Finding a Reliable Web Host Without Getting Screwed
If I’m honest I don’t know of any marketer who hasn’t fallen foul to a bad host at some point so here’s a few guidelines which I hope will help…
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SERVICE
If you are serious about on line business then at a very minimum I recommend you use VPS Managed Hosting – this is a good balance of low cost/good security & performance.
Avoid dedicated servers especially If you don’t know anything about server management else you’ll enter a whole world of headaches & costs that will eat up your cash & time.
READ BAD REVIEWS
Always check recent customer reviews before ever committing to a host…
http://www.hostreview.com/companies This site is a good start… Don’t believe all the good press as hosts pay to get listed in review sites I recommend searching “hostname problems” “hostname bad service” etc & read those.
Most hosts grow their business to capacity by selling cheap solutions in volume without much attention to service & development of good aftercare, so all will be well until you hit a problem.
RUN PING TESTS
When you come up with a shortlist of hosts you like…
Do a ping test to your host http://tools.pingdom.com/ping/ or type:
ping –t yourhostname.com
in your dos command prompt (if you are a PC user)
Ping rates of 150ms+ & highly variable ping rates are a bad sign. My current host ping rate is 120ms – I host in the US & live in the UK so that’s fine. If you live in the US pick hosts with <50ms ping rates.
Do a ping test to your ISP http://www.pingtest.net/ – sometimes your host is fine but your ISP/router will be dropping packets which will cause issues. You don’t want those when working on websites
WHICH HOST IS BEST
I’ve used over a dozen hosts to date 90% of which were a letdown at some point or just proved too costly.
Personally I use a high end VPS account with unmetered bandwidth from Rose Hosting – it’s fully managed & backed up weekly with great aftercare + it’s less than ½ price of other big hosts. If I had the budget I probably would go for UNIXY … they are probably the best in my opinion in terms of service … too rich for my blood though.
My Preferred Host:
VPS starts from $19.95
Get a 10% Monthly Discount using voucher:0GEWDO7XU1V3 via http://hitmanpublishing.com/go/rosehosting.php
Managed VPS starts from $49.95
Managed VPS starts from $50
Managed VPS starts from $44
Recommended Domain Registrars:
WHERE TO HOST:
If the majority of your audience is in the US then it makes sense to host your site in the US. The rule of thumb is host close where most of your audience is. Whilst this might seem like common sense a good percentage of sites are hosted far away from the target audience – this impacts the ping rate, SEO & the site response time. Don’t be tempted by low cost overseas offers – they are never worth it.
UNDERSTANDING HOSTING TERMINOLOGY:
Shared Hosting – Essentially your site will sit on the same server/IP as 1000s of other sites – these are more trouble than they are worth. if a site on the shared host gets attacked through someone else’s crap security – you’ll suffer problems too – easy way to get your site blacklisted by association.
Shared hosting is fine for low traffic personal sites & blogs but avoid it like the hell for business use. Don’t be tempted to buy into the unlimited bandwidth/storage – trust me the minute your traffic goes up you’ll be ‘strongly encouraged’ to upgrade. You’ll also end up with a load of issues with htaccess, server security & plugins as your domains are usually sub directories of a master site.
VPS – is our recommended low budget hosting solution – specifically Managed VPS (see later) – which is a bit more expensive. Essentially it’s still shared but your hosting is isolated by a virtual server which will not be affected by anyone else’s problems – your processor power/storage/bandwidth is isolated – VPS deals are scalable to allow room for growth – best/cheapest type of account to start with by far.
Cloud – this is identical to VPS but instead of running on a single server you’ll be running on a nest of servers – so if one server goes down it has no effect on your site – essentially it’s tiny bit more reliable than VPS/Dedicated – which are fault tolerant anyway.
Dedicated – if you have the budget & know what you are doing then this is always a good option – you can buy a server & install it in a datacenter rack yourself or you can get one built & get it installed for you. Limitation is you are responsible for everything. This includes updates, security, backups, hardware & software upgrades, failover & redundancy.
Managed – this is a little understood term – in essence it means the service level agreement that is applied to VPS CLOUD or DEDICATED hosting accounts – you’ll pay extra for this but unless you are a server expert it’s worth it! They take care of the security, automated backups, hardware failures, security fixes etc – it’s a no brainer.
Reliability – Hosts won’t give you the absolute truth about their hardware. A good service provider should have servers across multiple locations especially for cloud hosting – do your homework though & Google “hostname complaints” “hostname down” etc – I have seen hosts use 2nd hand equipment in run down warehouses with few safeguards.
Ultimately good hosting boils down to good staff that stay in their jobs, the quality of the hardware they use, the location of the datacenter & the peering agreements they have with other networks.