Are there any realistic web hosts out there? One with modest features that don't promise the moon and the sky. (??)
I'm need to get a web site started for my band. We're a bunch of old farts that play classic pop music. It will be a less the 10 page site with a a band bio, small sound clips (mp3), calender / schedule, mailing list, a few photo pages and possibly a page for forms and possibly a small shopping cart for hats and shirts. We're a local band (200 mile radius) with maybe 500 views a month (estimated from a junky tripod site). Here's what I think I need:
There are lots of good hosts around and your price range is very realistic and possible. Check out some of the offers down in the shared/reseller offers and also check out some reviews here and do a search of the board. You could also do a host quote.
Do a host quote - http://www.webhostingtalk.com/request.php
There are a log of great web hosting companies that can help your band out. Since you all are musicians I would recomend that you get a web host that offers cPanel and Fantastico. cPanel is a contoll panel for your domain and Fantastico can install scripts to make your band look hugh.
Hope this helps a little.
AIM Screen Name - buyourweb
More power than a web site needs - xController cPanel theme and Fantastico
There are loads of good hosts out there, but unfortunately there are also many bad apples around. As someone already pointed out, you're on your way to find that diamond in the rough. My suggestion is to contact the host(s) that you are interested in and make sure they have the level of service you're looking for.
To find hosts, you can always try searches for 'good hosts' - etc, check the offers forum, or yes even use the host quote system. Keep in mind that the latter is just a paid request system, and so make sure that as with any host you check them out well.
Do fast pings and tracert really mean anything in finding a fast server host?
Two answer your question there....yes to an extent. A fast ping will simply tell you the speed of their network, but in the end the network speed does reflect the speeds out to the browsers of those visiting your website...here you're safe with anything that looks reasonable. If there was an issue, you'd notice on load times. Same with tracert, it's more of a way to test bandwidth hops - you'd notice visiting the website if there was a problem.
do a whois search on whoever interest you and see whos been around the longest
Well, it wouldn't prove too much save the fact that the host has been around for a decent amount of time and has apparently done something the right way to stay in business. I'd also assume that using the above method, the person would have read through the website to note if there had been any changes. It's certainly not a sure fire way, but a host that has been around has a little better odds to be decent than a very new host.
Okay, pricing looks good, however, that's about all I can say about them. They've only been around since December, and there's no mention of them anywhere on WHT, so you're the only one. They claim to have a 30 day money back guarantee and an SLA... so it might be worth it, however, I can't say yay or nay for sure.
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Requests for advice on reasonable hosting packages are too few and far between anymore, nice to see this one.
As far as tracert, pings and download speeds these can also be affected by location as well as the network. If you are looking for great speeds and your site traffic is mostly local than choosing a reliable host in your geographical area might provide some better routes and speeds.
In my opinion one of the most important (and often overlooked factors) is not just the host but the Datacenter the host uses. A host can only be as reliable as the Datacenter they are located at. If the host you are considering is going to be placing you in a relatively new DC (under 3 years old) and the server costs are $100.00 a month or less then the odds of you actually receiving reliable long term hosting are not very likely. If the host you are considering is located in a reputable Datacenter with proven reliability then your odds of being able to sustain long term hosting go way up.
Once you have determined that the host is located in a stable environment then your research on the hosts on your list become much more relevant. Good reviews and a lack of bad reviews are always a good sign, however there simply is no substitute for 1st hand experiences.
If you are looking for a long term reliable host pick the top 3 on your list and grab an account from them. Set up some monitoring and test them out thoroughly. Spending $50-$75.00 for a couple months with a few top choices on your host list will very likely make your final choice a good one. It's also a small investment to make in exchange for finding a long term stable host that will suit your needs...