There are a lot of web hosting companies out there, but Hostbaby is the only one that I’ve ever heard of that caters exclusively to musicians.
As it’s only $20 per month, I decided to try out the Hostbaby service to see how it stacked up to other web hosting services I’d used.
The interface is easy to use, and mimics CDBaby’s trademark, er, ugly web design. Luckily, your fans won’t see the background, and that ugliness serves a purpose–musicians will instantly feel at home, with easy-to-use navigation controls to add shows, keep an ongoing diary/blog/news feed, post up and crop pictures, mp3s, and products, and change the entire deisgn of their website. Hostbaby has a very simple interface that accomplishes all of these things with only a few clicks. If one wanted to do some more in-depth web design, one could–Hostbaby allows HTML access, too.
The webmail feature was the only slight disappointment. For obvious reasons, it’s not as advanced as most web based email clients, the spam filter isn’t good, and it requires a second login (rather than being instantly accessible when accessing a Hostbaby website). It’s still completely functional, though, and the awesome listbaby feature makes up for its shortcomings by letting musicians keep comprehensive lists of their fans. The website even provides a form to let your fans sign up to your mailing list on their own. Very cool.
I contacted the customer service team and asked whether I could have access to the root of my website, as I wanted to add a folder that would enable password-only access. Not only did they get back to me within a few hours, they offered to set up the password-protected section for me, and assisted me with further technical questions that I had. Hostbaby’s customer support seemed extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and not overly-professional (that’s a good thing, by the way–musicians hate corporate shills). Hostbaby also provides resources where its users can read about good web design and tactics that can drive more fans to their websites.
Overall, I couldn’t believe the Hostbaby’s services were only $20 per month. Mr. Sivers has made a webhosting company that’s affordable, flexible, and downright well executed as any on the internet, and though it’s for a niche market, that niche will find no better web hosting service.