How to Identify a Good Hosting Company & WordPress Hosting

How to Identify a Good Hosting Company & WordPress Hosting

There’s no such thing as a perfect web hosting company, glowing reviews from users and third parties notwithstanding. Ask a few business owners and you’ll get a hundred different opinions of the same hosting company. Often, the bad stuff overshadows the good stuff. Some of the biggest complaints about hosting companies are hidden fees, terrible customer support and extremely long downtimes. But that’s no reason to be scared if you’re a small business owner looking for the best hosting company. With a bit of common sense and lots and lots of research, it is possible to find a hosting service that you could live with for a reasonable amount of time at the price you’re willing to pay. But expect to compromise.

A great resource for finding the best hosting plans is unbiased review sites such as: http://webhostingreviewplanet.com/

Qualities of a Good Hosting Company

You’ve probably heard of the major outage web hosting provider GoDaddy suffered recently. Those affected numbered in the millions, and many were undoubtedly forced to consider other hosting providers. Besides consistent uptime, however, you should also look at speed, bandwidth, features, technical support and price.

Reliability

Aim for at least 99.5 percent uptime guarantee. If you think 99 percent is high enough, it means 7 hours downtime every month. Think about how many customers you’d be losing. If the uptime guarantee is below your expectations, look for refund options or discounts. A hosting service without a refund guarantee won’t care if its servers are running most of the time.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth or data transfer is the number of bytes visitors consume when they visit your website. Many hosting services advertise unlimited bandwidth, but somebody has to pay if you consume bandwidth like a leech—you. There’s an extra charge (usually heavy) for going over what your hosting company calls “unlimited.” When you look over data transfer features, read the fine print on how much bandwidth the company really allows. If you’re unsure, always ask a representative. A good hosting company does not promise “unlimited bandwidth” when the terms of service state otherwise.

Customer Service

A good hosting company has 24/7 technical support, and by 24/7 we mean every single minute, all year round. You never know when things could go wrong, and they sometimes go wrong when you least expect it. To check if the company is really there to help you round the clock, send emails during holidays, weekends or the wee hours. Do they take long to respond? Are the responses canned? Are they competent at troubleshooting?

Features

Your hosting company should provide all of the following: crontabs, FTP, PHP, Perl, .htaccess, telnet, SSI, SSH and MySQL. Each has its own function to keep your site running. If the hosting service needs to approve a script before you can install it, this limits your website customizability. You’ll also need shopping cart and secure server (SSL) features to run an e-commerce website (where you collect payment for goods via credit card, PayPal, etc.). These usually come with an extra charge or are included in a higher-priced bundle.

Price and Billing

The most expensive hosting company is not necessarily the best option. Many small websites run effectively on a $1 to $2 monthly subscription plan. That said, you often get what you pay for. If you’re unsure of your host’s reliability, it’s better to sign up for a monthly plan. It’s a tad more expensive than a yearly subscription, but it lets you switch hosts quickly when something goes wrong. You can always upgrade later on to the cheaper annual plan when you’re satisfied with the service.

HostGator and WordPress

HostGator has two popular plans, one for small businesses (BabyGator) and another for medium-sized businesses to large corporations (BusinessGator). WordPressHostingReviews.com ranked HostGator as 2012’s Best WordPress Hosting, and San Diego web design firm Bop Design also has positive things to say about the service. Again, reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, and they shouldn’t replace due diligence done by you.

HostGator Pros:

  • Reportedly fast for WordPress websites
  • 99.9 % uptime
  • 24/7 toll-free phone, email, live chat and forum (staffed by employees)
  • 45 days trial period

HostGator Cons:

  • SSL, dedicated IP and toll-free number only included in the BusinessGator plan
  • Expensive (about $1 to $3 higher monthly charge than competitors)
  • No free domain name

A great resource for finding the best hosting plans is unbiased review sites such as: http://webhostingreviewplanet.com/

One Response

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