Becoming a web host is unlike any other entrepreneurial path. It requires virtually no capital, especially for re-seller hosting. There are usually no brick and mortar establishments, and even when there are the majority of clients don’t live in the area and/or have no desire to visit. You can basically make a web hosting company look as big or as intimate as you like. There are many cases of teenagers running legitimate, successful web hosting companies, so you certainly can’t judge a business by the age of the founder.
However, this introduces a brand new dilemma: How can you tell which web hosts are high quality and which are doomed to fail? It requires some research on your part, and that’s exactly what most people lack the motivation to do. For starters, always call the potential web host. It should be easy to reach a live person, particularly during regular business hours but also around the clock. What happens if you need to talk to someone at 3am when your site goes down?
Web Host Basics
You want your web host to be well established, although that’s relative in this industry. They should have a few positive reviews, be happy to provide you with testimonies, and have an online presence that’s trackable for at least the past year. If they’re still in infancy, that doesn’t mean they’re not high quality, but you want to let them work out the kinks with other customers before you jump on board.
Check the Better Business Bureau, and if possible actually reach out to those who have provided recommendations. It’s way too easy for someone to make up a referral or pay for reviews these days. However, a reputable web host will be proud to share their good reviews and a truly satisfied customer won’t mind responding to a quick query about their experience.
Products Made Perfect
One of the easiest and most obvious signs to spot is whether or not a web host has virtual private server/VPS hosting. Most don’t. This gives you all the benefits of a dedicated server but at a cost similar to basic shared plans. The majority of web hosts don’t offer this because it does nothing for them. Most people don’t know what VPS is, so they’re not demanding it (yet). Only web hosts who are truly committed to providing their customers with the best products and experience possible will have it.
Many times, website owners will go with whatever web host is offered when they secure their domain. This is easy, but also lazy. The best options aren’t going to be placed at your feet like that, and these web hosts are basically paying for customers. Instead, spend some time figuring out what’s important to you. Site speed, security, routine maintenance, and a certain type of support system (like live video chat) might top the charts for you. The right host is out there, but it’ll require a little digging to find it.