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A top-notch web host

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Here's my brief review of a top-notch web host, HostGator.com:

http://reviews.johnrearden.com/hostgator.html

Unlimited disk space -- bandwidth -- domains -- subdomains -- "MySQL databases" (for things like discussion boards, photo albums, and blogs -- all of which are available to you at no additional charge) -- and more. And great support, online or on the phone. Your first month is $0.01 with no setup fees, with the coupon given at the URL above.

Be well.

John Rearden

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Unlimited disk space -- bandwidth -- domains -- subdomains -- "MySQL databases" (for things like discussion boards, photo albums, and blogs -- all of which are available to you at no additional charge) -- and more. And great support, online or on the phone. Your first month is $0.01 with no setup fees, with the coupon given at the URL above.

Be well.

John Rearden

What other hosting services have you reviewed (I see you have a subdomain dedicated to reviews) and what can you say about this host in particular that makes it better or worse than others?

I am usually pretty skeptical about a computer networking service that offers "unlimited" of such basic commodities as disk space and bandwidth. That means they need to set up arbitrary, complex, possibly secret or changing actual limits, rather than the customer actually being able to plan in advance and buying the amount of disk space and bandwidth they need and knowing they will be permitted to use it.

Some examples of things I might want to know in a comprehensive review are details of the PHP and MySQL configurations, how often do they update software, how are the permissions groups set up for Unix file permissions, do they demand to be your DNS host in order to be a web host, is there a hardware entropy generator available (good for generating secure passwords in applications), how open are they about reporting downtimes, how much configuration of MySQL databases and servers is available to the end user (on both shared and dedicated options)...

So many web hosts compete on price, but that usually doesn't reveal very much.

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Is it Linux or uSoft? Does SSH give full access to a Linux shell? Does it require you to use cpanel? Does it support procmail? Does it offer the latest version of spamassasin with country codes invoked through procmail? Does it provide automatic backups?

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Does it offer the latest version of spamassasin with country codes invoked through procmail?

Ah, procmail! I use a host who specializes in email (they do web on the side, but I don't use them for that) and I have extensive procmail filters to manage my spam white and blacklists, incoming mailing list messages, and messages that alert me on my phone.

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Hello Jeff and ewv,

I've answered many of your questions below; questions of a more advanced technical nature that I haven't addressed here can be resolved by clicking here, then selecting "Learn More" (under Hosting) -- you can find detailed technical information there in relation to a number of features.

(For example, in relation to SSH:

"We allow you to use the OpenSSH Protocol (using Jailed Shell) on all of our Shared servers to make it easier to develop and debug your files with such text editors as vim and nano.")

HostGator's control panel is a branded version of CPanel 11, the top-of-the-line hosting control panel; the OS is Linux. They do have the latest stable version of SpamAssassin, as well as of other apps. They do provide instant backups when requested, have data protection via a RAID 10 array, and also have automatic weekly backups (for accounts up to 20 GB containing up to 50,000 files). And they provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

What sets them apart from other hosts? While they do provide every conceivable feature that the vast majority of consumers might want, it is:

Customer support. HostGator provides entirely US-based support (all from Houston, TX) via telephone, chat, email, and an online ticket system, 24/7/365. They provide rapid, able responses to inquiries and support issues.

Here's still another feature, not mentioned in the initial post, and though it is not unique to HostGator, is one I find immensely valuable:

Fantastico DeLuxe, at no additional charge. At no additional cost, you can install to your site:

- Blogs ( http://anactivemind.johnrearden.com )

- Photo albums ( http://photography.johnrearden.com )

- Discussion boards ( http://lyceum.johnrearden.com )

- Shopping carts ( http://normanrockwellprints.net - another domain hosted within my johnrearden.com account (see below))

Now re Jeff's question -- they say 'unlimited' space and bandwidth, but do they really mean 'unlimited'? Yes, they do. The only restrictions in relation to one's use of the server relate to the CPU and RAM (one may not use more than 25% of the CPU and RAM resources for a consecutive period greater than 90 seconds).

