I’m in the process of transitioning away from a virtually no-name webhost that I have used for the past… 7? 8? Years. I am sure they just a reseller of an existing service.
About 6 months ago I had to submit (yet another) support ticket because the add-on domain manager decided that it didn’t like me. Again. It was a constant issue, and it came down to me just emailing one of the admins lists of domains to be manually added. After a while i had enough. Getting a domain added inevitably took a day or so, and they always seemed disinterested in any question/problem/issue I ever had. Sure, it was cheap (~$8 per month starting in 2005), and I was willing to put up with the slowness, but as web related gigs started to pick up, and my list of registered domain names grew… it just began to suck hard.
I got a Godaddy hosting account, and started to play around with how it worked. Damn that sucked. it was slow as hell to serve pages to the open world and FTP access was also dog slow. I gave a few static sites a month trial.. and gave up.
So I tried 1and1.com (another mega service). The same sites were down 20% of the time, and would time out half way through page loads (!) on a regular basis.
In the meantime of trying these services I asked the old host what the hell was wrong with the system that i always had problems. It’s goddam cPanel! it’s pretty tough to mess up! They… kind of apologized and offered me a discount. On one month. Whee.
There’s an upside here: A buddy of mine recommended Hostgator as being pretty bullshit free. I decided to give it a shot. Sure enough, they answer their phone if you have an issue, and the text-chat based support system is staffed 24 hours. Word. Overall the price of the package I use is a bit more per month (like $2), but hey: My account hosts ~40 domains where I have ready access to a DNS manager with, it’s damn fast for the price, and the support staff knows what they are doing and respond quickly. I have recommended them to others myself, and it has been such a nice change compared to the other majors that I have dealt with.
Update 09/01/2014: Of course, things went south. Hostgator was bought by EIG and everything fell apart. Support is overloaded and service is abysmal.