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Chart of YC companies' hosting decisions (jpf.github.com)
171 points by jf on Aug 6, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

It's surprising how many cells of that table say "GoDaddy."


GoDaddy's "used car lot" salesmanship makes me loathe the company. I'm in process of transferring all my domains elsewhere.

Likewise. Have a fairly budget-price but not-so-shady registrar in mind?

[edit] WTF guys, why am I being modded up? I asked a question without providing additional insight - this doesn't deserve +points.

I got tired of GoDaddy a while ago and moved all of my domains to NameCheap. They've been great, although private registrations cost a couple dollars after the first year.

Edit: http://www.namecheap.com

I second namecheap. I've used them for several years and have around 30 domains registered there (including Divvyshot). It's worth paying a little more for a more intuitive interface. I've never felt afraid of being tricked into buying something I didn't want.

Another suggestion: Use everydns.net for DNS. It's donation-based (http://www.everydns.com/donate.php), powerful, reliable, and run by David Ulevitch of opendns.com.

I will never ever trust anything even remotely associated with OpenDNS or it's progenitors.

They're not Open in any way, and their service is not DNS either. They're just an 'underdog' Verisign -- same bullshit, different self-image.

Then, NameCheap still is a reseller for Enom (Divvyshot appear to be registered with them).

However I like Namecheap too (and prefer dealing with them than Enom).

Glad to hear. I bought a SSL cert from NameCheap last night and was pretty happy with the experience (no bullshit, no rampant cross-selling and tons of "uncheck to prevent getting screwed" stuff on forms.

Good to hear they're also good for domains. I think I'll be going with them.

Ditto on NameCheap. I have a half dozen or so domains with them and have had a good experience there as well.

I third/fourth NameCheap, too. I still have some with 1and1, but all new ones are via NC. Keep an eye out for their discount codes too

It's common for people to vote up a question they would also like to have answered.

I have been happy with http://www.name.com (so far).

$9 .com's with free private WHOIS and they don't mess with you at all. Actually, I called them today to check on a transfer and the customer service was good too.

I've been using gandi.net and like them a lot. I'm surprised no one of the YC companies use them.

If you had a lot of domains, the Euro/Dollar difference right now might hurt a little bit. They're good, though.

The one thing I have been unhappy with about gandi is the support - it's been slow (responses that take days to weeks), and the english of the support reps has been poor enough to make it hard to read/communicate.

I also have been very happy with gandi.

I have had good experiences with 1and1.com as a registrar. $8.99 domains, free private whois, and a decent domain management dashboard, YMMV.

I second 1&1 — they are cheap, incredibly responsive to support requests, and generally a pleasure to deal with all around.

I've had trouble with 1&1 chasing me for money for ye olde accounts, and even in one case where the domain was transferred out - they keep card details on file and auto-renew without notification.

Then, when the card is declined because it's expired in the two years since the domain was first registered, they start sending irritating debt collection letters demanding the renewal fee plus £15.

It's happened to plenty of people - just stick "1&1 debt collectors" into Google. I've moved all my domains over to a UK-based outfit called 123-reg; they're just as cheap as 1&1 but their renewals are done in a sane way, with a reminder email and the cancellation of the package if you don't pay.

I have 50+ domains with them. I like them okay, but I don't love em. I did call support ~2-3 time recently and they were really quite good. 24/7 and almost no waiting.

When you cancel a domain they reveal your contact information for some period of time. Maybe they can't help this, but I blame them anyway.

Overall I think they're pretty good.

google for 1and1, you'll see a lot of complaints there. I had a few bad experience with them. If your renew payment has some issue (mostly CC expiration date etc.) they'll immediately send the account to collection and suddenly your $6.99 or whatever domain becomes a lot more expensive. I refuse to deal with shady business like that.

I personally use dynadot.com and am very happy. I've also heard great things about moniker.com

I register through Google Apps. They use GoDaddy as the actual registrar, but the process of buying a domain through them is uber-simple; the complete opposite of GoDaddy's constant upsell.

You get the Google apps for free with this, too, which is nice for some kinds of sites. OTOH, it's one more egg in the Google basket.

http://register4less.com. Been using them for years, no complaints. I even got them to lean on Tucows (their upstream provider) to get me AAAA glue records, something Tucows doesn't normally support.

http://domainsite.com/ works really well. Simple UI and full domain control is what I look for. It also has a simple 1 click integration with google apps.

Joker.com has a horrible UI, but does the job just fine.

I've been happy with pairNIC.

Man that is so brutal though. I got the domain privacy through GoDaddy which makes the transfer process so much work that I just gave up.

Someone here recommended Dynadot to me and I'm much happier with that.

Their UI is horrendously busy for YC founders, but as everybody else is saying, "the price is right."

Everybody complains about the UI -- but it's domain registration! How often do you really use the UI? A couple times a year, maybe?

GoDaddy is super cheap and reliable (for domains). Until somebody makes something better (and equally cheap), I'm staying.

