How can you tell which web hosting companies are great and which are mediocre or even inferior? With thousands of web hosts competing for your business, it’s not always easy to make a decision. You can’t go strictly by advertisements or company websites, as these are obviously biased. The company itself is going to focus on its strengths, not its flaws.
Fortunately, there are ways to pinpoint the truly outstanding web hosting companies if you do a little research. Yet you have to know where to look and which qualities to seek out.
Let’s discuss some of the indicators below, which I always use when I am reviewing whether a web hosting provider is good or not. Of course, these days my own experience and hands-on play a major part since I have tried almost all major web hosting companies.
Check Out the Web Host’s Website
Although I just said that you can’t tell everything from a web hosting company’s website, you should still take a good look at it. There are some important things you can learn. For one thing, you can get a general idea of how the company presents itself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you like the layout and appearance of the site?
- Is the information presented in a clear and organized manner?
- Does the company list an impressive number of features and benefits?
You can get a quick first impression of a web host by browsing over its own website. If you don’t like the site for any reason, this is not the best company for you to choose.
Now let’s get into some specific qualities you should look for in a web host. This information should be on the company’s website, but you may have to do a little searching for it.
All web hosts offer some type of support, but the quality of this varies. Is the support 24/7? Does it include phone, email and live chat or only some of these options?
Is the support from the U.S. (or your own home country) or outsourced? Another factor when it comes to support is speed. Does the web host tell you the average amount of time it takes to respond to a call or support ticket?
I always view technical support as the number one criteria that decides whether I will choose this web host or another one. From my experience, Bluehost is one of the top 10 web hosts who has the best technical support rating.
This should not be your only consideration, but it’s definitely something you must factor in when comparing web hosts. Many web hosts offer coupons and specials discounts to help you save money. I also advise you to look at all of their hosting plans (if they offer more than one) and calculate the value of each plan.
Money Back Guarantee
Some web hosts offer a money back guarantee for a certain period of time. Others offer a free trial, usually for 7 days. This can help you try out the web host with minimal risk.
Number of Domains/Websites
Some web hosting plans allow you unlimited domains and websites. If you plan to build more than one site, you should look for a web host that offers a large number or unlimited domains under a single account. This will allow you to host multiple websites under a single hosting account. On the long run, you will save a lot of money on web hosting!
Many web hosts offer a free domain registration when you sign up. Another common bonus is a coupon for free advertising with Google AdWords, Facebook or other paid advertising. These extras shouldn’t be your main reason for signing up, but they can be an additional incentive if you like the company in other ways.
Independent Reviews and Comments
Once you’ve done research on a web hosting company’s own website it’s time to do some independent research. After all, you also want to consider what others – including customers – are saying about the company.
Reviews for web hosts come in two main categories. The first is customer reviews. These may be ratings, as in stars, as well as comments. The second type of review is the kind you find on websites that specialize in reviewing web hosts and perhaps other tech related products and services as well.
Customer reviews are a valuable source of information, but you have to put them into perspective. You can get the most accurate information from reviews when there are a large number of them. This will be the case for the larger and better known web hosts, as they often have millions of customers.
For sites that give stars (usually between 1 and 5 stars), you can see what the average rating is. If it’s over 4 stars, this is a good sign.
Take our own website for example. We have shortlisted 10 web hosting companies who have the best ratings overall. At the throne is Bluehost, a web hosting whom I have host a few of my important websites since more than 8 years ago.
Don’t let a few negative reviews scare you away if there are many more positive ones. You will always find a few complaints with web hosts. On the other hand, if you read the comments and you see many complaints about the same issue (downtime, poor support, security problems, etc.) that is a red flag you should pay attention to.
Review and Technology Sites
You can also find “expert” reviews on websites or newsletters (or even print magazines) that rate and review web hosts. These can sometimes provide a more detailed and balanced look at companies than customer reviews.
If you do a search for “Web Host Company + Reviews,” using the name of different web hosts, you will usually find a good number of both types of reviews. It’s always a good idea to read as many as possible to get a good general impression of what people are saying about the company.
My advice is – Choose your web host with care
A great web hosting company can help your website run more smoothy, quickly and securely for years. This is a very important factor, so don’t make the choice without doing plenty of research.
As I mentioned, you should consider a variety of factors when researching web hosts, including features, price, support and reviews. It’s best not to make a rash decision based on a single factor.
Web hosts may try to lure you in by offering a sale or an appealing bonus. You should only sign up with a web host, however, if it looks good in every way.