The hosting business has grown a lot and many new companies entered the market. A lot of them got down to work without having a how to handle their business. As usual the brand new companies trried to beat down the prices or start offering high rate, or even unlimited, banwidth and space to the potential customers.
The market has become a “mess of big promisees”, and most, providers pray their customers not to ask about those “10 gigs of space” they have been promised to use.
I think that we have to work hard to prevent a situation when we have a large number of unhappy website owners. The industry should introduce more strict rules and standards that must be respected by both providers and customers. Of course we shall also keep the market open and to prevent any chance of an oligarchy led by a few big corporations.
How to keep the hosting industry’s growth is a substantial debate. Realizing the importance of this issue I can put in my thoughts into the discussion. Here are my suggestions and advice to new web hosting companies and especially for those who need to choose their new web hosting provider.
You have to see by yourself if the company is as reliable as it claims. Just contact them and ask for information you will need to know. “Where is their TOS”, “What happends if I exceed a bandwidth limit?”, “Do they provide basic help with scripting?” and etc. Ask any question that might affect on your online business.
Ask for reviews about hosts in the popular forums. This way you will be able to find out more about, their reputation. You will see what are the pros and cons of the service. Note there is no “perfect provider” but there are a lot of awful ones.
Check if a host states its business address or phone number. If a particular host doesn’t have this information on its web site or does not provide support phone number it may mean it have no physical offices. Hosts like these are not incorporated in any country. So they can go offline or close business anytime they want.
Ask the hosting company representatives if it has legal presence; where are they incorporated and where do they pay their taxes. You should not really bring business and profits to people who are not responsible enough. Paying taxes is substantial engagement of any business worldwide. It is always better to support companies located in your own country if they provide good service at a low cost.
Everyone provides phone support these days. But they have to do that. When choose a host be sure whether they provide phone support. Hosts generally provide phone support if they are reliable enough. It doesn’t need to be a Toll-Free phone but having one is an advantage.
Choose Reasonable Pricing
Take a look at the host’s pricing. Price under $5 a month for “5 GB space / 150 GB banwidth” or more is not a good sign. It means the host oversells or tries to underbid the market. Stay Away!
Check Provider’s Policy
Make sure you are familiar with the Host’s Policy. Some providers have very strange Terms of Service (TOS). They don’t take any responsibility for the service they provide and state in their TOS they can close your account for no reason anytime they decide. Be sure the provider respects its customers’ privacy and will not sell your contacts to third party.
Avoid Spammers. I was spammed, 5 years ago by company that now has a reputation of a very reliable host. That doesn’t mean we should support spammers. So never sign up with spamming hosts! Keep in mind that a host that performs such illegal activity may at some point turn harm your direct interest as well.
Check Company’s Brand and History
Check host’s whois information! Go to archive.org and find more information about the domain’s history. If it has been used from someone to sell vegetables you cannot expect them to have good knowledge in providing web hosting.
Give Support to Competitive Hosts
Do not ignore smaller hosting companies in favour of the “big guys”. Corporations often don’t care about a particular web site simply because they host thousands of them. This of course does not mean you necessarily have to go for hosting to the guy next door. Spend some time to learn more about the offers you think are worth it.
Ask the hosting provider for it’s business engagement. IT is important what are their plans to improve the service.