Before choosing a web hosting company for your new website, it is crucial to determine its quality so as to ensure that you don't end up going with the wrong provider.
These days, a multitude of technology companies are offering their web hosting services at highly affordable prices, which is an indication of the intense competition within the market.
Every web hosting company tries to persuade the prospective client into signing up with them using a variety of methods ranging from business outlook, aggressive marketing strategy, unique promotional offers, plenty of functionalities, as well as lower subscription costs.
Differentiating good quality providers from the bad ones is therefore becoming increasingly complex. However, once you have determined your own hosting requirements, there are a few tips you can keep in mind so as to precisely determine the quality of a web hosting company:
(1) Customer Reviews about the Company
Search Google for customer reviews of the web hosting company in question. This will turn up a number of cheap web hosting directories offering editorial reviews as well as actual customer reviews of the hosting company.
Try to analyze the views of the majority about that particular hosting provider. A web hosting company with lots of positive customer reviews and a small number of negative reviews is highly likely to be a quality hosting provider.
(2) Age of the Company
This is one of the strongest indicators of the integrity and recognition of the web hosting company's brand. The longer the time that a hosting company has been in business, the greater the likelihood of its being a quality web hosting provider.
There are two ways to find out the age of the company. You may have often seen a copyright information at the footer of a provider's website saying something like "© 2012-2017".
This means that the company has been in business for 15 years. In case you're not able to find any such information on the hosting provider's website itself, you can conduct a whois search on the domain name of the company (e.g. www.healthriskfood.com) at http://whois.domaintools.com/. This will give you the "Creation date" of the domain name, which is the time, month, and year since the company has been operating.
(3) Outlook of the Company's Website
The third most important indicator of quality is the outlook of the website of the hosting company in question. A poorly designed website with an unprofessional look greatly increases the chances that the web hosting provider is of low quality.
Although this is not always true analogous to the saying "All that Glitters is not Gold", nevertheless, a well-designed and appealing website often has much to do with the professionalism of the company behind it.
Secondly, the speed with which the company's site loads also provides a glimpse of its quality.
(4) Specific Web Hosting Offers
The fourth most important criterion for determining the quality of a web hosting company is how specific the web hosting services offered by the company actually are. If you're looking for shared web hosting for instance, you should go with a web host that offers only shared web hosting solutions instead of going with the one that offers a range of solutions including VPS, dedicated, managed etc.
This is because, the broader the range of products offered by a company, the lesser the chances that their services will be able to cater to the needs of a diverse group of people.
A company offering shared web hosting services as a mainstream product with dedicated or managed hosting solutions as complementary services will be able to focus less on the latter group of products.
(5) Customer Support
In order to gauge the level of customer support services offered by a web hosting company, it is important to pinpoint the diversity of the customer support channels. A good quality web hosting company will not only offer ticketed e-mail support to its current and prospective customers, but will also provide a toll-free number as well as a live chat option on their website.
You can use any of the above mentioned communication channels to contact the customer support department a couple of times before deciding to sign up with the company.
Try to figure out how quickly they respond to your queries and whether their response is satisfactory. This will give you an idea of how the customer support department at the company is likely to react to your needs in the future.
(6) Downloading Speed and Uptime
Ask the customer support representative to provide you with temporary space on a server. Once you have access to that temporary server, upload a 50 MB file and measure the total downloading time. This will give you an idea of their server speed.
Also, be sure to ask them about their uptime guarantee if they have not stated it on their website. A good quality web hosting company will be able to guarantee an uptime of 99% to 100%. They should also be able to provide you with a way to monitor the uptime on a continuous basis, and to compensate for any downtime that may occur.
(7) Customer Base of the Company
Another strong indicator of the quality of a hosting company is the total number of customers served by it. As a general rule, a company claiming a customer base of more than 1 million on their website is much more likely to be a quality web hosting provider as compared with the one stating a figure of 0.1 million customers.
If no information is available on the provider's website concerning the total number of customers served, you can also search the Internet to find out the size of the customer base for that company.
(8) Own Data Center
A company that has its own data center is much more likely to be a quality provider as compared with the one that uses the data center of another company. The latter is known as a reseller web hosting provider, which is a much cheaper option in terms of business investment and can be operated by even a single individual.
However, the downside of it is that the reseller hosting provider has no control over the actual physical space as well as the equipment on which the websites of its clients reside. Because of this, the reseller web host acts as an intermediary between the actual hosting company and the customer which deteriorates the quality of service.
(9) Option of Multiple Data Centers
A company that offers more than one data centers to its clients stands a much greater chance of being a quality provider in comparison with one that owns a single data center.
A major advantage of multiple data center web hosting is that the customer can choose the data center closest to his/her target market, which dramatically reduces the amount of time needed for data transfer.
Dealing with overseas companies can prove to be a nightmare, no matter how attractive their overall offer seems to be. If you and your business are based in the United States for example, it would make no sense to sign up with a hosting company that has its data centers located in China.
A major problem with an overseas web host can be the language barrier, which occurs on account of the fact that the company is unable to provide its customer support in English. Another even bigger downside of this would be that your data would have to travel across half of the globe, which would greatly reduce your site's response time.
Do you know other factors one can consider before choosing a web hosting company, voice out your opinion in the comment box.