When I need a new web host, I tend to go by other people’s recommendations. People I know in real life that is, because online hosting review sites tend to be fake, with everything geared towards making money from affiliate programs. Some hosts pay more than $50 per sale, so many hosting review websites just recommend the highest paying company.
Suzero recommended Hosting Zoom to me and I thought I’d write about my experiences with them so far.
The movie review website I run with several other movie nuts used to be hosted at Ipowerweb. They used to be OK, but a few years ago their tech support went from pretty good to appallingly bad. Not that I had much trouble with them. Great uptimes and all, but when things did go wrong I found myself lucky if the replies I got were even in understandable English. About half a year ago I decided to move away from them.
Like Ipowerweb, Hosting Zoom offers loads of space and bandwidth, the usual PHP / MySQL stuff and Cpanel control panel. I prefer Cpanel over Ipowerweb’s rather awkward vDeck solution. Cpanel also allows you to move to other hosts that use their software relatively easily, which is nice as a kind of exit strategy. For eight bucks a month this is a pretty good deal.
Suzanna’s own website is running off an older server at Hosting Zoom, but new customers like me get the ‘failover hosting’ plan. From what I gather, this means the websites are served by a cluster of machines, which should minimize downtimes. If a single computer breaks down the cluster will redistribute the workload and continue running. At least in theory.
Hosting Zoom appears to be having some startup troubles with this new service. Choking on Popcorn has been down quite a few times since I signed up, but never for long and each time I got quick and informative responses from their tech support department. There’s also a forum with more info on each server as well as talk about things like scheduled maintenance. Where Ipowerweb’s support seemed to be either a chat bot or an Indian outsourcing company, at HZ you get real human techies who know what’s going on.
The ‘failover hosting’ seems to be improving lately and I’ve moved both this blog and my freelance portfolio to the same account. You can host 20 sites on one account, which is pretty nice for me.
There haven’t been many outages lately and if they do occur at least I know I’m going to get info and issues will be resolved asap. No way I’m going back to Ipowerweb. All hosts have occasional downtime. It’s how they deal with it that matters. That’s why I still feel that Hosting Zoom is a pretty good host.
As soon as I posted this message my site went offline for a couple of hours. I thought the troubles on the C1 cluster were over, but apparently not. When it came back up there was no MySQL service, so none of my sites actually worked. From what I gather from the forums, when the primary server fails a RAID sync is needed. This takes 20+ hours, during which service basically sucks due to high server loads. With this recent downtime I’ve pretty much lost confidence in HZ. And mon.itor.us alerts keep rolling in…