Finding a suitable webhost solution part 2/2.

Posted: January 25, 2007 by signex

In Part 1 I wrote about choosing a hosting package (shared/VPS/Dedicated) this part I`m writing about how to choose a webhosting company. In my country(Holland) hosting prices vary allot, I've seen a couple USA hosts and it isn't much different, only difference is that bandwidth is way cheaper in the US then it is in the Netherlands. One of the problems with choosing the right company is that you cant always see who is behind the beautiful corporate looking website, because it just could be a 16 y/o just trying to make a quick buck, not caring about his costumers at all. Which makes it even harder is that prices vary so much, and off course nobody wants to spent too much on something that you can get way cheaper. The first thing for you to decide is how important is your website for you, or how much is your client willing to spent. You can get a shared hosting package for 10$ a year, but the same package costs 100$ a year somewhere else, so where is the difference? here's a small list of things that could make this difference.
  • Do they make backups on a second server
  • Do they use an A brand for their hardware
  • Are their spare parts on the spot in case off hardware failure
  • Which datacentre are they located in, try to find reviews or opinions
  • What Control panel do they use, Directadmin is cheaper then Cpanel
  • Do they have phone support, or only mail support
  • Do they have a 24/7 phone support when your server is down
  • What is their write-off period for a server, 3 or 5 years can make a big difference
Probably the thing that impacts price the most is whether they oversell or not, and how much. I read studies from dutch webhosters that only 20 to 30 % from the sold traffic and hard disk capacity is used by their costumers. So basically they can sell 3 times what they can handle. This sometimes means that on a single shared server there are over 500 costumers, so when its a little busy on your server, serverloads get high and your website will be slow, this often resolves in new topics being created complaining CMSMS is so darn slow, which in most of the times just isn't the case. So ask your host how much costumers share a server, or how many VPS`es are created on your server. Most good webhosters will proudly tell that they only put about 100 costumers on a shared server (depending on their server hardware). But don't be surprised that their prices are 5 times as much as some other webhosting companies. So finding a good hosting company depends on your needs and budget, but whatever you choose always ask for a "try before buy" package for about 48 hours and make a CMSMS installation and see how it does in daytime and nighttime. Beware that some hosters will putt these packages on empty test servers, so be sure your "try before buy" package is on the same server as when you buy your package. Here are some other things you could use to check out a company.
  • Find reviews from other costumers
  • Ask about the hardware they work with
  • Ask how long they exist
  • Try out mail and/or phone support, is it fast enough for you
  • Guaranteed uptime? then what is the compensation when they fail
  • Prices to good to be true? ....they are
  • Ask uptime reports from the last 6 to 12 months
I hope this will be to good use, suggestions and comments welcome! Signex / Benjamin

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