Two summers ago, I started playing on the web. My first web site was hosted for free on Netscape and created with almost no HTML know-how. A couple months later, I switched the page over to my college's server. But when I graduated, I had to find a new space for my special thoughts. I chose Dreamhost because they'd been lauded by a few web people I trusted and because they were cheap.
For $9.95/month, I got 10 megs of space (20 megs if you pay 6 months in advance, and 30 if you pay a year in advance) with which to carry out my narcisstic dreams. I also got 24-hour email support and humorous (sometimes surprisingly personal) monthly newsletters. I also later added another domain on my plan and received another 30 megs for an additional $4.95/month. You just can't beat that.
Dreamhost also offers free prizes every month (often stuff like Palm Pilots), a monthly best Dreamhost-hosted web site contest, and the ability to reduce your monthly payment by linking to Dreamhost from your web site.
Now I work in web design, and I've had to deal with hosts I've inherited with clients. Generally, my other experiences have led me to like Dreamhost more. For instance, Dreamhost has a free canned form-to-email script that lets users insert a line of code into their HTML form without having to get down and dirty to investigate paths to perl and sendmail scripts and other stuff my non-cgi-oriented mind can't quite get a handle on.
Dreamhost also offers mailing list management capabilities, unlimited email aliases, domain name registration, and the ability to add POP3 addresses to your account and make other alterations to it within seconds.
My favorite part of Dreamhost is the down to earth attitude of their employees. Their customer service people are extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. When I write letters of crisis to them, I feel like I'm writing to a friend rather than to some unwilling slacker who can't wait to get out of there. I know they're going to help me thoroughly.
But my least favorite thing about Dreamhost is the fact that the only way customers can get in touch with them is through email. If I had a question that could be worked out with a short verbal exchange, it may take a day or two to get the issue resolved. But the support does consistently write back within a few hours of a query, and they are required to respond within 24 hours.
Another issue you may want to consider before going with Dreamhost is your own level of computer-literateness. Because of the lack of phone support, if you're someone who needs to be talked through things often, you may not want to go with these guys. Their tutorials and FAQ sheets are very helpful, but it's best to have kind of a clue about how web sites work before diving in.
Dreamhost has a bunch of plans ranging in size and capability, which are probably best explained with a visit to dreamhost.com.
As far as downtime, I've experienced site outages about three or four times within the past 11 months, all of which have very brief.
All in all, I strongly recommend Dreamhost to web users everywhere.
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Monthly fees (US$): 9.95
Platform used: Linux
Hosted on Secure Server: No
Main focus of Web site: Publishing/Content