If you’re looking for a good hosting service, you’ve probably slogged through all the best web hosting reviews you can find online.
You’ve also probably read all the advice and guides telling you what to think about when picking a web host.
You might have even narrowed down your choice to a few web hosting and best web development company for the sake of building your new website.
But you’re still not really sure what makes a good web hosting service. You know what makes a good restaurant. It’s clean, the food’s good, and the waitstaff are attentive, right?
But what about a web hosting service. How do you know you really are signing up for a good one?
The very first thing you have to check is that the company you’re dealing with is actually a web host. Plenty of companies resell hosting from other firms, playing the middleman.
The problem is that the actual provider isn’t always as reputable or as good as the reseller has made them out to be.
There are few of other issues when buying from a reseller:
On the other hand, when you’re dealing with a company whose core business is hosting, things change immensely.
Their main goal is to make customers happy – at least the good ones – because that’s how they keep making money.
So, they’ll stick to their promises and provide you with the quality services you need for your business to be a success.
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Outstanding performance goes without question. A host that doesn’t at least promise 99.99% uptime and deliver a page load time of under 500 ms is not worth your time.
Even at 99.90%, you’re looking at 10 minutes of downtime per week.
In the digital age we live in, 10 minutes is an eternity for your site to be down. Especially if it goes down at the times when your customers are most active.
With page load speed, part of it will be your site, but a big part of it is also the web host. So, if a plain page takes longer than 500ms to load, you’re better off going elsewhere.
It’s worth pointing out that most hosts promise a 99.99% uptime, and lightning fast page load speeds. However, that’s not always true. Even with the best hosts.
So, here are a few ways you can find out if they’re being honest:
Nowadays, you can find good shared hosting for less than $5. If you’re patient and wait for Black Friday or similar huge sales, you can end up paying under $50 for three-years’ worth of hosting.
So, if a host is trying to charge you a lot more, steer clear.
They might cite the numerous add-ons they’re providing for the price. In most cases, though, you won’t need most of those add-ons. So, if they don’t have an add-on free option, look elsewhere.
Also, don’t forget to check the renewal fee. Most hosts will give you a great price for your first month, and then a much higher renewal fee. It’s just the way the industry works.
However, they should be open and honest about their pricing structure. If you have to hunt down the price, then you really should avoid working with the said hosting company.
Some hosts offer you the stars, the moon, the solar system, and the universe if you just sign up for this amazing deal.
However, they then bury terms and conditions that make the deal much less attractive on some obscure page on their website. It’s also written in a font so small that you even when you zoom into the max, you can’t see it properly.
A company that isn’t up front and completely honest about their terms and conditions is not one you want to work with.
Just like the renewal fee we mentioned above. A great hosting provider will not hide this information. Their main goal is to make customers happy and they know hiding important information is not the way to do it.
Every hosting company under the sun promises great support. However, when you actually need their help, you discover that you only have access to an email or ticketing system.
If there is a phone number or a live chat, no one seems to ever be available.
When you finally get through to someone, they obviously have no clue how to help you. You can tell by the hesitation in their voice, and the constant requests for more time, that they’re consulting some cookie-cutter guide they’ve been given.
You’ve probably ended up reaching a call center where the employees alternate between trying to help you, and providing information on inflatable pools.
A top web hosting provider will have their own support service that’s easy to reach. And once you’re on the phone with them, you can tell they know what they’re doing.
How can you tell they know they’re stuff? Here are a few clues:
A good customer support service is essential, especially if you’re new to the world of web hosting. You’re bound to run into issues, and the last thing you need is to spend three days on the phone, trying to get a simple problem resolved.
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A top web hosting provider will have a refund policy that offers a minimum 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked.
If they don’t, you have to wonder what they’re worried about.
After all, the point of a refund policy is to make customers feel as if they aren’t taking a risk. And a top hosting company won’t have a problem offering you a refund because they know their services are awesome.
So, they’re confident that you won’t choose to go elsewhere.
Even if you do ask for the refund, keeping you happy is more important than saving a few dollars. After all, you might decide to come back at some point.
However, a web host that forces you to stay with them and doesn’t offer a refund policy is doing a great job of alienating you.
It also means that they’re probably not all that certain of the quality of their services. Otherwise, why would they be worried about offering you a money-back guarantee?
Note that a 3-day money back guarantee is on par with no refund policy at all. It’s so short that you barely have any time to test out their services.
It’s only designed to make you think they’re offering a refund policy.
And often, you’ll find that the 3 days isn’t advertised. They just want you to think you can get your money back if you’re unhappy. Until you discover you’re 1 minute over the 3-day time limit they “forgot” to advertise.
A top web host will have a minimum 30-day money back guarantee, but they’ll also display the terms in a prominent place.
One thing many companies are great at is making promises. Not all of them are so good at delivering on their promises.
A web host will promise great uptime, outstanding page load speeds (dependent on your site design, of course), excellent customer services, and so on.
A top web host will also deliver on those promises.
But how can you tell who’s blowing smoke and who’s being honest?
Well, it’s time to get into research mode. You’ll have to read reviews, comments from customers, forums, social media and more. Essentially, run a search for the name of the company and check out everything that’s being said about them.
You could even go as far as to contact a few existing customers via social media. Most people won’t have a problem sharing their experiences with you. And you can be certain to get more accurate information on what the web host’s services are really like.
When 95% of the best web hosting reviews online – from reputable sources, of course – all include a particular company, they’re probably a good host. And if all those reviews give them high marks, then you can be even surer.
However, it’s also a good idea to delve into the comments beneath those reviews. Sometimes, things change.
Things happen at the speed of light nowadays. The review might only be a few months old but the company’s management has changed. Or they’ve been bought out by someone else.
And now? Their performance is no longer outstanding. Or their customer service department has been dissolved and outsourced to a call center at the South Pole. Or their refund policy has changed and you now have 3 hours to ask for your money back.
Things change so it definitely pays to do further research.
Generally speaking, though, if everyone agrees with their reviews that a particular hosting company is one of the best, then it’s a really good bet they are.
When it comes to picking the best web hosting, it’s a combination of finding a top web hosting provider but also one that meets your specific requirements.
There are a lot of web hosts out there. Now that you know how to distinguish a top provider from the rest, you should be able to narrow down the list.
The next step is, of course, to pick the company and the plan that is the best option for your particular needs from the list of top web hosting companies.