Selecting a reliable web hosting service provider
1) Don’t get confused with countless seemingly reliable web hosting service providers. It is obviously true that you will have to choose among many. On the positive note, from price perspective it is always more the merrier.
2) If you find some price unbelievable, you must avoid it in your quest for a reliable web hosting company.
3) Infinite, Unlimited or practically unlimited disk space and data transfer or bandwidth don’t exist.
4) Acclaimed, awarded hosts are nothing but good marketers. Mostly listing and reviews are biased in favor of highly paying website host.
5) Large and established company does not necessarily mean it will turn out to be a better and reliable web hosting service provider than a small hosting organization.
1) Start off with the list of good 8 to 10 reliable web hosting companies. Selection criteria for this list could be hosting directories, good words in reputable forums or even word of mouth. Try to verify your initial opinion from multiple sources. Don’t rely on Google for a change, as it will reveal only giants in top searches. Forums are good idea for initial selection. Now gauge selected companies on each of the criteria mentioned below for selecting a reliable web hosting provider. Remember in presence of so many options your initial choices could all be wrong. So you may need to comeback to this step more than once in your search.
2) Does the shortlisted reliable web hosting company offers features like software components per your liking? You will definitely need an Administrative panel like cPanel to better control your website content and other administrative options. Also see if host offers software components for you to have forum activated on your website. Furthermore check if host provides DB, programming language and OS of your liking. See if the shortlisted reliable web hosting has facility of taking automated backups of your contents and DB, if not sure either consult their help sections. If that is not the case, keep them on list but reduce their rating. Now see which companies you can totally cross out from initial list. Go back to very initial step of making host list and refill list back to original 8 to 10 companies. Newly added companies should obviously pass test of step 2 otherwise you will need to Go back to very initial step of making host list for reliable web hosting providers.
3) Now check out cost you have to bear for acquiring reliable web hosting services and compare it with allocated budget. Again if any companies fails to fulfill pricing criteria Go back to very initial step and refill the list again. So basically after step 3, you will have good 8 to 10 reliable web hosting companies within your budget offering features as per your needs. It is also important for you before ruling out potential best host that is your allocated budget realistic and adequate? If you are thinking about getting space and bandwidth in high GB with single digit dollars per month then you may never be able to choose the right host. You can get estimate by using the forums. Overselling is a necessity of many website hosting services to meet both ends and take home some profit. Overselling is acceptable and you hardly notice it if the host is professional and does not oversell badly. As a rule of thumb if you see extra ordinary space say 50 GB and 500 GB data transfer, you don’t need Einstein to tell you that host is overselling, badly. So don’t fall into trap of such marketing gimmicks and estimate your actual needs and check reliable web hosting providers charging reasonable amounts for their services. It is easy to estimate the space requirement. Put your all website content in a folder and calculate the total file size. Similarly for bandwidth requirements multiply your average page size with number of anticipated visitors in a month.
4) Use Google search engine for each reliable web hosting company in your list by giving keywords like reviews. Companies sometimes pay directories to write in their favor so don’t rely on single source rather try to read many articles for each. Give more weightage to negative reviews, if even 20 percent reviews are against, cross out the company and travel back to very initial step. If there are very few or no reviews it only means that company is new to hosting market or in utopian world means no complaints are logged against it. Check from sources like Whois and determine how long they are operating in the industry. So if companies is operating for substantial amount of time and have no or very less negative reviews, that’s the one to keep in your list of reliable web hosting and continue journey.
5) Now check the website of each shortlisted reliable we hosting company. If their own website is not professional, takes infinite long to appear and has tacky design and other attributes, immediately cross out that host from the list of reliable web hosting. See how good the design is, because their own website is professional only then you can expect them to provide you with better services. For smaller companies see how much time does their forum page or support page take to open, for a very simple reason. You can check the performance of their DB (like MySQL or MSSQL) before actually registering with them. Whereas for big established companies ask Mr. Google about the sites that have been hosted by each host. You will get results containing the big and famous websites as a result. You may also come across information about the reputation about the host via some forum where someone pleased with the company gave words of praise or some angry ex-owner sharing his frustrating moments with the company. You may also visit the links mentioned by people in forums, of course if they look genuine enough. Check out the testimonial people have written about your shortlisted reliable web hosting, the benefits will be two folded you will be able to judge if is it really true or false and secondly you will have another opportunity of testing DB without registration. If the hosts’ website’s own response time is slow, extremely unacceptable slow then you may need to visit step 1 again to refill the host list of reliable web hosting as the slow host need to be kicked out from the active list.
