Server vs. Host
I think I know the answer to this (or at least the first part), but thought I'd ask wiser minds in here first.
At our tiny company we do maintain our own server. Well, actually, I'm throwing the word "maintain" around a little fast-n-loose... we have our own server... there's nothing really "maintaining" it.
The same box (running Linux) has been in the same room, running continuously 24/7, for about 16-17 years. It basically is used to host our own website, a couple of websites for sister companies and friends, and funnels our email. We don't actually store email on it anymore (we did in the distant past use the server's webmail), but now we all use Gmail accounts (that use our domain name) so basically the server is just an incoming conduit as far as mail goes. Gmail has an infinitely-friendlier interface than the system's outdated Esmith webmail, and we don't have to worry about any attachment storage issues... with people sending and receiving giant attachments we ended up having to put data caps on all users otherwise people would just let the drives fill up with ancient no-longer-needed stuff... and with Gmail that is not an issue.
This box is ancient... obviously. I live with the constant slight fear of knowing that one day it's going to bite the dust (and am pretty religious about backing it up whenever we make a website change, which is frequent).
When it dies (or preferably, before), I don't think I see any need in replacing it... but rather just going with an external host.
Thoughts on that? Hosting these days is cheap... and the one time in the last few years that we looked at replacing the server, well, I don't remember the exact estimate but the one company we approached quoted us something well in the five-figures range for "what we really need."
So... that's my first question... any reason NOT to just move to external hosting?
Secondly... any hosts that you wholeheartedly recommend? My better half actually hosts her own site externally, and is the type to have researched it absolutely to death so I do trust using whomever it is that she uses... but wouldn't mind some other input for you guys.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
I'd been using what had been one of the largest web hosting companies for my little WordPress based site. But as this big company (YAH--!) began breaking apart, and apparent security issues (at least alerts-which may have been glitches on their end) started happening I knew I needed to make a change.
After quite a bit of asking around to my IT friends, I decided to go with a managed WordPress site, eventually choosing a company called SiteGround. Whenever I've called, I've always reached a real live person in seconds, that actually knew their job. Usually, the first person is able to help, but if not, they've always known exactly who to transfer me to who also picks up within seconds and has solved my issue 100% of the time. So far, at least.
The service seems excellent. At least the attitudes are always excellent. And competency seems to match the excellent attitudes. I only understand part of what they are doing for me and saying to me. But through the years, I've been pretty good at recognizing competency vs. incompetency. And people who genuinely have a good attitude vs. those just faking it.
And as far as I know, not a second of down time. Regular security checks and notifications of the excellent results...
They manage other kinds of sites besides WordPress. Not a huge company, but not tiny either. Seem good to me.
I've used Hostmonster for the past 12 years and pretty much love it. Two outages in 12 years....one was yesterday, but not bad.
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage