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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    776

    HostingAmerica.com early review

    TL/DR: Inexpensive with far better performance / speed than you'd expect for the price. Their website is embarrassingly cheesy. Keep an eye on support response times. Overall, more than satisfied so far.

    The full story: First, let me state that I just recently signed up. As in, a few days ago. But I see they're a new provider, so I wanted to try and get them a little extra attention. My present situation is that my current domains (floor9.com and blogharrisburg.com), currently hosted at BlueHost, are growing so quickly that they will soon no doubt start tripping CPU limits. In addition, I'm launching a new site in early 2008 which will certainly blow the doors off what is suitable for a shared host. So I decided to go VPS.

    The signup process was painless (though I would like to have seen an option to pre-purchase additional bandwidth) except for three hiccups. First, while signing up, my home DSL connection went down twice ( Verizon!). The domain I used to attempt to sign up each time seemed to be "lost in the system", and I was unable to restart the process using that domain. I eventually learned -- after signing up using a third domain -- that I had to go into my billing history and manually delete the two previous "orders". Quite silly; if an order isn't completed within 15 - 30 minutes, just kill it. There's nothing like seeing a "pending" $160 charge on your account from two incomplete orders!

    Second, both their website and their posted offer state that two IPs are included in the price. When I signed up, I was given one IP, and was allowed to purchase additional IPs for $1 / month each. I have not yet contacted their billing department about this. Either way, it appears that the discount coupon only applies to the base monthly rate and NOT to additional add-on features.

    Third, the AUP / TOS is missing.

    During the course of learning my way around Plesk (I'm a cPanel man myself), I managed to get my passwords crossed. The "retrieve password" function on the Plesk login simply returned a system error message, so I opened up an "Urgent" ticket for help. 20 minutes later, I resolved the problem on my own and closed the ticket myself. Obviously, it's impossible to judge support response on a single ticket. However, I must point out that all of the tickets I ever put in at Bluehost were turned in under 10 minutes, and even Ace-Host.net -- for all mercilessly brutal bashing they take -- was always within 5-10 minutes, even on holidays.

    As for performance, I transferred my SQL databases from my current domains (floor9.com and blogharrisburg.com) and placed them on identical WordPress setups on floor-9.com and harrisburgblogs.com. The performance difference was night and day. Granted, there was no traffic on the server, but we're talking about a difference between 6 - 8 seconds to generate a page on BlueHost and 1 second to generate it on HostingAmerica. That's too big to ignore.

    I have had some other awkward moments, but I attribute them all to this being my first time with a VPS and my first time with Plesk.

    Had I not seen the HostingAmerica offer in the "VPS Offers" forum, I would have gone with JaguarPC. However, HostingAmerica is currently offering a pretty sweet 5tb bandwidth / 50gb disk / 512m / 2 IPs deal for $24.50 / mo with coupon. That price is low enough to make it worthwhile taking a risk on a new, un-rated company. Only time will tell if they'll be one of the oversellers or one of "the good ones". For now, though, I am thrilled with the server performance and bandwidth. And since I have a lifetime 65% discount on the plan, I certainly can't complain about price.

    I'll reply in this thread if they do or do not credit the $1 for the "included" second IP. Once I've had my domains under load for a few months, I'll come back and post another review. But right now, I'm definitely pleased with the service / price.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Tampa Florida
    Posts
    428
    floor-9

    I have credited you for the IP address. I apologize for the trouble. We are working the bugs out of our ordering system.

    Hope you enjoy your time with us.
    Rock solid hosting and dedicated servers since 1998!
    StabilityHosting Where stability and uptime are king!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    776
    After looking around HostingAmerica for a few days, I have decided to seek out a replacement VPS provider. It would not be fair of me to relay my experiences without once again pointing out that they are a new provider and as such may still be "working the bugs out".

    All of my pros above still stand. Their server performance is just awesome. Lightning-fast transfers and peppy execution of applications. They also credited my account for the IPs without me even opening a ticket. If you're looking for inexpensive VPS and don't mind the cons I'm about to point out, then they're certainly worth a look.

    About 25% of my reason to leave is simply that they don't offer alternate OSses. This one is entirely on me; I didn't do sufficient research before signing up. 100% my bad. Actually, I didn't really think that having the ability to switch to another OS (say Gentoo over CentOS) was that important. After playing around for a few days, however, I've decided that it's a pretty important feature.

    50% of my reason to leave was some ongoing frustrations I had regarding installing additional software. HostingAmerica does not install some packages which I consider to be fairly basic, including gcc, cc, lynx (or links, or elinks), and yum, to name a few. Installing links exposed a boatload of failed dependencies -- one of which was gcc. Installing gcc exposed more failed dependencies -- one of which was cc. Installing an ISO C90 compiler exposed even more failed dependencies ... and the tree just kept growing. While I don't plan on doing massive application development on my VPS, I don't think I need to justify how handy apps like lynx and gcc are. Long story short, HostingAmerica provides a very lean, base installation of the OS. I can certainly understand their reasoning for doing so, but such a configuration just doesn't meet my needs -- especially when similar packages are available from other hosts at similar cost.

