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Solid web host if you know what you're doing
NFS will be the first to tell you they aren't for people who use cPanel as their primary method of running their website. If you don't know your way around a console, then you're going to have a bad time with NFS.
That being said, I've found them to be awesome in the just over a year I've been with them thus far. Their billing model forces you to actually think about what you're running (code bloat is something you can ignore on most fixed price shared hosting packages, performance be damned, but when you're paying for CPU cycles you're going to go and investigate it when it spikes), and their infrastructure seems very well put together. Ultimately you are going to need to have a good understanding of your site's requirements because you're now going to be paying real money for them - this is different from fixed price hosting.
Their control panel, whilst it looks simplistic, has everything a webmaster could need. HTTPS is a single command away, the latest versions of PHP are available (5.x was just depreciated), and there's custom server options as well for those who want to run something like Node.js.
The support forums are again targeted at a more technically minded user, but if you fit that criteria then there's plenty of useful information available there to help you solve most problems you'll come across, and if you've already done some research before raising a question in the forum, the support team are much more likely to go out of their way to help you out.
Other reviews have pointed out their system is a lot more locked down than your average web host, and this is true (by default the web server has zero write access to any content), however with web based exploits becoming more and more common, I appreciate the more secure default. It again forces you to think about what you're opening up on your site whereas on a normal cPanel webhost you'd just install WordPress and go.
Ultimately, NFS isn't for everyone, and if you're the kind who prefers a more modern cPanel-like environment then you should look elsewhere. However if you've had some command line experience, don't mind doing your own research when something goes wrong and have a good handle on what your website's requirements actually are, you might find a home at NFS.
Biggest Pro: Solid web host that charges by usage - could potentially save you money!
Biggest Con: Not suitable for people without command line experience
Nearly Free Speech is a scam. While the provided spotty service for several years. We eventually decided to move our site to a more serious host. When we did they claimed our transfer was fraudulent. They then shut down our site and refused to speak with us even after we proved our identity to them. Now they want us to pay them $300 to buy back our site from them. These people are criminals plain and simple. Stay away from these scam artists at all costs.
Biggest Pro: None
Biggest Con: Scam
nearlyfreespeech.net is horrible!
when my site ran out of hosting funds ($ deducted not supported by usage, so i believe malfeasance took my funds), they changed my password so i couldn't access my account. when i requested to get in, they sent a bogus password a day later. 4 days and another bogus password later, my website is still down. you don't lock someone who's trying to pay out unless you're trying to get rid of them. they obviously don't care for the content of my site, which is articles on the criminal syndicate known as the federal reserve. so much for free speech. they ought to change their name as there's nothing free speech about them. they are ignoring my request for transfer code so my paid for domain is being held hostage.
stay away from these jerks unless you want a lot of aggravation!
Biggest Pro: none
Biggest Con: theifs!
NFSN - perfect for some, lousy for others
Back in the day of static HTML, NFSN was a breakthrough ... competent tech staff, pay-as-you-go pricing and a VERY transparent support model. This is a quality outfit. Not one of those fly-by-night places that puffs up their ratings with a bunch of fake reviews. This is a rock solid place with customers, like me, who have been with 'em for many years. And all those things are still true. But the evolution of Web technologies beyond static HTML has put NFSN users in a whole new place, and many of us are looking elsewhere. The problem is that the new technologies don't mesh well with NFSN's philosophies about security, or customer support.
First is the customer support issue: Tech support is pretty clear about the fact that NFSN is not for newbies. And their definition of newbie is, well, anyone who doesn't understand what they're saying. Don't get me wrong, these guys are very competent technically. But when they give you an answer or tell you how to do something, it's in their language and it's up to you to figure out what it means. Seriously. And they're really up front about it: NFSN does not provide handholding, if you want Dreamhost well you know where to find them. (Ouch.) No they *don't* offer cPanel, and they're proud of it. That's handholding. Their support model is designed to be sysadmin to sysadmin. They specifically don't want "riff raff." (Ouch again.)
