If you are shopping around for web hosting, you have most likely seen some web hosting reviews. Maybe you are looking to start your first website, or maybe you’ve had a certain web host for years and are thinking about making a change. There can be many reasons why you are checking out web hosting reviews.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t always trust every review you read online. This is true for any type of product or service, and it’s certainly true for reviews of web hosting companies. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t consult web hosting professionals’ feedback and existing users’ experiences. They can be a valuable source of information. But you do have to be careful and know what to look out for.
Here are some suggestions on how to look at hosting service reviews.
Why you can’t always trust Web Hosting Reviews
Most large web hosting companies, such as HostGator, Bluehost, Web Hosting Hub and many others run affiliate programs. This means that affiliates earn a commission every time someone signs up for hosting using their affiliate link.
This practice is not confined to web hosting. It accounts for a large amount of online commerce, and retail giants such as Amazon and eBay also have affiliate programs. While this is a perfectly legitimate way to sell services online, it can also lead to distorted reviews. After all, if someone is an affiliate for a certain product, they obviously have an incentive to recommend it.
Does this mean that you can’t trust anyone who is an affiliate for a web host?
Not at all. There are many honest affiliates who only recommend products in which they truly believe. In this case, they don’t write reviews for web hosts that they don’t consider top notch. They start off by finding companies that they like and then write honest reviews about them. This isn’t true of all affiliates, though.
Red flags to look for in Web Hosting Reviews
Lack of Disclosure
One big clue as to how honest affiliates are is in their disclosure policy. An affiliate is supposed to tell his or her readers that a web page, email or article contains affiliate links. If they don’t, and you see links to web hosts (or any products) that is being recommended, you have reason to be suspicious.
Too Much Hype
If a review makes a web host sound perfect in every way, with no flaws whatsoever, you should do additional research. There’s no such thing as perfection, so if something sounds too good to be true you are probably only getting one side of the story.
Facts Can’t be Verified
You should always rely on more than one source for information. If you find that one review says something that is not consistent with other reviews – or with the web host’s own site – you have reason not to trust the review. In some cases, reviews give incomplete information, outdated information or state things that are simply inaccurate in order to make the service sound better than it really is.
This is something to look for when reading customer reviews. In this case, an imbalanced review is probably not promoting the web host. In fact, it may be criticizing it. Either way, many customer reviews only contain short, incomplete descriptions of one issue or problem they’ve encountered. This doesn’t really help you judge the web host as a whole.
How to find Trustworthy Reviews
Now that we’ve looked at some ways to spot unethical reviews, we should explore how to find ones you can trust. There are many reviews on the internet, and it’s hard to tell a helpful one from an unhelpful one without reading it and comparing it to others. There are, however, some criteria you can use to spot some of the better ones.
A thoughtful and honest review is balanced. It tells you both the good and bad areas of a web host. This is true for both professional web hosting sites (who may also be affiliates) and customer reviews.
As I have already mentioned, an honest affiliate marketer will let you know if the review contains affiliate links.
Mentions More Than One Web Host
A site that tries to make you believe that there is only one quality web hosting company in the world is obviously not giving you the complete picture. More objective review sites will mention a few different hosts, comparing their strengths and weaknesses. They will admit that the same web host may not be right for everybody.
Tips for Choosing the Best Web Host
When shopping for a web host, you should look at reviews as well as the company’s own site. You should also consider the company’s overall reputation in various areas, such as:
Older, more established web hosting companies are usually a safe bet when it comes to reliability and security.
You have to consider the price, of course. You can compare different plans and see which one gives you the best value for your money. You may also be able to benefit from sales and special promotions.
Take a look at the kind of support the web host offers. Find one that offers support 24/7, preferably by phone, email and live chat.
Money Back Guarantee
This is another selling point that many large web hosts offer. A money back guarantee can allow you to sign up for hosting without any long term obligation.
There are too many reviews online, and some of them can help you locate the best web hosting solution for you. You just have to be a little careful and recognize that not every review can be trusted.
The above guidelines can help you sort out the useful reviews from the dishonest ones. When in doubt, use your best judgement and do further research.
Web hosting is a huge business and many affiliate marketers are motivated to get their share of the commissions. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as they share authentic and balanced information with you.