Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little shameless peddling

Most of my sites, including Rational Review, are hosted at Hostgator and have been for several years. Since they have an affiliate program that pays me if you host YOUR sites there, I figure it's worth spending some blogspace on why I recommend them. So I will, below the big, garish linked graphic.

Q: If Hostgator is so good, why isn't KN@PPSTER hosted there?

I've thought about hosting it there, and may eventually, but I do have reasons not to -- none of which have anything to do with Hostgator. First of all, the blog's URL would change. Sure, I could post something here urging people to click on through, but I'd probably lose some traffic. Also, I'm eventually going to upgrade to "New Blogger," and at this time they only offer that for hosting at Blogspot.Com. Finally, I'm just a sucker for free storage and bandwidth, even though the amounts of both I get from Hostgator are more than sufficient to handle KN@PPSTER.

Q: Have you had any problems with Hostgator?

I haven't had any problems with Hostgator that were their fault, or that we didn't get resolved in a timely manner.

I use their "shared" hosting. It's a great deal, but it means that my account isn't permitted to use more than 25% of the resources on the server it shares with other customers at any given time. Early on, there were some problems with a WordPress installation (Rational Review's) that caused it to exceeded the 25% limit. We fixed the problems, and that was that. Rational Review alone (which is hosted on an account with a number of other sites of mine) runs about 50,000 visits and serves up more than 200,000 separate page views a month, and it's now been several years since I've heard a "you're hurting us" peep from Hostgator on that account.

I did have one client account last year that generated ire from Hostgator when 3,000 people tried to hit the site in a timeframe of a few minutes due to a popular Digg link. If you're expecting to get Dugg bigtime, or Slashdotted, etc., you're not going to want a low-level shared hosting account. You're going to want your very own server. But for most traffic situations, their shared hosting holds up quite well.

Q: Anything else that you really like about Hostgator?

Hostgator gives its customers access through a utility called cPanel, which is incredibly easy to use. They also include Fantastico, which allows for easy installation, upgrading and uninstallation of popular software packages like WordPress and Drupal (and a bunch of others). If you've ever had to install one of those things from scratch, you know what a pain it can be. Fantastico does it with a few clicks, including setting up any mySQL databases, etc. There are other extras (site templates, stat packages, etc.), but those two are the main attractions.

Hostgator isn't the only cPanel/Fantastico hosting service, but whatever you do, seek those two things out. Unless you're some kind of abnormal wirehead, you'll really appreciate them.

Q: Can I get a discount?

Glad you asked! Use the discount code "GREEN" (there's a space in the registration form for it) for 20% off your first month. They used to do the first month for one cent, but I guess those days are over. The reason the discount code is "GREEN," btw, is that Hostgator is a "green" web host -- they purchase wind power credits in the amount of 130% of their electricity usage.

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