There are countless web hosts out there. Customers regularly ask me the same question over and over...where should I put my new website or web application?? It's hard to know exactly what differentiates one host from the other because honestly, they all the look about the same. Prices are very similar along with the services that they offer.
I have worked with all of the major ones and a ton of smaller lesser known hosts as well. I've found that the main difference between the good ones is interface and customer service. The bad ones suffer from server down time/security breaches, and I'm not going spend any time mentioning or discussing the bad ones.
I dabbled in website hosting in the beginning, but in the end it's not worth trying to compete with other services since it's an industry in itself that focuses on volume. The main website hosts that I'll mention are Godaddy, Bluehost, Network Solutions, One & One, and A Small Orange. There are also enterprise level server solutions such as Amazon and Rackspace or niche hosts like Heroku and Cloud9. I've found that a solid Linux cloud hosting plan can handle and scale with most client's needs, and cloud hosting can be found on any of the former mentioned.
Due to the redundant nature of cloud hosting, everyone can offer the same ~99% up-time guarantee. There are different variations on that offering, but all of the major hosts are good in that department. Pricing is also really splitting hairs when you compare them. They will give you a set amount of storage space, RAM, and bandwidth allowance for different prices. For the most part, you're going to get a cPanel install where you can create email accounts, subdomains, etc. but in the end it's about the same for each.
The big issue I have with most big hosts like Godaddy, One & One, and Network Solutions is that their customer interface is really busy, confusing, and hard to use. I can't tell you how many hours I've burned trying to navigate through confusing customer consoles trying to figure out how to do the simplest of things on those hosts. Customer support is also questionable. Godaddy is great about answering the phone, but most of my issues are technical in nature and I get very long hesitant pauses when I ask questions. The call usually ends with a canned answer that I'm not satisfied with and I have to solve the issue on my own.
This is where I love A Small Orange. I drool over their clean and easy to use back-end interface for managing domains, hostings, and invoicing. Customer support has always been snappy and I'm amazed that they seem to go the extra mile with my technical issues. I currently do the majority of my hosting there, and I'm slowly migrating all of my properties there. I recommend you do the same.
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