    The final 25% of my reason for leaving was the ticket resolution time. To be fair, I have only ever submitted two tickets, which is not enough interaction to sufficiently judge a provider's responsiveness. It is, however, enough to get a gut feeling. One ticket was handled in 18 minutes; the other took two hours to get a reply. In all my time with other hosts (Ace-Host.net, Bluehost, and Steadcom), all of my tickets have been attended to in 10 - 15 minutes.

    Again, it would not be fair of me to point out that HostingAmerica is brand new and may still be working out some issues. And I have to reiterate how impressed I was with the service / network performance. But there's no impression like a first impression, and sometimes you just have to trust your gut feeling. I'm simply not comfortable continuing my service with them. Maybe others will have better luck.

    I have signed up with another provider and will post a review once I get my feet wet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    113
    Floor-9,

    Thank you for the candid feedback. We appreciate it as it provides us with great direction on where to improve.

    1) The Adams Windows plan has been updated to reflect 2 IP addresses
    2) HostingAmerica.com/aup is up and running
    3) We are working directly with SWSoft (Makers of Virtuozzo and Plesk) to develop and produce OS's with many pore included packages like yum, gcc, etc.

    Again, we thank you very much for your feedback!
    E Solutions by WOW! Business
    Collocation, DR, VMWare Hosting in our Data Centers
    SSAE-16 Type II Certified with locations in Tampa, FL and Columbus, OH
    Call Now! 813-301-2600

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Smiths Falls, ON
    Posts
    772
    I do want to say, you get what you pay for, but not everyone is perfect either. As long as your server is stable and usable, shouldn't be too much of an issue.
    Ryan G.
    Owner
    Umgardi.ca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    3,872
    HostingAmerica,

    Maybe you could clear this up, after reading this, I checked out your web site. It seems you have odd limits to your hosting, for example, you limit users on email accounts and mailbox quotas, and you charge for FTP accounts and Python support. I am curious, how is this possible if it's a virtual private server? Also, all the "Applications" you say are included, will you install those, are those just available for install, or is that on the control panel?

    It seems like your advertising more of shared hosting rather than a VPS. If your using Virtuozzo, there shouldn't be any limits to the amount of FTP accounts, email accounts, or mailbox quotas unless your going into their account and limiting it manually? A virtual private server should not have limits like this.
    Last edited by devonblzx; 01-15-2008 at 01:25 PM.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,120
    I am guessing you use Virtuozzo and Plesk as the management systems for the VPS (judging by the order system), and I am quite interested in how you can limit the amount of email addresses etc on a VPS.

    I assume you simply deny the customer admin access on Plesk and give them only a client level login?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    113
    Devon, Danny -

    You gentlemen were absolutely right regarding the plan information on the VPS page. That page was built before we'd finalized the VPS offerings, but the site's been updated and we've removed the incorrect items. Those don't even apply in the VPS situation at all!

    We've been focusing on honing the VPS product so far and we've really been pleased with the results and customer feedback. The system has been performing extremely well and we've just realized some great improvements on disk I/O.

    In the meantime, our design team is hard at work on a new site layout, which should make things alot easier for everyone.
    E Solutions by WOW! Business
    Collocation, DR, VMWare Hosting in our Data Centers
    SSAE-16 Type II Certified with locations in Tampa, FL and Columbus, OH
    Call Now! 813-301-2600

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amex & Amex
    Posts
    1,276
    Quote Originally Posted by HostingAmerica View Post
    Devon, Danny -

    You gentlemen were absolutely right regarding the plan information on the VPS page. That page was built before we'd finalized the VPS offerings, but the site's been updated and we've removed the incorrect items. Those don't even apply in the VPS situation at all!

    We've been focusing on honing the VPS product so far and we've really been pleased with the results and customer feedback. The system has been performing extremely well and we've just realized some great improvements on disk I/O.

    In the meantime, our design team is hard at work on a new site layout, which should make things alot easier for everyone.
    Glad to hear. That website has to go! It's uninformative and needs a complete redesign.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    113
    Hello Everyone,

    I just wanted to let you know that our redesigned site is now up and running at www.hostingamerica.com Please take a look. Any feedback you can provide is always welcome.
    E Solutions by WOW! Business
    Collocation, DR, VMWare Hosting in our Data Centers
    SSAE-16 Type II Certified with locations in Tampa, FL and Columbus, OH
    Call Now! 813-301-2600

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,120
    A lot nicer. Much easier to navigate, easier to read. Pricing and plans are more clearly laid out.

    Overall, massive improvement.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Harrisburg, PA
    Posts
    776
    Quote Originally Posted by HostingAmerica View Post
    Hello Everyone,

    I just wanted to let you know that our redesigned site is now up and running at www.hostingamerica.com Please take a look. Any feedback you can provide is always welcome.
    The new site is 20 billion times better! Good job!

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