TopHostingCenter Review – After 1 Year of Service

January 7, 2009 / Reviews / 25 Comments

It’s been a year since I’ve hosted with TopHostingCenter, so I guess it’s time for an updated review, since web hosting services commonly fail to provide good service after a year, due to over overselling, and overworked employees.

For those who are new to Nanyate?!, here’s some background info:

In December 2007, I took a giant leap of faith signing up with a newly-established company TopHostingCenter. They had just released the original Rudolf plan, which costs 95$ for lifetime hosting with 3 terabyte monthly bandwidth and 250 gigabyte space. I thought it was simply too good to be true. I mean, it had to be a) a scam, or b) doomed to failure within months, right? Wrong. It’s been a year and no such thing has happened.

Anyway, here’s how they fare after 1 year of service.

TopHostingCenter Review

Support [rating:5]

THC’s support remains impeccable! They still respond just as quickly as they did a year ago. I had quite a fiasco with some WordPress plugin updates, and the support staff not only helped me resolved my issue, but also offered to re-install my WordPress for FREE (even though script installation is usually a paid service).

Speed [rating:4]

I do recall a few weeks when the page loads were significantly slower. It did take a while, but THC ultimately fixed the issue by upgrading the servers. From experience, many start-ups don’t even bother addressing your complaints, let alone investing in new hardware to keep their low value customers happy. So for that, kudos to THC.

Uptime [rating:2]

The downtime has been intolerable recently; and I PMS more frequently than I blog. So for someone like me to notice and bothered by the downtimes is quite problematic. And please don’t even get me started about how the recent database downtime affected my Technorati rankings. Totally not cool.

Overall [rating:3.5]

TopHostingCenter is still doing a pretty good job considering the amount I paid for my hosting. I still strongly recommend them to those interested in dedicated servers. As for shared hosting, and especially of the Rudolf variety, I’d only recommend them for the extremely budget conscious and those first timers who just want to play around with a website. I’d imagine the occasional speed lag and downtime is quite harmless to this crowd – especially since they have no money, rankings or readership to lose. What’s most important for them is support. They need to have that round-the-clock support to help them solve their noobie woes, along the lines of “what’s this control panel thing”. And this is precisely what THC offers for an amazing price.

The great news is that the Rudolf plan is back with a vengeance, although it’s not exactly the same as the one I’m on. It now comes in two price denominations: a mini plan for $48 and a higher-end plan for $148. Yes, and that’s all you pay for as long as THC stays in business.

Should I move to a new host?

With that said, I have been thinking about moving Nanyate?! to a new host. I will still keep my other domains at TopHostingCenter, but I really cannot tolerate anymore downtime for nanyate.com. Here’s why:

I originally started Nanyate?! as a low profile personal blog. Just a humble place where I write my daily musings and tinker with WordPress for an audience of… I don’t know.. 10? So downtimes wouldn’t have been a problem. But over the past year, it grew beyond my expectations. I now have 70+ subscribers (100+ when I bitched about Apple), regular commenters, online and offline friends, and even the occasionally media query to answer to. Come to think of it, even my job has become contingent upon this blog.

Nanyate?! simply has too many stakeholders now, so I can’t afford to have anymore downtimes – at least not ones that last few hours/days.

Requirements for My Next Web Host

Extremely fast servers and reliable uptime, but won’t cost me much. I don’t need 100s of gigabytes of bandwidth and space, since nanyate.com isn’t exactly resource-intensive. And I only get stumbled/dugg once a few months.

Some Hosts I’m Considering

Of course there are the tried and tested ones like HostGator, Dreamhost and 1and1. But where’s the adventure of going mainstream, when I am presented with the perfect opportunity to test the startups.

  • Geek Storage: Their servers are tuned for performance and reliability and runs on Litespeed, which processes PHP 50% more efficiently than traditional Apache servers. Their pre-sales support has been very helpful as well! Almost every review I read about them has been positive – with a few exceptions complaining about that one major hard drive failure that occurred last year. And okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for beautiful web design. Geek Storage’s layout is too cute. It’s hard to say no to that!
  • Web Host Giant: Every review I’ve read about them has been positive. They are running Plesk, which I’ve never used before, so that’s kinda enticing since I’d like to have working knowledge of as many control panels as possible. But I’m not keen on the unlimited bandwidth bit, since that’s quite susceptible to downtimes. Also, their parent company, WebIntellects isn’t receiving good reviews.