So disk space is indeed unlimited (given that it is not a type of site prohibited by the terms of service). The only restriction is that your account does not use more than 250,000 'inodes', i.e. contain more than 250,000 files.

The unlimited domain feature is yet another that I find immensely valuable, in the context of everything else. Meaning: they will include under one account, and for one price, any number of domains you wish. For example, in the account johnrearden.com, I currently have installed and hosted (realize only one of these has undergone development at the present time):

- johnrearden.com

- rationalpsychology.net

- rationalphysics.net

- normanrockwellprints.net

All of which can be developed as unique, independent domains, though all contained within a single account, and all for one monthly charge.

In brief:

They host over 1,800,000 domains, and for a good reason -- they are very good at what they do.

John

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What I'm getting at, is that this isn't a comparative review. An organization I do volunteer web administration and programming for uses a different host which has a very similar set of features (though not the same pricing structure)--particularly the unlimited domains, SQL databases, use of (different) panel software to administrate everything, and email and phone support with ticketing. Also, the review isn't critical--it exaggerates some of the features without explanation. The ability to install software such as blogs, photo albums, discussion boards, and shopping carts is implied by being able to run PHP and MySQL applications (and although having an automatic installer from the configuration panel is a value-add, it's not a game-changer--these applications are typically not difficult at all to install manually).

A good review should help somebody choose among competitive options. Too many reviews online don't attempt to do this and are not seriously critical, to the point that I usually don't even seek out reviews when I'm product-shopping anymore (instead I look for discussion forums frequented by people knowledgeable about the matter I'm researching). That's why I asked about this host relative to other hosts. You presented it as a review, not a casual recommendation.

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That's why I asked about this host relative to other hosts.

Hello Jeff,

HostGator is one of the top two web hosts in the world, as measured by domains hosted (they compete here with GoDaddy). For one who has shopped around, there are a few things that will stand out versus many of the other options out there.

- US-based phone support

- Unlimited domains

- The top-of-the-line 'CPanel' control panel

- Unlimited space, bandwidth, and MySQL databases

And for someone not skilled with Linux, which is the case for the great majority of people, finding and installing open source software such as photo albums and blogs manually is not an option likely to take up a reasonable amount of time. With Fantastico DeLuxe it takes seconds.

Now, there are other companies who offer US-based phone support – unlimited domains, space, bandwidth, and MySQLs – and Fantastico DeLuxe. So what other attributes further separate HostGator from those out there?

There are two that come to mind.

1- They offer the first month of hosting, during which you may try them out in full and cancel at any time with no further obligation, for one penny (with the coupon given at the review URL).

2- There is no multi-month contract commitment – you can proceed monthly at a charge of $9.95 (following your first month, which again is $0.01).

I know of no other top company offering both of these features.

HostGator hosts over 1.8 million domains. Again, their only nearby competition is GoDaddy, and – as of this evening :-) – I'm told they're in the lead.

Figure you don't get and remain there without being very good at what you do.

John Rearden

Ocala, Florida

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Hello Jeff and ewv,

I've answered many of your questions below; questions of a more advanced technical nature that I haven't addressed here can be resolved by clicking here, then selecting "Learn More" (under Hosting) -- you can find detailed technical information there in relation to a number of features.

(For example, in relation to SSH:

"We allow you to use the OpenSSH Protocol (using Jailed Shell) on all of our Shared servers to make it easier to develop and debug your files with such text editors as vim and nano.")

HostGator's control panel is a branded version of CPanel 11, the top-of-the-line hosting control panel; the OS is Linux. They do have the latest stable version of SpamAssassin, as well as of other apps. They do provide instant backups when requested, have data protection via a RAID 10 array, and also have automatic weekly backups (for accounts up to 20 GB containing up to 50,000 files). And they provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee.

What sets them apart from other hosts? While they do provide every conceivable feature that the vast majority of consumers might want, it is:

Customer support. HostGator provides entirely US-based support (all from Houston, TX) via telephone, chat, email, and an online ticket system, 24/7/365. They provide rapid, able responses to inquiries and support issues.

