I have been with Just Host for a little bit over 9 months now and it seemed about time to write up a decent review of their services. My hosting experience originally started on a 2.8ghz Pentium 3 server many many years back with Server Matrix (now simply The Planet). Yes, unlike most people I jumped online and started off with a dedicated server. As such I had come used to the freedoms associated with that, along with the quality of support offered by a company that runs its own data centers. Next Designs eventually moved to a Dual 2.8 Xeon server in case you were wondering. Dual 250GB harddrives, 2GB of ram – which at that time was plenty for my needs.
However after the sale of Next Designs I no longer needed a dedicated server – and when the time came many years later to purchase hosting I simply could not justify the cost of a dedicated server for the uses I had planned. So came the search for a good shared hosting plan. I have been a long time “stalker” of the Web Hosting Talk forums – I have read the nightmares. I have had my own share of issues with clients websites and their respective hosting companies. I had no idea what to do or where to start.
Here came the thinking. A couple of things went into consideration here. For starters there’s a trend going around in shared hosting these days called “Unlimited”. Its everywhere. Unlimited Space, Unlimited Bandwidth. Have you ever walked into a Best Buy and found an unlimited gigabyte hard drive for sale? Neither have I. This is a concept called “overselling”. See fact is that if you sell people 10GB of space, the majority of them won’t use that. So instead of putting a limit on it most companies just offer you unlimited. The fine print, terms of service, etc, will often state just how unlimited the unlimited account is. Most companies will reserve the right to close your account should you start to use up the majority of their server resources. Other’s provide you unlimited space – but then limit the amount of files you can physically have. For example unlimited space with a limit of 5000 files. Now JustHost states in their policies that they allow up to 50,000 inodes on their shared hosting plans – an inode basically meaning “file”. So if you have 20,000 files as part of your website – you have 20,000 inodes. To directly quote Just Host’s policies:
The use of more than 50,000 inodes on any shared account may potentially result in suspension. Accounts found to be exceeding the 50,000 inode limit will automatically be removed from our backup system to avoid overusage. Every file (a webpage, image file, email, etc) on your account uses up 1 inode. Sites that slightly exceed our inode limits are unlikely to be suspended; however, accounts that constantly create and delete large numbers of files on a regular basis, have hundreds of thousands of files, or cause file system damage may be flagged for review and/or suspension.
Now what does this really mean for you? It outlines what kind of a website their hosting plan is really for. Let’s say you have a huge website, with hundreds of downloads, articles, and thousands of pages. Chances are that you will have a rather bad experience with Just Host as your website is simply too large for what their hosting plans are intended for. However a local burger shop would greatly benefit from Just Host’s hosting solutions as their website would easily fit into the terms specified.
For myself I really just wanted some space to work on without having to setup a workspace environment on any of my personal computers, and I did not want to pay much for it. To be honest, I wanted to clean up my computers. I wanted them to be mine again. The policies of Just Host seemed perfect for me. I had signed up with a 20% off discount, making the yearly cost fairly cheap – and it had provided me with free advertising credits to use for future projects, and a free domain name,and it had cPanel – my all time favorite hosting control panel, sorry.
In my own personal experience over the past months I have never encountered any issue related to inodes. I have freely developed countless of websites on my Just Host plan – and have several currently hosted on that account. I highly doubt I have 50,000 inodes on my account. To be honest with you, I doubt you should either. If you have 50,000 different pages, chances are you should be using a database to store the content and generate the pages dynamically.
Next let’s take a look at the Resource Usage part of Just Host’s policies. The below list specifies exactly what you cannot do with your Just Host hosting account:
- Use 25% or more of system resources for longer than 90 seconds.
- Run stand-alone, unattended server-side processes at any point in time on the server. This includes any and all daemons, such as IRCD.
- Run any type of web spider or indexer (including Google Cash / AdSpy) on shared servers.
- Run any software that interfaces with an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) network.
- Run any bit torrent application, tracker, or client. You may link to legal torrents off-site, but may not host or store them on our shared servers.
