This is the second installment of a large series of blog posts regarding the service and support of web hosting companies; including pros, cons, ratings and the ultimate bottom line.
Web designers rely on hosting companies to service and support their website(s). Larger web design companies rely on the “big” web hosting companies service, support, AND infastructur to support DNS servers, ftp servers, testing/production servers, databases and more, in addition to their basic web and email hosting needs.
I’ve developed on average 4-5 websites per month for over 15 years. By that math, I’m closing in on 1,000 websites. Each website requires hosting, so given my experience I believe I am well positioned to offer some credible (and yes, personal) opinions on several website hosting companies.
Most people use the internet as a platform to rant and voice only negative experiences. I’ll try not to be that guy. While I do have negative comments I want to include some positive ones too.
About Rackspace Hosting:
Rackspace was born in the late 90’s, and was recently rated one of the Top 100 Places to Work by Fortune magazine, which stands for something. They host 40% or more of the Fortune 100 and are considered by many to be one of the most accredited hosts in the world. When you start looking into Rackspace, you’ll read all about their Fanatical Support program. Do not underestimate the importance of support from your web host. The hosting business is all about support, and Rackspace is all about Fanatical Support. Look into it.
Considering Rackspace Hosting? You’ll Want to Read This:
Rackspace competitors do a very good job of creating nice websites, fancy banner ads, throwing around 99.9% uptime guarantees, and selling whatever smoke & mirror sorcery they can to convince you they are the best host in the world.
Rackspace doesn’t play those games. If you visit Rackspace.com, you’ll learn about their Fanatical Support, which is their bottom line and biggest competitive advantage. Take the time to CALL them and have a discussion about their hosting services. You will not be disappointed. If you choose Rackspace, they’ll guide you every step of the way (account creation, server setup & configuration, deployment, etc).
The Good Thing About Rackspace Hosting:
Rackspace is knowledgable and reliable. I remember when I hosted my first dedicated server with Rackspace they took the time to point out a few things I could configure, including a secondary firewall, to help secure the server and protect it from intrusion as best as possible. I had never, ever, had such a consultation with any other web hosting company. Rackspace wasn’t repsonsible for my server settings, and they didn’t have to make these recommendations, but they did because they care. I’ve contacted Rackspace on several occasions for assitance with things I was sure I’d get charged for (for example, setting up scheduled tasks at the server-level), but they’re always happy to help and to this day I’ve never received a bill for what I’d consider to be service above-and-beyond their SLA (Service Level Agreement).
The Worst Part About Rackspace Hosting:
I thought long and hard about this one. There really isn’t a “worst part” about Rackspace, they’re a solid hosting company and seem to have all of their bases covered.
Since I committed in this blog to write something from both sides of the fence, I’ll mention one reoccuring issue I’ve had with Rackspace: We host dedicated servers with Rackspace and rely on their support techs to install SSL’s for some of our e-commerce domains. For some reason, Rackspace always finds a way to screw up this process.
I suspect that it’s one of those things where your growth and size can be one of your downfalls. A simple SSL install request involves several departments: 1) The tech you request help from, 2) The department responsible for delegating who gets what additional/unique IP addresses, 3) The department responsible for SSL and security, and 4) The department/guy tasked with putting it all together (including IIS configuration, DNS updates, etc). Rackspace techs are very dedicated and meticulous, however I believe one of their faults is letting a support request change hands more than what’s really necessary.
My Advice to You:
Choose Rackspace. They’re a tad more expensive than their competitors, but it’s worth every penny. When sh*t hits the fan and you’re dealing with a blown router, a DOS attack, a SQL injection attack or the next Nimda Virus, you’ll be glad Rackspace has your back. In my years of experience, I have to say that Rackspace Hosting is by far the best host in the world.