Here are ten techniques you can use to make sure you purchase from a good hosting company. It is your job to make sure you buy from a consistent and reliable web host. Your online reputation, your websites SEO and the profitability of your website may be at risk if you pick a bad web host. The best web hosts are the ones that cause no problems and provide a simple but consistent service. Ideally, if they are doing their job right then you should have no idea they are doing anything at all.
1 – Common sense
Sadly–common sense is something we learn and are not born with. This is why people are caught by con artists. You should however consider the old saying, “The offer is too good to be true.” Don’t forget that every transaction is a compromise, and your job is to negotiate the biggest return for the smallest outgoing. If your promised incoming is too easy to achieve then the offer may be too good to be true. If the other party has a very negligible (if not none existent), return on your transaction then the offer is too good to be true. Finally, if the other party is pressing a time limit then the offer is too good to be true, don’t forget that haste makes waste, and forced haste is a common tool of con artists.
2 – The host’s reputation
Don’t look for good reviews because they have been written by the marketing department of the host (under fake names obviously). Your job is to look for negative and neutral reviews–these are often the real reviews. Do you see any commonality between the reviews? Are many of them complaining about the host having a lot of down time? Do many of them complain about poor bandwidths? Are people complaining that the host servers are poorly optimized? When you see negative reviews, you should look for critical flaws, such as the server being scanned by a third party to fish (not phish) for private information. Are system crashes commonplace?
3 – An absence of negative reviews is a bad sign
No company is perfect and so you should expect negative reviews. There are four common reasons why there are no negative reviews: The host is new, the host frequently changes their name to ditch their poor reputation, the negative reviews are buried deep in the Internet, and the host company keeps purging the Internet of negative reviews to create a false-positive-online image. So as you can see–if there are no negative reviews then you should look upon the host with a large amount of suspicion.
4 – Do their offers give you stuff you don’t need, whilst underplaying the things you do
Let’s say that you are expecting lots of traffic, is the host bragging that you get lots of memory space, whilst hardly mentioning bandwidth? Sometime an inconsistent host is a result of you making a poor choice. The aforementioned host may be great for webmasters who are planning to have a big website with few visitors–in this case the host would be ideal. However, if you are expecting lots of traffic then the same host is going to prove to be unreliable and inconsistent.
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5 – Best prices doesn’t mean best host
You should shop around to get the best price possible. After all–the services you are buying are similar, whether you buy from host A or host B. Nevertheless, you should remember that the best services do not come cheap. If you buy a coffee maker for $15 and another for $150, you may expect the $15 version to allow the coffee to cool faster and the filter may leak after six months. If your host can afford to offer a lot for a very little then you have to find out where they are making enough savings to allow such a discount. Have they made their money and are simply selling off the remainder of their server space? Or are they skipping routine maintenance and purchasing cheap virus checkers?
6 – What can they do?
On a similar note to point number four, you must check that you host is actually willing to give you what you demand. Their rates may be unbeatable, but are they such–at a cost of forcing you to use their GUI to build your website? Are they offering you a hosting service contract that allows price changes at the whim of the host? Are they going to run adverts on your website?
7 – Tech support
Even the computers at NASA go wrong, but a key component of a consistent host company is having adequate tech support. Are they offering you a structured tech support service? Do they have people available to contact all year round? How much help are they willing to offer you? On average–how long can you expect your website to be down during a technical problem?
8 – Communication
A reliable and consistent host will be available as much as possible. It is only the companies who have something to hide, and the companies that offer a bad service, who are going to hide from you and make communication difficult. Make sure you pick a host that will not leave you on hold for 20 minutes, or a host with a hit and miss email reply service. An unwillingness to communicate is a big indicator of a host company that does not put you first–avoid them at all costs.
9 – Limits
Keep an eye on the limits of their service. Is there an absolute maximum amount of server space you are allowed to purchase? If you gain more traffic, are you allowed to upgrade your bandwidth? You must be sure that you will not need to upgrade in the foreseeable future if you pick a host that does not allow upgrades. Also beware of the hosts who offer great starter prices and then gouge you for upgrades.
10 – Upgrades, advances and the future
Who knows what technological advances that America, Britain and Europe are going to come up with next. Does your new host appear to be flexible enough to integrate upgrades in a swift and productive manner? Are they slow on the uptake of new technology? IBM has been working on AI since the 80’s; will artificial intelligence be delegating your bandwidth in the future? The British government has bought Japanese technology that could potentially recognize and react to hackers before the system even receives any form of intrusion initialization (if it were explained in phone terms, it is like hanging up the phone on a hacker before they even finish dialing your phone number). Will this technology make viruses an extinct entity? How willing is your host going to be to integrate this technology into their servers?
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