I have been dealing with multiple hosting companies lately while migrating several sites. Here are some of my observations. Hopefully they will be useful to someone on the fence.
The best. Period. Cheap SSD VPNs, good support, simple API, functional dashboard, no complaints whatsoever.
This is the best domain registrar I have found. They are very affordable and their dashboard is fast and functional. I use them exclusively with no complaints.
A2 was my go-to for hosting, until I found the same quality of service for a fraction of the cost at Digital Ocean. They offer customizable VPS packages for a good price. You can pick your own resource limits and choose from some nice extras (like SSD storage) for a couple extra bucks.
I am unfamiliar with their 'Web Hosting' packages, but their VPS packages are supreme. My sites have never gone down, and page loads are the fastest I have had out of any hosting company. There are some cheaper alternatives, but $20 per month is chump change for good customer service (live chat) and quick/reliable hosting.
After getting ripped off by GoDaddy on domain registration for a year, I moved to 1and1. They are fairly cheap, but they will annoy you with email spam when you become their customer. "Buy our stupid web hosting packages!!1!" No. Shut up.
I will recommend them over GoDaddy for domain registration, but I cannot recommend them over NameCheap. Their prices are simply not competitive and their dashboard is sub-par.
HostGator is pretty ghetto to be honest. Their site is hard to navigate and feels like it is held together with bandaids and bubblegum. Their web hosting is slow and overpriced, but at least their customer service is mediocre.
Once you figure out their maze of a web portal, management is pretty quick. DNS changes go through almost immediately, as do FTP/etc. account setups. They offer decent SSH access so you can bypass a lot of the annoying web interface after the initial setup.
GoDaddy is complete trash. Never use them for anything. Even if you think you are getting a good deal, you are only one billing cycle away from getting gouged for basic services. Every change takes forever (DNS, domain transfers, FTP account setups, etc.), and they are constantly up-selling you and tricking you into automatic billing.
Aside from being dishonest with their customers, overcharging them, and providing them a crappy service, their customer service is literally the worst ever. They still (it's 2013 for crying out loud) do not offer live chat for support issues. Email takes a full day to get a response, and their phone support is worthless. They are so bad that I refuse to link to their site in this blog.
iPage is literally the worst hosting company ever. One of our clients insisted that we use iPage to host thepassportandvisacompany.com, and it was a complete nightmare. The migration was slow and painful, involving several changes to PHP code because their server is configured strangely.
When it was finally migrated, the pages would take 20-30 seconds to load, and half the time it would show a blank page. Our client could not even upload small files without the connection being reset. We eventually agreed to move it to Digital Ocean and we have not had a problem since.