For the last few years, I've run a number of web sites on West Host because they seemed to be stable, friendly, and offer a good deal considering the flexibility they offered. For instance, I was able to ssh into my VPS account and set up my preferred database system, PostgreSQL, and only use their supplied MySQL when I absolutely had to.
Well, earlier this year, West Host was purchased, and they began revising their plans on what features were offering to their customers. While I might be able to continue to ssh into the VPS in the near future, they're planning on eliminating the compiler and programming tools, which would mean that I would no longer be able to run PostgreSQL. As a result, I decided to switch to a different hosting provider.
After a few months of looking, evaluating, and flip-flopping, I opened an account with HostNine on Thursday. The reasons I chose HostNine are that they support and provide PostgreSQL right off the bat, and they're giving me unlimited disk space and bandwidth for a year for $20 more than I was paying per quarter for West Host. Needless to say, this is overall a much better deal.
That's not to say that my switch isn't going to be painful. After struggling to connect to my new server via ssh and sftp for hours, I filed a trouble ticket to figure out what's going on. It turns out that though these access methods are supported, I have to first fill out a form requesting secure access to the site via these methods. Fine. Moving on.
I then found that though I do have immediate PostgreSQL access, it's somewhat restricted. I don't have superuser access. Not really a huge deal. All of my database names and user-names are automatically prefixed by my account user name. Not a huge deal but kind of irritating that I'll have to go back through my various sites and update the database names and user-names. Something that I'll get over but again, it's irritating. Then there's the fact that it's an older version of PostgreSQL (8.1.8 instead of 8.3.x or 8.4.x) which combined with the lack of superuser access creates a whole world of hurt on recreating even one of my sites' databases. Oh, and I just had to file a trouble ticket to get full text search capabilities added to my database, and I suspect I'll have to file a new trouble ticket for every single database that I will need those features for. (Fortunately, not many at the moment.)
But the kicker for me was that last night, after several trouble tickets, I posted a message in their community forums asking if any one knew what I would need to do in order to set up a web accessible Subversion version control repository the proper way within the account. Less than an hour later, I was permanently banned from the forums for spamming. With a single message. That included no advertisements or spam like content. Yeah. I filed a new trouble ticket on that issue including their notification email and this morning that situation was resolved, but I'm already beginning to wonder if I should just abort this effort and try to find another host instead...