High on my list is the perceived value of support
Good web hosting providers have 24/7 knowledgeable technicians on hand that are not only professional, but willing to go that extra 1% on every call to exceed their client’s expectations.
Level one techs don’t sit on issues they can’t solve. They bump them to Level 2 to resolve client’s issues as rapidly as possible. Bad web hosting providers tend to hire inexperienced techs that lack customer support skills (the ability to interact with clients) and solve their issues promptly and professionally.
Good providers have experience gained from years of providing competitive, stable web hosting solutions.
In this business, hosts that have been around 10+ years have proved sustainability, while most bad web hosting providers disappear within one to two years. If you’re investing in a viable business partnership, longevity is a huge indicator of stability. Bad web hosting providers are often run by “kiddie hosts” from their bedrooms or by college kids out of their dorm rooms. Don’t expect to see a brick and mortar address on their site, or even worse, expect a response to a service ticket while class is in session.
A good web hosting provider usually has thousands or possibly millions of dollars, invested in infrastructure.
Failing is NOT an option for them. On the other hand, many bad providers started their business on a shoestring, without a business plan or funds to sustain operations beyond a few months. Simply check out the threads on web hosting forums. There’s always distressed hosting providers there for sale.
A good provider manages their resources
They accomplish that with plans that balance services with actual costs, with the long-term goal of retaining clientele and minimizing churn. They understand their limits. They understand turning a profit. They understand ROI. Bad providers offer services at ridiculously low prices that fail to provide enough revenue to sustain (or grow) their operations.
A good host tells you like it is
They under promise and over deliver. They won’t tell you anything you want to hear just to get you in the door. They provide well thought out solutions and NOT just packages. Bad providers lack transparency, often promising features that are limited by clauses buried in their Terms and Conditions.
So here’s the down-low on using review sites to search for good hosts
It seems like I see a new web hosting review site daily and most share a common theme. Their top ten web hosting providers all look like affiliate links. By affiliate links, I mean the web hosting review site owners either make a commission every time a shopper clicks through from one of their top ten sites, or purchases hosting from them.
Sadly, the majority of review sites actually have NO verifiable reviews. Most of the reviews I read are either from shills or disgruntled clients, or are so old, they don’t pertain to a provider’s current operations.
“A shill or plant is a person who helps another person or organization to sell goods or services without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with the seller. The shill pretends to have no association with the seller/group and gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer. The person or group that hires the shill is using crowd psychology, to encourage other onlookers or audience members (who are unaware of the set-up) to purchase the said goods or services.”
For shoppers searching for the best web hosting provider, web hosting review sites may NOT be the best resource.
A better option would be to visit any number of web hosting forums, like WebHostingTalk or HostingDiscussion. Reviews there are verified by moderators of their respective forums. One of the prerequisites is that you have to be hosted with a provider to post a review about them (verified by your URL). As well, members of these forums weigh in on the validity or merits of each review.
Google is still one of your best friends when it comes to doing research on web hosting providers, combined with pre-sales chats with prospective hosts.
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