Seeking green and modern US based web/email hoster

I’ve ben with Fluidhosting.com for many years, but they seem to get behind on recent developments, lately. E.g, their mail traffic is still unencrypted and when I contact them about it they basically say “huh, what?”

I am looking for a new US based hoster who:

  • Offers virtual web hosting and keeps their software up-to-date and secure.
  • Is fast in responding to support requests, and who take me seriously when I talk about tech stuff, not having me talk to 1st level staff who assume I just started using a mouse.
  • Offers SSH access so that I can create symlinks or install & run Xojo CGI apps.
  • Understands that having two Name Servers in the same subnet of theirs is not how it’s meant to be done.
  • Uses secure (TLS) SMTP.

I do not need apps (Wordpress and all those other fancy stuff), just the basic web server (which I can configure, such as specify mime types) with cgi support, and mail service (for my personal IMAP mail as well as for relaying mails from my PHP and Xojo apps running on the server).

Any recommendations that meet these requirements?

Alternatively, can someone recomment a plain email service provider I could use for securing my email traffic for now, at least? (I understand that this is just about traffic between SMTP servers, but still, I prefer to be on top of this instead of being part of the weakest link here)

(I also understand that I could encrypt mails directly from my Mail app, but that only works if the recipient also supports S/MIME, which still many do not. For now, I mostly care about the MTAs between my mail service provide and the recipient getting their comms secured with TLS, at least.)

I use DigitalOcean (referral link, you get $10 to try it!) for my VPS. I highly recommend them.

? Offers VPS, software is up to you.
? They’re a very DIY company, but I have had my share of “Tim, you’re an idiot” problems that they were happy to help me fix. The tech support takes you seriously but can also ELI5 things if you’re on that level.
? SSH

You can install Sentora quite easily and it will manage all the web server stuff. Or if you’d prefer a Mac app, goPanel is nice, but I wasn’t a fan of how it configured FTP. The rest is up to you (symlinks and Xojo)

Thanks, Tim. Looks like I should have done this sooner :slight_smile: Switching to them, even at their lowest plan for $5/mo, I’d get more than tenfold the traffic and storage capacity at less than half the cost!

However, they seem to be giving me a blank virtual Linux server, where I have to install all the parts myself, then, such as apache, etc. I prefer to rather have Apache already installed, because I hate having to administer my own Linux box. I am a developer, not a system or web admin. I like having as little hassle as possible with moving my websites over there.

FWIW, I can second DigitalOcean. Super flexible, great pricing, great support, I use it for everything now.

DigitalOcean is not bad but I prefer Vultr if you want the do-it-yourself $5 server.

At the end of the day though if you spend more than 15 minutes a month managing your server you are losing money compared to a managed service (like us).

@Thomas Tempelmann We use a global AnyCast DNS system but it does not matter how good your DNS is if you have a single point of failure (your VPS). Things get real interesting when you combine AnyCast DNS with multiple servers around the world to provide both failover and faster connections to clients based on their geographic location.

Also per your question “Green hosting” tends to be very expensive. Greengeeks.com is one of the most well known.

Thomas - Digital Ocean have some preconfigured options, fyi. When you are creating a droplet, pick “One-click apps” and you’ll see the options. Descriptions are listed here:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorial_series/digitalocean-1-click-application-images

They have a reputation for very good support too (I can’t speak firsthand as I’ve never had issues that required Digital Ocean’s support).

They also have recently added support for load balancing:

https://www.digitalocean.com/products/load-balancer/

hth - Anthony

Does DigitalOcean offer a Mail Relay server? I don’t want to have to set up my own, as that’s a painful process (I used to run my own MX and NS in the past but gave up because it’s too much of a hassle to keep it all up-to-date if I want to focus on writing apps).

Also, as I’ve been totally fine with 1 GB of disk space and an average of 15 GB of traffic, I am not sure I need these high-level options :slight_smile:

They offer no mail products/services.

Thanks for clarifying, Philipp. Which means I may use them for VPS needs, but not for moving my main website and mail service, then. The service is indeed quite fast and affordable.

Mail service if it gets any significant traffic is a full time job. I would outsource that to a mail provider or at least a dedicated mail server. The amount of pure SPAM you will get clogging your bandwidth is mind boggling.

FYI, page that explains Digital Ocean’s point of view regarding mail servers:

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/why-you-may-not-want-to-run-your-own-mail-server

That’s just my point. That’s why I prefer a managed service that gives me an MX and web server, and I do not have to worry about keeping them up-to-date. (I already do run a VPS for iclipapp.com, and every time I need to change something, I waste hours on it, which really is not an effiecient use of my time).

Exactly! Hence my point about having two NS in the same subnet being quite useless. When I ran my own NS, I found another small NS service with whom I exchanged my records and vice versa (each played slave for the other). So, when one went down, the other at the other end of the world would still be able to answer.

That just confirms what I explained trying to avoid. I want a reliable and secure mail service. I’d prefer a local one (from the hoster) instead of having to use a remote one, though. That way, I can keep the domain and mx management in one place (which works well with my current provide, fluidhosting, at least).

No idea where you got that idea from. When I just visited their site, they offered $4/mo for shared web hosting, with a $15 setup fee, paid for 3 years in advance (I currently pay over $10 for that) – and when I tried to leave their sign-up page, the even offered a $3/mo deal without setup fee. With 30 says money back. Can’t say no to that :slight_smile:

Well I meant their VPS prices. Shared hosting is eh.

I just looked at zoho and fastmail as dedicated email service providers. Do they really want $5 per user name, even if they’re all on the same domain? I mean, I have about 30 mail addresses on my domain, many of them aliases to the same account, but some using separate mailboxes. If I’d have to pay §5 or $5 for each, that’d be ridiculous. At least in that regard, my current web hoster’s email service is a real bargain (though a bit insecure).

That is typically how it is done. We use SmarterMail (https://www.smartertools.com/smartermail) for our hosting customers on a dedicated machine in a separate datacenter.

If they are in the email hosting business then it is typically per-user to maximize revenue. If they are in the hosting business but do not want customers sending/receiving emails to their individual VPS and want to keep their IP space clean then they will provide a dedicated solution like we do.

I still offer free web hosting, unmetered 100/100 Mbit connection, free SSL certificate using Let’s Encrypt… I don’t offer mail hosting, as of yet, but it is something I am looking at in the future (some time in the new year)… Either message me or email me if you want more info or have questions…