How to find the right web hosting company
6 min read
I think there is a misconception on how people find a hosting company. It’s not just a quick search and find the first result that google spits out or just go to the biggest web hosting company like (GoDaddy, HostGator, Bluehost, or many more.). Going to the big hosting companies does not mean you are going to get the best web hosting or get the best support. Sometimes it's the other way around. Before you even consider what hosting company is going to power your awesome website, you need to find out what you need and how much you need. for example
Is your website CMS-based? (like WordPress, or Joomla).
How big is your website data?*
Do you need email hosting? How many resources are you using? (look at your previous host for details, or ask your web designer)*
Once you have figured this out, then you need to figure out where your customers are based. Like, are your users coming from the USA or in another location.
Once that has been figured out then you need to find a hand full of web hosting companies that you like. You can find your list of hosts by going to our friends at hostingdiscussion.com and reading their hosting offers section or look at their reviews, and see what others think of the web hosting they use.
After that is done, then you get to ask a bunch of questions to your possible future web hosting company and figure out what host is right for you. Here are a few simple rules to follow when choosing a web host that will help reduce the risk of signing up with a host that is unreliable or dishonest.
1. Always ask your potential hosting company several pre-sales questions via the various support methods they provide.
This will accomplish two things: You will gain information about the host and you will get an idea of the average response time of the host. Some of the questions you might ask are:
– How long have you been in business? – What are the specs for your shared and reseller servers? – What data center do you use? – Do you have uptime statistics? – Is my account easily upgradeable? Is there an upgrade fee? – How many people are on your support staff? – Do you have a file I can download to test system speed? – Do you have a money-back guarantee? – Do you have an uptime guarantee and if so is it server uptime or network uptime? – Do you perform regular backups or am I responsible for my own backups? – Are there any scripts that you don’t allow to run on shared plans? **
2. Beware of hosts who oversell their services.
Overselling is when a host sells more space and/or transfer than they have available. For instance, a host may be leasing a server with an 80GB hard drive and 700GB of transfer. If the hosting plans offered by the host are 20GB of disk space and 100GB transfer that would mean the host can only sell 7 hosting plans without overselling.
One of the easiest ways to spot overselling is if the host is offering very large packages for very little money. The hosting business is like any other business, there are many costs involved. If a host is offering very low prices you should be very careful in your research before choosing this host. There is a very good possibility that the host is overloading server resources and the performance will be affected negatively. Be sure to ask a host how many accounts they allow on their servers and what resources are allocated to these accounts.
3. Do a WhoIs search of the host.
If you find that the host’s URL was registered for less time than the host claims to have been in business, contact the host and ask them about the discrepancy. Be cautious about companies that use private registration (a feature that allows the registrant to hide WhoIs contact information from the public eye).
4. Read and understand the host’s TOS (Terms of Service) and AUP (Acceptable Usage Policy)
Many hosts will have hidden clauses in their TOS that will limit your ability to run your site the way you choose. This is not always a bad thing but it can be abused. Make sure you read the TOS and AUP and if anything concerns you contact the host and question it.
5. Search forums for references to the host you are researching.
Ask for opinions from people who have used the service. You should also do a Google, Yahoo!, or other search engine search using the name of the host to see if any negative comments appear.
6. Try to avoid spam-friendly hosts.
There is a much higher chance of IP addresses being blocked that are owned by hosts who support spam.
7. Ask around.
The best way to choose a host is almost always based on recommendations from people who have used the host's services.
8. Do not rush into your hosting decision.
Don’t be fooled by limited-time offers or hosts who advertise that a special offer will expire at midnight only to find out that the same offer is available the next day.
9. Beware of hosting directories.
Most are either owned by hosts or the rankings are based on how much the host pays. Very few, if any, are actually based on peoples’ personal experience with a host or the quality of the host.
10. Control Panel / User Interface.
Often overlooked but control panel UI can be a major differentiator. Does your web hosting provider offer cPanel or Plesk to make changes? Some local providers provide just an ftp account and database access, in which you lose out on many features.
The best way to begin your journey of selecting a host is to determine what you are able to spend and what your needs are. If you are able to spend $7.00 per month on hosting and you require 500MB of disk space and 3GB of transfer then you should look for a host offering this. Don’t go with a bargain host just because they can offer you 10 times as much for the same price. You will most often end up on the hunt for another new host in a very short time.
If you know a good rule to add to this guide, please post it in the comments below. All non-related information will be deleted.
I know this is a lot of work and can seem like overkill, but it’s important to find a host that is going to power your company or brand, that is going to treat you right. The worse fear for any business or brand is to find a bad host that is not going to give what your website needs or worse find out that your users can’t access your website, because your host is down. Do your homework, and I am sure you will find the host that is right for you?