You must be a light user; I'm on godaddy at least once a week doing something. The checkout process is obnoxious; I just want to buy something, not be upsold a billion times. I understand why they do this so godaddy probably isn't ideal for me. I just deal with it because of the price.

On the other hand, I'd love to see some enterprising company (even godaddy; all it "GoDaddy Pro" or something) come up with a no-frills domain reservation/management service inspired by http://domai.nr/ and http://manage.slicehost.com/ (Slicehost has an awesome, simple management interface).

GoDaddy has a no-frills solution with wildwestdomains. We use the api in our systems and it was a nightmare to implement but works well enough.

Dude, that's what I said and then someone here told me about dynadot. Check it out. It's cheaper than Godaddy if you're using private registration, and the UI is about 100x better.

For a while at Loopt we considered becoming a Tucows reseller and only holding our domains, but it wasn't worth the effort.

Whoever bought our first domain used GoDaddy we just stuck with it. We've seen no pressing reason to switch.

Tucows is more of a pain. You can become an eNom reseller in a day or two very easily. As I recall, there's a little faxing involved, but no biggie. It's convenient if you need to register or modify domains programmatically.

I'm with OpenSRS/Tucows. We've recently overhauled the signup process and I think you'll find it much simpler now. Have a look: http://opensrs.com/signup/

Good to know. It was my first choice, but seemed complicated/slow. I'll definitely give it a shot next time.

Not that surprising, Godaddy is pretty much the amazon of domain registrations. I'm surprised however, that there are 2 companies that are using them for webhosting.

Actually amazon try to make my life easier when I want to by something. Godaddy instead is trying to sell me tons of stuff I don't want.

Yes, that surprised me too, considering GoDaddy's lackluster reputation.

Which reminds me, you can click on the table header to sort the columns.

I've had no problems with GoDaddy as registrar, and they're priced right (and that seems to be where they win most in that chart). I can't speak to their quality as a hosting provider though.

Have they been screwing up as registrar for others?

If you are running a user-generated content site and you get to a large enough size, it's near certain that GoDaddy will shut off your domain. We had a very, very close call with Weebly where someone from GoDaddy called at 10am on a Saturday, didn't get through, and started shutting off the domain. If I hadn't called right back it would have been disastrous.

For some reason, GoDaddy sees it as their job to police the Internet, which is completely not acceptable for a domain registrar.

Were they checking the authenticity of the registration info? If so, that's them enforcing ICANN rules. They usually don't do that though unless somebody requested it.

No. They field abuse requests for phishing sites, DMCA requests, etc. When notified, we take them down promptly.

However, whenever someone makes a phishing abuse request on the .weebly.com subdomain to GoDaddy, they don't even look at your traffic or website and just override your DNS servers/records to be blackholed if you don't answer your phone when they call.

Who would you recommend that does not see DMCA take-down notices as "their job"?

Eh, there are some "free speech" registrars focused on not responding to such nonsense. I believe a Google search should turn them up. For general purpose registrars, both Register.com and GoDaddy have been pretty good for us.


http://nearlyfreespeech.net -- also cheaper than GoDaddy!


Of course you'll personally have a great experience until you get screwed. Learn from others.

I use namecheap.

Well... I do have to make a slight UI criticism.

Which would you rather see when managing your domains?




Also, I have had very good experiences with DynDNS. Support is helpful and their services are top-notch. I am always confident that I'll get someone knowledgeable at DynDNS, while my experience with GoDaddy was nowhere near as nice. Seems they have a good reputation as a company too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DynDNS#Awards

To be honest I barely ever see the front page, so I don't think it's a useful comparison. The so-called "Total DNS Control" page that GoDaddy offers works well enough for me. Is DynDNS' control panel nicer?

As far as support I'll have to defer as I haven't had any problems worth bringing up yet. I moved from Register.com some time ago and that was a breath of fresh air in so many respects.

As with Locke1689, I have only good things to say about DynDNS's services.

Coming from GoDaddy, UI-wise, DynDNS are a bit nicer, but it's their support which really makes a difference.

No problems with GoDaddy here. My domains were at RegisterFly before the ICANN fiasco and subsequent move. Now THAT was a screwed up registrar.

I've had great service from GoDaddy as well, and it's a lot cheaper to buy a wildcard SSL cert from them ($199/year) than pretty much everywhere else I've looked.

I figured that price was the main reason why people buy SSL certificates from GoDaddy. (Speaking of which, it's worth checking retailmenot.com for GoDaddy discount codes: I recently bought several wildcard certificates from them and was able to get discount codes for 10-30% off.)

I'm about to buy some certs for my new company, and we love saving money. Thanks!

I ran into the same issue. Not a fan of godaddy, but you're going to pay considerably more for a wildcard certificate elsewhere. The 2 year + coupon is a great deal.

I'm surprised that Linode isn't on there at all, although it's good to see BitPusher get mentioned for their work on Wufoo (good bunch of guys over there).

Email should include outgoing. Tipjoy uses http://authsmtp.com

Google hosted email for outbound kinda stinks

I'm just about to switch to Google for mail hosting, and your comment worries me a little.

