My experience with Drak / A Small Orange

I have a bewildering number of domains and websites and projects scattered around the web. But they are pretty much all hosted through whoever my current host provider is. My first host was Jaguar PC, but I found my service was becoming unbearable. At first I was pleased with my package getting more features and the limits becoming less limiting. Also, the price was fall. I was getting more, for less. Jaguar PC was in a race to the bottom of the web hosting market to pick up the most clients. Eventually this started causing problems. So I decided to move. It’s tough being me. Because I am a cheapskate. I hate spending more than I feel I have to. Though, whenever I say something like that my father usually points out that I am willing to pay dearly for something thats worth it. Rather than being cheap, I am really concerned about value. My old host didn’t have value. Not only was it inexpensive, it was actually cheap. And that’s not a good thing.

It’s hard to get a firm grip on value with hosting providers. On the surface they all offer the same thing. It’s just the price that’s different. After doing some investigations and talking to friends, I moved to Drak.Net. They were not cheap. But that wasn’t the most important thing for me anymore. It was a webhost owned and ran by Jen Lepp and her small team. Their data centre was well managed by a professional data centre company, and they had 24 hour customer support.

My experience with them was good. Their servers were reliable. Their speeds fast. Though they weren’t the cheapest out there, but their support staff was dedicated and quick to respond. That small community with dedication was part of the appeal. The servers all had fun codenames as Jen would ask her kids to name each server. And on several occasions I was in communications with the actual owner of the company and getting top-notch service. It felt like a good company and was a good experience.

Then she sold out: Drak.Net was purchased by A Small Orange, which is a premium web hosting company. This is supposed to be the part where I rant and rave about how terrible all the changes were. But that wouldn’t be true. A Small Orange is a good web host. Their packages are not cheap. While they are full featured, they nickle and dime you for things like bandwidth and disk space. But in return you get fast, reliable, high tech service and equally fast customer support.

There was an error in my billing and I feel like I am being charged a couple dollars more a months than my plan with Drak.Net because of their error, but I never brought that up. Also, after paying for a year I was charged the following month for a month. The problem was quickly fixed.

After several years that slightly increased cost made me wonder about switching again. Maybe I just should have brought that up. Or maybe I was just remembering wrong. During that time I also thought I would like to start a reseller account and sell web hosting to others. With that in mind I began comparing web hosting reseller accounts. I actually switched to another web host for well over 30 hours. But I cancelled that new account before closing my account with A Small Orange. Having had a very bad experience I instead upgraded to the reseller account with A Small Orange. The difference between a premium web hosting company and cheap web hosting company was more obvious than before.

I certainly do recommend A Small Orange. On the other hand, I will post about my 30 hours on another day. (Edit to add link.)

Further reading:

If you are curious about why this premium web hosting company cannot seem to afford enough cheap hard drives to give unlimited storage and extras like that, I learned it’s because they don’t want to. Here are some great reviews that seemed to get to the bottom of the matter, honestly talk about the positives and negatives, and reflect my experiences over the last decade and more of web host experience.