I just saw this blog post from NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. I love being a customer of this company — they are happy to host smaller sites and are constantly working to bill only for services actually used. This blog post addresses a bunch of feature requests from their customers that have been open for years and some other potentially advantageous changes.
I host a few different sites with them (not all of my sites, but many of them). If you are looking for bare-bones web hosting (static HTML or PHP or CGI scripting), take a look. If you already host a static HTML site with NFS.N, you automatically got an 80% drop in your storage costs. If you host a dynamic website with pretty low traffic — i.e., the number of hits you get — you can switch your server type over to “stochastic billing” and you will profit from even further reduced storage costs. The trade-off is that you will be charged for the resources you use based on random sampling of resources pooled among all customers once per minute. (More on the term “stochastic” at Wikipedia.) So, if you have a low-traffic site — you’re not using much of the resources necessary to serve up those pages — the odds are correspondingly low that your site will carry the burden of hosting all the sites on a particular server machine in that particular minute. This whole approach is very much in-line with their philosophy of “pay for what you use”, as opposed to “lump all these never-used extras onto the bill to justify the flat rate.” The stochastic billing option is just that — an option. If you prefer the standard billing option (and you might, if you host a high-traffic site with them), just don’t opt into the stochastic billing.
Beyond the new billing options, they have also added support for many other long-term-request features:
- SSL: encrypted connections are now possible, meaning you can safely handle sensitive data
- IPv6: getting ready for the next big internet technology (though since most ISPs don’t support it yet, this is probably not such a big deal for most of their customers)
- Scheduled Tasks: think cron — finally you can make NFS.N do periodic tasks automatically without having to rely on an external service like webcron.org (for which I am thankful, don’t get me wrong, but NFS.N offers it in-house and it doesn’t have to be a web-accessible script)
- Bulk Bandwidth: if you are serving up large amounts of data — more than $5 worth monthly, under NFS.N bandwidth billing terms — this is a good option for you.