Nullshells Networks

About a month or so ago I investigated replacing my extensive collection of virtual private servers, free web hosting accounts, SSH shell accounts, and so on with a single managed server account. The reason for this is that the time taken up with managing these various accounts and servers was starting to chew up more time than the money I was saving.

A couple of friends had free accounts with Nullshells, and had positive things to say, so I thought I’d give them a go. I chose the “Value” ($7 USD / month) web hosting plan based on the number of domains I planned on hosting. All my websites are fairly low bandwidth and low disk usage, so this was the only one of the listed specifications I really cared about.

I have to report that the signup process was fairly simple, and the setup process was completed quickly. The only thing I found slightly confusing was that (for some odd reason I can’t quite fathom), there seems to be a separate user account for the billing system and the system logons. While this doesn’t really matter (I set them both to the same password and just ignore the fact), it does puzzle me.

The web hosting plan I chose gave me access to one of Nullshell’s servers on the East Coast of the USA. I have had no problems so far with the speed of the server, nor with the speed of the connection. I live in Australia (basically the other side of the world), and was getting ping replies in 250msec. Not quick, but that’s not the fault of Nullshells. Transfer, however, was no problem. It fully saturated an ADSL2+ connection I tried a transfer speed test on. I have no doubt it’s a lot faster than that too.

As with all modern hosting plans, a user control panel is included. The one Nullshells uses is called ISPManager, and everything about it is very nice. It’s a lot easier to work with than CPanel, and makes a lot more sense.

As for the actual plan’s features, well, they’re pretty nice too.  $7 a month buys me 1GiB of disk space, 5GiB of data transfers, 10 MySQL databases, and 100 email accounts. As well as that there is the previously-mentioned 5 domain limit. Available for use are PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails and Server-Side Includes. Compared to the larger ISP hosts, this is brilliant value. Even for some of the comparable smaller hosts, it’s still rather outstanding. But there’s one surprise up Nullshells’ sleeve that I haven’t talked about yet.

The service is amazing. I’m yet to have a problem resolved in an unsatisfactory way. The staff are always ready to help. In addition to this (and this is the first time a commercial company has impressed me in this way), I’m asked occasionally if things are working fine and given notice of recent improvements the company has made (I’m interested in such things, which is why they tell me).

Overall, I’m really pleased with Nullshells. For the cost of 3 bottles of Coke a month, I have a web hosting service that’s much more reliable than anything I could do myself, with great service and more features than I’ll ever use. 5 stars.

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