In today’s internet world, there are a way too many choices out there. From GoDaddy to Wix to Shopify to Dreamhost to HostGator to SiteGround, the web hosting world is complicated as it is.
The Internet can be really confusing sometimes because high quality web hosting companies offer just as much as fly-by-night companies that lease cheap $99 servers, control panels (cPanels) and extras. If you don’t do your homework, you may eventually pay with poor website/server performance, lost time on configuring the server and visitors who get sick of waiting for your site to load.
As experienced website administrators would tell you, you really don’t want your site to be down for a few hours, let alone a few minutes. Getting emails from your unhappy subscribers or fans of your website is no laughing matter. Every hour the site is inaccessible, it is losing reputation, traffic and revenues and that is why you have to really make sure things run as they should and choosing a good web hosting company matters.
To keep things easy to understand, below is a list of things to keep in mind before choosing a web hosting company:
Server specs that sound too good to be true
In a highly competitive market such as that of web hosting today, web hosting companies almost always cheap out on backend servers. They rent cheap servers with no quality assurance or performance monitoring. They can afford to do so because they don’t own their hardware and in many cases, are unable to fix technical problems. Imagine getting a server from a bunch of guys who have to call tech support when things go south.
Reliability of shared hosting
Shared web hosting is sometimes a good option for customers starting out but it may not be wise if your business is a fast growing one. The problem with shared hosting is web hosting companies like to overload the server with clients so as to maximize their revenue per server. This generally leads to poor-performing slow websites during peak load times that can ocassionally lead to 404 errors when servers restart by itself as a result of a overload, ultimately driving web visitors away.
Remember seeing something like a 24/7 all-day technical support provided somewhere in their promo pages? Don’t be fooled as many don’t live up to the expectations. You typically have to wait hours and in some cases, days before you get a response from a qualified technical support specialist. The reason for that is because it takes experience and in-depth knowledge of the software, server and the network to make it all work. An acceptable web hosting company should offer services with a variety of support options, support tickets, live support chat, email support and phone support, so it’s important to look out for these before buying a package or two.
Pricing and limitations
Some web hosting companies use low introducing pricing to hook you in. They offer potential customers a low price per month, but charge for each service request or charge additional fees for things like a domain name or additional IP address or setting up applications like blogs or guestbooks.
The other thing web hosting companies like to do is offer “unlimited” space and bandwidth in their pricing plans. In reality, there is no such thing as “unlimited”. Regardless of how powerful the web server is, a server’s storage space is predefined (like a house is size-wise), and it can only transfer a limited amount of data through the pipes per second (You don’t hear of a pipe that can deliver unlimited amount of stuff, right?). And so when these web hosting companies allocate many sites/clients on each server, the total bandwidth is limited by the pipes feeding that server split between those sites. If you see a company that claim they are providing unlimited features without any conditions, they are deceiving you and you have every right to say no.