Four days ago, my webhost (who will remain nameless for the time being) noticed that its aging servers (all hosted by third-party enterprise hosting services) were dying. So they decided to upgrade all of the servers, and switch to a different hosting location at the same time. The result: my sites hosted by them were down or unusable for (well, actually, I cannot give an accurate number because at the time of writing, the sites are still down, and the server on which they were hosted is only “27% migrated”). I had been thinking of switching webhosts for some time, but foolishly did not take any action on these impulses, since “everything seems to be working ok for now”. Luckily, with month old backups of my different wordpress databases, plus cached feedburner feeds, I have all of the content I will need to recreate my sites on a new host (and then add back some missing items when my old host finally gets their act together).
For me, it came down to MediaTemple and DreamHost. I have used DreamHost for a client site in the past, and found that they are a company that is very concientous of their customer’s well-being. They go out of their way to give easy access to different server features on their (somewhat bizzare looking but very useful) control panel, and overall are very open about different issues that are occuring with their servers (and are not afraid to take responsibility when things get messed up and it is their fault). Overall, I have been pretty impressed with their hosting, as well as customer service. (And am reassured that if problems occurred on a server, that they would take care of it ASAP, unlike my current webhosts).
Then there is MediaTemple. I first found out about them after seeing the little (mt) links on various popular blogs. Whenever people refer to a company that provides them paid services with little emblems, proudly giving free advertising, it says something. Since then, I have read more and more about this hosting service, their top-notch customer service and quality hosting.
The thing that clinched the decision in the end is MediaTemple’s new GridServer (gs) hosting package. This is a revolutionary hosting setup (which everyone will have to do in a few years in order to stay in business). Your sites are no longer tied down to specific hardware, that comes with its own limitations. Instead your sites are hosted by clusters of servers, that can scale instantly to handle large spikes in traffic (ie: if you are dugg, slashdotted and redd at the same time, your shared hosting plan might not be able to handle it, while (gs) will theoretically not even notice). As all of my previous hosting woes have been caused by faulty equipment (and bad service), and since (gs) seems to have solved the problems that come with having your site tied to one specific piece of equipment, in the end I went with MediaTemple (gs). (And although there have been some reported problems with the service, I have not experienced anything but very fast loadtime and well-designed control panels since I have started migrating my sites over).