If you’re ready to choose a hosting company, use this list to help you decide which is best.
Finding a good hosting match is a lot like finding a new house; it all depends on what you need and where you’re comfortable. The search is not easy and it’s hard to get good advice. Ask several experts for their favorite and you’ll get different answers from each of them.
After my experiences of the past few years, however, I know the absolute, real, and definitive truth: there is no perfect hosting company.
Just as with everything concerning the Internet, hosting companies change. One month they’re great: awesome uptime, quick and helpful tech support, and the price is right. Next month, they’re bought out, change policies, and raise prices. Or their servers start to have problems and you get more downtime. Tech support is no longer as reliable. You start to wonder if it’s time to switch.
After several changes myself and discussing this with many web professionals, I’ve put together a list of the things you should look for in a web host:
- Compatibility – Does this host work well with WordPress? Most are able to host WordPress sites, but does the company KNOW WordPress? Does the tech support team understand it? Do they offer features especially for WordPress sites?
- Standards – Do they use the genuine cPanel and WHM, or a proprietary control panel? I found this out the hard way when attempting to switch hosts; the new hosting company could not migrate sites for me because the old host didn’t use cPanel. That increased my work by about a thousand percent and my resentment of the old host by about the same amount.
- Value – This not only includes the monthly fee, but the amount of space you get, the bandwidth you are alloted, the number of email accounts you can set up, and more. Don’t compare apples to oranges and come out on the rotten end.
- Flexibility – Can you get a discount for paying annually? Can you upgrade or downgrade without a penalty?
- Security – What steps do they take to secure their servers? Can you access the site backups they make? How much control do you have over security on your sites?
- Reliability – Does 99% uptime mean 99.01 or 99.99? That may seem like a tiny difference, but if you consider there are 43,200 minutes in a normal month, that’s a difference of over 7 hours. What would your clients have to say about that?
- Accessibility – If you need help, how easy is it to get? Can you call the hosting company on the phone and actually speak to a person? Does tech support only reply during business hours? Trust me, you need 24-hour support when managing multiple sites; bad things do happen in the middle of the night.
So, do ask other web people for hosting advise, but be prepared to use your own judgement when deciding whom to trust with your own sites. Using this list should help.
Did I miss anything? Please let me know. Thanks!