Here's still another feature, not mentioned in the initial post, and though it is not unique to HostGator, is one I find immensely valuable:

Fantastico DeLuxe, at no additional charge. At no additional cost, you can install to your site:

- Blogs ( http://anactivemind.johnrearden.com )

- Photo albums ( http://photography.johnrearden.com )

- Discussion boards ( http://lyceum.johnrearden.com )

- Shopping carts ( http://normanrockwellprints.net - another domain hosted within my johnrearden.com account (see below))

But this doesn't answer the questions comparing it with what I already have and need, as opposed to most of what is being promoted as "fantastic" and "delux" that I don't need. I want to know objectively what is there without being told in advance how 'wonderful' it is and how 'good' they are so I can decide for myself if it's what I need.

You said it is Linux and they talk about editors I don't use, but is there SSH full access to a Linux command line shell like bash with access to emacs, not just ftp and an unspecified configuration of text editing? Is there shell access to email like pine or elm?

Does it require the use of cpanel? Does it support procmail or not? In my experience those have been mutually exclusive. I left one host because they dropped support for a virtual Apache server and replaced it with cpanel that took over everything and blocked very basic things I needed to do.

Does it offer the latest version of spamassasin with country codes invoked through procmail? Telling me they use the latest spamassasin doesn't answer that. I want to know if I would have access to it directly from procmail. The way they describe spamassasin as being invoked with the "option" to "turn it on" sounds dubious.

These are all questions related to full, flexible use of a linux shell account on a mail and web host server without "improvements" blocking that and making what I implement less portable to the next host if it works at all.

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--------------

But this doesn't answer the questions comparing it with what I already have and need, as opposed to most of what is being promoted as "fantastic" and "delux" that I don't need. I want to know objectively what is there without being told in advance how 'wonderful' it is and how 'good' they are so I can decide for myself if it's what I need.

You said it is Linux and they talk about editors I don't use, but is there SSH full access to a Linux command line shell like bash with access to emacs, not just ftp and an unspecified configuration of text editing? Is there shell access to email like pine or elm?

Does it require the use of cpanel? Does it support procmail or not? In my experience those have been mutually exclusive. I left one host because they dropped support for a virtual Apache server and replaced it with cpanel that took over everything and blocked very basic things I needed to do.

Does it offer the latest version of spamassasin with country codes invoked through procmail? Telling me they use the latest spamassasin doesn't answer that. I want to know if I would have access to it directly from procmail. The way they describe spamassasin as being invoked with the "option" to "turn it on" sounds dubious.

These are all questions related to full, flexible use of a linux shell account on a mail and web host server without "improvements" blocking that and making what I implement less portable to the next host if it works at all.

Just showing my ignorance, I don't understand what any of this means or is used for. Can you give me a hint as to what you are doing with all of this? Why do you need it?

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Just showing my ignorance, I don't understand what any of this means or is used for. Can you give me a hint as to what you are doing with all of this? Why do you need it?

At this point in the thread, I think my original point has been demonstrated. The original "review" read like an advertisement, it featured an affiliate referral link (disguised through TinyUrl), and the original poster's personal web site offered "reviews" of other products consisting of similar content, with no comparative or critical information offered (the main purpose of a review of any product), nor reviews of multiple competing products in the same field. However, despite that, the original poster did have enough time to set up a mechanism with JavaScript to obfuscate the source code and prevent anybody from selecting/copying text out of the page. :lol:

I also wanted to highlight, for other readers, the fact that most of the described features are industry-standard in web hosting, and demonstrate how it's the much more in-depth technical issues that programmers will encounter that really differentiate. All of the issues I named are real issues I've encountered when web programming. A good critical review would explore these differences, drawing on experience with programming and administration on these hosts (this could be research among those who had done so, if not firsthand knowledge). I know this was described as a "brief" review but given the affiliate link and the setup complete with subdomain on the poster's personal web site it raised its profile and thus raised my level of criticism of it.

