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How To Choose a Web Hosting Company
INTEGRITY & CUSTOMER SERVICE
One of today's biggest problems in choosing a web hosting provider
is that there are so many to choose from, and they all basically
offer the same thing.
The problem that becomes inherent is that people
try to differentiate hosts, but sometimes choose the wrong factors.
Some things people begin to focus on:
- Speed and Reliability
- 24x7 Support claims and
- Abundance of Features Offered
For instance, many people simply go with the cheapest
player in town. Occasionally, those people may luck up and find
a good deal --where they experience little downtime and decent
support. This is not the norm, though. Anyone that spends enough
time researching (or maybe learning first-hand) will find that
these low-cost leaders have severe issues with service and support.
Some web hosting directories that allow customer ratings will
show this quickly.
I remember perusing one site and finding a company
that offered $2/month unlimited bandwidth/unlimited email hosting.
Upon further inspection, that company had been rated nearly 79
times by their customers --ALL of which complained and gave that
company an average rating of 1.3 out of 10.
You also need to take into consideration any setup
fees and minimum contract requirements when ordering. Most of
the successful web hosting companies now-a-days are using tactics
to make their monthly cost seem lower. This includes boasting
of $6.95/month plans that -upon further investigation- require
a 2-year committment. Alternatively, those same companies typically
offer shorter term committment in lieu of higher monthly costs
and setup fees.
Speed is an important factor, but does not tell
the whole story. Speed is not completely objective because current
speed does not show trends. There are stories in the forums of
web hosts that "had great speed at first," but then
become bottlenecked in the end. This is typically due to the fact
that they add more and more users, but do not have the ability
to expand their infrastructure to support them all. In some cases,
web hosting companies will tout high bandwidth limits to get customers
attention, but in reality, if these customers ever come close
to these limits; they will be terminated (for whatever reason
is convenient at the time).
This is because many companies OVERSELL their bandwidth
-playing on the fact that MOST websites won't use 1/20th of the
bandwidth claimed to be available. Unfortunately, there is no
sure-fire way to defend against this happening. The best advice
is to read customer reviews -preferably of long-time customers-
and determine if they are happy or if they mention specific issues
of which to be aware.
Reliability is a very important factor, as it will
give you an idea of what to expect. If a company had a single
outage over the course of a year that lasted for an hour; that's
not bad. It means that they probably had a severe hardware failure
where even the built-in redundancy couldn't recover the device.
This happened to us once, and things like that are bound to occur.
However, if you find that the company has had 32 outages in a
year (no matter how long they lasted), it would be advisable to
steer clear of them -unless your website's availability isn't
Also beware of 24x7 support claims. Many companies
tout this feature, but few deliver. Most of the time, experience
will show (read the reviews on web hosting directory sites -like
that people often find that they take forever to respond to email
requests and never answer the phone. In some cases, it takes days
(in worst cases -NEVER) to get a response or solution. If you
decide to go with a company that only has email-based support,
you should always test them before signing up.
Send an email or fill out their support form and
see if they answer. At what hours do they answer? How long did
it take to get a response? One cannot always expect to immediately
get through every time, but if the support is busy; do they allow
you to leave a message ...and do they get back to you quickly?
If they respond to your messages in a timely manner, then it is
probably a good host to go with -assuming everything else is also
Features are fairly important -especially if you
have a special need. But, don't be blinded by the features and
overlook the basics. We have numerous value-adds with our plans,
but we encourage our prospective customers to test us in every
aspect of service. Many times, our customers will test us before
they order -just to see how quickly we respond. And, we LOVE that,
because it gives us opportunity to prove ourselves!
So, if these items are all checked off as "acceptable"
on your list of potential hosts; how do you further distinguish
which one is right for you? For personal users, it's probably
best to research in the web hosting directories (search in google)
and choose the best price to offerings ratio. For business users,
it may be a little better to go ahead and dig a little deeper.
- target niche markets and offer special services (automatically
updated content, template-based sites specific to an industry,
- intend to become business partners -not just another web
Those companies can evaluate your exact need, go
above-and-beyond, and provide your company with a total package
solution. They may even try to quickly learn if each company offers
a product or service their other customers might be interested
in. That way, you both can generate cross-selling and help every
one of their customers make more money!
Hopefully we have armed you with the tools necessary
to find and choose a great web hosting firm. We wish you luck
and hope that you'll consider 1site.net in your search for the
Article By: Brandon Elliott
Brandon Elliott is a highly
respected consultant who has attainted CISSP, CCNA, MCSE,
and several other certifications. However, Mr. Elliott's
skillset transcends networking and security as demonstrated
in other technology ventures that utilized his talents
for coding, design, user interface, and strategic planning.
Visit Brandon's Hosting Company