A hosting provider gives a customer a place to put web pages, and a connection to the Internet for those web pages. We wouldn’t need a hosting provider for this site if we had a decent Internet connection and a static, publicly accessible IP address. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the needed address. Besides, we didn’t want to leave our computer on all the time, and expose it to the outside world.

The three hosting options we chose between were Yahoo!, Chris Cheung’s computer, and DixieSys. Chris Cheung’s computer would have given us all of the capabilities we need and it’s unlikely he would have charged us anything, but his ISP has made it difficult to keep his computer consistently available on the Internet. Besides, we felt it would be an imposition.

Terry Tsai hosts www.ttsai.net on Yahoo! and I’m certain they offer excellent service, but ultimately we chose DixieSys because it got great reviews from www.webhostingtalk.com (a forum where they discuss the various options for hosting small sites), and because it was significantly cheaper than Yahoo!. When we started this site, DixieSys had a 2-for-1 deal going on: they would either host two sites for the price of one, or they would double the capacity for a single site.

Yahoo! DixieSys Chris’ Computer
Setup fee $15.00 Free Free
Yearly fee $143.40 * $19.95 Free
Domain registration Free $15.00 $15.00
Disk space 50 MB 40 MB ** Gigs
Data transfer limit 20 GB/month 1.5 GB/month ** Unlimited

* $143.40 was calculated from a monthly rate of $11.95
** Disk space and data transfer limit in this figure have not been doubled in the 2-for-1 deal

The comparison between the different options rates Chris’ computer as the most favorable, but we already ruled it out as an option. DixieSys was significantly cheaper and offered more disk space after the 2-for-1 deal. The data transfer limit is much lower, but we don’t anticipate needing the additional bandwidth.

DixieSys gives us the ability to modify our site through FrontPage Server Extensions, FTP, or through a web-based site management console called Ensim. They also support dynamic web pages like those we plan on building for the Wish List site through CGI or PHP and MySQL. Finally, DixieSys has given us what appears to be a stable, secure, and inexpensive place to put our site. So far we have no complaints, but we’ll be sure to write about them here if we do.