Choosing the right website hosting company can be a minefield!
Nowadays we can all be easily enticed in with some flashy advertising and what appears to be some great reviews, but what if I told you almost all of it is fake. Yes, you read that right most of it is completely fake. Large hosting companies often do not want you to know about their poor customer service, slow servers and overpriced addons that you suddenly need when everything goes wrong.
If you search online for hosting reviews you will be greeted by a huge list of companies that have reviewed various hosts, most of them having 4-5 stars depending on the preference of the reviewer.
Just like this:
Companies such as these are financially rewarding reviewers for referrals through their website, so very few of the reviews represent real life experiences. While every hosting company has its good points and bad, the big boys do a lot to try and hide the bad.
While not necessarily well liked anymore sites such as trustpilot.com show a much clearer picture of the vast majority of hosting companies, highlighting the true level of service you can expect.
In recent years there have been many new and exciting hosting companies popping up all over the place, all with enticing new offers and low prices. What you may not know is many of them are direct descendants from much larger companies, such as HEG (Host Europe Group), United Internet and the Endurance International Group. All of these seem to share one common goal, buy out smaller companies with good reputations and loyal customers and incorporate them into their umbrella, then strip out the staff and replace them with a central team that give incredibly poor service.
You may be surprised to see how many popular well-known companies are essentially the same as their “rivals”, often sharing resources and staff to appear individual.
As an example, 123-reg, a well-known domain provider and host here in the UK is owned by HEG, who also own Heart Internet, TSO Host along with 26 other companies.
The Endurance International Group own a massive 82 companies including Hostgator and Bluehost.
Find out more about the corporations and which companies they own here: https://whtop.com/groups
The common theme here seems to be, once a company receives enough bad publicity they just set up or acquire another one under a different name, flood the market with advertising, give the same poor service and then rinse and repeat.
Types of hosting.
There are many different types of hosting out there, from free to dedicated servers. The trick is to know what you need before you start looking. For instance, if you have a small website that might only be used for family and friends, free hosting might suit you just fine. If however, you run a business of any kind free hosting is not suitable at all, businesses that expect traffic need a much more robust service. Small static sites are often found on shared hosting platforms, which can be perfectly fine. However, be wary of overloaded servers and expect slow response times from the vast majority of the big boys. Good, shared hosting have dedicated resources allocated to each account with limits on the number of accounts per server. Be wary of bandwidth limitations on shared hosting too, this can be a huge bottleneck on busy servers.
Larger businesses with lots of traffic and e-commerce stores often require a little more oomph, so there are a couple of options at this end of the scale, VPS (virtual private server), and Dedicated servers. A VPS is essentially a slice of a server that is reserved just for you, with many providers you can scale the size of the VPS that you need and expand as required. A Dedicated server is just that, a physical server that is just for you. You pay a premium for dedicated servers but also have the peace of mind that you are not sharing resources with anyone. VPS and Dedicated servers are common solutions for web developers who host lots of websites.
A lot of companies are pushing “cloud” hosting, don’t be misled, the “cloud” is still hosted on a server somewhere! So it will always fall into one of the categories above.
Another important point to consider is GDPR and data protection compliance, knowing where your site is actually hosted has become important, especially for e-commerce and subscription sites, never forget you are responsible for your customer data no matter who you choose.
Always remember its never about price! If you buy cheap expect cheap poor-quality service!
If you are unsure about where to go or what hosting your website really needs, feel free to get in touch.