All of my non-blog websites, and all my Boles Blogs Network images, are hosted on my private server.  Over the years, I’ve bounced around from webhost to webhost searching for the right fit.  In the past, I’ve tried LunarPages and Media Temple and Mosso (now rackspace CloudServers) found all of them lacking.  Then I happened upon pair Networks — located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — and I finally found the right webhost for me; I’ve been a proud, paying, pair Networks customer for over three years.

pair Networks are not the cheapest webhost around — and that’s precisely why I like them.  pair provide an excellent value at a proper cost, and I’m happy to pay a bit more for better support and higher quality machines.  pair also offer fair, upfront, pricing. There are no secret add-ons that quickly opt you out of what looked to be a reasonably priced plan.  You buy.  pair supports you.  It’s as easy as that.

After our pair server downgrade — due to our eschewing Movable Type for — I moved from a dedicated pair QS-1 server to their less formidable, but still strong and quick, shared, pair Web Developer hosting plan.  For the eight months we were on the Developer plan, I was content.

Then, December arrived this month, and if you renew your pair Networks service on an annual contract in July or December, pair will reduce your overall hosting price by 24%.  That’s a steal of a deal, and with my contract expiring for 2010, I sent an inquiry to pair sales to make sure I was on the right plan for my current and future needs.

In my discussion with Ryan M., I discovered pair Networks now offers “Virtual Private Servers” — “VPS” for short — and I was familiar with using VPS machines when I was on Media Temple, but I hated Media Temple’s “hands off” approach to technical support.  If you buggered something up at Media Temple, it was your fault, and your mess to sort out alone.  Fair enough, but after three years with pair, I’ve buggered up many things and pair have always, endlessly, and without contempt, or complaint, or cruelty, gently helped me out of my own way and fixed what I broke.

pair Networks will mange your VPS and answer your questions and help get you set up and that is a great added value to me. I can, once again, use GZIP and mod_deflate to help compress, and speed up, the feeding and loading of my hosted images and webpages.  I lost mod_deflate when I moved down to the shared server.  I do not have root access.  I don’t need it.

I was at the top of the available shared hosting plans at the Developer level; I chose the starter-level VQS-1 option for my pair VPS.  If I need more server resources later, I can easily add them to my account.  I’m currently guaranteed 1GB of dedicated RAM — more than enough for now — and I get 400GB of monthly traffic, twice as much as my Developer plan, and I have 40GB of disk space, and that is a ten-fold increase over my maxed-out 4GB disk storage on the Developer plan.

Moving up to the VQS-1 server plan was seamless as pair handled the transfer for me; in fewer than 25 minutes I was whole and set up on my very own VPS.  The VQS-1 server is palpably faster than my shared server and the images and pages snap into place really fast.  To test this yourself, clear your browser cache, and go to Boles Books to get a real-world feel for how quickly that image-laden page loads in your browser.  That’s 100% pair power, baby!  We’ve been on the new PAIRVPS for a few days now, and everything is going really well.

If you’re looking for a great webhost provider, I heartily recommend pair Networks.  I was not paid, or remunerated in any way, for writing this article.  I always pay my own way, and that’s why I can confidently share my experience with you — without you needing to be concerned that I have a hidden agenda or that I’m trying to sell you something.  I have zero vested interest in pair.  I’m just a happy customer telling you what I think.  Let me know your thoughts and webhosting experiences in the comments stream below.


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