So should I move Nanyate.com to a new host? Do you have any recommendations (below 4USD per month)? How was your experience with GeekStorage or WebHostGiant?


  • http://aigoo-chamna.net Tara

    I’m lazy with my hosting, haha. I started with Dreamhost in 2001 and have been with them since. I have no problems with them, but I’m aware of those who do have issues with them and some of their bloopers which doesn’t bother me much.

    I wish you the best of luck with hosts. I wish I could be more helpful, but since I’ve stuck with just one host, I can’t give opinions about the others.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Tara: Whoa! Since 2001?! I know your site has been around for the longest time, but Dreamhost was very expensive back then. o.O

  • http://aigoo-chamna.net Tara

    @Ivy: Aye, it was. But luckily, back then, I wasn’t paying for it, and their referral programme really helped out later on where I didn’t have to pay much. :)

    I started off with the 19.95 a month package, but then as they continued to upgrade their stuff, I downgraded to the 9.95 a month, which was much cheaper, thank goodness.

  • http://amourchaleur.com Dayna

    Geek Storage sounds good, the plan looks affordable and price seems reasonable as well. I might consider next year when I wish to renew my domain. The one I’m is quite expensive as compared to the one at Geek Storage, but it’s a local company so … :( I find transferring hosting company quite troublesome. :(

  • http://www.teddy-o-ted.com teddY

    I’ve never tried both webhosts before, but I checked on their hosting plans and realised that Web Host Giant offers a lot of bandwidth relative to the storage space (1000GB of bandwidth is really WOW), but it uses Plesk, which I am not very familiar with. I guess choosing between them is indeed a tough call, but personally I’d go after Web Host Giant since the 1000GB bandwidth is a lot for less than $3 per month, alongside with 25GB for storage space. Geek Storage offers a measly 5GB storage and 125GB bandwidth for one dollar more 😛

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @teddY: Like I said, space and bandwidth don’t really matter to me since I don’t use a lot. Speed and reliability are far more important. But for you, it’s another story altogether since you got all them HDRs and photos!

  • http://simply-precious.net Simply Precious

    Yeah, I’ve heard A LOT of people having problems with Dreamhost, so I wouldn’t go with them. I’m with HostGator, and they’ve been pretty good. I’ve heard 1and1 is pretty good too, so I guess it’s between those 2 for me. Hehe. As for GeekStorage, wow, I’d love to try them… Hehe… Well, good luck deciding on what you want to do!

  • http://momo4ever.com Michelle

    same as Tara, I’m very lazy with my hosting. Been with my host for a few years now 😛 btw, what plugin do you use for this “respond to this comment”???

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Michelle: I use @Reply w comment preview. But WordPress 2.7 also has this function built-in. So I will be retiring this plugin soon. Haha. I don’t like to use too many plugins, it slows down page load times.

  • http://www.philaahzophy.com/category/series/thc-web-hosting/ Aahz

    Should you move? Absolutely! If your blog is important to you, then having it on THC is as nonsensical as eating dirt in order to save money on food. Neither THC nor the dirt will provide what you need.

    Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a web host that is THAT cheap. I finally just broke down and got my own server. Now I have complete control and it hasn’t been down for a single minute in the last six months.

    I’m amazed you can still give THC 5 stars for support, BTW. They stopped answering my support requests months ago, suport is completely unavailable about 10% of the time because their very own server goes down, and they pay support representatives to harrass and attack their customers. Doesn’t sound like 5 stars to me.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Aahz: I gave them 5 stars because my experience with their support staff is still really amazing. I’ve never had any problems with them, and they still go out of their way to help me – even after one year.

    As for my own server, I don’t use enough bandwidth/space to justifies having one. Besides, I only have two important sites, my portfolio which is hosted by a different company, and this blog. The rest of my sites are stagnant, so it’s okay for them to stay at THC.

