I’ve been hosting A Better Geek on someone’s DreamHost space since I started the site. I’ve since discovered that, while free hosting is nice, having control over everything is worth a little cash every month.
Server virtualization has started to really revolutionize the web hosting industry. Now, instead of sharing resources with thousands of others on a single box, you get a little mini-server all to yourself, complete with godlike control (aka root access).
What’s most amazing is how cheap this stuff has become. I ended up going with Linode VPS (virtual private server) hosting. For $20 a month, I get 12GB storage, 360MB RAM, and 200GB bandwidth (which, apparently is a soft cap – not sure what’ll happen if I go over!). But, best of all, it’s all mine. I went with Ubuntu 8.10 LTS, running the ever-present Apache/PHP/MySQL configuration. I have things that your typical shared hosting providers don’t provide without extra fees, like SSH and SFTP. I could run a WoW or IRC server if I wanted.
Needless to say, I’m quite happy with my move. I’ll have to figure out what kind of fun things I want to do with it!