Many of you will have noticed by now that I’ve moved to yet another hosting provider – #4, for those who are counting. This time the transition should have been seamless; I’ve become pretty good at this, and this time I had the benefit of the old site still being up. I want to emphasize that Host Color did nothing wrong and I intend to continue my account with them as a “hot spare” in case something happens at Burton. In fact, you can still see a (slightly out of date) copy of this site on their server. My decision to switch was based primarily on the fact that when I chose Host Color I was in an emergency situation and hadn’t been able to do as much research as I would have liked. Now that I’ve had that chance, several factors lead me to believe that Host Color is a fine hosting service but perhaps not the best I could find. For example:

  • Host Color seemed a little bit slow to satisfy what I thought was a pretty simple domain-alias request (so that pl.atyp.us and www.platypus.ro would serve the same content). They did get to it, and they got it right without undue hassle, though.
  • I can’t help but wonder if part of the problem was that Host Color’s support personnel are in Bulgaria. Yeah, I know, my (old) domain is in Romania, so perhaps that’s appropriate. ;-) Nonetheless, and not meaning to imply that there’s anything wrong with Bulgaria, for me sitting here in the US that might not be my first choice.
  • I was also somewhat put off by the blatant “astroturfing” on Host Color’s behalf on the various review sites. At one after another, I saw the same names – many Bulgarian – on the glowing reviews. One frequent reviewer has the same not-so-common last name as the Host Color support guy who sent me my account information. To be fair, I can’t say for sure that the reviews I saw for Burton were any more authentic, but I have to go with my gut and say that they probably are. Maybe Host Color is as good as they say, but the astroturfing still puts me a little on edge.
  • The thing that stood out about Burton in the reviews was the excellent reachability and responsiveness of their support personnel. I can confirm that. Even before I’d purchased my piddly little personal hosting account, I’d had four email exchanges with one of their support people – and it was after midnight in the UK where he works. Matthew at Burton is awesome – a true paragon of how to provide a positive customer experience.
  • Burton also uses CPanel and Webalizer, which I like a little better than the Ensim software used at HostColor. They offer on-demand on-site backup/restore in addition to “backup via download” – not that I won’t be doing the latter anyway, for obvious reasons, but if the on-site backup is available it’s more convenient. Other minor details such as raw-log and SSH access also seem to be handled a little more smoothly.
  • Burton’s closer network-wise, and seems faster.

I’m hoping that what I have now is the best of the best as my primary site, and a solid player as my backup. That should prevent any outages like we’ve seen recently.