For the last 12 years or so I have had a hosting account at BlueHost. I worked there from from 2011 to 2015, and they were very good to me. When I left I purchased a hosting account because hosting accounts are inexpensive and very useful. This is especially true if the hosting account allows ssh access. In technology sometimes you just need a shell account on a well hosted machine.

I used this account to host a small blog, used the web space to share large files with people, and, most importantly, I used the service to host my email.

My email setup is relatively complex. I have multiple domains that I use for different types of emails, and I create a custom forwarding email address for every single thing that I sign up for with an email. So if I sign up for an account at Chick-fil-A, for example, then I create a new email address chickfila@notengoamigos.org1 and I use that to sign up for their service. When I get spam, and I get lots of spam, I invariably know precisely who was careless with my information. More importantly, this system makes it easy to organize the email that I receive by how important it is. I actually like email from Chick-fil-A, for example, but it is hardly ever pressing. Unless, of course, I am checking to see if my latest order went through. Then I want to be able to respond right away.

Over time this strategy means that I have over 200 different email address. As you can imagine that makes it somewhat difficult to just change how I do email. If I change how I do email I have to log into hundreds of different websites and change my information.

So I was very discouraged when, a few months ago, BlueHost sent me an email telling me that they were discontinuing the hosting plan that I used. They were willing to sell me an account with less features for three times what I was currently paying, but no matter what happened I was going to have to uproot almost a decade’s worth of work on my email and move it somewhere else.

Part of the reason that I purchased a hosting account with BlueHost was that I honestly thought that they were the best. I left BlueHost because they laid me off, but I was still proud of the work I had done there, and the team that I had been associated with. However, the whole time I was working at BlueHost it was widely acknowledged by my colleagues that there was one other hosting company that was very competitive. That company was DreamHost. So when I realized that I was going to have to redo my whole setup I took a look at them first.

I probably should have switched years ago.

Not only was DreamHost less expensive than BlueHost, but it was essentially better in every way. It was very clear that BlueHost hasn’t really changed since I left. The technology is still almost exactly the same. DreamHost, on the other hand, has clearly been hard at work.

Moving my setup over took less than an hour. The new hosts have more modern software install, I now have an ssh account for each of my domains, and I was even able to bulk import all of my email aliases. As far as I can tell my email also no longer relies on just one server. They have a whole email infrastructure, and it has been worlds better. Handling all of the stuff that is required to be able to send and receive email successfully in today’s world is hard. I really appreciate being able to outsource that to someone else.

Long story short, if you are looking for a reliable and yet inexpensive hosting company to handle your digital footprint I highly recommend DreamHost.

  1. I have an email address for Chick-fil-A, but this is not it. ↩︎