As many of you know web hosting companies are a dime a dozen, they aren’t hard to find which means you really need to take a deeper look into them to make sure your working with the right one. This is the main reason why I started this website, I was tired of finding hosting companies that promised the world but could never follow through. Currently I’m working with well over 30 different hosting companies and to be completely honest, some are much better than others.
One of the biggest reasons why I started this website was solely due to other ‘ web hosting review ’ websites that were simply recommending whichever hosting company was willing to give them the largest payout. When I first started working with hosting companies I would simply take their word and go with whatever hosting company the recommended without doing any of my own due diligence. This was an extremely bad move on my part. I’ve easily lost thousands of dollars due to ‘hidden fees’ and ’30 day money back guarantees’ that for some reason always fell through the cracks. Because of this, here I am!
Some of the things I look into when working with a new hosting company are their costs, load time, uptime, user friendliness, hidden fees, and customer support among many other things. What sets me apart for every other ‘web hosting review websites’ is the fact that I always open an account with my own money without the hosting company knowing that I’m going to be breaking down and analyzing their company, I then inform them of what I’ve been doing oftentimes months after completion. More often than not hosting companies will reach out to me asking if I would like to review their company months after I’ve already had an account with them unbeknownst to them.
So here’s what happens…
1. I go searching for a hosting company (this includes the household names and the small mom and pop hosts).
This is one of the more tedious steps that needs to take place because generally speaking I try to create somewhat of an even playing field so my opinion of a host doesn’t become swayed or bias. In this step I will compare many factors such as what is offered and their pricing in comparison to other hosting companies offering the same thing, this is where the even playing field comes in effect.
Next I go through the fine print, the step where most people simply check the agree box, I’m guilty of this myself. I make sure there aren’t any hidden fees of unfair terms that should be known before purchase, such as money-back guarantee clauses. The final thing I look into during this step is the support offered. Personally this was one of the biggest things I looked into when first starting out because I didn’t have much of an idea as to what I was doing and I always made sure that whatever hosting company I was working with offered every type of support available including phone support, live chat, email, and tickets.
- Even the playing field
- Approach with an unbiased opinion
- Compare pricing and packages
- Read the fine print and search out hidden fees
- Check for available support
2. It’s time to break out the check book and pay the man!
That’s right; we pay for everything out of our own pockets. Like I said earlier, this is one of the largest contributing factors as to why we have some of the most trusted reviews. If we find a host that screws us over, were actually losing our own money, and you can believe we’re more than happy to leave them a ‘very nice review’ (sarcasm).
This is what helps set us apart from just about every other hosting review website, we actually open up our own wallets, pay for the hosting, and USE IT.
- Signup simplicity
- Available payment options (PayPal, Credit Cards, Bitcoin, etc.)
- Hidden fees, clauses, conditions, etc.
- Upsells (how hard they try to upsell you and whether they have suitable pricing)
- Most importantly Discounts Offered
3. Time for our maiden voyage. (fingers crossed it not like the Titanic)
In this step we begin evaluating the in’s and the out’s of each web hosting company. Of course not all hosts are created equal and one of the first things we look at when we begin is how long it takes for the hosting company to activate our account. Some hosts only take a matter of minutes to activate an account while some take hours and others even take days. Of course this is something we look into largely due to the fact that many people don’t have the time to wait days or even hours to get access to their account.
Once we receive access to our account the next thing we pay very close attention to is the control panel. We take a look at which control panel they offer whether its cPanel or a custom control panel, we make sure that it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate and operate even for beginners. The final thing done during this step is to simply install WordPress on to a site, add some unique content, and get things running.
We pay attention to…
- Activation/access time
- Control panels
- User friendliness
- Ease of CMS installation (WordPress)
4. Now we monitor the performance of our websites
With our websites fully set up and operational we can begin to monitor the performance of our websites to make sure that the hosting companies are delivering the results they promised. We do this by using a third party company that can easily and effectively calculate the average page load speed and uptime over both large (months) and small (hours) durations of time. This third-party company also allows us the option to track these results not only in our home country but also in countless other countries throughout the world in addition to various devices such as desktops, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
Depending on the type of website you intend on building you need to ensure that the users have the best page load speed and uptime available. If you have a slow page load speed or bad uptime then it’s as if your website never existed.
- Page loading times (page load speed)
- Uptime (inception date – downtime = uptime ‘the amount of time the site is actually up’)
5. Let’s get in touch with support and ask them some questions, shall we?
Customer support can very easily make or break a hosting company. On several occasions I’ve had hosting companies that are absolutely great to work with but their product was inferior and I’ve also had hosting companies whose products were superb but their customer support was lacking. This can very easily make or break a company. The key factor we pay attention to during this step is whether or not their customer support can effectively help, but more importantly, fix something when it goes wrong.
Often times when beginners start attempting to troubleshoot their own problems they often times dig themselves into a hole in which they cannot easily get themselves out of. This is where customer support will either thrive or dwindle and burnout. We test each company’s customer support team by contacting them via live chat and asking them the same 3 – 5 questions. The questions we ask begin with very simple troubleshooting questions and escalate into more complex questions that take both knowledge and skill to answer. Often times this is done through the use of a live chat because it is the option that is offered by just about every web hosting company, but often times we will also take the extra effort to contact them via email, phone, and tickets when these options are available.
We pay attention to…
- Customer support accessibility (could we reach them when needed?)
- Communication barriers (could we easily and effectively communicate with each other?)
- Advice effectiveness (did their advice fix the problem?)
- Were they educated/knowledgeable (could they quickly diagnose and troubleshoot the issue?)
6. Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
In our sixth and final step we rank the hosting companies based on the factors we have looked at throughout the previous five points. We have our own proprietary grading system that allows us to calculate their overall score on a points based system. The point system is calculated through the use of five graded criteria in which each hosting company can get a maximum score of 20 points per section, meaning our point scale is based out of 100 with 100 out of 100 being perfect.
Because this process can be very difficult to accomplish without biasness we have four individuals run the same test, each of which coming up with their own score based out of 100. We will then add these four scores together and then divide them by four in order to find the mean of the four scores, giving us our results in which we then publish. We like to think that we go above and beyond the industry standard in regards to reviewing web hosting companies. We also hope that the information we provide to you is helpful in regards to you finding the right web hosting company for your needs.