I have seen other web hosts in years past allow similar, and sometimes much more elaborate practices involving affiliate links, including entire sham sites designed (usually very poorly) to look like unbiased sites which "review" web hosts, and to boost the offending web host's Google rank. That such web hosts set up referral programs where such acts are tolerated (and thus, tacitly encouraged) reflects poorly on them.

I can't answer directly for ewv regarding his requirements, but I can comment on my own experiences, which may be analogous to his:

My email host partnered with an anti-spam provider, which not only scores incoming emails, but provides its own interface for message quarantining, approval, whitelisting, and blacklisting. I quickly found I did not like how it worked. However, the scores themselves are good, and the score is inserted into the email message as a header. I wrote my own procmail filters to do what I liked with the messages based on the scores, and implemented my own whitelisting and blacklisting through procmail filters.

I also like direct SSH and SFTP access to the host. It allows writing, for example, backup scripts, and using my favorite client of choice to upload and synchronize files. I can batch rename, zip, unzip, etc. files right on the host. Using Beyond Compare, an excellent file synchronization tool for Windows which supports SFTP, has immensely saved me time and reduced the opportunity for errors as I can visually "watch" and control deployments and updates.

One host I have used doesn't allow external access to MySQL databases (at least by default--it may be available by special request through support--haven't investigated further). This prevents using the Windows MySQL GUI Tools, for example, and requires using the host's installation of PhpMyAdmin. A minus there.

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Just showing my ignorance, I don't understand what any of this means or is used for. Can you give me a hint as to what you are doing with all of this? Why do you need it?

Because it's all wonderful and fantastic. It is absolutely the top [followed by list of hyped buzz words]. If it weren't so good it wouldn't exist. Does that answer your question? :lol:

A little more objectively, procmail is a macro scripting language that provides a very powerful and flexible means of filtering and managing incoming mail on the server. But procmail is very tricky to use and you have to know what you are doing (so I'm not recommending it to most people). Spamassasin is a filtering and scoring system used to identify spam, and is more useful when invoked through procmail on the server to sort and classify mail so most spam can be automatically redirected straight to an anti-spam organization like spamcop where it is reported for use in block lists for spamming servers instead of being downloaded to your PC mail client before whatever filtering you may use there. That tends to encourage at least some spammers to avoid your email address. If you directly use the hosting company's spam filtering you can't automatize that and are at the mercy of their false positives. Emacs is a classic, popular and powerful text editor used for programming. In general, use of a unix or linux shell (originally designed for programming) is a powerful and direct way to manage files and install and maintain websites and mail management -- provided you have enough experience to know how to use it because it is not transparent. If you do, it gives you much more direct control. The difficulty of using it for most people, who don't know how to develop software, spawned the development of all kinds of user interfaces to make it "easier", but they invariably tend to get in the way of doing anything but the most basic tasks. Such tools can be useful, but they can get in your way, can cause bloat, and become impossible when they limit what you can do and preclude effective, direct access. In other words, if you know something about software development you can have a lot of tools at your disposal to do all kinds of interesting things as a sideline provided you aren't locked out by the hosting company making things "easier".

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SSH and SFTP are secure shell and ftp access methods improving the old standard command line text logins like telnet, rlogin and ftp. These secure protocols are also used for programs like wsftp on a pc with an Explorer-like graphical interface, which is a very useful addition, but not a substitute for full shell command line access.

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ewv, 'Fantastico DeLuxe' is not an enthusiastic description of HostGator -- it is the name of the application available via CPanel that can install open source apps such as photo albums, blogs, and discussion boards.

In relation to SSH, the information I have via the site (mentioned above) is:

"We allow you to use the OpenSSH Protocol (using Jailed Shell) on all of our Shared servers to make it easier to develop and debug your files with such text editors as vim and nano."

For more detailed technical questions that are not answered by examining the details of the relevant features at http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml (click on the "?" symbol next to the feature), email sales@hostgator.com -- they will be able to answer your questions, or forward them to others who can do so. Be well.

John

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ewv, 'Fantastico DeLuxe' is not an enthusiastic description of HostGator -- it is the name of the application available via CPanel that can install open source apps such as photo albums, blogs, and discussion boards.