Part of the problem with this support model is that, technically, NFSN is architected with some decidedly non-standard configurations. So if you're trying to install Wordpress or Joomla (without cPanel of course), you'd better understand those technical differences and how they're going to affect you--otherwise, your install is toast. Now to be fair, NFSN's interest in setting up a non-standard architecture is to make it robust and secure in a shared-server environment. They will point out to you, on a bit of a soapbox, how everyone else is doing it wrong, and how they're doing it the "right" way. Which sounds nice, but it took us forever to get an updated version of PHP (too many security holes they told us) and we can't use the default installation on, well just about anything. On the other hand, their architecture really *does* work, and NFSN is not subjected to a lot of the crashes and outages that infect so many other shared-server hosting services. That's not a coincidence.
For me personally, I'm enough of a geek that I can make it work. But it's starting to get a little tiresome, and definitely ... if I'm building a site that I want to turn over to someone else, I'm not at all comfortable with giving them an NFSN site.
Bottom line, if you're part of their in crowd, then this is a sweet deal--I would say it's the strongest and most cost effective web host anywhere. But if you're not part of their in crowd, well ... they don't want you ... and you won't enjoy the experience either. it's as simple as that.
Yes, I would recommend this host, but only under very specific circumstances.
Biggest Pro: Secure, robust, pay-as-you-go pricing, quick to reply, transparent.
Biggest Con: Arrogant, non-standard, hostile to newbies
Research before hosting with NearlyFreeSpeech
NearlyFreeSpeech is a fine web host if you're hosting a small, personal site (perhaps that you wrote yourself), but beware if you want to host anything larger than those modest guidelines.
NearlyFreeSpeech constantly touts their advanced web serving architectures and systems that they have in place (complete with caching, high availability, you name it). But in reality, the server and connection speeds are absolutely horrible, and it's honestly the worst I have ever seen out of any shared host. Some of my hosted PHP sites take as much as 15 seconds to load. Customer Support blames it on the fact that I'm using the Zend Framework, and that PHP has some problem that causes a bottleneck, which is absolutely rubbish. If PHP isn't working correctly for them, then they should DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and fix the problem instead of whining to their customers about it.
This brings me to my next point, which is the customer support. In more than one occasion, I have been addressed quite rudely by the support staff. I opened a support ticket asking them why my site (which loads instantly on a VPS) was taking 15 seconds to load on their system. They actually closed my ticket WITHOUT A RESPONSE after I told them that I was dissapointed with the service that they were providing after NO ATTEMPT was made whatsoever to resolve the problem. They simply fobbed it off with excuses, as I said above. If you need reliable support, look to another host because you're definitely not going to find it at NearlyFreeSpeech.
One other thing that has always bugged me is their Feature Request forum. Members can suggest and vote on feature suggestions for the service, and the forum is filled with much needed ideas that would make NearlyFreeSpeech a better and more innovative host. Seems like a good idea, right? Well, not if the host isn't going to make an effort to implement any of them. In the months that I have hosted with NearlyFreeSpeech, I have not even seen one of the feature requests been implemented. Seemingly simple requests such as allowing wild-card domains in their DNS manager as well as server aliases for hosted sites are denied because their "complex server architectures" are not able to support such a thing. I've seen plenty of other hosting providers that have similar architectures that are able to implement that, so I'm still not sure why NearlyFreeSpeech isn't able to.
In conclusion, NearlyFreeSpeech really is just a gimmick host for people that need to host very small sites that really don't need much more than basic PHP and MySQL. Try to go any further than that, and you'll run into any number of problems. I would definitely do you research before going for NearlyFreeSpeech simply because of the pricing system. There are plenty of other options that will actually provide an innovative service while providing great customer support.
Biggest Pro: None.
Biggest Con: Horrible Customer Support and the Features (or, lack of them).
Most Bang for the Buck!
I've been using NFSN now for almost 7 years. In my opinion; if you want a solid place to host your web pages without having to deal with the hassles of a big corporate hosting company, this is the place for you!
As others have said, NFSN isn't for everyone. If you're a complete n00b to web hosting, and don't know how to put up a site without someone holding your hand all the way, then you should look elsewhere. But if you want a service that provides all the tools you need, including a reliable apache host, support for php and cgi, and mySQL services, then NFSN will meet your needs.
The cost for the service varies, depending on what you have on the site. One site I have on NFSN costs me about $4.50 per month. It has almost 1GB of audio files, and fairly high traffic. Another site I have on NFSN costs me $0.04 per month! That one is just a simple CMS (Joomla) site.
One thing I really like is that I can use Dreamweaver, or any other web development software, in either FTP or SCP mode with NFSN. SCP makes uploading pages much more secure than FTP, and it's the preferred way to transfer files. I'm still amazed at the number of companies that don't support SCP uploads!