What kind of trouble have people had with Google's outgoing mail servers?

I think they might just be talking about using it for mass-outbound messages from an app, not for actual human-to human messages. (Never had a problem with Gmail for my personal/work e-mail, anyway.)

You're right. We still use it for inbound, and human based outbound. We do things like send monthly reminders to pay for Tipjoy, meaning lots of emails sent regularly.

Is it possible to have multiple email providers on a single domain? How do you do that?

Does anyone else have any thoughts on the best outbound email provider to use for automatically-generated emails?

This is pretty much the exact breakdown of information I have had in the back of my mind to find for quite a while. It's very helpful — perhaps the most useful thing I've seen posted on HN since I started reading. (At least, most useful for me!) Of course, I wouldn't want to jump off a bridge just because everyone else was doing it, but researching all the available providers for all these hosting requirements is a potentially endless job. It's nice to see the decisions other companies have made, to crowdsource it a bit and narrow down the options.

Thanks Cody! I wrote the code that generated that report for the same reason: I wanted to be able to research what decisions other domain owners have made. I'm happy to hear that you found this information useful too!

Did you see the code I put on GitHub? http://github.com/jpf/domain-profiler

Great work. I immediately stored it to help my future hosting decisions. Small feature suggestions: include percentages in the pie charts to make them more readable. (Especially for colour blind)

HN has had several slicehost vs. linode threads. Comments seems they were an even match (different but even). So why are there no linode users in this list?

I'm asking as a new startup eyeing both as potential host.

Slicehost is backed by a fairly large hosting company now, they always seemed more professional then linode. I used them back in the day and it always seemed like it was just one dude and he didn't have his processed automated well enough.

also, bumptechnologies.com is using linode as DNS. Doesn't linode only offer DNS to domains hosted there?

Correct, both our website and our matching infrastructure is hosted at Linode.

Could somebody please explain why you would use a DNS provider that is not your web host?

I've always just used the host's DNS servers for my domains, but I'm curious as to the decision making of others... are there real concerns that would lead you to separate these services?

Many places you lease a server from do not typically provide DNS servers. Also, you get the advantage of always-speedy, geographically diverse name lookup.

When I leased my own server, I had a painful experiment with hosting my own DNS on the same box. After I gave up on that, I admit I snooped on the provider YC used and have never had a problem.

I'd argue that you should never use your web host as a DNS provider. Eventually you will get sick of your webhost and moving your site is a lot easier if they don't lay claim to your domain.

Among other reasons, using a 3rd party DNS provider allows you to deal with reliability issues that your web host might have. (For example, if your web host goes down and you have low TTLs, you could put your site on a different provider or show visitors a "down for maintenance" page.)

Interesting, but in the first two there are slices labeled both "other/self hosted" and "self hosted."

"self hosted" means that the IP or Whois lookup matched the second level domain - a high degree of confidence that the service is self hosted.

"other/self hosted" is basically a catch all. Originally just labeled "other", I added "self hosted" later since that is often (but not always) the case.

does anyone have experience with http://www.fdcservers.net/ ? I was looking around for unmetered 100MBps and what I am looking at looks really good and cheap. I have a dedicated server at local ISP and one at theplanet.com - I am not really satisfied with theplanet.com one and prices for local ISP (though superb ping, of course) are a riot.

Wow, nothing on Google App Engine or Azure?

Well, Google App Engine isn't exactly suitable for innovative applications since you're locked to what their environment offers you (e.g. no background processes!?). Azure I don't know, is that generally available yet?

App Engine does offer you cron jobs now, at least.

I wonder why Google App Engine doesn't show up even once. I thought it was a pretty viable and flexible option.

Cool! Looks like most folks using GoDaddy as registrar switch to some other service (typically web host?) for the DNS. How come?

Are any of the companies with Softlayer using their Cloudlayer offering? If yes, how do you find it?

Does choice of hosting provider figure in selection of startups? Will one startup get preference over another otherwise equal startup if the former is (not) using a particular hosting provider/mail/registrar?

The code is on github. Send me a patch ;-)

It's not surprising how many cells say Google.

I'm curious. Does hosting with Amazon imply EC2? Or S3 static files? Or some other form of hosting I am unaware of?

It (in almost every case) implies hosting on EC2. I haven't added detection of image host to my script yet.

Nice! I'd also be interested in the techology decisions (languages, frameworks..).

Umm, what about multiple CN SSL certificates?

I didn't think to check for those. Great idea, thanks!

I think multi-CN is pretty rare. It's Subject Alt Names to look out for!

https://owa.central1.com/ for example.

I noticed a bunch of people are using enom for email. I assume this is because of their hosted exchange. Does anyone have any experience with enom's standard hosted exchange and using it using mobile devices such as BB/iphone

oh noes, you made a pie chart - the most useless chart type of all!

thank you! morons who down-voted my comment don't seem to be able to understand...

Making it as a joke didn't work on this forum because people generally downvote short jokes they don't get. The rule about humor here that seems to work here is to make sure it's actually funny.

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