A Good, Independent Web Host?

…and by independent, I mean they only use their own servers and don’t either share/rent space from Google/Amazon/MS or use Google Cloud, AWS, or Azure. Thanks!

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I’m pretty sure you’ve excluded almost all of the options people use regularly.

Does it matter?

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I mean just your run-of-the-mill web hosts who will host your site on their servers. Dreamhost, Hostinger, etc.
Have you come across a web-hosting provider that doesn’t use Google Cloud, etc.?

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I’m still pretty sure you’ve excluded the ones most in use. You’ve listed three of the biggest providers of servers.

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Would you happen to know about hosts that are at least most supportive of open source, privacy, that sort of thing?

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Almost all of them use AWS (or similar - Google for example, although it’s often difficult to tell because the other provider may be using AWS anyway, Azure does this for at least some services afaik). ie they rent stuff off Amazon & provide a service on top of AWS. Not using them doesn’t mean that they aren’t secure (and if you rent a VPS or an entire box, then the security is on you anyway). If anything, they are likely to be far more secure on average.

Re. being supportive of open source, that doesn’t have anything to do with the server hosting.

Hetzner are the biggest alternative to AWS/GCP/etc hosting in Europe, anyway, can’t comment on rest of world.


Do you mean the “other provider” as in Google or Azure, for example, might themselves be using AWS?

As for going VPS from such a service; doesn’t that still result in sending data through said infrastructure providers unless those providers are omitted to begin with?

What do you mean? There’s web hosts that advertise using Linux or Windows. One provider advertised “we use open source solutions whenever possible.” Thank you for the Hetzner tip, though.

In the time since my OP, I’ve gotten word from the web hosts InMotion and A2 that they don’t use Google, Amazon, MS, or Alibaba (however, they also use Google Captchas). Is it likely they were lying/mistaken?

Yes. For example a load of Azure services went down a few years ago because they were hosted on AWS servers. If a company needs specific services in a specific geographic area and doesn’t have the capacity, then they’ll rent servers off someone who does.

Sure, but how that works is down to the contract agreed with whoever the infra provider is: once you’re getting into renting industrial-scale capacity, business agreements change significantly, it’s not the same as a single customer renting a tiny amount of capacity. And re data: they may own the physical machines, but they can’t actually get at that data.

Everyone uses OS solutions. AWS probably uses more OS solutions than every other provider combined. Windows Server and the associated techs, yes, they are, in the main not OS. But Azure for example is built on OS tech. GCP is built on OS tech. All of them will, primarily, use OS tech. Almost everything runs on Linux. Everything uses OS tools developed for that.

OS software doesn’t really, in the main, have any ethical upper-hand. In an ideal world, sure, but in reality it tends to strongly benefit corporations. FOSS, yes, much more of a case there, but just OS, no.

No, but why are they somehow better? (Not a rhetorical question)

That’s very interesting, about the blurred lines. I understand the whole “linux is everywhere” thing. But I still want to use Linux Mint or Ubuntu without Windows, for example; I want my web host to do the equivalent. Aren’t purely OSource tools (not proprietary tools built with OS) going to keep deep-pocketed third parties down by design? That’s my main goal.

I’m hoping that getting assurances from tech support that they don’t use XYZ is reliable. Do you think a company might still use such infra providers anyways, though? And if so, what else could a guy reasonably do to weed companies they dislike out of the equation?

That would be great news to me, but I don’t see how that’s true. What stops them from getting to the data on their own servers? I was reading a post about this at a forum called SitePoint, and some tech vets said that a VPS helps for outside-in security much more that internal security (and/or privacy), because the web host would still have access to it, passwords and all. That may be beside the point, though, because my experience is too low to get into VPS.

I just want a web host with A) no Google captchas, B) no required use of BT 3rd parties, and C) Linux shared hosting.

It seems like there’s much less chance of sending your data to these companies by cutting them out of the equation. Just like I’m a bigger step away from them on my PC by using Mint, Ubuntu, etc. instead of Windows, no?

Who is hosting the server hardware has no impact on if you run Linux or not. You can puts lots of different software on servers. It’s intentionally not relevant what software the hosting company uses.

You seem to have a lot of confusion about hosting? Everyone uses open source technology. Its completely orthogonal to you disliking certain companies.

“Hi, I’m looking for a restaurant that serves XYZ, does anyone know of one?”
“But… why?”

Does anyone know of a hosting company that fits these marks:
A) no Google captchas (or derivatives), B) uses something besides Google, MS, AWS, and the like, and C) Linux-based servers, not Windows.

A) that has nothing to do with the host - CAPTCHAS are part of the website, not the host platform

B) it’s hard to say for sure since so many companies rent hardware from these providers

C) You often can’t tell one way or another. It doesn’t effect what the server can support.

You’ve gotta log into their portal (on their site) sometimes

You’ve gotta log into their user portal sometimes.

Why is their user portal having CAPTCHAS a bad thing?

Sorry another rambly comment. I do completely get where you’re coming from, I do empathise. It’s just that, practically, it can be quite difficult to get what you want.

I do understand, but what you have to bear in mind is that the server software is requested by the customer. A given company that owns servers may install software on those servers, and may manage those servers for a customer. Or they may install [almost] no software on them and rent them as-is, leaving it up to the customer to install what they want.

