We’re not a hateful studio, honest. But the fact of the matter is that there are lots of great service providers out there, and then there are well-known service providers who are “good” for specific reasons, but also bad for some more important reasons. Below we outline the services that we most recommend against using, and why…
Web hosting: GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Yahoo Business
As of this writing, there are 3.42 bajillion web hosting services out there, and frankly, most of them are fine (Angled End is actually one of them!). Web development nerds like us generally prefer those that are based on Apache and cPanel, since those are time-tested environments that rarely throw us any surprises. With a cPanel-based server, we can jump right in and get stuff done, no problem.
But while GoDaddy has fairly low hosting fees and are pretty good for domain registration, they aren’t satisfied with using a universal interface for their hosting systems — everything about the management of their servers involves their own custom interfaces that are almost always slower to navigate (not just because they’re nonstandard) than their cPanel counterparts. For a web developer, using GoDaddy’s servers is like trying to make a PB & J in the kitchen of a crazy person — you know exactly what’s needed for the task, but you’ll be damned if you can figure out which of these top-hats Mr. Jiggles put the jelly jar in.
Network Solutions is flaky, slow and overpriced. Yahoo Business is a bit like GoDaddy (nonstandard interfaces making usage difficult) but arguably worse, especially when one has to constantly login to switch between different areas.
Printing: VistaPrint and (shocker!) Kinkos
Really we’re only including Kinkos in this list because VisitPrint is the big, mediocre king of this area and we didn’t have anyone else to go with them. But there are business owners out there who just don’t realize that Kinkos is going to print all-digital, substandard work in pretty much every format. To be fair, they’re not holding themselves out to be a printing service bureau per se, and they do have value as a last-minute/better-than-nothing option, but if you can wait a week or two have something printed, Kinkos just doesn’t make any sense.
In any event, what’s wrong with VistaPrint? Quality, plain and simple. Yeah, they have tons of options and low prices, but in our experience, all of that comes at the cost of solid, crisp print jobs that make your company look pro. PsPrint is an alternative that offers a similar outlay of products but generally produces better end results. We send print jobs to a number of different services around the country/world, but PsPrint is a bit more user-friendly than most. Those looking to print locally in the Portland area should give StevensIS a shot.
Domain Registration: DNS Services/iDNS
You’re not particularly likely to come across this option if you’re looking to register a domain name. No, iDNS appears on the scene after the fact, in the form of a very official-looking letter that implies that your domain is about to expire (which may or may not be the case) and that you need to send them $45-180 to make sure that doesn’t happen. Don’t do it. This isn’t just a lousy service, it’s a scam, plain and simple — they craft their letters to appear as though they are an official entity who has the ability to keep your domain afloat or shut it down. They do not, unless you give them that power. RUN AWAY.