744 on the files, and they get parsed.

4) PairList is what you need, and it's currently included free in the
account level I'm going to recommend. They currently support lists up
to 10,000 members. (See )

5) To do this, you'll need "Custom CGI" access from pair. The cheapest
account with this ability is their "Webmaster" account, at
$29.95/month, which includes one domain name. (Others can be added for
$1/month.) This includes 400MB of disk space, and 500MB of data
transfer per DAY, as well as telnet/SSH access, MySQL database access
(so you can use vBulletin BBS software), 50 mailboxes, and all the
other usual stuff.

pair's network is also superb -- they have 10 DS3/OC-3s to 8 different
backbone providers, run their own datacenter, and are profitable and
independent, so you know they're sticking around.

I sound like an ad, but really I'm just a very happy customer. :)

BTW, Rackspace is EXPENSIVE. They might be good as well, but not THAT
good. :)

You're right about not being able to tell if sponsors of those
"hosting search" sites are giving preference to sponsors, but here's a
very-well-traveled forum that discusses web hosting:
(search for experiences with hosts that you're interested in)

Clarification of Answer by alexander-ga on 28 Apr 2002 00:22 PDT
BTW, I just did a search on for pair,
and dug up this thread:
sheldon-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Alexander answered my question thoroughly, and I ended up selecting
the ISP he recommended. I thought it was $10 well spent.

Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
From: allen-ga on 27 Apr 2002 21:49 PDT
try the web hosting company
Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
From: greg418-ga on 27 Apr 2002 22:36 PDT
You might want to check out the following address

It lists some popular hosts (rackspace, intermedia) and by clicking on
each one, you can get a few comments. It isn't much, but it may give
you a idea nevertheless.

I also found the following two addresses that provide a comparison

(the first one listing compagnies you'd be more inclined to contact,
for their higher price usually means higher business standards (from
what I've read, is a big name (even though it carries a
relatively high price tag) in regards to support and service))

I understand your comment on not being sure if a site is giving you an
actual comparison or a paid advertisement... I think that by looking
at respected magazines (ZDNet, PC Magazine, maybe Wired has some info
on this), you would find what you are looking for.

An article talking about choosing a web Host with links (though
they're probably aiming at big corporate clients):

Best of luck!
Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
From: rappo-ga on 27 Apr 2002 22:43 PDT
I use and the prices are great and i don't think
its ever been down in the 10 months I've used them
Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
From: boogaboo-ga on 28 Apr 2002 10:29 PDT
Here's an ISP that offers free hosting for Not-For-Profit's;
Subject: Re: Finding a good web host
From: msw-ga on 06 May 2002 03:32 PDT
ADDR.COM offers most if not all of the features you're seeking. It's
cheap, reliable, has telnet access and instant setup. I have several
sites on their servers and am very satisfied. One caveat -- if you
require telephone support or fast e-mail support (less than 3-5 days),
go elsewhere. They're not the choice for anyone needing much

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