How did I find this web hosting

September 8, 2003 10:10

When I was looking for the web hosting for this website, I was found this document which is the research about the worth of some British’s web hosts. It is just a survey. But at this time, I used the similar processes and questions to find which web host in HK is worth for me to host this little personal website. It is not only a survey, but also the answer of “who is worth to host my personal website”. Of course, it is only the point of my view. This is a subjective article.


I chose the web hosting companies from Yahoo HK directory which their titles contain the words PHP or MySQL, which both are the techniques I used in this website. It may not fair for other companies that I didn’t include them, but the main feature of the web hosts I looked for is to support PHP and MySQL. I chose 27 companies from the list and then sent an e-mail to each company without browsing the websites with the following content via my personal e-mail account:

I am currently investigating finding hosting companies for my new personal website, and was wondering if you would be able to provide hosting for me. My site is very small, only a few pages and pictures, but uses PHP script and MySQL database to allow me to post news. I may also use JSP and Servlet in future, but not now. I don’t think that will have many visitors, and guess there is about 50-100 a month, so it is a small site. I didn’t have any domain name and would like to register the following domain name: “”. I also plan to use it secondarily for my personal email account, so that I may need the POP3 email account including in the web hosting service.

Could you advise me about which account I should go with, or whether you could create something special for me?

I sent all of these e-mails from HK Time 13:30. After I receive one of their response, I replied it immediately with some questions. These quesitons were depending on what the information they provided or not, but most of them are same or similar. The list below is the common questions that I asked:

1. How many people do you have available to provide support?
2. What access speeds can I expect from the Website?
3. What kind of redundancy do you have available if the site goes down?
4. What happens if I exceed my diskspace/bandwidth allowance?
5. Do you offer backup on your servers?
6. What happens if I want to leave?
7. Can I join only three months first?
8. The plan you suggested to me is too much for me. I just want 50MB web space, 20MB MySQL database, 1 20MB pop3 email account, with PHP 4 (or above) support. Also the price is a little bit higher than I expected for my personal website. Could you create some special offers for me?

It seems interesting that some people replied to me using different e-mail address rather than the his own company’s domain name. I’ve found out who they are very hard by checking and comparing each e-mail I sent. I think these companies have to aware these problems occurred. Then, again, sent an e-mail to each company which I chose from the second round to ask more questions about their services and companies detail, also the payment and contract details, to find out the winner.

Result of First E-Mail

So surprise that I only can receive 15 responses of my first e-mail, which the fastest one was around one hours and the slowest one was two days later! I don’t know why the other didn’t reply to me, or they might think that I am not a potential customer and no need to care. Anyany, I could get some interesting answer within these 15 responses.

With the response of ESATE, I only got one line answer:

Currently, we have not JSP support. Do you accept?

Wow! What the answer! From this answer, I don’t think that they will look after their clients, or solve their problems quickly. It is the most disappointed reply and I immediately drop it out of my awaiting list. is the fastest response. However, it only provided a link of a very simple website which only contains very limited information about the plan. This website also make me lost most of the confidence of this company.

01link Network made a clear response to me including the cost per year of the plan, registration and payment method. It is good that it contains the notice in the reply that increases my confidence:

This message is intended only for the use of the Addressee and may contain information that is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please erase all copies of the message and its attachments and notify us immediately. Thank You.

HOMELogon is the only one that created a special offer for my request. 20MB web storage, 1 10MB POP3 e-mail account with 1 year domain name registration fee, and only cost HKD 400. As the lowest price in all of companies chosen, it surprisely can give me HKD 100 special discount offer. I think it’s all the personal website owner wanted to get.

Communilink attached a 545KB MS Word file in their response that includes all of the plans they have. Although the 545KB attachment may be a little pain when using 56K Internet connection (that’s me), it is still a good response because they had suggested a quite suitable plan for me and what I can do if I want to use JSP later, also a offer to get the free domain name registration when joining their service.

#1 HK Web Hosting had just replied in a few lines that the plan suggested is 100MB webspace, 10 POP3 e-mail accounts with MySQL, but I don’t know whether they support the PHP or not which is my main scripting of my website. And the price HKD 1,176 is a little bit higher for the personal website excluding the domain name registration fee.

