Since I help people with their web sites (design, create, maintain, and play with widgets), I work with a bunch of different hosting companies. It seems like very few clients actually use the same hosting company. I've learned that some hosting companies are easy to work with and some are horrible.
Hosting companies I'll work with
I love tigertech, and I host my sites with this company. They basically have a bunch of Linux boxes sitting somewhere and you host your site there. I have access to a shell when I want a shell, yet the company still provides a couple of scripts here and there. Whenever I've needed to get down to the nitty gritty, I've been able to.
The only annoying thing with tigertech is that they won't give you an entry in their DNS table unless you either register the name with them or pay $20 a year. Since they charge $20 a year for the registrar services, you might as well register your domains through them. This is a bit pricey, but I guess they have to make their money somewhere.
The company's customer service is awesome. I email them questions here and there and I usually get prompt, accurate answers and sometimes the customer service person goes above and beyond the actual help I require.
Tigertech has MySQL, myPHPadmin, and other fun goodies that I like.
TigerTech's pros way more than make up for the DNS prices.
TigerTech does backups automatically. You have access to them right in your account, and the company even puts instructions for MySQL restores right next to the backup.
Bluehost is also good. Bluehost will let you get to a shell so you can putty into your machine, like tigertech. However, the login ID isn't as obvious and I had to chat with tech support to figure out what my login id was. Also, to set up shell access, they require you to fax in or upload a copy of your driver's license. Perhaps this greater security is something you like and you consider this a feature.
Bluehost has some install scripts for certain programs. For instance, they have a special script for Joomla 1.5. That's great, except that you can't install Joomla 1.5 with the Joomla default procedures. You need to use their script to get it to work.
Like tigertech, bluehost has exceptional customer service. The people I've worked with have been able to point me to the right documentation and/or answer my question off the bat.
These ones are okay, but are certainly not my favorites
My only current beef with godaddy is that their web page makes me want to hide in a cave. It's too busy and overstimulating.
On the positive side, it's pretty easy to figure out whatever you want to do with godaddy and godaddy is economical.
Hosting companies I won't work with
I had my sites with fatcow for a few years. Fatcow seems too expensive for what you get and I was unhappy with their customer support. Truthfully, I haven't worked with fatcow for a few years, so I don't know if this has changed or not.
CityMax is currently my least favorite hosting company. I don't have a good thing to say about this company, actually. Their setup is geared for completely non-technical people and they take away all power to actually do anything with the web sites they host. The code their site building tool generates is messy and doesn't always work. It's impossible to have one-on-one communication with the support people, and from what I can tell, the support people don't know what they're doing.
Here's an example of how bad CityMax is. I can't get Google Analytics to work with a site hosted there. Customer support person A told me to do X. It didn't work. Customer support person B said to do Y, and Y took a lot of time. It didn't work. Customer support person A came back and said "Do X but also make sure you check these boxes." This also did not work. For all the other websites I take care of, I simply add Google's tracking code to the site template and it works.
I currently have one client that uses CityMax. I've decided to not work with any other client's using CityMax or hosting companies of their ilk.
ixwebhosting doesn't allow you shell access. Worse, sites there I've worked with have been hacked periodically. The company isn't that reliable as far as making sure their computers stay up, and the sites I've had hosted there make a 2400 baud modem look fast. They timeout a lot.
Like citymax, you don't have that shell access and you have to do everything through the company's scripts. That theoretically helps their security, but it hampers what you can do. Also, it didn't seem to actually help their security.
I just transitioned my last client off of ixwebhosting.