I’ve been a happy Layered Tech customer for a number of years. After several terrible experiences with hosting companies that didn’t charge much, which were the inspiration for Web Hosting – A Market for Lemons, I found that LT offered good, basic service at reasonable prices. My first server there cost $70 a month, and handled what I needed it for with aplomb.
Fast forward to now: LT no longer has servers under $150 a month, and while they’re nice machines, I miss being able to get something a little bit cheaper, and am considering Slicehost.
The real distinction between the two is: real, physical machines vs VPS (Virtual Private Servers). The latter earned itself a bad reputation in the past, because many providers ‘overbooked’ the machines that their clients’ VPS ran on. I had some negative experiences with that myself, prior to seeking out a ‘real’ machine to run my web sites on. However, I’ve heard that people are reasonably content with Slicehost, so perhaps they’re running a tight ship. For those who have tried them out, how is the speed/latency of their offerings, and compared to a more or less ‘equivalent’ real machine? The positive side of running a well-planned VPS is that you can quickly switch between configurations, allowing you a bit of room to grow, if you plan things right, which might allow me to save some money.
Incidentally, something that I like about both LT and SH is that they’re not in the California Bay Area, which is a really expensive place to run what isn’t exactly a “rocket science” business. Sure, you want good, solid, smart people, but there’s no reason to be in such an expensive part of the country.