0

The September 2005 Cheap Web Hosting Report

Written By: Randall Stukey

Below are the top five general purpose cheap web hosts selected for September 2005. All of the following hosting plans include a web control panel, a cgi-bin directory, php, perl, and at least 1 mysql database. Many offer a number of additional features. Our ratings are re-evaluated monthly, with a major re-evaluation of customer ratings every three months.

About the CWHR Rating: This number (from a low of 1 to a high of 10) is a weighted average of customer ratings of the web host (80%) and the staff evaluation of the web host (20%). Customer ratings are themselves weighted by the length of time the person has been using their web host. Customers who have hosted with a company for years count more than a customer who has hasted there for a couple of months. As our rating is mainly determined by customers of web hosts, our rating is less likely to be gamed by staff evaluators playing favorites or web hosts giving our staff special treatment. The CWHR Ranking determines the sites we list each month and the order in which we list them. A CHWR Rating of “NA” means not enough customers rated this host for a meaningful result. This rating is only found in the special needs hosting section.

Top Five General Purpose Cheap Web Hosts for September 2005

#1 — Dreamhost http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zdreamhost.php

Price: 1m: $9.95 1y: $9.95 2y: $7.95 Setup: 1m: $49.95 1y: Free 2y: Free Bandwith: 120 GB Disk Space: 2400 MB Mailboxes: 600 CWHR Rating: 9.6

Special Features: 75 shell/ftp accounts, php4/php5/cgi/fastcgi/ unlimited mysql databases, ruby-on-rails, zend optimizer, Frontpage available, host 3 domains and 15 sub-domains, 1 free domain name. Excellent customer support (with public customer forum).

Comments: Dreamhost has long been — and still is — listed as the best affordable web host for unusual content (as they will host just about anything legal) in the Special Needs Hosting section of this report. Improvements in their plans in the last year have made them very competitive in terms of bandwidth, web space, and features offered for the price, and they are extremely well-rated by their customers.

New and improved features are announced in the Dreamhost newsletter almost every month, for example, the June 2005 newsletter announced the availability of PHP5 and MySQL 4.1 and the July 2005 announced the availability of Ruby on Rails, FastCGI, Miva 5, the Zend Optimizer and bandwidth/disk space amounts that grow slightly every week you are with Dreamhost (by 1 GB and 20 MB disk space for the account listed here).

Dreamhost’s customer support is the best we’ve seen in the low cost hosting industry. If you are looking for low cost, high quality web hosting with few content restrictions, truly excellent tech support, and very friendly people, check out Dreamhost. Dreamhost offers a 97-day money back guarantee, see their web site for details. (The Cheap Web Hosting Report hosts with Dreamhost.)

#2 — Lunarpages http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zlunarpages.php

Price: 3m: $9.95 1y: $7.95 Setip: 3m: $30.00 1y: Free Bandwidth: 40 GB Disk Space: 1000 MB Mailboxes: unlimited CWHR Rating: 9.1

Special Features: Storage can be increased to 3000 MB in steps, php4/cgi/1 mysql database, Frontpage available, host 1 domain and 15 sub-domains, Fantastico script library. JSP and ASP available for additional charge. Public customer forum.

Comments: Lunarpages has been in the low cost web hosting business since 2000 when Add2Net expanded into shared hosting. While their customer rating fluctuates more than most hosting companies we list, it is alway high and long time customers seem very loyal. Their support for controversial content is second only to Dreamhost among low-priced web hosts. Lunarpages offers a 30-day money back guarantee, see their terms of service for details.

#3 — InMotion http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zinmotionhosting.php

Price: 6m: $9.95 1y: $9.95 Setup: 6m: $30 1y: free Bandwidth: 100 GB Disk Space: 8000 MB Mailboxes: 400 CWHR Rating: 9.0

Special Features: php/cgi/5 mysql databases, Frontpage available, host 1 domain and 5 sub-domains.

Comments: InMotion Hosting is an employee owned and operated company founded in 2001. Their employees average over 4 years of hosting experience while their senior staff average over 10 years of hosting experience. This shows it their higher than normal customer rating. The Power plan listed here is actually InMotion’s intermediate plan. (InMotion offer an ever lower priced plan, Launch, but it lacks some features most people consider critical, such as access to your web sites log files for traffic analysis.) The Power plan offers evey features most web sites need and comes with InMotion’s reputation for reliability and toll-free telephone support. InMotion offers a money back guarantee, although its terms are somewhat unclear — if these terms were not so vague, InMotion’s CWHR Ranking would be slightly higher.

#4 — HostRocket http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zhostrocket.php

Price: 3m: $11.95 1y: $7.95 Setup: 3m: Free 1y: Free Bandwidth: 50 GB Disk Space: 1000 MB Mailboxes: unlimited CWHR Rating: 8.1

Special Features: php/cgi/10 mysql databases, Frontpage available, host 1 domain and unlimited sub-domains. 50 preinstalled scripts.

Comments: Founded in 1999, HostRocket is a popular web hosting company that is well-rated by its customers. They greatly expanded their offerings in 1994 and are now very competitive in bandwidth, disk space, and features. HostRocket often runs very nice short-term specials, check their web site for details. HostRocket offers a 30-day money back guarantee, see their terms of service for details.

