A couple weeks ago I suddenly decided I wanted to play around with web design stuff again. It has been a while since any desire in that realm has surfaced because web development has created a sore spot in me. Maybe I'll explain why another time, but that's not the focus today!
The primary impetus for this sudden urge to write code relates to a forced change in web hosts. Most shared hosting plans attract new customers with great introductory prices. Usually that means signing up for a two or three year term to get the lower monthly rate. What they avoid telling you is that prices dramatically increase after that initial term is up. These large shared hosting companies have enough new customers that they don't care about keeping old ones. Though awesome deals in huge fonts are clearly advertised on their home page (for new customers only), plans do not renew at those rates. Because of this annoyance I end up changing web hosts every two or three years. Why pay more when they are all essentially the same, and I can get a far better deal by changing hosts? Hosting companies probably assume most users don't want to go through the pain of switching hosts (or don't know how) and will pony up the extra cash to keep their site alive. I'm no sucker. I'd rather do a bit of extra work or lose a site altogether than needlessly spend hundreds of extra dollars.
After a few years with Hostmonster, I have no major complaints. During the time I hosted my sites there I did very little to justify having website(s). That's another way they sucker semi-techy people into giving up their money. If nothing else, I didn't want the pain of changing email addresses, so I had to keep my domain - and the junky site that goes along with it.
My new host is HostPapa.com. I almost chose HostGator since they offer a few more perks. I was their customer a long time ago (maybe they were my first hosting company?), but things have changed since then. As I was about to pull the trigger I stumbled upon their new ad campaign. After watching their video advertisements, I immediately decided to look for other hosts. It is very clear to me that HostGator is going the same direction that GoDaddy did many years ago. Power and size have gone to their heads. They are big enough to feel free to express themselves. I think that is a great freedom to exercise. Nevertheless, their edgy ads bugged me, so I started looking for other hosts. It also bothers me that ever since visiting their website, their ads have followed me all over the internet. Clearly they pay a lot of money to push their marketing agenda. I don't like heavy marketing. The more millions a company spends on Super Bowl campaigns, the less money they have to offer discounts to their customers. Even though I have been involved in marketing jobs for years, I'm not a fan of most marketing. Doesn't mean I don't sometimes buy into or fall victim to gimmicks like everyone else, but I try to look for honest advertising instead of flashy gimmicks.
While I cannot claim to know much about the values of HostPapa, they seem to be merely what they advertise: a web hosting company. Not some huge marketing machine. Perhaps when their customer base grows beyond their current hundreds of thousands to millions, they will start wasting money and expressing themselves too. By then it will probably be time for me to find a new host anyway.
So far HostPapa's tech support has been great. Usually small or mid-sized companies offer good support because they realize it is their only way to compete. They cannot really match the technological features of their bigger competitors, so they must focus on stability and integrity of whatever services they do offer.
I was nervous about HostPapa at first simply because of a similar color scheme and name as Godaddy. Bright neon interface colors, Daddy, Papa. Seems a little fishy. It's a growing possibility for numerous companies or websites to be aliases rather than separate entities. Like when I learned Hostmonster and Bluehost are one and the same.
My typical stream of consciousness style of writing returns. If I tried any other style it would take so long to write that I'd simply never do it. Not that I have any audience to please anyway. My writing is more for self-therapy than anything else.