Probably the most posted topics in the forums are positive or negative reviews about providers. This type of posting offers hidden marketing, but that’s not my point. It is very important consumers to know how to define if a company is a good one or not.
I have opened the blog with an article How To Choose a Web Host. Now I want to target your attention to a few more important things about web hosts.
If a web hosting company has succeeded to attract tens thousands of customers can we say it is a “good one” or “bad one”. Definitely not in general. It may work fine for someone and to fail serve to another. If I manage a family picture gallery and use pop3 e-mail then I will need less support from my provider then someone that runs an ecommerce web site, popular forum or any website that requires database and scripting support. So if someone says his company is a “very good one” or “it sucks” it is better to be realistic and ask them “why”.
“24 to 48 hours Response”
This is one of the issues that we can make compromise with. I’m getting really angry anytime I submit a ticket or question to service provider and receive message “We respond within 48 business hours”. That means if I ask them something on Thursday they would respond on Monday next week. Sorry guys! No time to wait! I do so many things even for one single day using my computer so I really don’t have time to wait your response. So my advice here is “Be sure you’ll get a prompt response”. If your hosts answers within 2 hours after a ticket or e-mail is submited then it is “OK”.
How Long Does it Take a Problem to be Solved?
Every time you need a bug to be fixed or to get someting to start working and your provider is responsible to get the job done, be sure you made yourself familiar with the time limit needed. Sometimes it takes more time a problem to be solved. For example if your web mail client does not work properly you can not expect a bug to be fixed within the next half an hour. At the same time the most common problems with e-mail, FTP, databases, scripting, etc are solvable within an hour or two.
Does someone pick up the phone?
My host states it provides phone support. That’s OK. But when I call them I need to speak to someone. Voice mail welcome messages such as “Our offices are currently closed” or “There are no available operators at this time” and even “All our operators are serving other customers” followed by “Please describe your problem and leave your phone number after the tone” don’t work for me.
A Community of Customers
It is important for a web host to create a community form its customers. Companies do this by launching forums and encouraging customers to post there and to participate to discussions. You can not know if a forum member is a customer of the company or not. There are companies that create forum’s username to all customers, not matter they want to participate or not. So you can find a host with 2000 customers and 2000 forum mebers. That’s cheating!
At the same time a number of active forum members that post regularly is a good sign. Just check if the “posting members” are significan percent of those who are registered. It is posible only 100 – 200 active forum members to create a lot of discussions.
The other big issue here is censorship. What would happen when a hosting customer wrote post like this
“I’m not satisfied of your services. You are cheating all of us� by offering 10 gigs of space. I did not receive them when I needed to use it. You fail to provide what’s written on your web site but you did not return my money.”
Do the Hosts’ representatives “move” or “delete” it? Does a particular company accept only positive coments about itself?
If you see a number of posts that are “Deleted”, “Moved”, and it is clear they concern the services of the company that owns the forum it is better to stay away.
Anyway cheating about it’s forum members and quality of the posts or not, it is always good your host to have a forum.
“I’m new here, but I really want to say how good is my web hosting company”. No Dude! Maybe you’re right, but you chose the wrong way to say that. Comming to forums and praising your host with your first post is not the best you can do.
I want to target your attention to those providers who don’t use tricks to market their hosting service, who don’t oversell and work hard to establish a reliable business. When you want to find more about a web host and need to know if the reviews about them are true or false just go to any Search Engine and type the web hosts name (not domain name) in the search bar. If you see a lot of news titles, development stories and listings releted to host’s name that means the company plays significant part in the market.