Deciphering Web Hosting Reviews

Having a website for your business is more the norm than an exception these days, which makes picking the best web hosting provider mission critical. With so many web hosts available from local mom-and-pop service providers to global bigwigs, who do you trust with your very livelihood? After all, it is not just your website but sensitive company schematics, financial information, personal data that is at stake. Since all web hosts are not created equal, it is crucial that you get your money’s worth, not just in terms of price but also service offerings and customer service. People often look up web hosting reviews on the internet to search for companies with a reputable track record but end up feeling more confused than when they started. This article will help you gain an invaluable insight into the simple metrics in web hosting reviews that you can use to compare potential hosts.

Types of Reviews

There are two types of reviews available for consumption.  Third-party reviews and customer reviews.  Third-party reviews are done by paid or independent professionals who either work for or post their reviews on industry sites.  These are important because consumers will usually refer to trusted industry experts for opinions and recommendations.  While these types of reviews are important, perhaps more important, are customer reviews.  A recent study shows that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Not only that but 78% of buyers feel that what is posted on social media impacts their purchase.  Most SEO strategists find a strong correlation between reviews and organic search result rankings, particularly in Google. It is widely believed in the industry that the importance of this factor will only increase over time, given the importance in reviews by website visitors—making these types of reviews even more valuable. 

What Is Web Hosting?

For your website to be served up to the browser of anyone on the internet, the files have to be uploaded to a server. The server is a rented space managed by a hosting company to store all the data for your website. A registrant leases server space, establishes a domain name which points to the hosting account on that particular server, and then uploads the webpage to it so that visitors can browse your site. Hosting services are billed depending on the type of server you need, and the space & bandwidth you are using.

Review Criteria For A Hosting Company

Web host services are absolutely irreplaceable in ensuring that your website is always accessible, and runs smoothly without any hiccups. Here are some factors you may run into in different web hosting reviews (both third party and customer).  Should your web host fall short in any of these key qualities then you may want to switch to a more dependable and secure host with dedicated customer support.

Reliability And Redundancy

A reliable and fast web hosting service will guarantee your website’s uptime. You want to ensure that your website is always functional so that no visitor will have to click away before interacting with your business. Your web host should guarantee an uptime of at least 99.5% or higher so that you never lose any business. Remember that there is a very big difference between hosting that stays up 99% (87.6 hours of downtime annually), 99.9% (8.78 hours a year) and 99.99% (53 minutes yearly). There should also be mirrored servers in multiple backup locations so that if there is any problem with one, there is another one already online.

Specialties

Different customers have varying server requirements and not all web hosts will have solutions to address those. Web hosting services have their own area of focus or specialties, for example while one may have impressive shared plans they may not be the right fit for a company looking for enterprise solutions. When shopping for a web host provider, identify the company’s specialty and find reviews on the web that talk about the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Your host should be able to offer you packages big or small to cover all your business needs. You also need to know if your host has VPS or Dedicated Server solutions and if you can easily upgrade your account in the future. Pick a host can scale up with your business’ growth.

Tech Specs / Limitations

If you are thinking of hosting a blog, sharing rich content, and videos on your pages, or running an e-commerce site, then you should not let price be the deciding criteria when choosing a web host. A cheap plan may not have the RAM, bandwidth, processing power, and disk space to serve all your website needs. You have to find out what systems (like Linux, FreeBSD or OpenBSD) are being offered by your web host and if they use top-of-the-line web servers (Apache or Windows) so that you experience fewer compatibility and performance issues down the road. You should be able to use FTP, PHP, Perl, SSI, .htaccess, SSH, MySQL, Cron on your paid web hosting account.  You will need ".htaccess” files to customize your error pages or to protect your site from bandwidth theft or even to password-protect a directory, etc. SSH access is necessary to test certain scripts and to maintain databases while MySQL will help you run a blog or a content management system. With the help of Cron you can schedule and automatically run programs at certain times of the day. Additionally, if you are going to collect credit card payments through your website you most definitely will need help from your web host to set up SSL. Your provider should also have an easy to use interface like cPanel or Plesk to make installations, updates, modifications, and maintenance tasks simple. You have to know what your site’s needs are and then look for features that are included in the cost. Find out if they charge for multiple domains, support, backups, and more.

Technical support

All hosts do not pay equal importance to support staff, and some even think of customer support as an afterthought. Look for reviews around this topic from current customers who are willing to share their experience.  There should be different ways available to contact technical support and customer service reps—email, toll-free phone, chat, and more. Before choosing a host, look into the reputation of their customer support reps for speed of response, technical competency, and language proficiency.

Make A Wise Decision

A reliable and trusted web hosting company will offer high quality efficient services and even proactively work to identify and correct problems before they occur. To avoid being suckered by a web host that you should steer clear of, do some research and look up reviews so that you can make an informed decision. Remember, there are many reviews of web hosts made by satisfied customers on their own site or on different webmaster forums. Be sure to include those in your research.