5 Tips To use When Looking For Web Hosting

[LEFT]1) Website Look And Usability

Would you trust a web host with a poorly designed website? I certainly wouldn’t and nor should you because first impressions are everything. A web host will be providing you with the tools, resources and space needed for you to create your own website, forum or blog. If the web host has a website that not only looks bad but is also hard to navigate it makes you wonder why they are selling web services in the first place. You may be wondering what a professionally designed website shows. Well…

  • If a company takes care of their site there is a high chance they also look after their customers very well.

  • Many people see web hosting as a get rich quick Internet business. As a result of this many people decide to throw up a quick website and some hosting plans only to find out hosting isn’t easy. The more professional their website is the higher chance the web host is here to stay.

  • Fantastic web design shows a passion for the web and attention to detail. This attention to detail approach is likely to be incorporated into the web hosts support efforts.

  • The staff behind the company either have really good HTML/CSS skills or the company has the income to invest in their online presence thus showing they are here for the long run. If the company have already shown they can design a website they shouldn’t have any problems providing their customers with fantastic support.

  • The company takes their responsibility seriously and are willing to go one step further to impress.

Below are some examples of well known web hosts that have shown great care when designing their website and representing their services. These examples show branding at it’s best.

Fatcow
Geekstorage
Shark Space

Not only have the above taken care with branding and their websites they all have a fantastic reputation.

2) Legal Documents

While this is overlooked by many it certainly deserves to be second on the list. Every web hosting company should have the following legal documents:

  • Terms Of Service
  • Acceptable Usage Policy
  • Privacy Policy

The purpose of these documents is not only to protect the company but also the customer. Make sure you read these documents before choosing a web host because every host will have different policies on email limits, CPU usage, acceptable content, termination etc

Some companies will try to hide their Terms Of Service and Acceptable Usage Policy. If this were the case my advice would be to find another company. There should be a clearly visible link to these documents in the footer of the companies website.

Web hosting companies that provide ‘unlimited’ resources do it because the majority of people will not read their legal documents. By reading the above legal documents you will know what the limits really are.

3) Support

Good support is vital when choosing a web host. No matter how much experience you have with building/maintaining websites from time to time something will go wrong. At this point it’s very important to have access to a good support team. Most of the time a good support team will be able to resolve your issue in less than 30 minutes. But if you choose a web host with poor support you could be waiting up to 24 hours for a response. For those who own personal websites this might not be a problem but if you run an online business it’s vital that your website is up and running again as soon as possible.

Once you have narrowed down your search to a couple of web hosts it’s always a good idea to get a feel for their support by asking some questions. This will give you a good indication as to how reliable their support is.

4) Web Hosting Features

Generally when looking for web hosting you will come across the same features from host to host but with varying Disk Space, Bandwidth limits, Add-On domains, Parked Domains and in some cases MySql databases. The Disk Space you need will depend on the size of your website. For example a video hosting website will need much more Disk Space than a static HTML site. In simple terms every time someone visits your website they will use your bandwidth. The amount of bandwidth you need greatly depends on the nature of your site and how many visitors your site receives.

While looking for web hosting you are bound to come across ‘unlimited’ offers. Be careful with such offers because it is impossible to have unlimited bandwidth/disk space. If you read their terms of service/acceptable usage policy you will know what the limits really are. The majority of websites will not have any problems with such hosting plans but if you run a site that is going to use a lot of Disk Space/Bandwidth it’s always better to choose a web host that doesn’t oversell their services.

5) Uptime Guarantee

I can’t stress enough how important uptime is. After all, why start a website if it can’t be seen? Uptime is the word used in web hosting for the percentage of time a server has been online for. For example if a web host has 99.9% uptime that means their server/servers have been online 99.9% of the time they have been monitored for. While looking for web hosting an uptime guarantee should certainly be considered because it shows the web host is confident in the services they provide.

*The top 5 above are just my opinion. :thumbsup:

I recently wrote an article containing my top 14 tips when choosing web hosting. The above are only the top 5.

I would love to hear what your top 5 deciding factors are when choosing a web host.

Regards,
Jack
Sequence Hosting[/LEFT]

Thanks for your tips!

Good tips man.

