What is a Great Webhost?

Which host is the right one for your website? There are lots of them. Prices range from free up to 100 Dollar per month or more.
It is obvious to me that I do not look for an exciting startup company to host my websites. I need a stable environment, managed by people with a track record, who know what they are doing. For this reason I prefer a utility-like company, with a clear focus on customer service.
To navigate through all this possibilities, I suggest you use a set of clear criteria. Here is the list the most important ones:

  • Reliability (99% uptime)
  • Excellent Helpdesk – fast response
  • Uses cPanel
  • Very fast internet connection
  • Abundance of bandwidth included
  • Multiple domains and subdomains allowed
  • Solid package of stats for each domain. I must know how many people, and who visits my websites.
  • Allows domains registered through an independent domains service
  • Multiple databases allowed
  • Located in free speech country

All these points are a must. I will not settle for less. If the hosting company asks for a contract running for many months, or even years, I want first a trial period. And I will ask about upgrade opportunities, in case I need some features not included in the actual package I consider to book. During this time I will see the real connection speed and reliability. I will also have a chance to experience their customer service department.
There are some features I really like to have. They are

  • SSH access, which allows me to manage minor changes directly on the server.
  • The ability to install SSL certificates for my domains. These certificates are necessary for encrypted connections. And they proof my identity to my visitors.

The bottom line is: I am looking for a reliable established company in a stable environment. I want a customer service giving me respect, being able to listen and willing to find solutions for any problem.
I want to keep my domains registered somewhere else, clearly not affiliated with the hosting company. If I allow the hosting company to register my domains, they can create complications if and when I should decide to move on to their competitor.


Social Media are Powerful

It is easy for a government to block email or a website. And they know why they require internet and mobile phone providers to integrate the necessary equipment into their networks.
But it is almost impossible to block communication thru Twitter, combined with YouTube and Facebook, as the Iranian government learnt last summer.

Why is this?

  1. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are all located in the US, and this is still the one country in the world where the right of free speech is more entrenched than anywhere else in the world.
    Mr. Obama is certainly more powerful than Mrs. Merkel of Berlin. But he would not dare to announce, that he wants to punish a British citizen living in Argentina, for a statement he made in a newspaper in Sweden. Merkel thinks she has a right to decide what other people may say about certain topics, not only in her kitchen cabinet, but around the world. (By bad luck she did not get the idea to invite Mr. Williams for a common visit in the German “Bundesarchive” to share a research day. It would have been interesting to know, whether in the archive are feasibility studies and cost-benefit analysis done before the holocaust machine was started. As I know the Nazis, they certainly did such studies in advance)
  2. Social media, especially Twitter and YouTube are not restricted to one single infrastructure. You can get Twitter messages via SMS, a mobile internet connection, or the fixed internet. If the message is blocked on one channel, you can get it next minute via an alternative channel.
    You can use a simple mobile phone to take a picture or video, and you can send it on the spot via your G3 network connection to YouTube or to a photo network. Nobody, really nobody has the power to undo this. If the topic is hot, hundreds of people everywhere will have seen the video, and taken a copy, before anybody can remove it.
  3. This means: If you live in a country with low regard for free speech, you better make sure that you have a strong social media presence. Otherwise you could wake up one morning just to find out that you get no more traffic on your web server, and that your email goes into the air. If you do not have a friend network or if you cannot reach your friends, you are helpless.

But what can keep you from sending a tweet from your mobile or any internet cafe around the corner?

Yours for life without sleepless nights
Johannes Stockburger

Another obvious aspect of this thought is: host your website on a server in a free speech country.