For past few days I have been busy with accommodating another change of my host. This is my second change in as many months. I was hosting with 1and1.com since 2005. It was a decent host - excellent top notch service as far as server up-time, availability and speed are concerned. However two of the peeves that I had were it didn't offer enough features for the dough and there was no ssh service for my plan. 1and1.com also seems to have configured its service in a nonstandard way. For example, even with your own domain, your mail server domains will be 1and1.com; you cannot choose your own username for login, you are are forced to remember some random string of digits.
So I moved my host to Dreamhost on October. It has a very impressive array of features for a very decent price. I have seen its server held quite firm after a digg effect on one of the domains it hosted. Also read some reviews which even though didn't put it in the top performer slot, nevertheless put in somewhere near there. Since, my site is very very low traffic site, I didn't bother. But I should have. After moving, I spent quite a bit of time redesigning my site, only to discover that server response is not very good - barely acceptable. But the real damper was its mail server. The server that hosted my mailserver had a history of problem and Dreamhost was in the process of upgrading the hardware when I moved my host. Dada was complaining that he basically couldn't do anything on his mailbox. He was connecting via IMAP. The only think he could do is downloading the headers, but server timed-out 9 out of 10 times while downloading the body. I thought it was temporary. But even after the claimed hardware upgrade, things didn't improve. At that point I decided to quit. But to be fair, I must say that I didn't have any problem connecting to the mail server using POP3. In conclusion, I think Dreamhost has good intentions and all the makings of a good host, but it may need to put a lot more focus on performance at this time.
Then enters HostMonster. I read very good reviews about the host. More than one review sites put it on the top of the heap. It claims to host more than 200,000 domains. Even though most of the things in all Linux hosts are almost same, they have enough differences in settings that warrant at least a couple of days of tweaking my code to run seamlessly. Same story here. Finally I think I am done. The jury is still out, but so far I am seeing improved speed of access. Dada informed me that he now has no problem with mail connection using IMAP. Hopefully I can stay with these guys for some time.