If you do anything on the web with your own websites (either for business or personal use) then you’ll eventually have to answer this question: where can I find a reliable web hosting provider?
Web hosting providers have become, more or less, a commodity - they’re all over the place. On one hand this is good - you have lots of options. On the other hand, it makes the decision a bit more difficult since it’s not that easy to know which web hosting provider is a good one. As the saying goes “on the net nobody knows if you’re a dog” - it’s easy to put together a nice web page, have attractive pricing and call yourself a web hosting provider. Nobody will ever know that your hosting servers are actually in your basement.
Let me give you a piece of advice - if you want to spare yourself trouble in this area in the future, then stay away from free web hosting providers or those that call themselves cheap web hosting providers. As it’s true in all areas of life, it’s the same here - you’ll get what you pay for. You might pay a very, very low monthly fee or be promised a ridiculously large space or bandwidth quota but when trouble hits you’ll find that nobody’s home - good luck then.
Something like that happened to me a few years ago when I was hosting with one of those ‘budget’ web hosting companies and I certainly ‘paid’ for it. One day, out of the blue, the company just decided to close its doors - “business wasn’t good” - and we, the customers, were all stuck trying to find a new web hosting plan virtually overnight.
I learned my lesson. With the next one I decided that price alone won’t be the deciding factor. It’s certainly important to not pay more than you have to but I was now looking for a good track record and a company that had some history.
That’s how I eventually found 1&1. At its origins 1&1 is a German company that eventually became one of the leading web hosting providers in Europe. In 2003 it started an aggressive expansion in the United States with a very interesting offer: it invited U.S. users to try its services free for 3 years - that’s how confident they were that those customers would stay as paying customers after that.
I’ve been a very happy customer with them for the last 5 years. I have a variety of sites with them, including this blog, and I can tell you that they certainly lived up to their promise of reliable hosting.
Let me give you some stats about them so you can see that they’re not kidding around:
- 3,400 employees including 250 developers and administrators
- 5 datacenters across the world
- 40,000 servers
- 7 million customers
- 9 million domain names registered by those customers through 1&1
- 24/7 phone and email support for all their customers
- an excellent FAQ area for those who like finding answers on their own
- a full list of web hosting services: domain registration, personal web hosting, business web hosting, Linux and Windows plans, Microsoft Exchange hosting, dedicated and virtual servers, ecommerce web hosting, SharePoint hosting … you name it, they have it - if you have a need in the web hosting area, they can take care of it
This year their parent company is celebrating 20 years in business - how many web hosting companies can make a claim like that? For this occasion they’re offering 50% off regular prices on pretty much their entire service offering.
Am I saying that no other company out there is a reliable web hosting company? No, not at all - I’m sure that there are others out there that offer good services in this area. But, if you’re looking for a stable and financially secure company with a reliable track record for which web hosting is THE business, not an after-thought, then look no further - 1&1 is certainly that company… and you can be sure that they’ll be around in the future.
I’ve been a happy customer for 5 years and I look forward to many more years of reliable service from them.