How did you choose your current webhost / software?

I'm considering switching my story from livejournal to a wordpress blog because I lust after the 'schedule posts' function like nothing else. I am bad at getting posts up on time. I want to make software do it for me.


So, everyone, what do you think of your current hosts? What made you choose them, and what are the pros and cons?


My webhost is A Small Orange, which I chose because a friend recommended it when I was looking for a host. For a starting web fiction site the Tiny plan is perfectly adequate and wonderfully inexpensive, especially now they've upped the space and bandwidth. I've been with them since not long before I launched in January, and I'm really pleased with them so far. If you do go with them I recommend buying your domain elsewhere because it works out cheaper that way.


On the site I use Wordpress because it's simple to use and flexible.


I've been through my share of webhosts and software in my time online. I've used Weebly, Freewebs, coding from scratch, exporting sites from Photoshop, Geocities, Bluehost, Go Daddy, Angelfire, and several more that I've long forgotten.


So far, my favorite webhost is NearlyFreeSpeech.Net, because it's cheap and convenient. I use Wordpress as the CMS for my site, because it's free, easily customizable, and is something that I can access from anywhere (in case I'm on the road or something).


I also duplicate posts to my LiveJournal, because that's where many of my friends, readers, and fellow writers hang out. It feels the most like home for me, because I've been there my entire blogging career, and have started each serial there before branching off.


Dreamhost, because they were doing an unlimited-space-and-bandwidth deal at a time when I was looking for hosting for something else. I think they're still cheap even if you don't get a deal like that. I've found them to be reliable and configurable, but you might need to know some unix to get that benefit. I run wordpress because it's easy to use and has everything I want either built in or available as a plugin (such as the podcasting stuff).


Similarly to Shutsumon's host, I think registering your domain elsewhere will also work out cheaper if you go with dreamhost.


I like Blogger pretty well. It has a post scheduler, which I use for all my installments. It is free, there is no arbitrary bandwidth limit and you get good integration with AdSense and Amazon ads.


Of course it is blog software, and I cannot do something that seems the obvious thing to do in fiction, put the first chapter at the top!


Sometimes the system scrambles inline HTML links inside a post. I don't know why. I have to double check them.


I use a local webhost (I'm in Australia), Webcity. They're not the cheapest, but they had all the features I was after and because they're local, I can call and harass them if the server goes down. Which it doesn't - they run a very reliable service.


I also use Wordpress. It's easy to customise, easy to run, and I love being able to schedule posts and let them go up automatically.


My sites/stories are syndicated on LiveJournal, so everything that goes up on them is posted automatically over on LJ. I love it when things are easy. ;)


Blogger


Pros: Free

Simple and easy to use (even for a technoramus like me)

Reliable

Virtually maintenance free (once set up to your requirements)


Cons: Lacks the Gucci widgets that are available for Wordpress etc.


@Kess - I used to use Webcity as well, but I dislike the fact that you can't easily pay month-by-month, when I lost my job last year, I basically had to email support and ask if it was ok (there's a reference to being able to do it if you ring billing) they said sure, I ring billing, tell them what I wanted to do...and she asked me for my email ticket reference number, as if it was something completely unheard of, and she kind of treated me like crap the whole way through the phone call. -_- Needless to say, I took that month to jump ship, over to Godaddy.


Plus two other things that irked me:


There was this weird email I got from them saying I had too many files in my hosting account...even though I was using up barely 2% of my quota, apparently they have this weird thing against the number of files, and would prefer you to be hosting a bunch of huge files. -_- (My filing system was messy, as I had a couple of failed drupal experiments, some wordpress blogs that had become redundant, but it wasn't as though I'd installed everything in Fantastico give times).


Second was an email I received telling me to empty out my emails from my webmail account, as they aren't allowed to be kept for more than 90 days on their server. -_-


I use Godaddy - have been for just over six months now, went with them because a podcaster I listen to pimps them and has discounts codes, and I like discounts. :) Shy because of webcity, I emailed them a huuuge list of questions, which were answered promptly, politely and within a couple of hours. They're cheap (even without the discount), have a bunch of fun extra (even if I don't use them) and you get quite a lot for your fee.


I use webcs.com. They're rock solid, even though they're not the cheapest. I use Wordpress because of the flexibility that it offered, compared to Blogger and it didn't require me to learn a whole CMS.


I host my story with myself, and use Wordpress for the CMS.


I'm a web developer and resell webhosting from railsplayground.com, a web host that's highly focused on Ruby on Rails (a programming framework). I figure that as long as I'm paying for massive amounts of hosting for my clients, I might as well host my own stuff there too (making it free, in effect). I charge clients $60 a year, roughly equivalent to what railsplayground charges for their smaller accounts.


They're a small host, but very responsive.


I've also had good experiences with Dreamhost. For those of you who don't want to know how to install Wordpress, Dreamhost has a one click install feature, and they're very cheap for the amount of space you get.


I can't say enough good things about Digitalnovelists. MeiLin is incredibly responsive and very helpful when configuring your site. Drupal is pretty easy to figure out and very customisible.


And you can't beat the price. There's a one-time fee and you get your own domain (in my case allantmichaels.digitalnovelists.com) and the hosting cost me nothing since my initial $15 investment. I just have to host a couple PW ads, which is fine by me. And she has an option to ditch that if you pay monthly.


I'm sort of out in left field. My stories are hosted on a friend's server space, and it's all hand-done in HTML. Very old-school, and the only price to me is the domain names annually.


Just a book on the web site I already have. I thought about setting up a new web site for the story, but really I can't be dealing with yet another site and password! Just want to write!


Also means I have total control over the design and well, everything, really!


Wystie, I'm making the jump off of LJ, too. I'm going with Digital Novelists. In addition to what Allan said, you get the benefit of being in a webfiction-focused group, with cross-promotion between all the authors/stories on site. MeiLin has also built the site so that the FAQs and default settings are pro-webfiction (if that makes sense). It's based on Drupal, which is apparently very customizable like Wordpress. I'm not familiar with either system, so there isn't any difference to me which one I have to learn!


@Grace - I haven't had any problems with them, but I can see what you're saying! I keep a pretty close eye on them, having been bitten by previous (and much worse) webhosts before. Thanks for the heads-up.


I'm hosting my site and my blog with GoDaddy. Their site is butt-ugly, but in the three years I've been with them, the only time my site had downtime was when I took it down during annual renovations. That's 99.9% percent uptime. Can't beat that with a stick.


I picked Drupal for Peacock King's software, since it can pretty much be made into anything if you know how. The next year or so was spent learning how, and now I have a JOB doing Drupal, so that worked out. PK's site redesign is underway, and the next stage will be utilizing a lot more of the strengths of Drupal and the special things it can do. (Referencing any page to another page, for instance, so character profiles can automatically list the character's parents and such, and what chapter they first appeared in. Things like that can be automated in Drupal instead of all set up by hand.)


I'm hosted on Digital Novelists, but Char and I manage our own Drupal install - you can use DN as a ready-made Drupal host, but what we wanted was a host who was set up specifically for Drupal and had Drupal-specific support, since our previous cheap host (Omnis) claimed to be set up for Drupal but their install script was broken and they wouldn't allow proper database access and they had an unexplained outage for an entire weekend with no replies during it as to what was going on and how long it would last.


Anyway, MeiLin's hosting is set up for Drupal, and she was perfectly happy to let us manage our own hearth as it were, so that's what we did. <3 No complaints.


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