I doubt that person exists. As someone who is building a new database of hosts and hosting plans, the best I can do is try to simulate that person. I am not there yet, so my general advice is to look at a combination of technical and business factors. Does their network have a pulse? Does their website have a pulse?
In my experence, even a good hosting company changes with time. I've found some good ones which were very stable and responsive one month, then the next they became unstable and would not return support requests. Sign. Go figure. Sometimes I am wondering if these hosting companies have figured out where their money comes from.
It's hard to find a good hosting company ;) My ideal hosting company would have mirrored backup of the server, if for some reason it went down just plug in the other server and im back online. Of course they need multiple connections from various broadband connections to ensure if a net connection went offline they'd still be able to offer data.
OoOo ya and backups, both UPS and gas generators to ensure I can stay online until the power is restored.
As I was previously a very important person at an ultra large hosting company. I have to say, "Things change all the time". I have headed development at 3 hosting companies in the last 5 years. These companies seem to get bought and sold faster they you can say hot potato. I don’t think you should trust the word of anyone that tells you they have found the best hosting company. There are three types. Great, good, and “Stay away/Run”.
Pinging a hosting companies tells you nothing about them. Testing their bandwidth or network is not going to show anything either. The measure of a truly good hosting company is one that has excellent products/pricing/support.
You should be able to control all the features via control panels. You should not need their tech support. But when you do. They should be knowledgeable and friendly. Look for 30-day money back guarantees! I remember when I was working for hosting company X, we bought hosting company Y & Z. We had to cancel our 30-day guarantee because we were losing customers too fast. The 30-day guarantee is back now. But that is after firing all employees of company Y & Z and moving customers over to our own hosting platform. When a hosting company gets too big sometimes it is better to move to a smaller one!
Another side note, There are lots of Hosting Directories out there. But beware… some of these hosting directories are not there to point you to the best host. They are there to make money. Whom ever pays them the most gets the highest recommendation. When I worked for Hosting Company X, we paid several thousand dollars a month to bride our way to the top of several directories. And Hosting Company X still is bribing like crazy. I am glad I am free from Company X, one day I will launch my own company and do this right!