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  • Is Your Hosting Company Holding You Hostage?

    by Dan DeRoeck on January 1, 2012

    Let me start out by stating that all hosting companies are not created equal.  Far from it.  In fact, I would go so far to say good hosting strive to make themselves transparent.  The good ones, are content to exist quietly in the background, allowing webmasters and companies to advance their online presence, providing support when needed.  The good hosting companies realize that their customer’s primary goal is to scale their business online.  They exist to provide solid customer support, stellar reliability, and expanding resources when needed.  This is the business model that separates the excellent hosting companies from the wannabes.  If your hosting makes it difficult to get things done, well it’s time to find a new one.

    I recently had an experience working with a client’s hosting provider that felt compelled to offer unwanted and many times inaccurate advice, making it next to impossible to get things done in a timely manner.  I thought to myself, why would a hosting company appear difficult, even at times belligerent?  The answer became obvious.  It’s because they cannot provide the resources necessary to “keep pace” with today’s technology.  That’s why it is important to familiarize yourself with the factors that differentiate good vs. bad web hosting providers.

    Keys to Good Web Hosting

    1. Support

    This must be at the crux of selecting a web host solution.  Excellent support is what makes or breaks hosting companies, and should be a primary focus of your decision to use one.  What do I mean by support?  Nothing short of 24/7 support with an option of phone, email, and chat.  That means, when you have an issue at 2:30 in the morning, they will be there for you.  Support should be providing a solution to your goal.  I prefer chat for 95% of my technical issues, and all good hosting companies will provide this option with little or no wait time.

    good vs bad web shosting

    Click Image to Enlarge

    2. Reliability

    Uptime is another very important metric for web hosts.  What percentage of time do they guarantee servers will be available?  Even though 99.9% is the standard and may seem good, even tough to beat.  Consider that if a website that is down .1% of the time over the course of a year, that translates into more than 8 hours of downtime!  Be wary of this easily manipulative fact.

    3. Control Panel

    This may seem obvious, but make sure your selected host provides a way for you to administer your website, other than simply FTP (File Transfer Protocol).  Administering a website without a user interface can become very inefficient.  Look out for ones that force you to rely on their in-house expertise to get things done.  This is totally unacceptable in today’s hosting environment.  cPanel is one of the best out there.

    4. Expansion of Resources

    Another obvious one that can be easily overlooked, but ever so critical.  Look for the inability of your host to expand vital resources such as bandwidth and disk space at will.  When your business grows, so shall your online business.  You do not want to get stuck with a host that charges you and arm and leg, or worse yet take forever and a day, to allocate more resources.

    Conclusion

    There are a ton of good hosting companies out there.  There’s also many bad hosting companies.  My choice for the good is Host Gator.  Their customer service is superb and they offer world-class hosting.  The key takeaway from this article is do your homework and settle for nothing but the best hosting money can buy for your website.

    Hosting is a Commodity.  An important commodity at that, but nonetheless one that should not prevent your company from making massive progress.  High competition has driven prices down, which allows you to select the best hosting that money can buy.  Do not settle for hosting that has the inability to reinvest in its own growth and in the process sabotage your online growth.

    by

    { 16 comments… read them below or add one }

    Henry January 3, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I would say that the first description of a hosting company at the start of this article describes my hosting company which I have been a customer of for over five years. I have never had any serious problems with my hosting company and the always seem to be there to provide me with the support I need. They always answer my support tickets in a prompt manner. So I guess I am lucky for having made a good choice.

    Catherine January 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I feel bad for those who are inexperienced about web hosting and make a financial or contractual commitment with a hosting company that rates poorly because they lack the resources to render satisfactory services. I understand how it can happen. Fortunately for me, before I ever operated my first web sites, I learned about the internet business and about hosting by working for web marketing and hosting companies. So when it came time to shop for a hoster, I knew what to look for.

    Dan DeRoeck January 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Hi Catherine, you are right. You have the luck of the draw.

    However, being in the offline business assisting small business owners, they do not have the time to research the best decision when it comes to hosting. Therefore, I made a point of it to bring it to the surface. In my opinion, there are very few hosting companies “up to the task” of keeping pace with today’s technology. One of them is Host Gator. I urge the SMB market to do the research when it comes to selecting a host for their business website.

