The internet is a minefield. For every truly friendly company offering service and value, there are ten of them trying to defraud you, overcharge you, or just to merely provide you with dissatisfactory service once you sign on the virtual dotted line. As the old adage goes, if the offer seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
The problem is, if you live by this simple rule, you'll occasionally miss out on some genuine diamonds in the rough. In the treacherous world of web-hosting, ICDSoft is such a diamond.
My needs were fairly modest when I was last searching for hosting services. My personal email account and web pages resided at the company at which I worked; I was, however, planning to leave my employer and also wanted the redundancy offered by having my data potentially located in two seperate locations.
The provider would need to host some personal pages, some files I occasionally upload for friends and associates, support PHP and MySQL, preferably allow an unlimited number of POP3 and webmail accounts, and allow me to set up subdomains to seperate my personal and professional work. I had already registered my domain name, 3pb.net, for use with a game which I have been developing in my spare time.
With these considerations, I started to browse various web host listings and reviews, on-line.
When value for money is a factor, it often seems that you're forced to pick the quality that's important to you. Do you want a package that's feature rich? Offers plenty of storage? Is fast? Reliable? Has great support? Often, to affordably attain one of these means to sacrifice several others.
Somewhat frustrated by the standard of most of the offerings, I finally stumbled across ICDSoft. Sadly, I couldn't find many reviews of this company, but the list of features was impressive. Very impressive. ICDSoft more than met my requirements, and were at the time a mere $5 per month. I rolled the dice and signed up for a year's service.
Great decision. Truly inspired.
It's hard, looking back, to remember what first struck me as impressive once I'd set up my account, but my guess would be the user interface.
It's straightforward. It's powerful. It works in every browser I've tried. In seconds, you can be setting up email accounts, FTP accounts, subdomains, mail filters, scripts, databases, statistics, password protections, and numerous other features that I haven't even scratched the surface of, but will be there should I ever need them.
There's a powerful mailing list manager, there's a very useful site migration tool which allows you to retrieve files automatically via FTP from another provider. There are straightforward backup options. There's even the option to set up custom cron jobs of your own to perform routine house cleaning tasks on your site and database. How many other five dollar providers offer THAT facility?
So the interface and features are there, but how does ICDSoft rate in terms of speed? What about reliability?
As far as reliability goes, for the two years that I've had my account, I can count the number of minutes of downtime I've personally experienced on the fingers of one hand, and ICDSoft's very impressive network status page demonstrates that this isn't an experience unique to me:
The speed is impressive, I won't go into an analysis of their server farms, or connectivity, and will simply say that when transferring large files, they've maxed-out the downstream bandwidth of everyone I've ever associated with. Enough said.
With all this to their credit, you'd assume that the downside would be the support. The strange thing is, though, the support turns out to be their greatest strength.
We've all had bad customer service experiences, particularly when dealing with companies on-line. In so many cases, you fill out a form, you click "submit", and then you wait 72 hours before getting an utterly useless form response, usually copied and pasted from an FAQ. ICDSoft is certainly very different.
It was a long time before I ever had need to submit a support ticket, and so it was a long time before I discovered how valuable their customer service is. It's an asset to the whole web hosting industry.
I've had occasion to submit three support tickets, two of which were simple technical questions about their services, and one of which was an inquiry for a client of mine, and potential new customer for ICDSoft.
After filling out the on-line form to open a ticket, the average time before resolution has been approximately two minutes. Yes. Two. MINUTES.
I'm not exagerating. I'm not lying.
You submit a form, and within moments you have a comprehensive, helpful, friendly response.
ICDSoft's entry level plan is now $6 for 750mb of storage and 15gb of monthly transfer, with discounts for renewals or subsequent accounts, and the ability to upgrade at any time.
Value for money, service, features, quality. They have it all, and the rest of the industry would be foolish not to learn from the example that ICDSoft have set. As for you, you'd be foolish to host with anyone else.