While the days are shortening and the rain falls quietly outside, I’m feeling a pang nostalgia as I’m about to close my last client accounts hosted at pair Networks.
If memory serves, I opened my first account (webmaster) late 1996 : cybermediaconcepts.com. Among other features, it offered a full-fledged developer environment for the time (such as custom CGI scripts, server side includes, Perl 4 or PHP 2b3) and Telnet access (not many hosting providers offered that at the time).
The pricing was very attractive, and the bandwidth limitations higher than most other competitors : a whooping 400Mb/day (don’t laugh). Remember that most of us were connecting via dial-up modems from home. Pair’s founder Kevin Martin was brilliant and maintained an infrequent insider newsletter which always offered tips and tricks, as well as discount codes (remember the REFUGEE code?) Pair was very popular among the Mac enthusiasts, and numerous Mac-related blogs were hosted on pair’s servers.
Early 2001, they launched their domain registration service pairNIC which complemented nicely their growing range of services. Very early, they offered support for Movable Type, one of my favourite blogging software, and later became a preferred hosting partner.
Around 2012, they became powered by 100% renewable energy and certified 100% carbon neutral. SSL certificates, VPS, cloud servers, WordPress hosting followed later.
I became a reseller very early in, and benefited from their discounts and reductions on yearly plans. I have always been very happy with their services, support and performance, and hosted most if not all of my client accounts and websites at pair Networks. At the height of my activity, I must have been managing close to 20 accounts, with over 40+ websites.
After the popularisation of mobile computing, some of my clients started to run into limitations, such as disk space. With the growing popularity of the IMAP protocol, managing multiple mailboxes on an Advanced or Webmaster account became tricky, and upgrading to a dedicated server was too expensive and not warranted for the online activity.
I moved all of my mail hosting over to Fastmail early 2008, who still host my mail today. They offered the capacity, security and privacy to host multiple IMAP accounts in ways pair Network couldn’t compete with. Despite pair Networks increasing the base disk space for existing accounts and offering new plans, I started to look at what the competition offered.
Around 2015, a local company called Infomaniak, which was around since the mid 90’ties, drew my attention by becoming a silver sponsor in the development of Let’s Encrypt, the free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), providing digital certificates to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for the rest of us.
Around the same time, they underwent a major overhaul of their service offerings, and became, in my opinion, one of the best hosting providers you can find today, in terms of pricing, quality and reliability of services, security and privacy, support and innovation. I can’t recommend them warmly enough.
Early 2016, I contacted pair Networks regarding their plans to offer Let’s Encrypt certificates, but it wasn’t in the cards at the time, and the need for cheap or free SSL certificates was growing. That is when I started to close or migrate my pair accounts to Infomaniak.
, I am about to migrate the last 2 accounts I still have with pair, and it makes me a bit sad. Pair has been my loyal partner throughout the bigger part of my website building career, and I have many happy, funny and intense memories linked to them.
After 23 years of using and relying (sometimes heavily) of their services, support and professionalism, it’s time to say goodbye and thank you. I’m going to miss you in some odd way, and I can confirm that your uptime is really 99.99999%.
If you are wondering what pair stands for, I’m not sure they now. If you look closely in the bottom right corner of their 1996 home page, you’ll notice the following sentence :
Please don’t ask what pair stands for;
we’re still undecided about that.
Love you pair ♥︎ Farewell.
Thank you for your heartfelt words, choosing, reselling, and staying with pair 20+ years, and feedback that led to our incorporating Let’s Encrypt. While we’re not happy to say good-bye, we’re glad you chose pair. Have a great weekend.— pair Networks (@pairnetworks) November 7, 2019