There are thousands of web hosting companies in the marketplace. With so many choices, it can be extremely difficult and nearly impossible to know which hosting company can provide you with the high quality service that you expect for your website without paying a fortune. I came up with a few tips that will help you when considering the best company for the job.
Web hosting services can charge you anywhere from $5 per month all the way up to several hundred dollars per month (for dedicated server hosting). Some even run specials where you can pay an entire year in advance and pay as little as $1.99 per month.
While inexpensive web hosting companies are good for hosting your blog or simple website, you should avoid free or inexpensive web hosting services if you have a website that is more than just display (e.g., you have shopping cart or other e-commerce services). Keep in mind that inexpensive or free hosting services are often attractive because of their price and as such jam pack their servers with so many sites that you will often experience a higher down time than if you pay to have your site hosted on a dedicated server.
One of the best companies that I found that offers a great service for a great price is Yahoo Web Hosting.
2. Services / Add-Ons
What type of website do you want hosted? This is one of the most important questions that you need to answer before you sign up with a webhosting company. Not only do you need to know what type of website you want hosted now, but “potentially” in the future. For instance, if you plan on offering products for sell either now or in the near future you will want to make sure that your hosting company either has these features or can host these features. For instance, if your website is a PHP/MySQL platform, you will need to choose a webhosting company with a Linux server.
If you are not sure if you plan on needing services such as ecommerce in the future, it is still best to choose a web hosting company that will support these services. Attempting to migrate to another hosting company in the future is not a project that you want to tackle.
One of the best companies that I found that offers a number of services such as ecommerce or add-on domain names is Intuit. They offer domain name registrations, shopping cart services, and web hosting all for an affordable price.
3. Customer Service
Yes, customer service is important. When your website goes down, do you want a company that you can pick up a telephone and talk live with or a company that you have to send an email to and wait several days for a reply? The answer is obvious. When searching for the best customer service in a web hosting company, don’t just trust the “testimonials” on their webpage. Go to forums and websites such as Cnet to see what an independent website has to say. Also, check the site and make sure that they offer 24/7 customer support via telephone. I can tell you from experience that when your website goes down, speaking to someone immediately by telephone is a medicine that you cannot live without.
Stability of a company is extremely important. When a company goes belly up, what happens to all of your information that they were hosting? Let’s not think about that at this point as you are going to make sure that the company you choose has a stable history. This is a good indication that they will be around for a while.
Stability can be as easy as checking how long a company has been in business. During the “dot-com” era in the 1990’s, thousands of websites sprung up overnight while thousands of others closed. This cycle repeated itself on a daily basis which made it difficult to determine who would make it through and who would be nothing but fragmented space on an empty server. This still happens with startup websites today so make sure to check how old a company is or even how big it is. For example, a company like Yahoo is not going anywhere. This makes them a little more stable than a company that is just starting off.