If you aren't looking for cheap hosting check your local yellow pages. Working with a good local provider is worth the extra $ in many cases.
The good and reliable is usually cheaper than you think.
But pretty hard to find...but there are forums about hosting on the net.
So many users sharing theis experiences.
My advice is to send out some tech support inquiries to those hosting companies that you are interested in using. Contact them on a weekend at 3am or 4am. See how long a they take to get back to you. You can weed out those companies that take longer than 2-3 hours to respond as it likely means they do not have true 24/7 support. Anyone can claim 24/7 support, see for yourself it it's true.
Some things that you may want to know when shopping for a provider are (in no particular order)
- monthly data transfer
- allocated disk space
- type of server used
- operating system
- latest software revisions / patches
- processor speed
- available memory
- server load
- usage of disk partitions
- frequency of data backups
- raid storage
- backup generators
- last time server was rebooted
- permission to run various scripts / forums (some can consume a great deal of resources, so stay away from hosts that allow anything and everything)
- ping times
- ip and blacklist status
- emergency phone number
Remember that the price you pay is not only what gets charged to your credit card, but opportunity cost as well. How much will you lose in sales if your server goes down for a couple hours? To me, a hosting company that is on top of their game is well worth the extra money.
Please also note that posting URL's or names of specific websites that are not authority sites is against the TOS at Webmaster World. You can edit your post using Owner Edit.
Thanks nativenewyorker, have already been stickymailed about my loose tongue. This independence of reviews seems to be a huge issue though - and if there are other people out there like myself, then a lot of time is spent on tring to find something suitable and trustworthy. No, a lot of time is wasted sifting through and trying to uncover the lies, and bogus reviews etc.
I'm sure that people have already tried to come up with ways to overcome this problem, but a truly independent and trustworthy site would be such a great resource.. you could even set up something that charges for the advice it provides (in at attempt to convince users that the money they are paying is the revenue generator for the site - as opposed to advertising from host companies). I suppose the crux would be convincing people that you are totally independent - I've been fooled already countless times!
I'm just making this up as I go along, but the great auction site I recall had problems with positive feedback etc. They have to an extent overcome the problem (correct me if I'm wrong!). Now I've started ranting - consumers are getting more drawn to purchasing over the internet, but equally are getting more drawn to products independently reviewed by their peers. Because the internet is such a dodgy place to buy things and services, the best way for consumers to check out what they are buying is from those who have already bought the same thing. Will everything on the internet go the same way? If so, what can be put in place to help this...
Anyway, back to the hosting!
One more thing to look for is a host with a money back guarantee if you cancel within the first month. Any quality host will offer it as they will not have any quality of service issues to hide.
|independently reviewed by their peers. |
And there's the rub - especially with relatively anonymous screen names, you never know who has an ulterior motive. Sure, you can usually spot blatant marketing pitches just by the vapid tone of the language, but the best forum spamming [webmasterworld.com] can be nearly impossible to tell from an honest testimonial. Or an honest complaint, for that matter.
So I really appreciate that this thread has taken the direction it has -- what to look for in a host -- rather than just naming names for good or bad.
I really love nativenewyorker's idea of calling up at 3am on a weekend. Like many good ideas, it's pretty obvious once someone has done the favor of sharing it.
If you do a search for web hosting forum, you'll come across a site I've used a few times when looking. Yes, most there are anonymous, but then again, so are we here. Looking at post counts, length of visits and other posts can give you a general idea of how sincere the review is. Also, I've noticed on that forum a lot of time others will chime in with their good and bad about a particular host.
What about the differences between getting a host company locally or getting one abroad? Obviously with a local one you feel you have a bit more control over it (can go over there and bang on their door when they don't answer the tickets) but is this perception of more control worth the extra money you may have to pay?
I'd say go local (within your country) for speed more than anything.
"I'd say go local (within your country) for speed more than anything."
What do you mean exactly lovethecoast? Is going abroad likely to compromise the speed?
Make sure your IP's are located in the country that most visitors come from. If you for example went with a hosting company in USA and only service/intrest Canadians - when someone clicks the radio button "pages from Canada" your site will not be there.
Thank you the contractor - if you hadnt mentioned that, I could have been in a lot of trouble! My site is UK based, and is ONLY for people in the UK. So, you reckon hosting in UK is best option?
If you are hosted in the UK you should appear in Google's "UK only" serps. (You may also need your domain registered in the UK - am not sure about this.) If it's a .com site you will also be in Google's "all web" search, which is the best of both worlds.
But the situation with MSN is different. At the moment MSN appears to require a .uk domain name to get into the UK serps.
|So, you reckon hosting in UK is best option? |
Yes, make sure they are using a datacenter located in the UK. Lookup their nameservers and their site in whois to double-check as I know quite a few UK hosts that actually use a USA based datacenter for cost reasons. UK hosting is normally more expensive than USA offering the same resources.
also please note, that the majority (I do mean Majority) of the top "hosting resource" sites, are deeply owned or affiliated with hosting companies and info should be taken with a grain of salt.
|also please note, that the majority (I do mean Majority) of the top "hosting resource" sites, are deeply owned or affiliated with hosting companies and info should be taken with a grain of salt. |
Yes, I know only one that I would even begin to trust...
edited: also make sure you check out the datacenter where the servers are actually located for connectivity and the datacenter operation as a whole.
I'd suggest narrowing your search to a specific type of hosting plan and a specific feature set. Do you need a VPS or higher, or will a regular shared hosting plan work? How much administration are you willing to do? Some VPS's are cheap, but you need to do everything yourself including installing the Linux distro.
I was recently looking for a place that was low-priced, that allowed a large number of domains, that provided 24/7/365 shell access, that didn't require large amounts of administration, and that would let me run servlets. After dropping the servlets requirement I was able to winnow down the possibilities. Also, one of the main forums that discusses such issues has a spreadsheet of various VPS plans that might be interesting.
Also, once you start looking at all these hosts you'll notice that many of them look the same. I avoided stock resellers unless they had some specific feature that was interesting.
How can you tell if a company is a reseller? Do they have to state that they are a reseller or is this something you should find out for yourself? Also, I'm currently with a reseller and although their support is good they don't actually have that much control - there was a power failure not too long ago and since they are just an intermediary, they had no control over it and couldn't do a thing..
I would split the Domain Registration the DNS and the Hosting between 3 different companies. i.e. use 3rd party DNS.
That way you can change Hosting company by simply changing an IP address. It also means you can use a different company for a backup or fallover hosting which can be detected automatically.
Another way to find out which hosting companies are good is to look to at FTSE 100 and 200 companies sites. Find the sites which are the most leading edge and also the most responsive and then look up who hosts them.
"How can you tell if a company is a reseller?"
You can find out where they get their service from using a DNS digging tool
Perhaps I should have been more specific. I meant the generic resellers who sign up for a reseller plan and use the same generic web site templates as dozens or hundreds of other resellers. If you check their "About" page and all it contains is generic text that's another clue.
[edited by: engine at 11:45 am (utc) on Mar. 29, 2005]
[edit reason] TOS [/edit]