The basic plan of HKWebHost doesn’t include the MySQL that the customers have to apply the additional service with MySQL Database, which of course have to pay more. In their basic plan, 100MB webspace, 10 POP3 e-mail accounts (50MB each), support PHP and CGI charges for the reasonable price HKD 68 per month. However, I have to pay extra HKD 40 per month to use the MySQL database. It is a little bit expensive for the personal website. Also, it is the only company that told me they provided the webmail feature in the first responses.

UDomain gave a very good response to me, including the attachments – sign-up form and plans detail. It only used 150KB and much smaller than Communilink’s. Also the answer is really warm for me:

Thank you for your interest in our service. To application for an, kindly note that an annual fee of HK$150 will be collected by Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company Limited. If you would like to use PHP, MySQL, JSP for your site, I would suggest you to join our Professional Package. Attached please find our service details and the order confirmation form for your reference. To choose the right web hosting package, you need to consider the storage of web and email you need, the platform and if you need any database i.e. ODBC, MS SQL. To join our service, simply fill in the enclosed order confirmation form and fax to 2xxx xxxx.

They stated how to choose a suitable web hosting package and who is received my domain name registration fee. They also provided a direct contact number to the replier of my e-mail. It is the best response in all replies.

VirtualHost suggested me to use their Basic Plan, which is only HKD 58 per month including all my needs, MySQL, PHP, POP3 e-mail account. There is a little bit annoyed that I had to click on the link to see the detail of the plan. On the other hand, they told me how to register the domain name and the documents needed, which can show their care to their customers.

Following the ESATE, Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre also gave me a one line response that only told me how much they will charge and a link that contains the service details. I didn’t feel that they treated me like a customer, just redirect me to somewhere and I had to find the information myself from the link. What a service!

HongKongHost is the only one that create a special plan to meet my requirements. This special package includes 100MB webspace, a 20MB Webbased POP3 IMAP4 EMail, an domain name registration fee and a MYSQL database. The annual fee for these is only HK$700. They also told me this plan will support PHP, CGI and SSI scripts, round-the-clock FTP upload and unlimited traffic flow. This plan is as good as the HOMELogon’s. Unfortunately, they didn’t reply my second e-mail until now, and that’s why I dropped it out of my mind.

Newsbook was the slowest replier and the most expensive plan. Their Plan 88 with add MySQL Service costs me HKD 1,650 per year! I don’t think that is a personl website needed and can afford. When I was writing this article, my client began to use their web hosting service (PHP with MySQL). I don’t know how much they costed, but I just know the server is very unstable. I didn’t connect to the server successfully 9 out of 10 times. Even it was connected, when I was uploading the files to the server, it suddenly disconnected and could not be connected within several minutes. I have to use more than 2 hours to upload about 8MB files to the server. At the same moment, I still can connect to other servers and browsed the website normally, which showed that my ISP was working well and didn’t disconnect. Because of it, I dropped it out of my awaiting list immediately.

Other replies are similar that contained a little bit of plan detail, or a link to their website, and the cost. Nothing special to point them out.

Result of Second E-Mail

Most of the answers are good and acceptable. #1 HK Web Hosting replied as an interesting answer:

Are you in Hong Kong? Please call us back at 2xxx xxx for more details.

I think that is no matter where I was at this moment. Do you only focus on the customers that are in Hong Kong? Why cannot answer my questions via e-mail? ESATE also just told me to visit their website to get the answers. I don’t think that they will show how many people will do the support in their website.

1. How many people do you have available to provide support?

Most of them told me how many people they have to provide support. On the other side, I am very disappointed that Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre told me that the support will be provided only at office hours. What can I do if my site is down at night? 01Link provided a wonderful answer of this question:

I don’t know.

Wow! You don’t know? Are you really working in this company? I don’t think it is an answer that the customer like to receive.

2. What access speeds can I expect from the Website?

Cyberhost told me their servers are in the US, not in HK. I think it is the main concern for me to choose a web host that the servers do not place in Hong Kong. Vizz did a very good response for this question by providing two testing links that I can try and feel how fast they are, not only told me the speed without approval. Newsbook had a different answer:

If you have your own domain, no more access need to speed. (For domain registration, the .com registration price is $256.00 for two year and registration price is $200.00 per year)

Oh? Don’t you understand my question? They were talking about the speed of register, not the access speed. VirtualHost and Timwayhost gave the best answer that included which data servers and network backbone they are using. 01Link and Communilink stated the maximum speed is 100MB/sec. HOMELogon has 1.5MB guarantee local bandwidth.

