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Choosing Ideal Web Hosting

It’s as easy to stumble across a hosting package these days as it is to purchase a loaf of bread. It seems that wherever you look you are besieged with offers from various hosting organizations, from your email inbox to the back of your favorite magazine. While this means a lot of healthy competition, it can make it difficult to know to which company you ought to be entrusting your firm’s website.

Whenever we buy software or sign up to something online, it seems that a hosting offer comes along with it as a matter of course.
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According to Intac, as of March 2010, there were almost 24,000 hosting companies in the US alone, and this figure is set to increase as more and more firms recognize the value in providing a secure, safe, and customer-focused service to their clients.

There are more hosting companies in the US than any other country, the most used being Wild West Domains with a market share of 35.8 percent. The company is part of the Go Daddy Group, providing an easy platform for turnkey domain registrars to become an operation and use the Go Daddy system for registration and support.

However, the most popular company is not necessarily the best; it could be that a firm has a savvy marketing strategy which means that it gets taken up more readily because it is accessible to people, or simply that it has a great network of affiliates pushing the service to generate revenue.

Choosing your ideal Web host comes down to a number of factors including, what you are looking for, what you are prepared to pay, and what kind of service you need in addition to your basic hosting package.

A Myriad of Options

One of the first things that may strike you in any promotional package is mention of the word “Unlimited” bandwidth, or disk space. However good this may sound, there probably are some limits to the amount of space you get allocated within your chosen package, and it’s well worth taking a moment to check out what your allocation will be when you sign up.

If you are looking to put a basic site live to represent your company in a simple way, then the chances are good that you will be satisfied with what you are provided. However, more complex sites are obviously going to require a great deal of bandwidth to perform more technical tasks and it’s worth working out what your requirements are before you commit to a hosting package.

Web hosting providers have costs associated with providing an allocated amount of space. That cost is then passed on to you through the Web hosting plan. The amount of bandwidth you use up can depend on a number of factors, such as the number of visitors that you receive and the size of files that you are providing to them (graphics, video and so on). Your considerations when choosing your host need to take into account the volume and intensity of your incoming traffic.

Checking the Criteria

One of the key factors when picking your ideal hosting company needs to be a consideration of the kind of customer service support they offer. Check the terms carefully to make sure you don’t get stung by a hefty bill when you call up to get something fixed. I normally choose companies that offer text chats or toll-free telephone support, to keep costs to a minimum. Text chats are ideal for US hosting companies, but if you’re based outside of the US, consider the terms of service that they offer.

I usually use well-known hosts including HostGator, Bluehost, and DreamHost, as they have great customer service and tend to honor their commitment to the client. When you select a well-known company, you minimize the risk of selecting an organization that could go under or be unable to provide a consistent service.

The highest quality support from your host company comes through 24/7 services. This means you won’t get passed around a frustrating call center system, and you can choose times to phone that reduce the risk of being stuck in queues or put on hold.

Again, check the terms of your company to ensure you get the best possible support deal included in your packages. In addition, it’s worth checking what support is on offer for the particular applications (such as WordPress) that you will be using.

Picking a shared hosting package is a good idea when you first start out, but check the pricing options for virtual private servers and dedicated servers. It’s easier to upgrade with this type of service, and you may find that your needs grow in line with the success of your business. If you already have a hosting company and want to change, pick a company that will handle the switch, saving you time, effort, and money.

Personal Recommendations

Nothing beats recommendations when it comes to picking your hosting package. While many companies use affiliate schemes to generate sales, the best form of recommendation comes from friends and family who are already using the service. Most people have a tale to tell about a poor hosting company, so gather data and make an informed decision.

Ultimately, choosing your ideal service for hosting comes down to your individual needs, what you can find out from people who have already signed up to specific organizations, and the type of service you are specifically looking for.

I personally use and recommend HostGator as their support and customer service is second to none, especially for the price. Of course good hosting is more than good customer service, but for small businesses they’re hard to beat.

29 thoughts on “Choosing Ideal Web Hosting”

  1. You definitely taught me a lot today  it really helpful tips to choose the [URL=”http://mediagunn.com/”]web site Hosting[/URL]. I almost felt like I was in a class in front of a professor.Thanks for explaining this.It means a lot.

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  4. The best advice someone giving us for the first time. Awesome article to increase the knowledge. keep up sharing great post. <a href=”http://www.getsimple.net/”>Joomla Web Hosting Business</a>

  5. Solid advice all around, Joel.  I’ve recently been switching over to HostGator and have so far been pleased with their service.

  6. @BlogTechGuy

    Great article on how to choose the best web host. Hostgator was recommended to me when I first started blogging. I’m very happy with their 24/7 service. The occasional slow-load is a nuisance, but that just means there was a sudden traffic spike (or that’s what I say happened anyway).

