Hosting Provider – New! Improved!

Over the Xmas weekend I changed hosting providers.

I’ve been using Lunarpages for several years and it was a little slow but serviceable. However, in the summer they seemed to lose control of their customers because on and off for about 2 months the SMTP server that I shared was completely and totally blacklisted. This was no help at all since I was looking for work at the time, and my messages were being rejected by the receiving servers. Not only that, I was being buried in spam, and they did not provide enough freedom for me to actually run the code to train Spam Assassin.

The web hosting was OK. I used a cPanel instance that worked pretty well, and everything I needed was on that one page. I didn’t know it at the time but they had also turned off the default WP RSS feed features, so nobody could subscribe to my updates. I couldn’t figure out why I could never get it to work until I moved over to 1and1, and there it just worked immediately. But really it was the email problems and their 2-day response time for support requests that wore me out.

To find another hosting company I searched the Internet (futile, way too many useless pseudo-rating sites), and I asked around and found this 1and1 company. They’re based out of Germany and have data centers all over the place, usually no more than 50-100 ms away from any location on Earth. More important to me was their reputation among my friends. So I went with them…despite having another 6 months left on my Lunarpages contracts. I have to admit, I preferred using the cPanel interface over the somewhat upsell-oriented, multi-paged control panel that 1and1 uses for shared hosting, but meh, I’m not there too often and I could do everything I needed to do once I could find all the features.

It’s turned out pretty well. First and foremost, my spam dropped to almost nothing, right out of the box. They’ve already set up the spam folders on email accounts so all you have to do is move the non-spam messages out and leave the spam messages in there for it to learn from. Just like Spam Assassin but with zero learning curve.

It was pretty easy to transfer the domains and WP has great export-import functionality so getting this site back up and running was almost trivial. Moving my historical emails & folders was a little more involved, and I’m going to write up how to do it in another post, but inside of a week I had all my email clients, folders, email archives, and client filters all up, stable and running. I also found out that their web email client uses a subdomain instead of a port number so it hasn’t been blocked by firewall rules at my work location either! That was a real annoyance with Lunarpages.

So yeah, I’ll recommend them. I’m not all that experienced with different hosting companies but I’ve done at least 2 now, and the 1and1 product is a lot better. –