#5 — Netfirms http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/znetfirms.php

Price: 1y: $9.95 Setup: 1y: Free Bandwidth: 100 GB Disk Space: 2000 MB Mailboxes: 100 CWHR Rating: 7.8

Special Features: php/cgi/10 mysql databases, Frontpage support, two free domain names, free CD with NetObjects Fusion 7.

Comments: Founded in 1998, Netfirms rapidly acquired a reputation for affordable, reliable web hosting. Although aimed at business hosting, Netfirms hosts sites of all types” personal, hobby, business, weblog, and more. Their Netfirms Advantage plan is full of useful features and should handle almost any personal or small business web site. Netfirms offers a 30-day money back guarantee, see their terms of service for details.

Honorable Mention

The following web hosts also rated quite well in customer ratings and might also be worthy of consideration: * BlueHost (CWHR Rating: 7.4) http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zbluehost.php * PowWeb (CWHR Rating: 7.1) http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zpowweb.php * APlus (offers both Unix and Windows hosting; CWHR Rating: 6.5) http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zaplus.php * iPowerWeb (CWHR Rating: 5.8) http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zipowerweb.php * StartLogic (CWHR Rating: 5.6) http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zstartlogic.php

Special Needs Cheap Web Hosting

Fewer Content Restrictions

Dreamhost http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zdreamhost.php Price: 1m: $9.95 1y: $9.95 2y: $7.95 Setup: 1m: $49.95 1y: Free 2y: Free Bandwidth: 120 GB Disk Space: 2400 MB Mailboxes: 600 CWHR Rating: 9.6

Comments: In an effort to avoid arguments and complaints, most web hosting companies are fairly restrictive on questionable content — to the point that some will terminate a site for displaying a picture of a classical (but bare breasted) statue from ancient Greece. Dreamhost not only has an excellent, cheap web hosting package but is far more liberal than most web hosts on acceptable site content. Basically, if your content is legal in the US, Dreamhost will probably have no problems hosting it.

For more information on Dreamhost, see the description above.

Windows Hosting

Easy CGI http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zeasycgi.php Price: 1m: $9.95 1y: $7.96 Setup: 1m: Free 1y: Free Bandwidth: 50 GB Disk Space: 3000 MB Mailboxes: 50 CWHR Rating: NR

Comments: Easy CGI provides Windows 2000 servers instead of the standard Unix servers. Their accounts come with ASP and one Access Database. They are one of the most affordable and most popular Windows hosting providers. Customer service reports are spotty, however. Most people report excellent service but minority report major problems

Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting (Root Access)

Jumpline http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zjumpline.php Price: 1y: $9.95 Setup: Free Bandwidth: 5 GB Disk Space: 500 MB Mailboxes: 75 CWHR Rating: NR

Comments: Jumpline uses special technology to provide each account with its own virtual server. You have your own Apache web server, your own email servers, your own database server, etc. and you have root access to the virtual machine running them. These types of accounts can be more stable and provide better control, but are best used by Unix experts who understand the ins and outs of running servers.

Dedicated Server Hosting

ServerPronto http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/zserverpronto.php Price: 1m: $29.95 Setup: $149.00 Bandwidth: 200 GB Disk Space: 40 GB Mailboxes: unlimited CWHR Rating: NR

Comments: A dedicated server gives your site its own physical computer as a server. The upside is that you have full root access so you can install whatever software you want on it and have very few restrictions on scripts (even if they hog CPU time). The downside is that you have to maintain the system yourself. ServerPronto has some of the most affordable dedicated server prices we have seen (and they often have sales that cut the price of the setup fee), although there are many options that can increase the monthly price or the setup fee. Windows and Windows 2003 dedicated servers are also available at higher prices.

The information in this report was checked for accuracy on August 31, 2005. Web hosting companies, however, can change their pricing and plans at any time so the information may no longer be accurate when you read this report. The Cheap Web Hosting Report and its staff are not responsible for errors nor for what use you may make of this information. For updated information, check The Cheap Web Host Report web site at http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/

Looking for more information on designing, hosting and promoting a web site? Download a copy of our free ebook/newsletter, the CWHR Web Site Design Guide. This guide is updated monthly with additional articles and the current edition of The Cheap Web Hosting Report’s current monthly report. Download it at http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/freewebdesignguideebook.php

Notes:

The prices listed are the monthly price based on the shortest prepayment period offered (1m = one month, 3m = three months, 6m = six months) and for annual pre-payment (1y = annual rate)

The setup fees listed are for the shortest prepayment period offered and for the annual pre-payment plan.

—–

You are free to publish the September issues of The Cheap Web Hosting Report on your web site or in your newsletter, so long as all links are included as published here and are clickable if this article is placed on a web page or in an HTML newsletter. Minor corrections of spelling or grammar are allowed so long as the article’s intent is not altered.
About the Author

Randall Stukey is the chief editor of the monthly The Cheap Web Hosting Report (http://www.cheapwebhostingreport.com/) which lists the top five low cost web hosts and several special purpose web hosts along with articles on web hosting, web site design, and site promotion.

Previous post:

Next post: