Hosting accounts are now more popular than they ever have been. It seems that everybody and their dog (literally!) has a hosting account nowadays, whether it is to run a business, a personal blog or something completely different. Of course, there are thousands of web hosts out there, some better than others. I have therefore put together this pretty handy guide that you can use to ensure that you won’t get burned when searching for the host of your dreams!
It is important to choose a company that has a solid reputation, preferably one of the larger ones. Yes, it is all well and good supporting the small companies, but this is very important. Imagine choosing a smaller company (who may just be using a reseller account) and one day they decide to pack everything up and stop hosting, perhaps they forgot to pay their bill or they want to engage in other ventures. You are going to lose ALL of your work. Which means you will lose money, so it is best to steer clear! Checking out a couple of reviews online should tell you whether the company is ‘small’ or not (look at the amount of reviews they have) if they have a particularly amateurish website then it could also be a fairly good indicator. By all means if you do your research into a smaller company you can go with them, but bear in mind things could go wrong.
If you are not used to hosting, or need a little guiding hand from time to time then you will want to opt for a host which offers 24/7 support. That way you can be sure that there is always going to be somebody there whenever you need a little bit of help! It is generally only the larger companies that offer support like this for you.
In addition to this, you will want to pay attention to what you actually get for your money. You should remember that ‘unlimited’ does really mean what it says. Instead it is subject to a fair usage policy (read the terms and conditions of your host), which means they may ask you nicely to upgrade or limit your usage. In cases of unlimited it is really a case of the host trying to put as many sites on the same server as possible, which is going to cause slowdown. Therefore you will want to aim for the larger companies here who have money to invest in larger and better servers!
Finally, don’t let price be the guiding factor. Yes, there are cheap hosts out there who are reliable, Hostgator being one of them. However, you should always check to see they have the features that you want, but perhaps more importantly, how reliable the host is. You should be able to get everything you need in this regard from web reviews.
If you bear the tips above in mind, then you honestly will find it far easier to find a web host that you are able to work with and who can fulfil all of your requirements. Remember, always opt for the reputable companies, that way they won’t disappear over night! I also suggest checking out a number of reviews from these companies before you actually make your purchase, that way you know whether you are getting a good deal nowadays.