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Well, the OP has hinted at this problem in a couple other discussions we’ve had. I’m pretty sure he still cares. : ) Unfortunately, though I agree about an unmanaged VPS being the way to go, I don’t think “unmanaged” will meet his needs.

@michael1961, as I said earlier, I don’t really use shared hosting anymore, so I don’t have a current “best choice” to recommend for you. I have used 1&1, MediaTemple, and even hostmonster in the past, and they were decent. (Honestly, though, it is likely that you simply won’t find an “incredible” shared hosting experience.) Of the three, (mt) had the best customer support, though I have not had any experience with them since they sold out to godaddy.

Joe_Temp is right about an unmanaged VPS being “the way to go.” I think, within the next five years or so, the shared hosting model will give way to semi-managed VPS hosts. Until then, however, you’ll need to have the knowledge to get things set up for yourself.

If you don’t want to (or feel comfortable learning how to) set up your own unmanaged VPS, another option you might think about is hiring someone to install cPanel, phpMyAdmin, and so forth on it. It might be a couple hundred bucks for the initial setup, but it would give you low monthly costs and you’d have a familiar interface to manage it from.