I have been fiddling around the web for several years now. I started with free services like Geocities and others who's names are lost to obscurity. In order to spread my wings and have more space, I finally moved to paid services.
The first service I used, MidPhase, was $7.95 per month, which was about the going rate for budget web hosting. They were okay but I signed up for an extended contract (buy 12 months, get 3 free) which, in the end, they didn't honor.
My next host was Siteflip. This was bargain-basement shared web hosting. $4.00 a month and, according to the reviews, you got what you paid for. They gave you space but the support was almost non-existent. I didn't much care since I hadn't had much interaction with MidPhase and I was getting a serious upgrade on disk space. Of course, it didn't help that I had to go through a special link to get that price.
When renewal time came around, I was heavily into listening to the Geek News Central Podcast, which is sponsored by GoDaddy.com. Not being entirely comfortable with the lack of support and shady side-deal style of SiteFlip, I checked out GoDaddy. For $4.99/month I could get 5GB of space (which turned into 10GB by the time I signed up) and have up to 10 MySQL databases and unlimited subdomains (subdomain.domain.com). Why some sites charge extra for subdomains, I'll never know. It's simply a pointer that exists in a single file on the server that tells Apache (the web server software) that when someone gets to the site using subdomain.domain.com, direct them to a particular folder. Anyway, I signed up and used the special savings code from Geek News Central (todd20) and saved 20% on my order which brought it down to... $4.00/month.
When I first logged in, I didn't know what to do. As far as control of my account I was at least a level higher than any other service had let me operate. Once I figured out that I had control over any and all domains I may set up through GoDaddy instead of having individual accounts for each, I was impressed.
GoDaddy has an excellent knowledge base to begin with but I have had a couple of occasions where I've needed to contact support. They have been prompt with their responses and, more importantly, they actually answered the questions that I asked.
One of the nice features of GoDaddy is the one-click install of applications such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, Coppermine Photo Gallery, SilverStripe and a host of other, mostly free, applications. You click the install link, answer a few simple questions (i.e. where do you want to install, password for the database, etc.), then sit back and let the servers handle it automagically. If an update is available, you can click an update link and the server will let you know when it is complete. You literally don't even have to think about it.
Now here's why GoDaddy will forevermore have my web hosting business.
One of the applications I have installed, SilverStripe, that runs my wav archive had an update available about a month ago. I clicked the update link and the update failed. With another click, I rolled it back and tried again. It failed again with some sort of internal server error so I rolled it back and left it for another day.
Yesterday, I tried the update one more time and one more time it failed. I decided to contact support and see if they had any idea why this was (not) occurring. I didn't expect a response until sometime Monday.
Later yesterday afternoon, I received an email stating that my issue would require additional review and was being escalated to the Advanced Support Team. I figured a front-line soldier looked at it and, not having access to the proper resources, bumped it up the chain. No biggie. The site was up and running and I could be patient until I got another email on Monday either asking for more detail or telling me what was happening.
About 30 minutes ago, my phone rang. It was a support representative from GoDaddy. He wanted permission to have them try the upgrade on their side so they could see if they could get it to work or trace it and find out where the hiccup was.
I never expected to have my issue about installation of a third-party product update even examined over a weekend much less have someone call me personally on a Sunday evening.
Friends, if you are in need of web hosting, I can unequivocolly and without a moments hesitation strongly recommend GoDaddy. Plus, I know some codes (like the todd20 one I used for hosting) that can save you money and let you help keep the lights on at my favorite podcast. Just send me an email and I'll share them with you.