Updated Review of ReliableSite.net – One Year Later…

[UPDATE – 2/7/2011] I have terminated my relationship with ReliableSite.netI cannot recommend this hosting provider to anyone anymore. Over the year since I wrote this post initially, their service quality has degraded drastically, and the technical support is abysmal.

It has been well over a year now, so I thought I’d take a bit of time to revisit my old review of ReliableSite.net that I put up last year. This was prompted by a request I received from the original review asking me for my updated opinion.

So…would I recommend ReliableSite.net for your shared hosting needs today?

Depends on what you are doing with it…

Now… keep in mind that I have zero experience with their dedicated servers, virtual hosting, or cluster hosting. I am a shared hosting customer, and that is the extent of my experience with ReliableSite.net. I also only host a few small, low-traffic, personal sites with them.

For personal sites or low priority systems like mine then sure. Reliable has a great price tag, their speed is quite good, and the system is reasonably reliable as advertised. Everything that I wrote in my original review is still true and accurate.

But for serious business apps, commercial services, high-traffic sites, or anything that requires high up-time I couldn’t in good conscious recommend them as a hosting provider. Not directly because they have failed to meet my own expectations, but just because there have been some issues over the last year that have eroded my confidence in their capabilities and the prospects for their long-term survivability.

What puts me off of giving them my full endorsement?

  • No Visible Growth.

    ReliableSite.net doesn’t appear to be evolving.

    Their site hasn’t changed much. Their forums are a ghost-town. Their documentation and support KB hasn’t added many new articles. I’ve not heard of a large influx of customers adopting them as a provider. There are no new “non-biased” third party reviews online that I can find. And there is no “buzz” about this company around the net.

    This company is going into their 4th year or more, so I’d expect to see soem serious traction from them by now…. but today they are in almost exactly the same spot they were in back when I signed up.

    The lack of customers talking on their forums especially troubles me. I’d expect to see all kinds of stuff on the forums, but instead there is almost nothing going on there. Either they don’t have many customers, or the customers have nothing to say.

    Either way, it is not a confidence builder that this company will be around a year from now.

  • Support

    I had a bizarre reoccurring problem. The problem itself wasn’t something to worry about regarding their hosting capability. It was just that their backup script would sometimes trip up on my database backups. This caused the backup files to start growing very fast, and within a day or two each nightly backup would end up being like 1GB or more (for a database of about 5MB).

    The problem itself isn’t too worrisome… I suspect it has to do with an automated process my site performs that messes with the backup script –Not really their fault as far as I can tell.

    But each time this happened, my file usage would exceed the 3GB limit of my account at which point their system would automatically shut down my account. This takes down the web sites and email access.

    This system would send a notification telling me I was over the space limit, but I’d never get that notification because the email server gets killed too.

    So I’d find out the hard way that stuff was down at which point I log in and delete the messed up backup files and contact support to ask them to restart my services again.

    And here is the problem… if my sites went down outside their regular business hours, I wouldn’t hear back from support until after 9am the next business day. So when my site would go down on Friday at 1am; it was be Monday around 9:15 am or so before it was back online again.

    This happened 10 or more times during the first year until I finally turned off the backup script.

    Basically, the lack of response from support made it feel like the entire operation is run by just one guy that works a regular 8 hour a day job… And for all I know this may be true.

    It is quite possible with this kind of setup that ReliableSite.net could just be a one man operation.

    A couple of web servers in a web farm, a few database servers, and DotNetPanel to tie it all together is not beyond one good admin’s ability to manage.

    The support replies were generally good though, and they seemed to know what they were talking about (unlike many providers I’ve had in the past where the support staff obviously had no idea how to even spell computer, much less how one works).

  • Downtime

    Overall, the sites have been pretty reliable as advertised. But there have been some cases where my site wasn’t available. At least 4 or 5 times that I know of the email server or the web servers were non-responsive. Since I don’t actually use the site that often though, there could be many more occasions where it was offline that I didn’t know about.

    These problems would always get fixed without me having to contact support… but not until after 9:00 am the next morning.

  • Email

    Their email system is pretty decent, but I’ve noticed a significant jump in spam that gets through their filters these days. This suggests that they aren’t keeping on top of the latest anti-spam measures.

    Overall, though it is also clear that email is not one of the services this company really wants to be heavily involved in. They provide some basic service, enough for personal use or to support the email requirements of your web application, but the options are rather limited.

    And as I mentioned, they don’t expect their own email servers to be the host of your primary email address… otherwise they’d not turn it off when your account exceeds the allotted space limits and such.

So anyway, almost everything from my first review is still correct, but I’m not feeling as optimistic about the company overall. I had planned to move my own hosting over to DiscountASP.net this past year, but I decided to renew with ReliableSite.net one more year and see how it goes… moving all my stuff is a royal pain, and I had other things to do at the time.

I can recommend this hosting provider for small and personal sites, but considering how competitive the shared hosting landscape is these days, I’d recommend you put serious sites on one of the larger, more popular, and well established providers instead.