I know, but I'm immediately suspicious of someone naming a product with built in rhetoric telling me what to think of it in advance of knowing the facts, and it is typical of the rest of the sales hype there.

In relation to SSH, the information I have via the site (mentioned above) is:

"We allow you to use the OpenSSH Protocol (using Jailed Shell) on all of our Shared servers to make it easier to develop and debug your files with such text editors as vim and nano."

A jailed shell is a shell account limited to your own home directory, not a disaster but limiting in finding system files and a nuisance if you're managing more than one user account. It's the opposite extreme of a virtual apache server (aside from full root access which would never be allowed on a shared server). They don't say anything else about the nature of the shell.

For more detailed technical questions that are not answered by examining the details of the relevant features at http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml (click on the "?" symbol next to the feature), email sales@hostgator.com -- they will be able to answer your questions, or forward them to others who can do so. Be well.

The '?' links don't say very much. I have saved the site in a collection of potential hosts for the future.

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However, despite that, the original poster did have enough time to set up a mechanism with JavaScript to obfuscate the source code and prevent anybody from selecting/copying text out of the page. :lol:

The page is encrypted with HTML Guardian ( http://protware.com ), a web-document property protection utility created by www.protware.com. It is so protected to prevent others from grabbing text that is copyrighted, or in any way 'hijacking' the affiliate code.

I also wanted to highlight, for other readers, the fact that most of the described features are industry-standard in web hosting, and demonstrate how it's the much more in-depth technical issues that programmers will encounter that really differentiate. [italics added]

Jeff, the majority of those seeking hosting are not programmers dealing with advanced technical issues. Should you want more detailed technical information relating to particular issues, see the post above directed to ewv.

John

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Just showing my ignorance, I don't understand what any of this means or is used for. Can you give me a hint as to what you are doing with all of this? Why do you need it?

At this point in the thread, I think my original point has been demonstrated. The original "review" read like an advertisement, it featured an affiliate referral link (disguised through TinyUrl), and the original poster's personal web site offered "reviews" of other products consisting of similar content, with no comparative or critical information offered (the main purpose of a review of any product), nor reviews of multiple competing products in the same field. However, despite that, the original poster did have enough time to set up a mechanism with JavaScript to obfuscate the source code and prevent anybody from selecting/copying text out of the page. :lol:

I also wanted to highlight, for other readers, the fact that most of the described features are industry-standard in web hosting, and demonstrate how it's the much more in-depth technical issues that programmers will encounter that really differentiate. All of the issues I named are real issues I've encountered when web programming. A good critical review would explore these differences, drawing on experience with programming and administration on these hosts (this could be research among those who had done so, if not firsthand knowledge). I know this was described as a "brief" review but given the affiliate link and the setup complete with subdomain on the poster's personal web site it raised its profile and thus raised my level of criticism of it.

I have seen other web hosts in years past allow similar, and sometimes much more elaborate practices involving affiliate links, including entire sham sites designed (usually very poorly) to look like unbiased sites which "review" web hosts, and to boost the offending web host's Google rank. That such web hosts set up referral programs where such acts are tolerated (and thus, tacitly encouraged) reflects poorly on them.

I can't answer directly for ewv regarding his requirements, but I can comment on my own experiences, which may be analogous to his:

My email host partnered with an anti-spam provider, which not only scores incoming emails, but provides its own interface for message quarantining, approval, whitelisting, and blacklisting. I quickly found I did not like how it worked. However, the scores themselves are good, and the score is inserted into the email message as a header. I wrote my own procmail filters to do what I liked with the messages based on the scores, and implemented my own whitelisting and blacklisting through procmail filters.

I also like direct SSH and SFTP access to the host. It allows writing, for example, backup scripts, and using my favorite client of choice to upload and synchronize files. I can batch rename, zip, unzip, etc. files right on the host. Using Beyond Compare, an excellent file synchronization tool for Windows which supports SFTP, has immensely saved me time and reduced the opportunity for errors as I can visually "watch" and control deployments and updates.

