A web hosting company is where you buy space to hold your website’s content and to buy your domain name. There is no such thing as THE right web host that fits all, it is all a matter of preference in combination with the physic location of their servers. While most small businesses can go with a shared server (you share he same server with multiple other hosting clients), most bigger companies prefer a dedicated server or just buy their own server. After signing up with a web host, your contract will be at least for a year. You don’t want your website to be hosted on a slow server and you want to have excellent customer service in the occasion something goes wrong. Doing proper research is a must. 12 tips for finding the right web host for your company website:
1. Real web hosting user reviews
– Search for User Reviews of the web host on any website but their own. Watch out for fake reviews! Some review sites: Hosting Facts / PCmag / Web Hosting Review / WebHosting Secret Reviewed / CNET / WebHostDirectory / web hosting GEEKS / Hosting Review / Consumer rankings
2. Compare prices and services.
There are huge differences in provided services. Catch: some (read: a lot of) providers offer a deal on their website. This deal is mostly for the first payment term only. After the first term, the monthly service fee might double or triple! Read the small print, very important here.
3. Customer service response time
What is the Response Time of their customer service department? Probably you can see this item popping up when you read the user reviews, otherwise search for it or simply ask for it on the website of the web host.
4. Is there a no questions asked 100% refund policy?
Most web hosting companies have a 30, 45 or 90 day no questions asked refund policy. Also here: read the small print. The refund probably doesn’t include the domain costs, setup costs or has some other percentage as a fee subtracted. Looking for a good web hosting company can be so frustrating! Here's some useful tips. Click To Tweet
5. What is their cancellation policy?
Can you cancel anytime and do you get some money back? Is there a contract involved or is a prepaid account? Good to know, before signing up.
6. Better business bureau registration
Is the company listed on the Better Business Bureau website? What rating do they have? Any company listed as A- to A+ didn’t have much unsolved customer complaints. When they do have complaints, read on the BBB website how the issue was resolved.
7. Where are their servers located?
The physic location of the server center has effect on the loading time of your website. Try to find a provider that has its servers close by your target audience. Most likely you will find this information on the website of the provider. Some web hosting companies can offer you multiple locations. Catch: they might charge extra for some locations.
8. Customer interaction
Do they have a user forum or blog where they interact with their customers? Interacting with users is important. A forum, a blog, a Q and A where common questions will be answered quickly.
9. What hardware do they use?
Look for SSD hard drives, lots of RAM memory, fast servers. Better hardware is more speed, faster loading times for your website, especially on a shared server you don’t want to be the victim of another clients website overloading the same server. Nowadays I look for hosts that provide SSD hard drives, Cloudlinux, Litespeed or an optimized Apache Linux server.
10. Cloud hosting: how much physical memory do you get?
512mb, 1024mb or even 2056mb. With Cloud hosting you’ll get your own dedicated physical ram memory. Although you can do a lot with 512mb, do notice that this has some limitations when you do a lot of photo and video uploading to your website. Higher is better. Aim for 1024mb or even 2056mb or up.
11. Ethical options
Green data centers, used resources, recycling. If this matters to you, check it before signing up. You can check all hosts if they use green energy as their resource on this awesome website: The Green Web Foundation
12. Who owns the company?
You’ll be surprised how many web hosting companies are owned by one overlapping organisation. Take for instance the Endurance International Group. As of this writing they own over 54 brands (source: Wikipedia).
Matt Banner from On Blast Blog wrote a great article about finding the best cheap web hosting. You should definitely check it out!
Good shared hosting companies
Finally a list in random order of good shared hosting companies that I know of. Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning I will get a commission if you decide to purchase some of the below services. Buying services via an affiliate link has no extra costs for you and I will only post links to services that I trust: Inmotion Hosting / A2hosting / Siteground / Web Hosting Hub / Canadian Web Hosting From a personal view I can really recommend Inmotion Hosting as they offer a lot of freedom, goodies, awesome customer service in combination with ultra fast servers.