Those big dividends AT&T pays out every quarter have to come from somewhere and apparently part of that somewhere is their hosting customers.
LowEndTalk member @Headfirst recently shared an amazing bit of news:
AT&T will set the reverse DNS records once without charge but any future changes cost $50.
AT&T is charging $10/month for this service, if not more. It comes with a free domain (one at the start of an annual deal) you’re limited to 100 email accounts, get WordPress installed, and enjoy a raft of dubious other benefits (“One-Page instant website”, “Email Marketing Trial”, “Basic SSL Certificate” (so, Let’s Encrypt?), “web analytics” (so, Google Analytics?), etc. To be honest, I’ve seen $10/year providers with more features.
Their features page is so confused I can’t believe anyone actually signs up using it, so I assume that these are products pitched by salespeople. For example, nowhere is there any info on which panel is used, though maybe it’s custom. Still, PHP 5? When’s the last time that feature chart was updated?
They do offer a couple less common things like File Maker and MSSQL, so obviously intended for small business. Strangely, they meter MSSQL based on database size, when MSSQL is licensed by CPU. But this gives us some insight. They are very stingy about the MSSQL disk. If you need more than 100MB in database size, you’re already at their $25/month plan. This reinforces my overall impression that the bottom plans really are either bundles in other services or lead lead generation for their crews to get people onto the upgraded plans. Any small business is going to use more than 200MB in database space, and there’s part of me that suspects AT&T just provisions a free MSSQL Express Edition system for each account who signs up. Why not? Express maxes out at 10GB.
Anyway, for half of what I’d pay at AT&T I can get service at plenty of good hosts, and I don’t have to pay $50 to change my reverse DNS there. AT&T is obviously aiming at a less-sophisticated audience with their promises of white-glove “24/7 toll-free phone and online chat support”. But really, how is it going to feel as a customer if you call up and they nickel and dime you with a charge like this?
If someone really knows little or nothing about hosting, I’d recommend one of the big WordPress hosts before AT&T.
If you are a little sharper (or are willing to learn, or hire someone for a couple hours to set things up), check out these hosts, all of whom are cheaper and better than lame old AT&T:
- GardenCloud in Canada starts at $4/YEAR!
- VisualWebTechnologies offers plans starting at $5.50/YEAR (for DirectAdmin, or $7.88/YEAR for cPanel)
- Depending on exchange rate, BulletHost offers service for about 25% the cost of AT&T
- $10/YEAR will get you onboard at Limitless Hosting
- At $3/YEAR, Silicom Network service is 2.5% the cost of AT&T (yes, 1/40th the price).
- Servzen starts at $5.50/YEAR
- Coast Hosting has hosting in Australia starting $20 (AUD)/YEAR
I cannot vouch that any of these hosts offer PHP 5, though.