One host I have used doesn't allow external access to MySQL databases (at least by default--it may be available by special request through support--haven't investigated further). This prevents using the Windows MySQL GUI Tools, for example, and requires using the host's installation of PhpMyAdmin. A minus there.

If that's aimed at answering my question, I still don't get it. Guess I'll just skip this subject. Beyond my interests or knowledge. Outlook Express and Spamkiller works for me. I have no idea why I would need to prioritize my email. I read it, reply, or delete it.

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The page is encrypted with HTML Guardian ( http://protware.com ), a web-document property protection utility created by www.protware.com. It is so protected to prevent others from grabbing text that is copyrighted, or in any way 'hijacking' the affiliate code.

Does this prevent search engine spiders from gathering text and header data necessary to list and rank the web pages? Do you leave key words and phrases in the source code unencrypted?

I also wanted to highlight, for other readers, the fact that most of the described features are industry-standard in web hosting, and demonstrate how it's the much more in-depth technical issues that programmers will encounter that really differentiate. [italics added]

Jeff, the majority of those seeking hosting are not programmers dealing with advanced technical issues. Should you want more detailed technical information relating to particular issues, see the post above directed to ewv.

But that didn't address them either.

If the majority of users seeking web hosting don't care about the technical issues that differentiate hosting sites because they only care about "industry standards" then what difference does it make? Jeff was asking for a comparison in the review so potential users can assess the differences that matter to them.

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Jeff, the majority of those seeking hosting are not programmers dealing with advanced technical issues. Should you want more detailed technical information relating to particular issues, see the post above directed to ewv.

But that didn't address them either.

Hello ewv,

I mentioned in the referenced post that for advanced technical details, one can visit http://www.hostgator.com/shared.shtml and click on the "?" sign next to relevant feature(s). Should the information there still not be adequate, you can email sales@hostgator.com, and they will be happy to assist you.

John

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Just showing my ignorance, I don't understand what any of this means or is used for. Can you give me a hint as to what you are doing with all of this? Why do you need it?

At this point in the thread, I think my original point has been demonstrated. The original "review" read like an advertisement, ...

I also wanted to highlight, for other readers, the fact that most of the described features are industry-standard in web hosting, and demonstrate how it's the much more in-depth technical issues that programmers will encounter that really differentiate. All of the issues I named are real issues I've encountered when web programming. A good critical review would explore these differences, drawing on experience with programming and administration on these hosts (this could be research among those who had done so, if not firsthand knowledge)...

My email host partnered with an anti-spam provider, which not only scores incoming emails, but provides its own interface for message quarantining, approval, whitelisting, and blacklisting. I quickly found I did not like how it worked. However, the scores themselves are good, and the score is inserted into the email message as a header. I wrote my own procmail filters to do what I liked with the messages based on the scores, and implemented my own whitelisting and blacklisting through procmail filters.

I also like direct SSH and SFTP access to the host. It allows writing, for example, backup scripts, and using my favorite client of choice to upload and synchronize files. I can batch rename, zip, unzip, etc. files right on the host. Using Beyond Compare, an excellent file synchronization tool for Windows which supports SFTP, has immensely saved me time and reduced the opportunity for errors as I can visually "watch" and control deployments and updates.

One host I have used doesn't allow external access to MySQL databases (at least by default--it may be available by special request through support--haven't investigated further). This prevents using the Windows MySQL GUI Tools, for example, and requires using the host's installation of PhpMyAdmin. A minus there.

If that's aimed at answering my question, I still don't get it. Guess I'll just skip this subject. Beyond my interests or knowledge. Outlook Express and Spamkiller works for me. I have no idea why I would need to prioritize my email. I read it, reply, or delete it.

If you don't need to set up a web host or control large volumes of mail, including possibly hundreds or thousands of spams a day -- let alone professionally build and maintain web sites -- then you don't need the features you don't know about. Even if there is a potential benefit to them in something you are doing, it makes a difference how much you already know from other endeavors that you can make use of versus putting in a lot of effort to learn all this just for a non-professional special purpose. But if you already have a certain amount of technical knowledge and have an inclination for adventures in using and expanding it in related areas, it is very convenient to use a host where you can do that even if you're not a professional web site developer. If you were such a professional, then the technical features available make a big difference in where you recommend your clients host their sites even if they don't understand the reasons. If you only want a very simple web site and don't know much about what you can potentially do with it, then none of this matters and there are a lot of practical hosting options for where you do it.

