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Can anyone help - or at least point me in the right direction?! But now I've become so cynical.. can I trust anyone?! ahhhhhh
Some things that you may want to know when shopping for a provider are (in no particular order)
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.
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!
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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]