You’ve decided you need a website, you’ve heard about web hosting and domain name registration and you’ve scoured the web in search of the cheap web hosting and domain name deals.
Yet with so many different packages available and so many things to consider, choosing the right hosting and domain deal for your business can be confusing.
Of course, you can always take a look at the websites of the top web hosting companies, compare their offers, and decide that the best hosting package for you is simply the one that seems, at first glance, to offer the greatest value for money.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but always be aware that those companies are never going to tell you if there’s anything bad about their service. They’ll present their best front in an attempt to attract you to use their service. Once you’re in, you’re then left to discover for yourself whether their promise of great customer service, 99% up time and free features are all their made out to be.
Making an informed decision with hosting reviews
That said, there is another way.
When we buy a new car, most of us do a little more research beyond the manufacturer’s sales pitch. When we plan a holiday, we look a little further than the travel brochure. Instead, we go online, talk to friends and read trade magazines to get a second opinion.
The same goes for picking a good hosting solution for our new site.
Rather than take a company at face value, we can benefit greatly by hopping online and checking out independent reviews of the top hosting companies around.
These come from actual users of a particular company, the people who’ve been there, done that, and can tell you what it’s really like to host your site with a particular company.
In most cases, these will either confirm your suspicions, validate your reasons for wanting to pick any given hosting provider, or, quite the opposite, make you think twice about the one that seemed like such a sure thing on the sales page.
What to look for in a review
Most reviews will cover similar ground when comparing the cheapest web hosts on the market, and for good reason. After all, these are real users who know what’s important to them when it comes to finding the right place to home their new site.
On the whole, the things they’ll discuss, and the things you’ll want to pay attention to in order to help you select the right provider for you, include:
Quality of service
Have they experienced any problems using their hosting platform? Perhaps files went missing, features like WordPress integration weren’t as straight forward as they should be or features that the company claimed to include in their package were missing or defective. Hopefully, they’ll report none of the above, and that using your potential new provider was as smooth and simple as you could hope for.
Even the most experienced of web professionals sometimes encounter situations that they need their hosting company to address. When that happens, how easy is it to contact customer support? Are the company’s technicians helpful and considerate? Do they get the problem solved quickly and efficiently, or are they likely to drag their heels and do everything they can to avoid providing a solution?
When things do go wrong, you need them put right quickly, so seek to find a web host that offers great customer service.
As the name may suggest, uptime refers to the time that your site is actively live on the web, running on your host’s servers and doing everything you and your customers expect it to do. If there’s a problem with your server, your site may spend periods offline, costing you money in the process. When checking out hosting reviews, seek to find out whether or not users have experienced any downtime. Chances are they haven’t, but if they have, it might be wise to continue looking elsewhere.