I’ve written before about how hard it is to find a good hosting provider, and how Ipowerweb and Hosting Zoom didn’t quite work for me. It’s hard to get good advice with all the lucrative referral programs, which seem to have spawned a whole genre of fake hosting review websites. That’s why I thought I’d share my experiences with Pair Networks. If you’re looking for a good, reliable host and are willing to spend a bit more, I suggest you read on.
I moved my personal sites from Hosting Zoom to Pair four and a half months ago, and setup was about as easy as it gets. Pair does not use CPanel, so I had to move the sites manually, but it really only took me a couple of hours, and was no trouble at all.
It took me a while before I felt at home in Pair’s own control panel, but it’s really very well designed, and incorporates ticket support and billing. All explanatory text are also very clear, unlike in CPanel. I actually prefer my.pair.com over CPanel, even though I’ve used the latter for quite a while and had gotten used to its layout and quirks.
One thing I love about Pair is that the hosting packages do not include a domain name. This allows me to register them elsewhere, which is necessary anyway for international domains. I haven’t used Pair’s own PairNIC service, so I can’t comment on their service. It’s very easy to add domains registered elsewhere to your account and make them point to a specific folder. There is a $5 one time setup fee per domain however.
This is really why I’m writing this. I have and account at one of those free website uptime tracking services, and I logged in last week to see if my account was still active. I was beginning to doubt this because I’ve not received a single warning email since I joined Pair. I used to get a couple each week at HZ, but now my websites are simply up. All the time.
I have limited experiences with Pair tech support, but so far they’ve been great. It’s never taken them more than an hour to reply to tickets, and the answers were always very informative. One issue I had was essentially caused by me (a WordPress plugin I installed to be precise), but they nevertheless took the time to write a short Perl script that I could run to fix the situation.
WordPress on Pair Networks
As I wrote earlier, Pair actually recommended using Movable Type instead of WordPress because of the higher server load that a completely dynamic system like WordPress would cause. Like I thought at the time, they were being modest (a good sign). WordPress runs like a dream on their servers, serving pages at double the speed compared to my account at Hosting Zoom. I’ve not encountered a single timeout error in over four months.
Value for money
This really depends on what you’re looking for. There are hosts that offer more storage, more allowed bandwidth usage and such at lower prices. I personally have tried two of them. Ipowerweb had great uptime, but their tech support had obviously been outsourced to a low wages country, and tickets were usually responded to with meaningless sequences of words. Hosting Zoom’s failover hosting plan, despite it’s name, was very unreliable. Their tech support was good, but I found myself needing it all too often.
I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting. I personally quite enjoy the luxury of not having to worry about hosting, and don’t mind paying a little extra. My websites are worth it.