3. What kind of redundancy do you have available if the site goes down?

Unfortunately, Cyberhost, HOMELogon, VirtualHost and Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre didn’t provide any redundancy. Again, Vizz did the best answer in this question:

We do enterprise Hard Drive RAID 1 Solutions. And Redundant power supplies; Redundant Servers. If some unexpected disasters are happened, our technical support will be here to solve the problem, either hardware failure or system down.

Newsbook had an interesting answer:

We used seven date centre and we have Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and Redundant fiber-optic cable for sudden event, all server have so you should not be worry for the server down-problem.

Similarily, HKWebHost told me that their service are 99% uptime. How about the other 1%? What will both of you do if the servers really went down? God knows.

4. What happens if I exceed my diskspace/bandwidth allowance?

Some of them will charge the exceed diskspace/bandwidth, and some of them will suspend the account, which most the customers do not want to see it. Some of them will give you the warning before suspend your account. HKWebHost gave an question to me:

unlimit bandwidth. but you cannot run something high loading script.

What’s the meaning of “high loading script”? No idea.

5. Do you offer backup on your servers?

Most of them do not provide the backup. Even provide, it only used for internal. That’s mean the clients have to backup their data themselves.

6. What happens if I want to leave?

Most of them do not have additional charge for leaving, but the pre-paid money will not refund. Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre needs one month notice before the services stop. Again, 01Link gave me a different answer:

??? i don’t know what is your mean. We don’t have contract to you.

Oh? You don’t understand? I may have to re-enter the school to improve my English.

7. Can I join only three months first?

Only #1 HK Web Hosting, ESATE, Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre, Timwayhost and VirtualHost accept to be paid by monthly. Others have to be paid by yearly. Vizz provides 30-Day Money Back guarantee service and HOMELogon gave me a two-week trial account.

8. The plan you suggested to me is too much for me. I just want 50MB web space, 20MB MySQL database, 1 20MB pop3 email account, with PHP 4 (or above) support. Also the price is a little bit higher than I expected for my personal website. Could you create some special offers for me?

Vizz provides me a three month free web hosting offer. Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre offer 20% discount for me at one email box. The others do not provide a special offer to me.

In my point of view, Vizz, HOMELogon, Timwayhost and VirtualHost are the best responses to my questions which almost provide the detail answer. It is shown that these companies always take care their customers and how they deal with the potential customers. However, I had chosen HOMELogon and VirtualHost into my final decision because of the reasonable price and good responses, also the suitable plan they provided.

Final Result

Final result was surprisely that came out so easy, HOMELogon. Reason? No response received from VirtualHost for my last e-mail, even I sent two e-mail with the same content to them. I don’t know why it’s happened and have a bit upset. However, I really love the service and answer provided by HOMELogon. They’ve shown how they deal with their potential customers, and how they take care with every of their clients. I sent an e-mail to them for comfirmation and they start to host my little personal website.


In the competative web hosting market in Hong Kong, these companies have to make their best to serve their customers well. Nobody wants to pay for the unvaluable service. As the result, I don’t know how well HOMELogon will serve me, but all the facts dictates that customers are the most asset of them. Let me try them a year, and will be told what’s happened between their service and my website in the future. Enjoy my website and I’m welcome for any comment.

Appendix: 27 Web Hosting Companies I chose (Order by name)

#1 HK Web Hosting (No response)

01Link Network Service Limited

AdvanHost (No response) (No response)

CommuniLink Internet Limited

Cyberhost.HK (No response)


HK82.COM (No response)

HKNET.COM (No response)

HKWebHost Internet Service

HOMELogon Company Limited

Hong Kong Internet Homepage Service Centre

HongKongHost.NET (No response for second e-mail)

HostLink (HK) Limited (No response) (No response)

KeyNet Technology (No response)

Newsbook Limited Ltd. (No response for second e-mail)

UDomain Web Hosting Company Ltd.

Virtual Host, Inc.

Vizz Technology Limited

Web Host Ltd. (No response for second e-mail) (No response) (No response) (No response)

By Michael, written at girl-friend’s home, Sydney, Australia


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