Recommend Replacement Web Hosting For Me?

Hello WordPress Helpdesk, from irregular attendee Carol in Cupertino.

We know web hosting companies often “flake out” over time, and I fear this is happening to InMotion Hosting, which I’ve had since 2014. So I’m looking for recommendations for a new web host. Here are some requirements and about the way I work, so you can think of YOUR experiences and what advice you have for me:

My budget and website sizes are that I like shared hosting, but the higher end plans, such as InMotion Hosting’s VPS plans or SiteGround’s GoGeek plan.

I like to have my websites on TWO DIFFERENT web hosts, so I can play them off each other for diagnostic purposes. Right now I think SiteGround is great, and that’s where I host my live websites. For most clients, I set up their own web hosting account at SiteGround, usually the “GrowBig” plan. My second choice, since 2014, is InMotion Hosting, but they have enough odd errors that I save IMH for my development/staging and practice websites.

About specific web hosting companies, there are five that I don’t want for various reasons:

    • GoDaddy: mediocre tech support years back plus more recently, they didn’t follow one client’s directions and completely ruined another client’s website
    • HostGator: they don’t care if their web servers get blacklisted for sending email spam and one day or more turnaround for tech support (experience as of about 5 years ago)/li>
    • BlueHost: three totally time-wasting responses on tech support early in my web developer career, plus later, slow web server and slow to offer PHP versions that are still being updated (as of about 10 years ago)/li>
    • Network Solutions: totally incompetent and slow tech support since they changed ownership several years ago./li>
    • DreamHost: has decent tech support, but we must learn proprietary control panel and we must wait at least 10 minutes to change the PHP version for a website

(Tip: if any web hosting review article favors any one of these web hosts except DreamHost, I know it’s a fake, or at least biased, review.)

In general I want:

* Decent website speed

* cPanel (though a GOOD proprietary control panel like SiteGround’s is OK)

* Online tech support chat within 15 minutes, support ticket response within 1/2 to 1 hour

* Tech support that actually READS the ticket and asks if they don’t understand my question

* Pricing I would like to pay $300 – $500/year

I don’t want to use meetup time to debug the problem that InMotion Tech support has failed on, because apparently it’s a tough problem and even Astra theme tech support is struggling with it. But for context here it is: The website gets a fatal out of memory error if I go to Appearance > Customize or Tools > Site Health. Pretty much no matter what the PHP memory limit is set to, or what version of WordPress I’m using. It happens only in PHP 8.1, not PHP 8.0 or 8.2. I even made a fresh install of WordPress, with free Astra theme, that demonstrates the problem. It doesn’t happen on other web hosts, or with other themes, so I think there’s something wrong with my web hosting configuration or some bug in Astra theme.

The techs are polite and I think they honestly want to help me, but what I don’t like about the tech support I’m getting from IMH is:

* They’re not actually trying out the solutions they suggest (changes to the PHP INI variables).

* 2-3-5-6 days between ticket responses. It’s been about month and I’ve given up.

* The most infuriating response is they change the PHP version to 7.4 and pronounce the problem as fixed. Even Astra tech support has done this, twice.

So even if the long-term solution is to leave my development websites at PHP 8.0 (which as you know went out of even security updates on November 27), or wait for WordPress to catch up with PHP 8.2, I’m worried that InMotion Hosting will not be able to provide timely, effective tech support. Do any of you have a recommendation that will help me?