Pair Networks experiences

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.

Setup

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.

my.pair.com

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.

Domain names

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.

Reliability

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.

Support

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.

10 Comments

  1. I also use pair.com for 3 domains. No downtime for the web server or ftp, but I have a lot of users that use imap4 for their iphones and we are always getting server errors. iPhones are set to get messages once per hour and the systems seem to get the connection error a few times a hour. Most of the errors are with microsoft e-mail programs but from time to time apple mail will go nuts for a few hours too. Also from time to time we will stop having messages go out for about half a hour then all will dump at once. Today I upgraded from the HV-2 account to QS-1 because we are growing a bit faster than we planned. The overages quickly add up with them too..

    Daily Disk Average Usage: 34925.50 MB
    Disk Allowance: 30720.00 MB
    Disk Over-usage: 4205.50 MB (rounds up)
    Charge per MB: $ 0.10 /month
    Projected Disk Charges: $ 420.60

    So with all their faults I just can’t ditch them because they have the best up time and are just always around for me to call and bitch.

    Comment by Super PJ — August 18, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

  2. Pair for me is still the best hosting company. I used them already 10 years ago when an SEO expert Jon Heard from a little town in Kansas recommeded them. and since that 100% satisfaction. Good knowledgable people.
    Okay the have a few drawbacks and i would see them erased but still I know what I have but I don`t know what I get.
    I host some under 100sites with them on two dedicated servers….Downtime what´s this?

    Rudi
    a satisfied Pair.com customer

    Comment by rudi seiberlich — September 24, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  3. Link: Good Pair Networks | b(rio)log
  4. I have recently been moved to an email setup using Pair Networks, and Im having problems setting it up in my Thunderbird email client. I previously enabled 1and1 email into it without any problems, however, pair Networks is another matter. I just cannot get the server working.

    Can anyone help?

    Comment by Micky — December 9, 2008 @ 8:51 am

  5. After 8 years of web hosting experience with Pair Networks and with more than 100 business web sites hosted there i can assure everybody this provider is a No1 choice for critical or traffic demanding hosting .

    Our flagship http://www.gto.gr generates more than 600GB of monthly traffic during summer months.

    http://WWW.GTO.GR for 4 years now its up and running with zero problems. We host on 15 shared and a dedicated.Look no further.

    Back in 2000, I was the first to try operate our 2 pair websites with an external email service. Now we host more than 100 commercial websites with pair.com but email is provided by everyone.net !
    Its a dream to have worlds best web and email companies working for you the same time.

    Happy to help with questiond or problems you might have !

    Dimitris M.

    Thank you !
    Dimitris

    Comment by Dimitris Markou — January 9, 2009 @ 5:15 pm

  6. Reply for Micky…

    Working Thunderbird with pair email is easy.All settings are here .

    http://www.pair.com/support/knowledge_base/e-mail/smtp_service_at_pair_networks.html

    http://www.pair.com/support/knowledge_base/e-mail/setting_up_an_e-mail_reader.html

    If still problem continues ,post a message

    By
    Dimitris

    Comment by Dimitris — January 9, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

  7. What the? How do you get WP to work on Pair. They told me you couldn’t. You must have to be good at xhtml or css, or an expert at something, right?

    Comment by David S — March 27, 2009 @ 6:32 am

    • @David S: WP works great on Pair. They never told me it wouldn’t, but they did express their concerns about how WP is a fully dynamic system. I use WP-Super-Cache to solve that, and one of my posts made it to the front page on Digg yesterday. No problem whatsoever. Pair is just being cautious, which is a good quality for a web host I guess.

      Comment by Roy — March 27, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  8. I have recently switched my travel website to using around 40 installations of WP over 5 databases. One problem with Pair is the limited number of databases available per account (30 in a developer account). I had to aggressively optimise my set-ups – I use wp-minify, hyper-cache – and reduced calls by using absolute server links where possible. I haven’t got into css-sprites yet (am a bit doubtful about efficacy) although the studiopress derived theme I have uses a few images.

    After a few initial hiccups – the use of a twitter plug-in which had problems with its external url reduction site caused a disastrous intermittent access problem which varied from country to country – things seem to be running quite smoothly now, and I’m quite pleased with the speed. We’re continuing to roll out the blogs but currently the load is quite light, so it remains to be seen how things progress…

    One thing: Wp automatic upgrades do not work on Pair unless I am advised you run php via cgi-wrap. However, I also read that this causes wp to become a memory hog which doesn’t sound hopeful. Has anybody else got experience of this?

    Tony Page

    Comment by Tony — June 29, 2009 @ 3:05 am

    • Hi Tony. 40 installs? Sounds like WPMU is something you’d like? I’ll agree that the number of databases is a little low, but then again Pair isn’t one of those ‘unlimited everything’ type hosts that oversell everything hundredfold. I’m using only about 5 right now, with related blogs sharing databases. 30 is plenty for me.

      I’ve recently moved to running WP under cgi-wrap, and it works well for my blog. I’m using WP Super Cache, so even if WP uses more memory (I’ve seen no errors) it won’t do so very often. For me, the convenience of being able to upgrade from withing WP was well worth it.

      Comment by Roy — June 30, 2009 @ 10:45 am