An ode to my hosting company

I've been hosting Brain on Fire with NearlyFreeSpeech.net for close to 9 months now, and they've won my admiration. I'm currently paying a couple pennies a day for some of the best service I've ever encountered with a host or registrar.

I could write this post about their ridiculously inexpensive pay-only-for-what-you-use pricing, or the easy yet powerful (free) DNS management, ssh access, or the fact that they give you an entire MySQL process (not just a pre-named database) for 1 cent a day, but that's really all secondary.

What's important is the simple, clean, usable site and the intelligent, fast, and accurate tech support. (I should note that this is a host for mature and relatively knowledgeable webmasters -- they don't do hand-holding.) Everything about the site and the service tells you that you are dealing with humans, not a faceless, nameless corporation. The philosophy of cooperation permeates their very business model: The better the hosted sites do, the more money NFSN earns.

I acknowledge that their service lacks a few things that some folks regard as showstoppers. SSL support is not available but may be in the works, pending a requested-features vote by the users and a decision by the company. Email hosting is also not available, though I do just fine, transparently hosting my addresses (e.g. cortex@brainonfire.net) at Google's free mail hosting service. If you need SSL or super-configurable email hosting integrated with web hosting, this might not be the service for you. But for my needs (domain-associated email, reliable web hosting, secure transfer), this is perfect.

What matters is that NFSN has gained my loyalty through honesty and dedication. That's not easy to do -- when it comes to dealing with service providers, I'm quite the curmudgeon. It has come to the point where I would rather not ask for help with a problem (and ask in the forums instead), simply because I don't want to bother them. This kind of customer loyalty can't be bought with marketing research and guerrilla marketing -- it is produced by the very human interaction between users and the support staff.

Bravo!


Responses: 2 so far

  1. tad_scsi says:

    Might I put in a word for the Columbus, Oh. based JtlNet? (www.jtlnet.com) I have used them for numerous projects over the past 7 years. They are real human beings, ultra fast responders, have snappy quick servers and an excellent value on plans.

    Though they have 'shared' plans as low as 7.99 or something like that - I am enjoying a VPS for just under $20.00/month that comes with two IP.s, 30G disk space and 200 G bandwidth and of course - full root. Numerous other benefits too many to list here... but you can do Postgres or Mysql or both, unlimited domains (though practicality limits that, depending on domain requirements), a slew of easy to install options and the mail hosting, too.

    My particular situation precludes me from being able to spend tons of time playing server administrator yet they rapidly reply with enough info to get me in the right direction when I need to attempt things I haven't tried before in those regards.

    Just thought I'd pass that along for those who need a little more and demand excellence in service, too.

  2. Tim McCormack says:

    That's a totally different level of hosting.