As the old saying goes,
Pick any two:
Good hosting is not cheap; cheap hosting comes with sacrifices. Most people can live with cheap hosting (does your site REALLY require 99.999% uptime?) and the choices are endless for decent, affordable hosting. If you need more than that, you are going to have to spend for it.
Bandwidth, disk, redundant power, CPU cycles - those things are all finite and all still cost money.
I posted above about an experience I had with 1and1, while still holding an open and current (paid in full) account -- they turned me over to collection for an amount that I did not owe, had already paid, and had records (credit card bills) proving I paid it.
Took days spending hours on the phone and sending a lot of faxes and letters via email to get it resolved. Nobody at 1and1 seemed to care or be bothered to do anything about it; it was always someone else's problem. The collection agency would only cease action if they got notice from 1and1 that it was resolved... Wash, rinse, repeat.
I also recently switched from 1&1 to Dreamhost. I had been with 1&1 since around 2002 when they came on the scene with a lot of promotions.
I had little downtime but the few times I did need support, I also had significant hassles and long hold times. It was a very "corporate" feeling, like dealing with AT&T or the government.
I had a major issue with billing circa 2005 where they turned me over for collection, on an account that was paid in full and current! It took hours on the phone over multiple days, along with a lot of official-sounding faxes on letterhead to get that resolved and I should have canceled then.
The 1&1 control panel got continuously more proprietary and locked into their own services instead of more popular standards. I just got tired of it. I still have the account open and one client domain on it because I haven't had time to stage them on the new host and verify all the old code is going to work - I had to make minor updates on a few of the older sites while moving to Dreamhost due to some deprecated PHP.
Anyway, I've been with Dreamhost now for about 6 months and have no complaints. I don't know that I would put something mission-critical there, but for my unimportant blog/personal space, our small business ecommerce site and my tiny consulting site and some free hosting for church & friends it works fine.
I'm American (although an admitted Anglophile), but I've never heard or used "preventive" - always "preventative"
My grandfather is almost 82, and still works and travels for his business. He had a 40 year career with a major food company and retired, but started a small business to have something to do. He also farmed on the side. He doesn't work because he needs the money (he was wise and invested, saved, and has social security and a company pension as well as his own investments and hundreds of acres of land) but he works to stay active. He's in better health than many people half his age. My grandmother is 78 and also still active. They just returned from a 10 day trip to Ireland, and travel every year to somewhere nice.
My dad is 51 and retired from his own business and now on his second career as a minister. He's not sitting around waiting on social security or a pension, and he's not working because he has to.
The moral: take care of yourself and don't expect the government to fund your retirement vacations to Europe. I'm in my mid-20s and I've been pumping into a 401(k) since the day I started working. I never expect to see a dime from Social Security, and I wish I could opt out of the broken system so I could put that tax money in my own retirement investments where it would do me some good. I have no interest in funding the retirement of those who were too lazy or unwise to save for themselves.
TRANSACTION CANCELLED - FARECARD RETURNED