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  1. #1

    Hosting for small business recommendation

    I'm currently using Verio to host a small business website and to provide approximately 10 email addresses. The customer is constantly having problems receiving emails and many people appear to have the verio mailservers blacklisted.

    I'm looking for a replacement hosting service for the website and email accounts. Reliable email communications for this company is extremely important!

    I was looking at a few of the big guys and they don't seem to have very good reviews. So far i've liked what i've read about Dreamhost, Hostnexus, bluehost and hostgator. Does anyone have any suggestions to help push me to a decision? Remember small company, about 10 email addresses total and reliable email (not blacklisted, etc)...

    Thanks for the suggestions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    The big guys generally have more reviews in general therefore your bound to see more negative about them. Keep in mind when someone is happy, there not usually running to post a review.... but if you make someone mad, they will tell the world.

    If you are looking for a smaller company you definently came to the right place. There are many smaller hosts who frequent these boards trying to get their slice of the pie.

    About how much disk space and bandwidth do you need? Your email requirements can easily be met by most hosts.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Scotland
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    There are many hosts who are able to serve a small companies needs....but the problems are making sure the host is still going to be online in an years time.

    Check out the offers section....

  4. #4
    I'm not sure what my bandwidth requirement is-- the website is currently only a few pages and accessed a few times a day. Very simple website describing services.

    Requirements: Reliable Email, Reliable Web Hosting, Life expectancy of host and lastly price. Price is the least important. Reliable email and knowing the company isn't going to shut down in a few months is the most important.

  5. #5
    I would personally recommend you going through http://webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=4, checking out the companies, reading a bit about them and search for their reviews.
    Optimidia - Affordable and reliable web hosting.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
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    3,689
    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Nichols
    I'm not sure what my bandwidth requirement is-- the website is currently only a few pages and accessed a few times a day. Very simple website describing services.

    Requirements: Reliable Email, Reliable Web Hosting, Life expectancy of host and lastly price. Price is the least important. Reliable email and knowing the company isn't going to shut down in a few months is the most important.

    Well since average websites tend to use no more than 100mb space, Im sure you will do fine with a smaller account and most likely will NOT need over 5gb transfer per month. If you are able to compile a short list though I would highly recommend sending a few pre-sales emails to them and also running a search by company name on google.com
    The market is TOTALLY saturated right now and believe me, very EASY to get overwhelmed quickly.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    I read in this forum that some servers are HG were blocked my at least the USMC and some others, if I'm not wrong they host porn on their servers with "normal" accounts.

    << removed >>

    Good luck in your hunt
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    If you're only needing a few gigabytes of bandwidth and storage, then I can suggest that you either take off DreamHost and BlueHost or if you do really want to use them, do some careful research before choosing either one. Both offer more resources that you will ever need (extreme overselling) and although some may claim that they are reliable, for a small business site, you usually want something more top notch and reliable.

    Since you will not be needing all the space, bandwidth, and features they provide, you might as well go with a host that offers smaller specs for around the same price that will be able to focus more on service and reliability. Just be sure to do research on any host because the less resources for a higher price doesn't always indicate a better service, so looking at reviews and asking around is your best bet once you have a list of a few hosts that you are interested in -- just how you are starting now!

    Good luck finding a new host
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    DreamHost has had a bit of negative feedback recently, although I personally were lucky with them when I had accounts with that host. They *do* allow "Adult" material, which I mention in case it would scare someone away...

    I have accounts with HostGator now, and no problems with my email whatever.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    If I could make any recomendation to you in a small business situation, it would be to stay local.

    With a local provider, you have face to face interaction with these people. They also have a larger track record (many around since the early 1990's) so you dont have to worry about them going out of business.

    They may be a little more costly, but like with anything, you pay for quality.

    Alternatively, check out google for some household names in the industry and come back here to do a search on them. Stay away from "hosting directories" as it is usually the case of the Highest Paying Host gets #1 spot.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
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    283
    Sometimes choosing email-only hosting services is advantageous for small/medimum businesses. For instance, we've helped a few companies integrate Postini and webmail.us services, and they seem to only require a few modifications to MX entries to work with any standard host. These are generally really reliable email services compared to any webhosting company on its own, though would be more cost-effective for a large number of users.
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  12. #12
    So if I go with webmail.us, who or what would you recommend for web hosting? The website is only a few pages(small).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    I really don't see any reason why you need a specific e-mail host, to be honest -- just be sure to thoroughly check the blacklist records on any prospective host's IP space. In your pre-sales questions (always e-mail a host before signing up with them!!) ask them what the IP address would be of your website if you signed up with them then. They should be able to tell you. Then plug it into http://www.openrbl.org and see what comes up. Usually the server taking new sign-ups is a new server, so there will probably be no spam reports... try to find out other IPs in their "stable" and see if they have spam listings. Their newest IPs will likely still be clean, but their housekeeping habits & ramifications of their policies will show in their older IPs.

    Remember too that many ISP's keep their own blacklists which are not listed @ openrbl. ISPs like AOL, sbcglobal.com, rr.com, yahoo.com etc. all use their own unpublished blocklists. It is entirely possible for a "small" spam mailing to have hit and triggered ISP filters but to not have gotten the attention of the larger lists at openrbl.org. You won't know this 'til you sign up and try to send e-mail. Your clients will get a notice back if their e-mail has been blocked. The great news is this notice also includes removal instructions -- forward this to the host and be really attentive to how fast/if they get that block cleaned up.

    This is where "local" type hosts do tend to excel. A smaller host who has very high standards in their Acceptable Use Policies will have very few (if any) spam complaints, and few spam listings to go with that.

    Another thing to consider is whether your clients want spam filtering on their e-mail accounts. If they don't have a spam filter installed, they will be overwhelmed with spam. The question is what kind of filtering do you want? The standard SpamAssassin that comes installed with cPanel is "okay" but it only catches maybe 50% of the spam that comes through. When accounts get 400 spams a day, that only cuts it down to 200 spams... which is still a lot.

    I would recommend looking for a host which has ConfigServer's Mailscanner (ask about this in your pre-sales questions). Our installation of this software is nuking 81% of incoming e-mail as spam. Think about that! Of 20 messages that come through the server, 16 of them are overt spam! That really says something about how much e-mail on the 'net is legit vs. how much we are all being flooded by spam. I struggled with dozens of custom rules imported into cPanel's SpamAssassin for months, and it never came anywhere close to the results I'm getting with ConfigServer's Mailscanner installed. I used to get 150 spams in an afternoon on one of my e-mail accounts... now I get maybe 3 or 4 on average? I can deal with that.

    The nice thing about CS's Mailscanner is that you/your client can customize the settings in their cPanel, so spam scanning/filtering is totally disabled, whether spam is all still "tagged" but still delivered, or they can modify the threshholds at which spam is tagged to be maybe spam/definitely spam. In other words -- it's customizable -- so the scanning and filtering can be adjusted to their unique needs.

    Anyway e-mail is about more than just outgoing reliability, it's also about keeping the client's inbox manageable. Hope my experience helps you out somehow. Good luck with your search!!

    Bailey
    Last edited by bithost(NET); 12-19-2006 at 08:39 AM.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    USA
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    Simon Nichols, as others have said, the hosting market is saturated right now, and can be overwhelming for many people. Make a list of half dozen or so hosts you feel will be good for you. Hang out here and ask questions about each. Search for reviews both here and Google and send each one a few pre-sales questions. That will show you response times and types of responses you'll get. Plus you can find out if they meet your requirements. Good luck!
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