The 13-Year Itch
The story goes a little like this: After many years of being in a relationship, things might get a little more complicated and less exciting, and you’re starting to think if it's still right, ways to get through this, if it’s worth it or if it would be better to move on.
This is how I currently feel about DomainFactory, one of the hosting companies that I have been with for a long time, pretty much exactly since the second half of 2003. And on the internet, this is a very, very long time.
Since I’ve been hosting with DomainFactory in Germany I actually haven’t had any major issues over all the years. Email has been
very super reliable and I’ve mostly been happy with the web hosting side of things as well. Compared to many other hosting companies, the admin interface, even though not the prettiest, has always worked well for me, support communication has been quick and friendly whenever I needed it and the overall price/value has always been good. Admittedly, even better than most other hosting companies.
Still recently, I feel like we’re somehow growing apart.
Firstly, DomainFactory recently has been bought by Host Europe. Even though it seems that everybody’s goal in life is to get bought by a bigger and better funded company, I believe that getting bought almost always makes founders pay a big price for selling their baby.
Of course that’s a very personal opinion, but most companies loose some of their original appeal and the focus shifts from building a great company or product to being driven by investor goals - which naturally - is to make money. And since investors usually want to increase their profit margins year over year, something's gotta give… Anyways, this is a topic in itself that I might maybe write about some other time.
Following the acquisition, DomainFactory decided to move data centers to France, which contradicted with their original promise of hosting in Germany.
While many people got very upset about this, my itch is in a very different spot.
1. Secure Connections for Everyone
I have recently tweeted about it and the more I think about it, the more it actually bugs me.
While some web hosts advertise paid SSL certs w/ improved Google search results, others implement one-click installers for @letsencrypt.— Holger Bartel (@foobartel) April 21, 2016
I have also been hosting with AllInkl. in Germany for a number of years. I never really used them as my primary hosting platform, but rather for clients and side projects, since I have been happy with DomainFactory so far and moving domains just isn’t a very fun thing to do.
But what they offer now is very compelling and such a great feature to have: Let’s Encrypt one-click1 installation for any domain hosted in any of AllInkl.’s packages. Hell yes, this is good stuff and I like it!
I wish everyone would make it that easy to get a SSL certificate and install it with such ease. Including the nifty feature of automatic renewal after each year. Thanks for this, I love it.
And while they're offering this for free to all of their clients, DomainFactory sent a newsletter promoting paid SSL certificates because "SSL can positively impact the customer's Google search ranking".
As Stephen Hay put it in a tweet, such a missed opportunity…
@foobartel It would be a good selling point for shared hosts to take on.— Stephen Hay (@stephenhay) May 16, 2016
2. PHP7 is Old News
PHP7 has been released for some time now and it's faster than any of its predecessors. Many hosting companies already offer PHP7 as an option and since many of my sites run on Kirby, which supports it, I would like to give it a shot. Kirby is much faster when run on PHP7, and I would of course like to have it.
DomainFactory’s forum says that they are looking into it, but since not many of their clients run PHP7 sites, it seems that it’s not a priority, thus taking a long time. Maybe it's because of scale, maybe it's because of another reason, but bottom line to me, I can't use it, yet. Maybe I'm not in their primary target group anymore?
I have been thinking about this for quite some time now, considering various possible scenarios. In the meantime, Harbour Front HK has gotten some love and now runs on Kirby with PHP7, a secure connection and it's blazingly fast. Thus for the near future I will move some my sites to AllInkl. and keep Email and everything else with DomainFactory for the time being.
- It’s not quite one click to get it installed, but more like three clicks, which is still pretty damn quick.