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.

Host Gator is My Recommended Host

Host Gator (or Hostgator as some people call them) is the host I recommend the most. I use them many times per day on behalf of my clients, and find them great to work with.

I get asked which webhost I recommend a few times a week, and it is usually a choice based on personal recommendation and past experience. A recent rough count tells me that over 80% of my clients are using Host Gator (for at least one of their sites) and the number of problems I’ve had with them? Two. Both clients will not be using Host Gator again, for various reasons it didn’t work out well with them. However compared to the problems I’ve had (or more specifically, problems my clients have had) with other hosts, they’re a great choice.

Recommended Hosts

If you have a lot of websites you may want to have more than one host. While most hosting accounts can handle multiple sites as add-on domains (this is a great inexpensive way to have multiple websites/blogs), some people like to have different hosts for their larger, more critical websites – if one host has server problems, then their other important site should still be fine. That’s why I recommend Hostgator.

The Host Gator Baby plan will be good enough for most people to start off. In fact for those on a really tight budget the Hatchling plan may work for them, but it only allows one domain.

A well known host will always have those who recommend it and those who don’t, it is all in the personal experience. I have had good experiences with the two above but there are people who have not, and the best advice is to go with what your friends, colleagues and people you trust recommend.

I could go into a long list of reasons why I recommend Host Gator, but this is a soft-sell blog, so essentially I think it is simply a great choice for beginner and intermediate blogs due to ease of setup and low cost. There are better hosts out there, ones with higher security, greater scalability and better support, but you can always move if you get to that level and feel you need to.

The links for Host Gator are affiliate links, meaning I make money if you sign up with them. However please feel free to go to their websites directly, almost all hosts have similarly priced affiliate plans and it has no bearing on my recommendations. Also the hosts will happily answer any questions you may ask, my recommendations might not be perfect for your individual situation so please contact them with any questions.

Oh, and Happy New Year! If I can help you make 2009 more successful than 2008, please contact me, I would love to help you.