Hosting Comparison – Why Is It So Difficult?
“Could you please recommend a good web hosting service provider?” This is an inevitable question for almost every entrepreneur who plans to launch their website or blog. But the recommendation may not be the ideal solution. Yes, referral is important, but weighing the different features and benefits on your own would help you make a decision that suits you and not others. So here are detailed reviews and a comparison of several products that make it easy to choose the right product to fit your requirements well.
This article explains why you need web hosting, the prominent contenders, our review parameters, and the pitfalls you must avoid when choosing a service.
Why Do You Need A Web Hosting Service
Hosting makes a website accessible to everyone. Take the context of the train station for example. Until a train parks at a station, the passengers cannot access it. The same goes for web hosting. The train is the website here, and the station is the hosted server. You can build a website that no one has ever seen, but until it gets uploaded on a server, the world won’t know about it and the effort will go in vain.
- Here are more reasons why you need web hosting:
- Zero need for capital investment in data centers and hardware
- Subscription or usage-based pricing plans that help keep expenses predictable
- Pay-as-you-grow approach and no over-purchase capacity upfront
- Delivers faster ROI
- Reduces manpower costs
- Access to IT experts with no additional cost
- Helps users focus on core business needs
- Enables users to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies without hiring experts
- Limits business risk
Who Are the Top Contenders?
There are several providers available globally. Only a few operate locally or nationally. Obviously, global ones are the major contenders. Here are a couple of prominent ones you may explore.
Bluehost is a dominant provider of cloud-based platform services and solutions serving more than 2 million websites worldwide. It offers shared, dedicated and VPS hosting, and the pricing starts at $3.49/month.The secret behind its popularity is solid server performance, user-friendly dashboard, and great customer support.
Some interesting features are:
- Robust security like anti-spam & virus protection, IP blocking, and secure FTP access
- Advanced email hosting including unlimited POP3 email accounts with SMTP, free DNS management
- IMAP support and unlimited mailing lists
- eCommerce ready with add-on dedicated IP and supports Cubecart, osCommerce, and ZenCart
- Supports major programming languages like PHP, RoR, Perl, Python, and CGI
HostGator is an award-winning service provider since 2002, hosting more than 5 million domains globally. Its customers include companies of all sizes from solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies. HostGator comes at an initial price of $3.96/month and offers shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting as well like Bluehost. One feature that makes it a favorite among many users is the advantage of hosting unlimited subdomains with zero restriction on disk space or bandwidth.
Other notable features it provides are:
- Site-building tools and web app installers like QuickInstall, BaseKit, and Parallel Site Builder
- Ability to create manual and scheduled backups
- Free domain name and website content transfer
- Unlimited number of POP3 accounts
- Spam Assassin, a spam protection program to keep junk emails out of inboxes
DreamHost hosts more than 1.5million websites serving more than 400,000 customers in 100+ countries since 1997. It comes with a wide variety of features and starts at a price of $8.95/month.DreamHost proves very useful for both those who need basic features and clients who have high-traffic sites.
Some other useful features it provides are:
- Unlimited disk storage space, domains, emails, and network bandwidth
- Café Commerce integration
- Automated malware monitoring tools
- 1-click installer to install web apps like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, and many more
- Automatic mobile website generator
Our Review Parameters
We are strictly committed to providing useful, relevant, and unbiased information for each product we review to ensure it simplifies the decision-making process and helps you choose the best product to fit your needs.
Here are the primary review category parameters we follow for every product reviewed:
- Setup Procedure – Here we talk about the setup procedure and the complexity involved if any.
- Usability –This category reviews the learning curve involved in using a specific web-hosting service and the user-friendliness.
- List of Features – Lists important basic features and their benefits or disadvantages.
- Uptime and Downtime –Almost every hosting service provider claims to offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and we unfold the truth here.
- Speed–Better speed helps ensure a great user experience, and in this category we review whether the speed meets your needs.
- Customer Support – Customer service is crucial and influences buyer decision heavily, so here we review the responsiveness of the customer support team and the quality of service offered.
- Overall Review – Based on all the above review categories, we finally give our overall review on the product.
Here are a few common pitfalls you should avoid when choosing a provider.
Cheapest Hosting Service
Pricing is an important factor when buying a product, but it should not be the only criterion. Usually, the cheapest one looks like an attractive option,but if you calculate the life-time expense involved, the cost will shoot up. Low-priced hosting comes with limited features regarding bandwidth and storage and so when you start growing, the need to upgrade the package arises to prevent the site from getting suspended or crashing,which ultimately increases expenses. Also, if you select low-cost packages, the site may become the victim of annoying, intrusive ad banners that get placed by your provider and prompt visitors leave your site, which can damage your brand.
However, that doesn’t mean the cheapest service is the poorest one and the highest pricing will offer the best deal.The objective should be getting the best quality at a cost-effective price thatwould serve both short-term and long-term needs.
Brand New Hosting Service Providers
Before you plan to go for a web-hosting service, must do a background verification regarding how long the service hasbeen in the business, testimonials, and endorsements. A lot of new hosting service providers come up with lucrative offers to acquire more customers and scale their business, but in most cases, they cannot maintain their service and sustain in the market,so they eventually shut down.
Also, security is an important part of any website, especially if the website is the only mode of business, like e-commerce. A best practice should be to avoid hosting providers that do not offer Secure Socket Layer (SSL) system. Many offer backup features as a courtesy, so thorough verification and knowledge are required to limit your risk.
Sluggish Customer Service
The Internet is awake 24/7 x 365, and so is your website, so this should be one of the primary selection criteria. Almost all hosting service providers claim to offer 24/7 support, but that doesn’t mean the response will always be prompt. The best practice should be testing their response turn-around-time and quality before getting tied into a long-term contract. If you do not find their service satisfactory at a first go, it doesn’t make any sense to give them a second chance.
Overlooking the “Terms of Service”
Many of us often ignore the ToS part just like when buying any other product, mostly because it is long and boring to read.That’s the biggest mistake you can do. Hosting companies mostly highlight only those points that benefit their company and not yours. Make sure you thoroughly read every important point like the refund policy, agreement terms, cancellation policy, and others.If any doubt comes up about any term, ask the provider to clarify so you will not encounter future problems.
Which web hosting service do you plan to go for? Are there any other points you would like to add? Stay tuned and read our comparison articles and reviews.