    Kenneth January 4, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Hello Dan, Correct me if I’m wrong, but did you imply that Host Gator is in fact one of those hosting companies that is up to the task of providing good web hosting services? I just wanted to make sure because Host Gator was highly recommended to me by a trusted colleague who has been their customer for many years, and I just want to make sure by hearing a review from an internet expert.

    Dan DeRoeck January 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Kenneth,

    Yes I did imply Host Gator is “up to the task” and then some…

    The one thing that clearly stands out with Host Gator is Support and Professionalism. Chat is most times considered the 2nd line of defense for most support. However, I resolve 90+% of my issues quickly through chat sessions. This is because Host Gator’s Chat group has the ability to discuss options with Admins as well as escalate issues based on customer response during chat sessions.

    I would highly recommend Host Gator!

    Thanks for the question.

    Dan

    William January 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Web hosting is something I am not very familiar with but I am trying to learn the ins and outs of it because I want to launch a new web site this year to make some extra money. I am extremely glad that I ran across your blog because this will help me choose the right web host. You have put a lot of helpful information out there and I appreciate it.

    Joseph January 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Some of the things people should look for and ask potential web hosting companies about are how much bandwidth is included. Good hosting companies like Host Gator will give you unlimited bandwidth. Another factor to inquire about is how much hard drive storage is included and how many MySQL database storage is included. A good hosting company will give you a vast amount of database storage and this will be important if you develop many Word Press Blogs.

    Dan DeRoeck January 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it.

    You are right. Bandwidth and Disk Space are two very important things to keep in mind when choosing a good host, no doubt about it..

    In my experience, those two “hardware related” characteristics are relatively easy for most reputable hosting companies to provide. What really separates the good from the average, is the support they provide. Granted, if you are a website owner with a relatively small Internet presence, this will most likely not be an issue. However, if you are somebody that is using the Internet to its fullest capability, trust me, having superior support will become of utmost importance to you.

    Dan

    Graciela January 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    The dialogue on the topic of web hosting has been excellent and informative. Anyone who is just starting to learn about web hosting will find this blog to be very educational. I have been with Host Gator for years and I have to agree, their support has never failed me. Like Dan, I too resolve most of my issues via live chat. But there have been complicated issues when their senior support techs have actually called me by phone to resolve the issue while I remained on the line! That’s real support!

    Angelica January 8, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    After reading your article I am going to have to rethink the host I have because their service lives a lot to be desired if you go off of your description as to what it should be. I am going to check this Host Gator out and see how they compare. Thank you for providing this information I owe you one if it turns out I go with Host Gator.

    Dan DeRoeck January 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    That’s a great point Graciela on the senior support techs getting involved when needed. That has happened to me as well. Host Gator has a fantastic support model, one of which resolves 90+% of the cases on the spot through chat!

    Dan DeRoeck January 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Angelica, I doubt you will be sorry making the switch to HG.

    Dannie January 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

    My web hosting provider offers a reseller program. I guess you call it an affiliate program. I have been hosting several web sites and charging web hosting fees without using the reseller program. Basically, cutting my web hosting company out, but I have talked to them about this and they seem to be ok with it. They said that is my choice how I choose to go about it. So what is the draw back of not using the reseller program? Is it not getting the extra storage space for each site?

    Catherine January 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Dan, you seem very knowledgeable about web hosting, but I was wondering if you could offer your opinion about web site platforms. In particular, I am wanting opinion on your preference between Word Press and Joomla CMS. If you want to give a list of pros and cons of each, that would be great, too. I have experience with both, but I’m a bit conflicted now about Joomla only because of their database migration issues steming from their redevelopment of the platform.

    Brendan January 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    That is a loaded and complex question – the one about which content management system is best. I don’t think there exists a cut and dry answer. It’s kind of like asking what kind of car is the best to drive. There is no definitive answer because it depends on many factors like your particular every day use and your budget, social status, to name only a few. Although Joomla has made the answer much easier by creating migrating nightmare for webmasters.

    Dan DeRoeck February 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    For me there is a clear cut winner, and that is Wordpress. Wordpress has an overwhelmingly better support group than Joomla. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Joomla. I just feel Wordpress has made too many inroads solving various problems, over the last 2 years especially, that Joomla can no longer compete.

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