How to Narrow Down Your Search for Web Hosting

Posted on May 14, 2013 by

Choosing the right web host is a lot like picking out a used car. You want to do all the research you can on past performance of that make of car, check out the features, consider the cost, and determine whether it’s a good match for your needs now and in the future. As you’re looking for a web hosting provider for your blog, small business website, or other type of site, pay special attention to assessing the company’s reputation to narrow down your list.

Ask Current Customers: The best way to find out what a web host is really like is to ask people who currently use that host. You’ll get a picture of what you may be feeling a year from now if this is the host you choose to use. Therefore, start by asking friends, colleagues, and others you know who they use for their website hosting and what they think of that company. Having several people give good reviews and recommendations for a company is definitely a step in the right direction.

Check Online Reviews: Perform a simple search for reviews of the web host and read up on what others have said. You may not know many people who use a particular hosting company you’re interested in, so this is the perfect way to broaden your search. You’ll often find that reviews are either very positive or very negative, so make sure to look for both sides so you can build a list of advantages and red flags for each host.

Search Twitter: When people are frustrated with something these days, they’ll often tweet about it. Use some creative Twitter search strategies to find out what people are upset about with regard to a particular host’s service. When you search for the web host’s name, add “#fail” or “:(” to filter down to negative reviews so you can find out what others don’t like about that host. Of course, you can also try more standard search terms like “problems” and “issues.”

Test Customer Support: If a web host has problems, which all of them do in some way at some point, you’re going to need to get in touch with customer support right away. Therefore, spend a few minutes getting firsthand experience of the support experience. Give the support number a call, see how long it takes to talk to a real person, and just ask a few questions about the process they use to resolve issues and see if you feel like you’re treated well.

Your assessment of a hosting company’s overall reputation will help you decide whether that company should make it onto your short list. Once you have that list of ideal candidates, it’s time to take a look at the specific features of the hosting plans to help you make your final decision. Consider features like e-commerce integration, custom web design assistance, and the ease of transitioning into a larger hosting plan if your site grows and you need additional space. Based on this information, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your website.

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