  • http://chanellie.com chanel

    Dreamhost always had a bad reputation. Try HostDime.com. I’ve had them since 2003. :)

  • http://www.teddy-o-ted.com/ teddY

    @Ivy: I see. If that’s the case, you might want to base your choice on a few factors, such as their up-time and technical support. I don’t really believe the reviews posted on their site since they’re highly moderated and some might be even bogus, so usually I will ask friends who’ve been hosted with them before.

    I guess technical support is really important. Although my host have more than frequent down times and slower loading speed, they offer really great technical support. Even when I send them emails at 2-3am in the morning, and considering that they are a local company (so they should be asleep or something?), they can still manage to respond in a few hours time.

    Have a great Sunday!

  • http://riyuu.org Mimi

    I’ve heard about GeekStorage a while back and they’ve been sitting in my bookmarks folder for future needs 😛 I like how they run on Litespeed, which means less lag and well, more speed!
    Should you move, yes. Downtimes are no fun. Good luck with everything!

  • http://michaelpark.org Michael

    Well, THC recently added more servers to their cluster and more memory, so I’d give them a few more months.

    By the way, happy new year! :)

    If you have a Facebook account, please add me via fb.MichaelPark.net

  • http://in-essence.org/elea Elea

    I’ve moved to GeekStorage recently and while the customer service is decent, the uptime really isn’t 99.9%. The third-party site I use to monitor my domain shows that it’s currently at 99.1%, which may seem like nitpicking, but I don’t know if it’s really normal that my site’s frequently down (albeit briefly) at some point at least every other day. I emailed support and they said they were working on it, so…*shrug* I suppose I’ll stick it out a little while longer to see how it goes.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Elea: Thanks for your feedback, Elea. Will keep that in mind before I decide to switch.

    @Michael: Yups, I’m given THC a second chance.

  • http://costa.rica.cr Costa Rica

    Hello,
    We are also thinking about leaving THC. In my case the problems have been four:

    1. Domain resolution problems that have led inexistent pages to make it to Google’s index
    2. PHP errors and slowness when trying to use CURL (I already tried the very same code in another host and no problem is found, and works WAY faster)
    3. Webshell stops working for no apparent reason, which has delayed me in development up to a week
    4. Finally, part of the troubleshooting they did around issue #1 ended up bringing 3 of my websites down.

    One thing I do like and is making me have a hard time in changing is the dedicated IP thing. I did not know what this would be useful for, but now I can see an advantage in offering services having my customer’s domain point to my dedicated IP (like Blogger and Tumblr do). I have found the dedicated IP in my other choice of hosting but their servers insist in having me manually register each DNS name that I plan to use against the website. Any advise as for this ‘feature’ elsewhere?

  • Anthony

    I was just checking out WebHostGiant.com and may jump over to them as well. I was weary about using Plesk. It has a nicer UI but seems rather laggy to me… probably since it’s graphically heavy. However, I chatted with WHG’s online support and it seems they have installed cPanel 11.2 now so you can use Plesk or cPanel.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Anthony: That’s pretty good info, thanks! I’m still with THC. I decided to give them another chance and see how it goes. As I’ve mentioned in my post, these guys are still solid when it comes to support. And after my blog entry, they have sent me an apology letter and have promptly upgraded their servers. :)

  • Anthony

    @Ivy: Keep us posted on how it goes. I have been looking at their Rudolph Mini and Rudolph 2 packages, but seeing how much downtime people have been experiencing I am a little worried. Actually, I don’t care too much about website downtime, but I can’t have my email go down… period. Then again, I guess you get what you (are willing to) pay for.

  • http://nanyate.com Ivy

    @Anthony: I update my reviews every 6 months for companies I host with. So feel free to subscribe to my feeds or just visit my blog again in June for an updated review on THC.

    But so far so good. Since my complaint, I’ve not seen any downtime. :)

  • http://www.luffy-writer.blogspot.com Luffy

    Try Hostmonster.com the best price no downtime! yes you heard it right! no downtime.! i dont have a DNS but my brother has and hosting by Hostmonster. his with them almost a year but no problem encounter. if you try Bluehost i’ll laugh at you! why!? its on their name! Bluehost makes you feel Blue!.

  • Carl

    @Anthony:Did you move to WebHostGiant? Have been looking at them but it’s very difficult to get any user feedback-only company blurbs. If you did, how is it going?

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