Best Web Host Selection Guide – Make Informed Decision

Best Web host Selection Guide

Choice of best web host, who can cater all your needs, is a very cumbersome task. There are countless  vendors out there bombarding you with advertisements, emails even spam emails to tell you about features you can get if you acquire their services.  However mostly their promises remain rather unfulfilled and you are left to rue your decision and answering countless customer complaints and losing your website’s reputation and may be financials. There is no single answer to the question, who is the best web host around? It all depends on your situation, budget, preferences etc. Anyways you can find certain tips and instructions here. Following them will help you to make a calculated judgment on the different hosting services.

Along with reputable webhosting service providers there are impostors making exaggerated claims, which sound unrealistic even to non-IT folks. You may hear claims of 1000 GB of disk space, 50 GB bandwidth for as less as $1. Don’t kill me if I say never choose such hosts. Average servers can at top support 20 to 30 such connections, meaning monthly earnings of $20 to $30 per month. What they do in order to meet their expenses and take home some profit? They sell way more than the capacity of their infrastructure. So in our given example instead of limiting their services to 20 to 30 websites, they support 100s and 1000s of websites. Result! well all websites on these servers run terribly slow. Your website will not be able to handle any substantial visitors at any given time. To make things worse, their server will crash very often, resulting in unforeseen, unnecessary downtime. Therefore, avoid such companies when you are trying to find best web host.

You need to ask the vendors where exactly their servers are located physically. A server operating in India won’t be able to serve you better than a server in San Francisco if your website and intended visitors are from San Francisco. Otherwise your visitor will constantly experience slow response from your website. However if maintained properly the actual physical location does not matter, still it’s an important factor to consider when you select best web host.

No one wants to visit a website which takes ages to retrieve a requested page. Try to fit yourself in other’s shoes; will you visit a website frequently if that website page takes minutes to load? Of course the answer would be NO, except for the scenario if the website in only one of its type in whole wide world. Fortunately or unfortunately that is never the case on internet. You can get thousands of websites offering same services. You can check speed and data transfer rate of host’s website, to get an idea how efficient their services are. Beware that sometimes hosts, especially the ones with lousy network of their own host their own websites at some other place. So ask your vendor themselves or do some R&D to know which websites the shortlisted best web host is hosting. Go to those websites and observe how they are behaving in different times of day. Select peak hours or hours you are anticipating will have maximum load on your website. Also see if how activities like uploading or downloading work on these websites.

Also check if possible, how are videos and other multimedia content loading and running. Next steps are to ping the website and verify trace routes. Trace routes reveal how many systems are laying in between the actual host and ping will tell you how long it takes on average the host server to respond. These two can be checked very easily and no expertise of computers is required.

If you are using a computer with windows environment, you need to open command prompt. In command prompt in old DOS like environment, type ping [host address]. Opening command prompt is very easy and can be done through multiple ways; you can open it by simply typing ‘cmd’ after pressing Window+R keys. The results will tell you how good your host actually is. On the DOS screen you will see Reply from hostname (or IP) bytes = 32 and time=nn ms, where n is an integer. Time is the most prior thing you look out for. If it is under 150, bingo you’ve found yourself a good host. However above 150 means the shortlisted best web host has a rather terrible service and should be avoided. Similarly trace path with minimum value should be your choice. To trace the path, in the same DOS prompt window now type tracert host URL.

Lower trace number means there is lesser number of obstacles in between. So a combination of low response time and trace is an ideal combination when you are after best web host.

As hopefully with little luck and multiple options speed issue is resolved. Now move on to next important aspect software services that best web host has on offer. Control panel is a component that allows you to manage your website. So you can imagine how crucial it is to have a user friendly comprehensive control panel to make necessary changes on your website in lesser amount of time. Mostly service provider show how good their control panel is by either in text or with a demo.

If you don’t find control panel easily and you don’t have adequate technical expertise with you always, you should avoid having that website hosting service. Also important factors you need to see are the language best web host is supporting. You may have some preference here, like ASP.Net as programming language. If your host is using something else like PHP then it is not good, for you at least. See if proposed best web host allows you to have software components and items like forums and shopping cart (if your website is an ecommerce selling website) of your choice. Also confirm from their TOC and package details if they charge you for items separately like MySQL DB. If they have complex pricing mechanism and charge for these services, then they sure not the best web host.

By applying previously mentioned criteria the potential best web host list must have been reduced drastically and you may be feeling getting closer to finding the best host for you. Next important aspect to consider is how their support works. First you can use old and faithful search engines online forums to know what people, especially existing website owners, have to say about the support quality of the hosts. Sometime you may find a forum running on the host website itself, it will give you good idea how the company is progressing and how good it is in providing adequate support to their customer base. Pay special attention to the responses they are giving against customer queries, are they supportive enough to resolve the technical of issues?

How long they are taking to respond to customer request? What kind of feedback the requester is providing against the resolutions? However if your client does not have a forum of his own, you may check other web sources like httpTalk, TWH(TalkWebHost) and WHT(WebHostingTalk). You will see many forums running on the best web host of your choice. If your  best web host is not on these or any other forums, it only means the host is so new that you might be among its first few customer.Be extra cautious.

In these forums again pay attention to what public opinion is about the complaint resolution by the best web host support team. You can also know if there is any realities in host round the clock support commitments. Naturally the company with less complaints and more good reviews should be considered as a serious candidate. Eliminate the ones which are not providing good support, as website can go even in the middle of graveyard shift, what will you do then? Will you have to wait till the morning to get the issue resolved?

Consider how good the company from growth perspective is. Are they offering advanced packages as well with increased bandwidth and disk space? Considering this factor is important as in future you may need to cater for more traffic on your website, so you need to see how good or bad the best web host is from expansion point of view.

It is extremely essential that you read the Terms of Service the host is offering. First of all to know if they have embedded any unwanted catches. Secondly to make sure they are not taking your nod to share your data with other sources as well. Also see what kind of refunds the company is offering, and again read the TOC to make sure there are no loopholes. Also see what company’s guaranteed uptime is and also if you opt for refund do you get your whole amount back or the amount for the downtimes only.
Very few companies will last this long. Even now you may be compromising on few things, but you now know what you are compromising and set an acceptable level accordingly in your quest for best web host.