6) It is important for you to know where is their physical data center located. Looks like an issue which “you might not care” apparently as the source of your chosen reliable web hosting company’s own resource is its own headache. Companies can easily shift the blame o some other company providing hosting with these services. They can refuse the refund on downtime as it was not in their hands. Data center issues are numerous and their going down probability is relatively high always. So always remember that you must retrieve the name of data center of your selected reliable web hosting and search for the data center reputation and performance, again acquiring services of ever reliable Mr. Google. The name is usually mentioned on some about us type pages of the host or you can drop a message to their sales staff yourself for the query. Similar to hosts see the reputation of data center too. If their outages are frequent and long in duration you need to cross out the host depending on these data centers. This step may look unnecessary at a glance but is surely necessary because you are working on the root cause of mother of all problems that these reliable web hosting service providers face every now and then. A good data center means good and reliable web hosting. Good host mean good hosting services for your website. Good website means your customer base will be happy and satisfied always. You don’t need to travel back to step number one if you have few host at least five (5) remaining in the list now. If all are gone, then unfortunately you have to start all over again.
7) Support is very important to be monitored before finalizing the reliable web hosting. Reliable web hosting companies must provide more than one options to contact them like telephonic support, email support, an interactive ticketing system, toll free number, live chat etc. For testing purposes send an email with few questions to sales department of the host. Check the quality of the response you receive, obviously the time it took them to come back to you is also essential. If they take more than half a day time for their first response then cross them out from the reliable web hosting list because they are useless. If they are this professional at pre sales level imagine what can happen once you are in. If the sales queries reply is something like you need to search the content on their website (without actually providing the links) you may rule out host from contention.
Possible questions you may ask are listed below. You can ask these questions even if they are mentioned on the shortlisted reliable web hosting company’s website in places like help and FAQ sections.
- Since when you are working in hosting industry?
- Who will be the owner of the domain name if I acquire your hosting services?
- What kind of uptime guarantee you are offering?
- How do you compensate your customers in case of excessive downtime?
- What if I cross my threshold of bandwidth? How much do I need to pay?
- Do you guys provide round the clock support? How long do you take to respond?
- What are the uptime guarantees, you yourself have from data center?
- What is your backup strategy?
- Do you have any area where I can test uploading my file?
- You may also include other queries of your choice, if required.
Anyways in the response see if all the answers are provided for each questions in depth and has technical solution (if required) as well. If response is not satisfactory you know what you need to do with the host, yes absolutely right, cross it out from the list of reliable web hosting companies. J
Don’t forget to try the toll free phone number if offered by the shortlisted reliable web hosting. Try contacting sales staff. If you hear an Indian, Mexican, Philippines, Pakistani accent you can judge the sales is outsourced to cheaper options. Not necessarily an issue always, but the proficiency in language can prove to be a huge obstacle in future support and sales correspondence, and yes I am not a racist. J
8) Try to explicitly contact the support staff, even if you are satisfied with the sales response. There is no necessary correlation between the promptness of sales & support. Send support a query and wait. If they take more than half a day to respond and response is not good enough you may cross out the host from your list of reliable web hosting companies.
10) Now hopefully your list will be reduced down to 2 to 3 reliable web hosting options. Now it is easy to choose between the best of best. Compare their offerings, features and guarantee, expect a hair line finish here.
Few Useful Questions:
Q1. How to make the list of hosts to start with?
Ans: Visit any good reputable website hosting directory like webHostdir.com. From the categories of companies you are seeking read the specifications and other details of few companies. Keep on adding the ones that sound good and reasonable. Visit the associated forums and see what people have to say about your shortlisted reliable web hosting companies . It will help you make up your mind. For large size hosts you may use Mr. Google. Hopefully you will be able to come up super eight companies after these activities.
Q2. Can I use Ping to determine the server speed?
Ans: Unfortunately No. Mostly you will get timeout error as due to security concerns ICMP packets are disabled or blocked. Furthermore ping is a micro monitoring tool and may give you wrong sample considering your own server’s location and time of the day. You cannot judge database performance from ping only.
Q3. How come I don’t get best services form a big and reliable web hosting company always? They do have established name in industry
Ans: With the already very large customer base you are not special to them as you are for an emerging host. Generally big companies believe in overselling their resources and if there are few who are not satisfied with their performance, they are welcome to choose another. Again, it is not always the case that is why we are doing this analysis job, but the conclusion is large customer base does not mean tremendous service always.
Q3. How to use Whois search?
Ans: Provide the name of the chosen reliable web hosting company directly in address bar appended with whois.sc, for instance whois.sc/yahoo.com. Whois gives you a lot of valuable information regarding the hosting service providers.
Q4. What is the importance of taking backups?
Ans: There are many hardware components involved and being machinery it can go down any time. So you must have backups of your work even if the host also takes constant backups.