As a web studio we spend a lot of time talking about what it takes to build a site but it's just as important to have a place to put it. We’ve tried a lot of different hosts over the years and it’s such a refreshing change to have a great one that I felt like shouting (alright, quietly typing) it to the world. That host for us is EZP.
When choosing a host, you might Google “Top 10 web hosts” and pick out the cheapest and highest-rated but it’s not exactly cut and dry. We’ve had issues in the past with hosts charging hidden fees for easily-enabled features and we realize now that a good rating on a host doesn’t mean anything coming from a reviewer who has never needed any support.
So how did we end up with EZP? It was a referral actually, so right away this is a big plus. We've met with the owners face to face so there's a personal connection there. It also helps that we met them through meetups in the Drupal community. (Yes, the owners actually showed up at local Drupal meetups to learn from the developer community what they needed in a web host. Tip to hosting companies: This will give you serious cred among your #1 customer base.) They know Drupal and they always seem to know exactly how to fix every problem we have without even thinking.
Why we love EZP:
Small Size: They're a small company, like us, which means we know them all by name, and which also means they are familiar with all of our sites. They are honest and up-front about the fact that they're a small shop and have two support staff in Canada, and two in India to cover the night shift. Also I’d like to think that our success is linked to theirs which provides incentives on both ends.
They're Canadian.This is not necessarily just patriotic loyalty. If our Canadian clients are hosted on Canadian servers then we're in a better place to guarantee that the laws around their data will protect them and that they don't need to worry about the Patriot Act or other foreign governments taking interest or issue with their content without consent.
They are flexible: we've been able to customize our servers for our needs. Need Git? No problem. How about a customized directory or account structure? Just ask. SSH access or specialized permissions to do certain things? You betcha. Obviously there are limits to this, but within reason EZP has always been willing to accommodate us and we love them for it.
They are fast! Very often I get a response to a query within 15 minutes, even if it's just to say "hey, we're looking into this". I'll never hold them to that kind of response time but we definitely appreciate it.
Turnaround speed isn't everything though. Once upon a time we tried a host with a mind-blowing turnaround time except that they rarely did more than skim our emails for keywords and then blindly perform those actions. If you filed a bug that said "Is it possible for a user to delete everything in the root folder?" You'd get a response an hour later saying "We have completed this action for you." Gulp!
They're server experts. EZP has always carefully read our support tickets and before doing anything determined if the action we request is the best one for the circumstance. We've even gotten some great suggestions about how to do things better on our end which, in turn, means fewer support tickets for them. Everyone wins.
Which brings us to my favourite thing about EZP: They listen. I really can’t emphasize this enough. Talk to enough people who’ve worked with web hosts in the past and you’ll start hearing horror stories of 3-week turnaround on issues that were then handled incorrectly. It's so refreshing to send away a support ticket knowing it's going to be read and processed before any action is taken.