Jack you are expert. I think a lot of people will say thank you for you!

I think perhaps your tips are poorly put across. While a websites look and feel can either ooze professionalism or an amateur nature, it’s certainly not a factor of how good a host they are. Point in fact many host providers don’t have a clue about web design because they are web hosts, not a glossy collective of designers. As such I think it’s in poor taste to say that if their design isn’t up-to-par with the latest and greatest their service will suffer as a result, it’s a known fact that hosts who spread their skills too thinly are the ones who usually end up failing in several respects, those who’s offerings are host based could be exceptional, they just might not be too good at the marketing / design presence element (design is not a measurement of hosting ability). Also your qualifier that 99.9% uptime signifies that they have tested for that level of uptime is seriously flawed. Most hosts put up such a claim on the basis that it’s standard marketing practice, not because they have actually measured that level of uptime, it’s more of a selling gimmick than a reliable measurement of success. :slight_smile:

I agree many users do not read the TOS however it is important to refer the legal document before you signup a service.

Hi,

You may also add one more new feature which should be support multiple domains to host under single hosting account which should be more value added service now-a-days for those who wish to have more than one domain?

Also your qualifier that 99.9% uptime signifies that they have tested for that level of uptime is seriously flawed. Most hosts put up such a claim on the basis that it’s standard marketing practice, not because they have actually measured that level of uptime, it’s more of a selling gimmick than a reliable measurement of success.

Indeed, it’s just a monetary guarantee, and given that the refund will in the vast majority of cases be given only to customers who request it (and even then, it’s only up to the host to determine if their claim is right), and maintenance related downtime is usually excluded, few customers ever get a refund.

Great advice. Thanks for taking the time to share :slight_smile:

Also, those hosts you posted do look great. I will consider these for my future site.

Definitely have to agree with this statement. Many times a potential client will not read the terms, each Datacenter has their own set of rules. Some allow lots of torrent traffic, others do not. Some allow spam, some don’t. You definitely want to read it so you know what you are getting, in other words, both your and your potential hosts expectations are on the same page.

As far as the 99.9%, I tend to agree, but there are Tier 1 DC’s that are truly 100% (less scheduled maintenance).

I hate the “99.9% uptime guarantee” that some hosts have, 99.9% comes out to 8 hours/year of downtime. Plus, as others have mentioned, everyone claims 99.9% uptime, since that’s what their competition claims!

For uptime guarantees, I refer over to netcraft.com. They’re impartial, and more accurate than any other 3rd party hosting review site that I’ve come across.

For uptime guarantees, I refer over to netcraft.com. They’re impartial, and more accurate than any other 3rd party hosting review site that I’ve come across.

That’s a bit like judging the cars of a company by its Formula 1 car performance. Netcraft monitors the web hosts website, which is likely to get special care and attention, it’s own dedicated server etc. Its uptime has little to no relevance for a potential shared hosting customer.

I agree. We also keep our main website and customers separate so if something goes wrong either side communication won’t be broken.

Thanks very much for your replies everyone.

Thanks for sharing these useful tips with us! I also came across an interesting article on a similar topic…http://tinyurl.com/y94jgwx

Do you teach your customers, don’t you?

Thanks for sharing precious tips

I’m not quite following you?

The uptime guarantee - a thing to look for?

That extra special thing i look for in a webhost is their support. The one i currently have has 24/7 live chat, normally just a few short minutes waiting time to get connected to one of their staff. Times and times again i have used it … like I’ve had a problem with something in my admin back-end or was clueless on how to do something, i’d open the chat, and within a few sentences of talking to them, i’d be on my way able to continue on with my website… 24/7 live support is very important to me :slight_smile:

Agree with Dawson on both points. The look of a host’s own site isn’t too critical (unless it is really just so amateurish that it borders on the ridiculous). If they claim to be hosts, then that’s their priority. An exception might be a host that also offers some kind of website builder or website design package (no excuse for that host to have an ugly site - they could at the least use their own site builder for their own site!).

And stated uptime isn’t too valuable of a figure because I’d guess that while most are true, any host with poor uptime isn’t going to state it - they’ll massage the figures to come up with what they feel is a legitimate claim of “99.9% uptime” (which is a figure used by almost all hosts).

Dan