TopHostingCenter Review – After 1 Year of Service

January 7, 2009 / Reviews / 24 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?