How to Research and Find a Quality Web Hosting Company
There are literally thousands of web hosting companies to choose from these days, each with their own features, prices, and history - some good, some bad. That's why it's essential to make an informed decision by doing your research ahead of time. How does one begin the research process with so many web hosting companies and variables? With a few easy steps, this daunting task can turn into a cakewalk.
Start with hosting reviews
This should be the first obvious step when researching a new hosting company. Simply going to your favorite search engine such as Google or Bing, and typing in example terms such as (without the brackets):
[web hosting company name] review
[web hosting company name] customer reviews
Another helpful search term is to use the "site:" operator in Google and Bing that searches for pages from a specific site. This comes in hand if you want to search within a community such as a forum to see what its members are saying about a particular web hosting company. WebHostingTalk is a forum dedicated to web hosting, and is a good choice is this example (without the brackets):
site:webhostingtalk.com [web hosting company name] review
This will usually yield some good results, because customers of these hosting companies are active on this forum and share their opinions for others to read.
Chat with hosting support
What better way to get a sense of how reliable a hosting company is than to chat with their support team? When you visit the website of a web hosting company, look for their support page, where you can send them an email to ask a question about their services. You can even search for a live chat button where you can ask pre-sale questions. This should give you a good idea as to how friendly and knowledgeable their support staff is.
What sort of questions should you ask the support team? This depends on what you consider to be most important when choosing a new web host, but some of the most important questions to ask would be:
What is your server uptime?
How long have you been in business?
What is your refund policy?
Do you offer any coupons or discounts?
These are just a few examples, so do some brainstorming first, and write down your questions before contacting support.
Take a look at their status page
Another way to check the reliability of a web hosting company, is to check their "Status" or "Server Status" page. Most hosting companies will have a page that notifies its customers if one or more of their servers is experiencing an outage or other technical problems. If you notice that most or all of the servers are experiencing issues for a prolonged period of time, this could be an indicator of a problem.
Naturally, all hosting companies experience problems every once in a while, but if you check their status page over the course of a few days and notice the same problems, this could be a red flag.