I am frequently called upon to recommend a hosting provider. Company A needs SAS certification, company B needs Tomcat, company C can work with shared hosting, company D needs a dedicated server, etc. I don't know how to even start the search process. Web searches are not helpful. Even specific search words generate too many results. Sites that rank and review providers are suspect -- I can't tell what is real and what is an advertisement or a link farm.

What do you recommend as a way to identify a list of likely candidates from which I can start my real research?

[Edit] I did not really want to ask for a specific solution to a specific example because

  1. That type of question sometimes gets voted closed as argumentative.
  2. I seem to go through the same problem every time and I was hoping for generic suggestions.

But since a commenter asked, this time I need

  • A host with a SAS 70 certified facility.
  • A physical machine not shared with another company.
  • A server supplied and minimally managed (security updates, backups, etc.) by the hosting provider.

Next time, the requirements will be different, but the challenges of finding the provider will be the same.

  • Maybe if you say where you are located and what your criteria are or might be then you will get some concrete recommendations which can set you on your way. May 6, 2009 at 23:14
  • I am hesitant to ask for specific recommendations because that type of question gets closed as subjective and argumentative. However, I'll edit the question...
    – bmb
    May 7, 2009 at 0:15

5 Answers 5


I suggest you do the following:

  • Ask your peers who they would recommend, get a list of hosting provider's who you can then access.
  • Buy some related magazines, and look at the ads, bigger companies can afford the bigger ads.
  • Ask for recommendations here, the worst that'll happen is your question might get closed, but you may get valuble information.
  • Attend various conferences and spread some business cards around, that's one of the main benefits of those events.

I strongly recommend Rackspace. I've used them in the past, and they were cheaper and easier to use than any of the managed hosting providers I've used in the past. And their "fanatical support" is truly impressive, often closing service tickets in minutes.

For lower end solutions, I've been very happy with Slicehost (now Rackspace-owned). Virtual hosting, very low cost, and minimal management (they give you the VM, then you are on your own).


I would recommend WebHostingTalk.com. If you hang around that place for a little bit you'll get a feeling about what's good and what's not, what to look for and what to avoid.

The hardest part in finding a host is not so much finding one that meets your criteria, probably most do, but rather finding one that's reliable, can help you out if you hit a bump in the road, and within your budget. Of course that's very subjective if you don't have personal experience with the provider. This is why I recommended that site -- I hope SF doesn't mind -- because you'll find a lot of testimonials from the people in that part of the industry.

Things to consider: location (you want the closest DC possible, with the lowest latency), the network they use (and how redundant is their network), years in business, reputation, and price.


Have a look see at the local IXP's (Internet Exchange Point) members. Many are likely to be pure networking folks, but some will be both network and hosting, and some just highly competent hosting companies with serious network infrastructure--very few mom-n-pop operations, if any, end up in the peering arrangements as they are for the stable, organized and 'serious'.

Then again, my own needs are heavy on the network infrastructure so their is a bias here. :P

(Here is Switzerland we have SwissIX, a non-profit organization made up of folks one might consider.)


Hi for a provider to match these needs I have a few in mind Compliance, SAS70 Type II, PCI Shared Nothing / Dedicated Everything Able to host Financial/Healthcare/Government

feel free to reach out to me @ linkedin.com/in/noneil

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