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If that's aimed at answering my question, I still don't get it. Guess I'll just skip this subject. Beyond my interests or knowledge. Outlook Express and Spamkiller works for me. I have no idea why I would need to prioritize my email. I read it, reply, or delete it.

For my personal mail, I prioritize it because I access it on my smartphone and want some emails, but not others, to sound an alert (ring or vibrate), based on who it is from; I want to filter discussion mailing lists into separate folders that I read all at once rather than having them mix with my personal mail; and to add known contacts to a whitelist so that they are never treated as spam even if the spam filter thinks they are spam, which otherwise happens from time to time. I use filters for some other less important things, too.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any easy-to-use system to create the conveniences and features I want, so I have to hodgepodge it together myself. The only other option is to give up Outlook (for which I've never found a mail client that comes close), or run my own personal Exchange server. And from what experience I've had with Exchange and its "rules" (filters) support ("Regular expressions? What's that?"), I don't expect that really to work for me.

Sorry, maybe too technical an answer--but in summary, it lets me do a lot more with email.

The rest of the issues I described with web hosts just come up regularly with web and database programming.

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Unfortunately, I don't know of any easy-to-use system to create the conveniences and features I want, so I have to hodgepodge it together myself. The only other option is to give up Outlook (for which I've never found a mail client that comes close), or run my own personal Exchange server. And from what experience I've had with Exchange and its "rules" (filters) support ("Regular expressions? What's that?"), I don't expect that really to work for me.

It looks like Exchange is more complicated than what you are already doing, but don't you use regular expressions in procmail?

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Unfortunately, I don't know of any easy-to-use system to create the conveniences and features I want, so I have to hodgepodge it together myself. The only other option is to give up Outlook (for which I've never found a mail client that comes close), or run my own personal Exchange server. And from what experience I've had with Exchange and its "rules" (filters) support ("Regular expressions? What's that?"), I don't expect that really to work for me.

It looks like Exchange is more complicated than what you are already doing, but don't you use regular expressions in procmail?

Yes, I do use regexs in procmail, but the Outlook Rules Wizard doesn't seem to support it (I was making a sarcastic jab at Microsoft's seeming lack of support by "asking" about regexs :lol:).

My email host which I access through IMAP stores the last 30 days of email, and this is what I use on my smartphone. For my years-long archive, I use Outlook which downloads the mail using POP. Thus, most of the time at home, I use Outlook, and while mobile, I use an IMAP client or my host's webmail (which just access the mail through IMAP).

If I ran my own Exchange, I could unify this, and access Exchange directly through IMAP while mobile, and thereby have only a single message store. But it's (a) expensive, (b ) a hassle to maintain my own W2K8+Exchange server, and (c ) I'm not sure Exchange's "rules" are good enough to do what I want. So even though that solution would be more elegant overall I use the split Outlook-POP/procmail-IMAP setup.

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So even though that solution would be more elegant overall I use the split Outlook-POP/procmail-IMAP setup.

Eudora lets you combine POP and IMAP, which I don't use. I don't know if Outhouse does that.

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So even though that solution would be more elegant overall I use the split Outlook-POP/procmail-IMAP setup.

Eudora lets you combine POP and IMAP, which I don't use. I don't know if Outhouse does that.

Every couple of years I survey and sometimes trial the available leading email clients for Windows and have not really found one as overall featured and robust as Outlook, despite its many flaws. So I've resigned to using it indefinitely. Of course, I'll keep an eye out for other options indefinitely, as well.

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I have been burned by half a dozen hosting companies. I have a few tricks I know now.

  1. Befriend a porn guy (seriously). They know how to do cheap, scalable sites
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  6. Google is doing the same thing but rumor is their uptime is bad. Compare the two and pick the one you want Google App Engine

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