Things That You ‘Must’ Know Before Choosing A Web Host
Well, this might not be exactly our kind of niche, but there’s nothing about the smartphone industry that interests me at the moment and that’s possibly why I chose to write about something I have interest in and to protect people from ‘fraud’ web hosting companies. I’m going to discuss about shared web hosting, where you share the web-server with hundreds, if not thousands of other websites and often get into troubles such as long periods of downtime or a negative impact on SEO. To rectify all the problems regarding the matter in general, you need to choose a good host and one that fits in your requirements.
I’ll start with what most people do in order to find a paid webhost. These people, having no prior experience about web hosting, search in a search engine such as Google about it, with most of them putting keywords like ‘Web Hosting’ or ‘Best Web Host’ or similar. Now, a major gang plays part in this scenario and helps each other to boost the sales/revenues of all of them. There are two kind of websites that come up in search results with keywords like I mentioned. First, the so called ‘impartial’ webhosting review websites. Secondly, the big webhosting giants that tie-up with those review sites, pay them huge commissions for listing their company as the best web host and offer customers ‘UNLIMITED’ disk space, bandwidth, and other resources. I would have no problems with the latter, if their claims of ‘UNLIMITED’ resources and ‘99.9%’ uptime were really true. But, I hate both, and there are enough reasons for my hatred against them. I’ll tell you why.
When I planned to start Smartphone Geeks, I was one of those ‘common’ people whom I mentioned about above. After reading ‘fake’ reviews in the review sites, and using two ‘UNLIMITED’ providers for a few months, I soon understood everything that runs in background in this industry.
‘Unlimited’ Tricks :
In the web hosting industry, you get what you pay for. The costs of maintaining, monitoring, and upgrading servers and keeping employees ready to assist customers aren’t low. Still, some companies are able to provide you with ‘Unlimited’ resources at a very low cost, usually within $5 – $6. As they’re getting low amount of money from invidual customers, to suppress the loss, they stuff in as many customers’ websites as possible into a single shared hosting server. I’ve seen servers hosting over 1K websites. That results in pathetic loading times of all the websites on the server. These companies often provide users free control panels, rather than the popular and easy to use ‘cPanel’, to cut the costs even further. The server configurations, too, are not generally top class, not only the hardware part, but the software too. The support is generally even more awful than the server speeds. With some companies using ‘robots’ instead of humans to assist customers in issues they face, and most of the times not properly getting the issue resolved. A 15 minutes later reply from a human that really helps you is still better than a 2 minutes later reply from a robot saying ‘we’re forwarding your message to the concerned personnel’, no?
Fooling Users :
So, if a company’s service is so horrible, users will eventually know about it from their own experience and want to quit. These companies manage this part pretty well. Most of them do not offer monthly payments, you have to pay annually, biennially, or once in every 5 years. They offer ’30 days refund’ which is a scam. So, when you have already paid for a year, would you stay with that host, or upgrade to a better host that risks of the same mistake of you getting done yet again? Most people choose the first option, and that is why these fraud companies are breathing so well.
Another problem with such webhosts is downtime. When your website is down, not only you lose important visitors, but you also stop making any revenue from ads. So the more your site is down, the more loss you have to face. Stuffing more than recommended websites into a single server results in downtimes, usually caused by server crashing or other technical faults. Don’t beleive in a host’s 99.9% uptime guaranty without reading any legit review of them.
Always Read the ToS (Terms of Service) Before Signing-Up :
Study shows that over 90% people don’t read the ToS of the webhosting companies. I was one of them and I learned to do it in future in a hard way, when iPage refused to return my money after 15 days as I was un-satisfied, saying that their ToS lists money sent through ‘PayPal’ is non-refundable. Yeah, that’s what you get to hear after you’ve deposited the money in their bank a/c, no matter whatever ‘No Questions Asked’ refund policy they back from the front.
I didn’t stay with such a host after unveiling their real face, I moved to some genuine web communities that could really help me choose a decent host.
How to choose a good web host? :
Visit a few ‘unbiased’ online webhosting communities such as ‘WebHostingTalk‘. Read the genuine reviews there, and talk to the ‘human’ members there. If you’re looking for a good shared web host, you can check out their Shared Hosting Offers section to read about some great offers by some ‘genuine’ web hosts, who’ll atleast not cheat you with false promises. As the offers are posted by the host staff themselves, you can personally contact them and talk to them to clear your doubts before shelling out the money. You can ask for expert help, rather than choosing the ‘cheapest host that provides unlimited everything’.
In my case, I moved to MDDHosting from iPage.com, after reading a lot of good reviews of them in WHT, and getting advices from senior members there and talking to the owner of MDD personally who cleared all my doubts I had about their service. So, you see, you can’t really go wrong if you go to such active and unbiased web-hosting communities and seek their advice and opinion.
You can check this review of MDDHosting by me. It was written almost a year ago, and we’re still with MDDHosting, who in my opinion, provides SIMPLY UNMATCHED support and technical informations regarding servers and softwares. More importantly, if your website grows and gathers a lot more visitors than earlier, you can’t upgrade your hosting plan if you’re with an ‘UNLIMITED’ provider, because you should already get UNLIMITED stuffs. But they cleverly limit your resources by limiting the no. of concurrent mySQL connections, max. upload file size etc. to name a few that ultimately caps the no. of visitors who can view your site. So, finally, there’s no point of having such an unlimited scheme, otherwise there’d be no dedicated hosting plans in this world.
Web Hosts that you should avoid at any cost :
iPage, FatCow (owned by the same company), Green Geeks, Just Host, 1 and 1, GoDaddy, Web Hosting Pad, iPowerWeb, Host Monster.
However, HostGator is a host who’s probably the only exception among Unlimited Hosts who do provide good service, despite of the ‘unlimited’ claim being false. But, it’s costly on the other hand.
Premium Quality web hosts :
Have no problems with money? Want to sit back and concentrate on your website rather than worrying about server problems? Choose MediaTemple or LiquidWeb. They’re two of the best web hosts out there, who provide all kinds of hosting ranging from Shared Hosting to turbo charged Dedicated Servers. They beleive in the ‘you give us money, we give you service’ theory. 😉 I mentioned them because they too are the big guns of the hosting industry, and unlike the others, they’re legit companies. You may also choose MDDHosting, where this site is currently hosted at. Being a relatively smaller company, you get much better customer support as they value their customers. I never faced any long downtimes (longer than 20 minutes at most) in my 1 year experience with them. They reply to your support tickets even if you create one at midnight. This is what I like about MDD other than the fact that they always keep their servers upgraded with the latest technologies. They offer so much more than what I want, that I don’t even use. 🙂
Use your brain before signing up with a host. Don’t listen to what your heart says. I know how it feels to see the ‘UNLIMITED’ words next to the $2.95 price tag. Tell yourself it can’t be true. Talk to pro’s, and seeks advice in friendly online communities or reputed bloggers before pressing the trigger. 😉
If you do have any questions at all, feel free to ask me by ‘commenting’ below.