  7. Great and useful information. Reading it I realize I lucked out, years ago, when first confronted with the need to choose a hosting service. Landed with word-of-mouth recommended Dave Olsen http://www.d-olsen.com Cell phone 631.903.2042 Would give him a five star review any time. Given there exist services such as Dave’s or the ones recommended by you and Andrew, it’s kind of surprising the ones that ‘can be a nightmare to work with’ somehow stay in business. Who are the people who aren’t firing them? … lol ~Beat

    1. @beatcoach Thanks for the recommendation, I’m glad you have found success! I’ve fired many web hosts, it’s a pain to move stuff over and takes some work especially if you have a lot of sites. I think lack of action is how a lot of businesses stay in business, it’s too much hassle to go elsewhere!

  8. I’ve generally been happy with Hostgator since switching to them – although I had a few issues with how they dealt with a recent problem. But I’m sticking with them – great value for money IMO.

    1. @DavidRogers They’re fantastic value for money in some respects, especially when it comes to fixed hacked sites. I pay a few hundred dollars a month for one of my dedicated servers (with another host before HostGator offered dedicated) and they won’t clean up even any minor problem I have! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Joel,

    HostGator, Bluehost, Dreamhost – all excellent choices and the ones I recommend to my clients.

    The hosting companies I don’t like are the ones that are ‘local’. I get clients who have their hosting provided by their “Uncle” or some guy they met at the gym. Very often these ‘local’ companies provide very basic hosting services and it can be a nightmare to work with.

    Andrew

    1. @andrewrondeau Very true! I was one of those guys in the late 90s hosted by a friend of a friend, terrible service and uptime, no technical support, locked into services. I’m all for people starting their own business but hosting has minimum service levels that should be met, and too many fail them!

  10. Dear Joel –

    This whole thing about servers is a mystery to me. I think they all have problems from time to time. I am on Dreamhost and at least they answer your questions immediatley. On can only hope they fix things as quickly. Having a problem right now – so I will let you know.

    They did admit right away that it was their fault. That was comforting to hear.

  11. I don’t know about hostgator.com, I’ve tried them several times and continue to have issues. I know people don’t really like godaddy.com but I’ve become very trusting of this company over the past few years. I’ve hosted multiple websites with them including my current website http://www.help2pc.com. My past sites that i’ve had and sold through their auctions. Although the auctions are a little off. I might just have to give hostgator.com another shot here in the near future, maybe even transfer my site to them, if I have better luck with them.

    1. @Help2PC I’ve never had a good experience with GoDaddy hosting using WordPress. That covers a lot of sites, but that’s not to say some people don’t have a good experience, just that I haven’t. Never had a problem that HostGator couldn’t fix!

    2. @Help2PC I’ve never had a good experience with GoDaddy hosting using WordPress. That covers a lot of sites, but that’s not to say some people don’t have a good experience, just that I haven’t. Never had a problem that HostGator couldn’t fix!

    3. @BlogTechGuy

      I see your point, everyone has a different experience pending on their own personal talants and experience using certain programs like wordpress and Joomla. I personally don’t have much experience with wordpress. It’s like a flip with both hosting companies. lol Bad experience with hostgator while using joomla, but good with godaddy. On the flipside. Good experience with wordpress on hostgator and horrible on godaddy. Also with other programs like in the forum arena also. It’s hard to say which is better than the other…lol…they are so different in so many ways. One thing I have to say about hostgator is they get A++ in tech support. Godaddy ehhh B+, there is plenty of room for improvement at godaddy. But i’ve had rock solid support from hostgator, but my problems may be more user error than host error. But of course this is all just my opinion based on my experiences, with both companies. I wonder if there are any other companies out there can bring both the add-on support and availability like these two do. I’ve looked but to no avail…kinda frustrating.

  12. Hi Joel I love this post. One thing I would suggest is not choosing a host just because they advertise a lot. The other thing I do is I call technical support at different times including the middle of the night before I hire them as a web host. Tech support is key for me because as someone who setup servers in past in my career if I am going to support I need help.

    I would be really careful with reading some of the web hosting “Review” sites. These are really paid advertising sites.Independent sites like this one are much better.

    Personally I love Hostgator. On web hosting company i absolutely despise is 1and1. They do not service customers really well.

    1. @Robcairns Good advice Rob. I only recommend hosts with good technical support as I’ve used a LOT of them! You’re right about the hosting review sites, some are genuine but it’s very hard to tell them apart. HostGator tech support is fantastic and (touch wood) have never failed to impress me the (probably) hundreds of times I’ve spoken to them over the years.

      1and1 and GoDaddy are not hosts I recommend for WordPress or anything else! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  13. Good information Joel. I know from experience that talking with others like yourself is a great idea. Referrals can make a big difference when it comes to hosting and other areas of a good website.

    When you find a good website that gives good information, start asking them questions if you are thinking of starting your own site. I do highly recommend you when it comes to helping website owners.

    thanks to people like you I am covered when it comes to my hosting.

    Blessing to you and we need honest caring people like you to help us that don’t have the experience when it comes to building a site.

    Thanks again,

    Debbie

    1. @happymakernowco Thank you Debbie, I really appreciate you recommending me! I try to provide value and information that is useful and honest, and I’m glad I sometimes succeed in that and you feel I’m trustworthy enough to recommend to others. I really appreciate your support!

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