Purely OS tools don’t keep your Google’s/Amazon’s down because literally everyone bases their stacks on them. As @JeremyLT says, it’s orthogonal. So AWS/GCP/Azure/Alibaba are selling their PaaS offerings which run on servers which run OS tools. Their business is those PaaS tools, which are, yes, proprietary, but technically so are those of any hosting company (which may just be glue code between OS tools, but still proprietary).

There’s nothing preventing you renting a bare-metal server from anyone and install Linux. It’s expensive compared to shared/VPS hosting, but you can have an entire OS stack if you want without the provider’s proprietary services on top. The provider’s internal infrastructure or PaaS will still be proprietary because, again, that’s just how companies work. It’s prosaic, there’s no reason for a given company to OS their own, highly context-specific, software.

It’s an economies of scale thing, so it’s very difficult to tell. They could be advertising not using using say, AWS, but then they could be using a service that in turn runs on AWS under-the-hood. For example, basically all of the PaaS companies (eg Vercel, Netlify, Heroku, Digital Ocean) in turn run on big cloud provider servers (AWS overwhelmingly).

What you’re wanting is probably easier to get, because as a single customer there are smaller hosting companies that don’t aim to provide a suite of turnkey solutions to {storage|databases|auth|insert whatever else}, and run off their own servers. But the issue is going to be how do you tell that?

So take a common example: say hosting company A own a building full of servers they rent in, say, Germany. But the company also says it guarantees low latency wherever you are in the world. To do that, they need servers in every geographic area. How do they do that? They’re likely going to be renting them, but off whom?

Other thing is how little do you want to have to do? You can probably find a hosting company that isn’t based on {big cloud provider} fairly easily, but then you’re going to likely have to set more stuff up yourself, which may/may not mean what you have is going to be less secure (which is one of the things you mentioned) - it’s going to shift more responsibility onto you.

This is dependent on what I said in last comment, on the contract agreements. There are also legal stipulations. If a hosting company were to use {big cloud provider services}, then they [may] also need to provide legal guarantees to users that the parent host would not be able to arbitrarily do that.

It’s getting way beyond your usecase, but probably useful to show another example (it’s about control, which is what I think you’re looking for). The NHS in the UK got in trouble a couple of years ago after agreeing a deal with Google to host everything. Key reason was that there was a possibility that patient data would [in part] possibly be present on servers located outside the UK. And naturally, there was also the worry that outsourcing control of the servers would open up the data to access from the Google side. And that all the services hosted were at the mercy of GCP being up. The key issue was sorted contractually afaik, re other two issues, can possibly take the view that they’re less likely on Google’s servers than on the NHS’ own (or not :man_shrugging:t3: - I mean now they’re hiring Palantir to run stuff so I’d probably go for that but anyway…).

Yeah, but this, again is kinda orthogonal: any hosting company is going to collect some metrics, but the actual data is going to be yours (with obvious caveats re illegal stuff).

I wanted to respond earlier, but I took my time re-rereading things more closely and looking up some of the lingo. Let me see if I understand…

I’m hearing that GCP and (mostly) AWS now provide PaaS to the vast majority of commercially available web hosts. Because of that, it’s very hard to suss out whether a given web host uses them, and they probably do even if it doesn’t seem like it.

When that’s the case, as it usually (but not 100% …?) is, it doesn’t matter what OpSys you use when the platform itself sends data to one of these companies. (I’m kind of less-than placated with the legal protection angle; while it’s at least something, I’m much more trusting when things are secure and/or private by design, not agreement.)

Is this the foundation of what you’ve been telling me?

What’s most confusing is that I assumed at least some lean, small-to-moderate-sized teams who feel the same way about these tech giants would create a viable alternative, even if it’s only 98% uptime (how barbaric!) or a little longer load times.

I could go on about hosts like 1984 (no tech support) and Orange Host (I don’t do crypto), but it’s not a practical solution for me for various reasons.

So in the end, what you guys are saying is “orthogonal” is that even if a host uses a totally Linux OS or Windows, some other part of the stack will invariably be from Google, Amazon, MS, or Alibaba… and by now, this applies to almost every single big or big-enough web host provider. Did I get it?

I went ahead and got shared hosting through Hostinger. They only use hCaptcha (which I long thought was a reCAPTCHA derivative, for some reason), and I couldn’t find mention of GCP, AWS, or Azure about the “LightSpeed Web Server” infrastructure they use.
That NIH thing is exactly what I’m talking about. This “pro-monopoly” mentality (that is why I don’t want to feed Google data, not even with CAPTCHAS, JeremyLT) is just not a good way to go.

On the plus, it seems (for now) that I found a host that checks all the boxes in Hostinger, even though it was not even my 10th choice; but by all means, dash those dreams if you happen to know that’s untrue, because I’d rather know. :face_with_spiral_eyes:

‘pro monopoly’ is a mischaracterization of my comments. At no point did I say monopolies were good. All I’ve said is that what you seek is hard to be sure you’ve found given how many companies rent server time from the big providers and that Open Source isn’t some magic bullet.

I wasn’t characterizing your comments. That was my own answer to your question. Why did you even ask it?

You’ve reached your answer. It seems this thread is complete.