- Participate in any file-sharing/peer-to-peer activities
- Run any gaming servers such as counter-strike, half-life, battlefield1942, etc
- Run cron entries with intervals of less than 15 minutes
Once again neither of these should matter to the small business or small personal website – however I have had an issue myself in the past with using too many system resources. My own matter came up due to a PHP script that was being used by a clients website called Aardvark Topsites. It seems that Aardvark Topsites has a few exploits and loopholes in it – and is a huge favorite of spammers who absolutely love to submit non relevant links constantly to these topsites. They then proceed to use a script/generator to send a ton of traffic to the “traffic in” links used by these topsites. This in turn causes the server to constantly be processing registrations and hits – and eventually as you have 10 spammers submitting 100 links an hour and sending 10,000 inbound traffic hits an hour you end up using up quiet the amount of system resources.
Unfortunately there is no way to monitor your system resource usage with Just Host, shy of contacting support and asking for a copy of the Daily Process Report. As such when this issue occurred I was notified by an email with the title of Suspended. Luckily my emails all go to my Blackberry so I was able to quickly pull open the email and start reading. The email provided for me the exact processes that were exceeding the system resources, and by how much. They ofcourse urge you to make the switch to a dedicated server – and provide a slight discount from their dedicated hosting partner, SingleHop. However I knew I had no need for a dedicated server so I got to work on tracking the issue that was causing the overuse of system resources. Honestly at this point the email made me feel like all hope was lost for my Just Host account. Suspended felt a whole lot like terminated. There was nothing mentioned about contacting their support department and resolving the issue – so I responded to the email explaining that a delinquent script was causing the extra usage and that a mere warning about this would have been enough for me to notice this was happening and fix it.
Alexey Bryan quickly responded, and by quickly I literally mean within 10 minutes, and had unsuspended my account however he blocked public access to the Aardvark Topsites directory until I resolved the issue with it. An understandable solution. I simply opted to have Just Host delete the whole directory as I was not going to bother fixing the script. In the end the whole matter took a total of 10 minutes to get my account unsuspended and live, and a total of 30 minutes in email communication.
Now as far as up-time goes there has been probably a total of 4 hours of downtime during my 9 months with Just Host – and I’m rounding up. This downtime is broken down into 2 days at 2 hours for each day, once again approximately. Both times was due to upgrades being made to their servers or their network.
I really cannot make proper judgement on their hosting support as I really never had any need for it. Sure I have contacted them when some downtime happened – and they quickly notified me what the case was. I have called in with quick questions about changing the main domain on the account – and once again was given quick assistance. I have never had any real technical issue and as such cannot vouch for how knowledgeable the Just Host support team is.
Now if you Google around Just Host reviews you end up finding plenty of people complaining about their hosting, and honestly I don’t understand it. When I was doing the same search 9 months ago none of these reviews were really there – and yet I see people complaining about their websites being down for 6 days at a time. There are a few things that come to mind reading all the negative reviews. For starters it could very easily be one person who had a really bad experience who went around and posted as many bad reviews as possible. It’s happened countless amount of times before with many different customers. Furthermore certain people expect to have their hand held while building their website – and this is simply not the kind of company Just Host is. They provide you with cPanel, they setup your initial domain name, and that’s it. If you can’t figure out how to connect to your website via FTP, and the issue is simply your lack of knowledge and nothing on their end, they really won’t walk you through the whole process. That is the type of service GoDaddy offers.
Lastly we all know that someone, somewhere, bought a hosting account and didn’t bother to read the fine print. It happens with just about everything these days, but let’s be honest with ourselves here – we don’t always read the fine print ourselves either. So I can understand that if you looked at the hosting, thought “wow this is a steal!” and brought over your gaming website which hosts 400mb large patches for your favorite game, along with user submitted mods, skins and sounds – oh and you run a blog on it which you update daily – AND you also decided to go ahead and host 10 other websites for your friends on this account — yea you might not have a fun time.
Does this make Just Host a bad hosting company? No. Not for me anyway. They provide me exactly what I need and nothing more. They provide me with a space online for my small business website, and they provide me the wiggle room I need to develop and host a few select client websites, and more-so they provide me this at a price that feels like nothing to me. In fact there are days when I forget that I ever paid for this hosting and believe it to be free.
By all means if you are one of the Just Host clients who had posted a bad review and did so for a legitimate reason I would love to hear back from you on what really happened. Feel free to contact me privately, or post your response in the comments below.