Recently i was looking for a local shared web hosting company to move my new project from my current host to a local one. Similarly like everyone in the world who wished to look for new things, they would research and so did i. And because of my previous experience on finding my current US web hosting company, hostgator, which is a long and tiring journey due to many fake and incorrect information that people (i can't really really say company) made online for monetary purposes. It's always easy to fall prey into all these online marketing tricks. So i decided to list down all the tips i used to find a good web shared hosting company in the case where i need to change to a new hosting company (hopefully not).
Shared web hosting
Like everyone would have known the fact that a shared web hosting means there are a lot of people sharing a single server with you. Sharing doesn't mean that your website will run slower or it will be worst than a dedicated server. It really depends on your website needs. Your website might be a static page that only needs less than 0.1% (or even lesser) on a full dedicated server so putting your site in a shared environment will be the best in terms of cost and efficient. However, there are cases where people abuse the resources in a shared environment which is also why many web hosting company have turned to restrict the amount of resources one can utilize which is a good move in a shared environment. Hence, your only concern on a shared hosting service is whether people in your server is behaving properly or utilize minimum server resources. (so that there is enough for everyone)
Shared web hosting company
Now let's talk about shared hosting company. There are tons of them. Majority is overselling. These are the facts and most of us know it once we read their shared web hosting plan. Especially in US where majority company is telling you the word UNLIMITED. And DAMN that's a very VERY attractive word that ALL people love. (human have unlimited wants but there are limited resources, eg. we want unlimited beautiful woman but there are only limited beauties) And usually a novice who read the first site that offered UNLIMITED hosting plan will most likely fall into their marketing scheme (ITS YOU RIGHT?! haha..). But its pretty common nowadays especially people who are just stepping into the world of spammers, opps, i mean world of web hosting services. Everyone wants to earn some money and this doesn't exclude shared web hosting company. New or existing shared web hosting company, they all are staring at your pocket. The key is not to show them the money quickly. I talked as if they are all spammers. Definitely, there are ones that provides you with excellent services but out of so many shared web hosting company, who do you choose? 🙁
Tips To Find Good Hosting Company
After the long read of crap and nonsense, i'm finally getting back to what i aim to write, My Tips. Some are obvious, some are not. Just take those you want 🙂
Your Needs. Don't be greedy
I'm greedy. And this is where i always paid more for something i might not EVEN need. It's like when you hungry and order tons of food but couldn't finish them in the end. The same things applied on web hosting service. The trick is to estimate how much you need for both bandwidth and space. For an image gallery where there are few thousands visitors a day. You will need quite a lot of bandwidths while a normal website that doesn't serve as much images won't need that much of space and bandwidths. Hence, look at what you are serving and determine which plan suit you the best. (unlimited packages usually disappoint you more than satisfy you. Depending on the size of the company, they might not have the resources to provide unlimited package)
Number of Website Hosted in a server
You need to know how much website is hosted in a particular server. If one server hosted more than a thousand websites, the probability of your site getting your resources will be very limited. Imagine more than one thousand website fighting that limited resources in a server. Hence, look for some company that do not over host their server and cause headache for you in the near future.
Number of Account in a server
You might probability be aware that there are a lot of web hosting that claims unlimited web site on a domain. This is great news for everyone but each account with unlimited website will means MANY MANY website on a single server. Therefore, its wise to know more about your web hosting company setting on the number of account allowed per server.
Depending who your audiences are, your server should be close or near them. This benefits both you and your target audiences of your website because there are less expensive routing towards your website which makes your website more accessible. On the other hand, you can monitor or manage your website faster than a web hosting companies that is across your region.
Any Database Size Limitation
Know your web hosting company well. Some web hosting company (most) do not tell you the limitation they impose on the database size. Once, you reach that limit that database can no longer place more data into it. This is bad for you and you should be aware of it before signing up with them.
CPU and Memory Limitation
CPU and memory limitation is a common knowledge in shared web hosting nowadays. As long as you are using a shared web hosting service, you should be aware of this limitation. Knowing this help you to find the least restrictive web hosting company with the best value.
In a shared environment where everyone uses the same resources, one must know that the server is powerful enough to serve the amount of website limited by the company in the server. Some still uses their old server to host the same amount of website as a latest server. You might want to avoid those server to avoid unnecessary problem.
Knowing when and what they backup is important for you in case anything went wrong with their server. Especially the information on the limitation impose when they stop automatic backup for you. There are many cases where they will stop their automatic backup system for your account due to various reasons. And these reasons might make you avoid the company.
Time of Establishment
A reputational web hosting company means you are safer with them. This means that you can have more confident that they won't suddenly bankrupt and went missing (something you see in my country) and your data won't be stolen because your website did great and many ridiculous problem you might face with a untrusted hosting company (To began with, they do not have any reputation to spoil).
Any limitation on the number of domain/subdomain
If you like to have one hosting plan with multiple domain. You should aware of the number of domain/subdomain the plan offer you to prevent any unnecessary regrets.
Any limitation on each email account size
Some web hosting company impose a maximum email account size limit to prevent spam from over flooding their web server. If you are a person who dislike such restriction be sure to look properly before signing up with any company.
Another way to know whether they are good is to ask lots of questions and determine their responsiveness and correctness. A responsive and knowledgable support team will most likely make you more happy than angry in the future. Email different section to enquire anything from heaven to earth especially when you are sure ITS THAT COMPANY you want.
Maximum number of database connection
Some company restrict the number of database connection or users you can have. Having unlimited addon domain without having different database user or connection is like cutting your leg off while giving you sticks to walk. Without knowing such limitation and bang into a web hosting services will not do you any good.
Other Service Fees
Some company charge you service fees for some technician assistance. This is an information you should know to help yourself cut down some heavy addon fees on your web hosting when support become chargable. Ask your web hosting services what are chargeable and determine whether its reasonable before joining the club.
Another interesting thing you should be aware of is the connection speed use to power their web hosting service. Connection is also one of the important thing you would like to compare against different web hosting company.
Technical support, not so technically skill
This is a common scenario where their technical support give you stupid answer or incorrect one. Some even give you those default answers that was given by the company. Finding a good support will take you a long way in the future.
Talk to people
Find out from people who are currently using the company web hosting service. I'm sure they will share with you their experiences with them and you can better determine whether they are the one for you.
Use tool to verify
After you have enquire. You can further verify some of the information given by using some of those free web based tool. I personally used yougetsignal.com where it can tell me the number of website hosted in an IP address, location of the server, etc. This help you ensure that you are not being marketed and they are honest with their words.
Server hosting company
Another thing you might want to check with your web hosting company is their server hosting company. Their downtime depends greatly on them.
Check their IP in one of those spam ip checker online. Determine whether their IP is considered as spam is important as many internet provider would block these ip to protect their users. This will also means your website will be considered as spam site.
Other tips can be found on my review page on hostgator.
The trick here is to always ask for information not available on their website. These are most likely the information they wish to hide. But they can always trick you when you ask and that is why money back guarantee is so important to us.