well, the forum is growing and combined with all the downloads, it definitely puts a real strain on the server.
the current company we have PowerVps is extremely reliable, and not super expensive (though not cheap).
reliability and good support is something that i think is important for us.
right now we are on whats called shared virtual hosting - basically it means we have complete control over the software running on the machine, BUT we are sharing a machine with one or more other sites.
it *appears* at first glance that our speed problems are not bandwidth related (even though we do a ton of bandwidth) but are more releated to overwhelming the cpu.
there are some php and database and server optimization we can do to improve performance, and i'm working on those now.
after that we can consider changing hosts and/or moving to a dedicated hosting account.
the shared hosting we pay for now is about $50 a month, which is a big chunk of the monthly donations, and a good dedicated hosting plan would be somewhere like $100 a month, which would be a huge chunk of the donations.
however, if that's what we need to do to get the site really speedy and smooth, then it seems to me that's what we have to do - there's no point having a nice forum if its a pain to use..