NFSN doesn't support FrontPage, which to me is a big plus! This keeps out the riffraff on the site. However, if you want a full LAMP host to develop your web pages, then there's only one real choice! NFSN!
Biggest Pro: Very inexpensive!
Biggest Con: None!
NFSN: Unique and Excellent
After a bad hosting experience (Netfirms: poor tech. support), i immersed myself in web hosting shopping here at webhostingreviews.com and other places, for an ethical, honest hosting company able to host a small family memorial site at low cost yet with acceptable service. Not liking nor really trusting the very many discount web hosts, i eventually ran across the existence of Nearly Free Speech.net (NFSN) and finally saw a compelling option.
Unique business model: no flat rates here: you pay for what you use... no more, no less. Measured service, fairly priced amazingly close to what appears to be the actual cost of providing the services. Reading through their Terms of Service (which all of you should do for any web host you are seriously considering and about to sign up with) it was clear that their values are in alignment with mine: all seemed reasonable and fair.
Important: NFSN is not for everyone. NFSN members are supposed to be as self-sufficient as possible, and if their support tells you what is wrong and you don't understand what they are saying, it is up to you to go research what the terminology means and do your level best to figure it out. You are not paying for, and you are not receiving, support from a dedicated support staff. You are receiving support directly from the experts who set up and run the company and its servers. They're polite and nice (in my experience) with everyone who meets them halfway and makes an honest effort towards self-help. They clearly state that, as much as they wish it were otherwise, they are unable and unwilling to teach anyone how to be a webmaster nor how to use web design and related tools.
For a small site like ours, i doubt there is better pricing: in a week or so under 2 months of hosting with NFSN, it has cost us $1.87 for *everything*, including one MySQL instance and me doing a lot of back-and-forth with updates and whatnot.
When i did have support questions, they were answered extremely rapidly (within 5 min., typically) and accurately on the NFSN web support forum, by both the NFSN community and NFSN employees/principals.
I have no complaints whatsoever about NFSN and find it highly refreshing to be working with a company focused on one function (website hosting) and doing it extremely well, and in a way no one else has discovered yet which works out much better for many of us.
I also recommend you read the 15 Oct. 2007 review here by Hristo Genov for further details. The only area where my findings are different is that since NFSN has implemented improvements in their pricing structure in the last month or so, apparently they are more price competitive for larger, high-traffic sites, of which apparently they have been hosting quite a few for many years now.
Biggest Pro: You pay for what you use... no more, no less
Biggest Con: Not for the inexperienced nor those craving deep support
NearlyFreeSpeech.net - Different Approach to Shared Hosting.
Let's talk about NearlyFreeSpeech.net.
It is hosting with unique pricing structure and unique control panel.
I like this control panel in cpanel/plesk dominated market.
In fact you can use them for an year for unlimited domains with lite content and traffic and still pay $2-3 for whole year, but if your site is with heavy content and traffic, it is not cheap to be with them.But if you have that amount of traffic - probably you can afford to pay little more, using some kind of advertising on your site.
I also like their statement, that if anyone who wants information about their customers, must first provide court order for that.That's why they are "Nearly Free Speech".
Some unique features are:
(In some cases they are solid pros and in other cases they are pure cons)
-You have to learn their control panel and you must read their FAQ very carefully to understand unique features provided.
-They have some security restrictions on PHP/Perl and some popular web scripts will not run with default settings, or will not run at all.
-For data base account you must pay extra, but it is still OK if you do not waste data base accounts for every little script.
-They do not provide dedicated IP addresses and this makes hard or impossible use of SSL certificates by shared hosting customers.
-They do not host email accounts on their servers, but you still can use their email forwarding or use third party email server with your domain.
I use them for one and half year and i have several cases of downtime, but i always expect something like that with low cost hosting service providers.
My experience with their support is positive at all and i like their practice for accepting suggestions from customers for new features and pool them for a vote among all other customers.
They have also members community forum with useful information.
They have flexible managed DNS service - you have access to most features regarding your domain names pointed to their name servers.
Control panel interface is lite and fast with minimum images.
I am recommending this hosting for experienced webmasters and they must have will to discover something different in web hosting market.
Biggest Pro: Unique price structure..
Biggest Con: There is no dedicated IP addresses.
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