Choosing a Host That Isn't Toast


A recent Baseline Magazine article, Choosing a Host That Isn't Toast, talks up AT&T Web Hosting. The name confused me--they're not just talking about Web hosting, they're talking about data centers. If you read the article without any background, you'll wonder if it isn't part of some special advertising section since it can't say enough about AT&T's hosting products. I don't have any experience with AT&T's hosting in the last 2-3 years, but I can vouch for their excellence before that.

At iMall and Excite@Home I had many opportunities to work with these people and understand their processes. As iMall, we built AT&T's shared Web hosting product (and won PC Magazine's Editor's Choice award) and, of course, at Excite@Home, AT&T was all over us as one of the owners. I didn't much care for their politics, but I can tell you that their people, their process, and their discipline were all top-notch. We spent a lot of time studying them and learning how they worked. Some of those ideas are in my whitepaper on tiered support, but a lot of the magic is in the people and the organization that you build.

As the article states, AT&T isn't the cheapest place to host--they're among the most expensive, charging a 15% premium over other, similar services. Is it worth it to you? Here's how I'd play it. If your organization is fairly mature, layering that one top of any good hosting provider will probably give you all you need. If you're immature or just trying to develop operational discipline, the 15% will buy you some backstopping that will probably pay for itself in increased stability of your online operations.