– OK, like everything else, in my 3 1/2 years of ‘lost in the wilderness’ I have tried: GoDaddy, Hostgator, Siteground and in the ealry days, looked at the ‘freebies’ like Wix.
– I have friends that have tried pretty much all the rest…….. well to be honest last time we added up between us it was 20 something……. so we’ve ‘been around”, and got the scars and stories to prove it.
– Like a ‘smarty’ once said (Voltaire I think) “Without failures, there’s no stories to tell”, and boy when it come to hosting companies that’s sure as hell true.
– I won’t be a cynic and say stay away from the “get your first year for $1” as most of the good & bad offer this…… what ya gotta watch out for is, and always remember…… once you start using a host changing over is such a PITA that most don’t bother, so it can’t be price that determines your choice.
– As hopefully you want to be able to get set up and NOT have to revisit hosting, you want to get it right first time, so that brings the “help” down to:
NOTE: the below “filters” to help in making a choice are accurate when choosing any product not just Hosting
1) “word of mouth” recommendation – Very important but also check how much experience the recommender has i.e. is their opinion based on wide or long experience?
2) Customer Reviews – A great guide but remember there’s software now that anyone can get that creates as many genuine looking fakes as you want.
3) “Social proof” – Same as the above, but also check if they have say a FB group that there are no complaints and that the last post wasn’t 6 months ago!
4) History around the net – It’s easy to give yourself a good write up on on genuine sites like “trustpilot” or “productreview” or “scamwatch” etc etc but consistent negative gos & chat isn’t a good sign!
5) “Review Sites” – Alas these days 95% of supposed review sites are just Affiliate Marketers hiding behind “an honest review” , stay away
4) “Service” – Before I start using any software or service I always send an email to their “contact” or “support” address. “no answer, no buy”!!!!!! I don’t give a rats if “Bob says they’re just great” if they can’t answer me…… when I don’t need them, what’s it going to be like when I do?!?
5) Price in Year 2 – Some charge an introductory price like $58 for year one, then $358 for year two…… ouch
– As there are so many things to learn when you’re starting out, than so many moving parts when you’re up and running…… SERVICE IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU MUST HAVE.
– There are quite a few good hosts out there, so it’s a balance between service, cost, reputation and that indefinable “feel”.
– Most of the ones I tried were ‘OK’…… so why did I leave them, well for all the ‘usual’ reasons, poor service, big price hikes in year 2, they wouldn’t install something I was incapable of…… service again really.
– I’ll keep banging on about service forever…… BECAUSE IT’S SO BLOODY IMPORTANT.
– In the end I’ve settled on Namecheap because:
1) They are great at Name/Domain rego, everyone says use them…… then go to their recommendation for hosting, why Namecheap do both, and well.
2) Their “unlimited” packages are cheap, around $100 a year
3) I get 10,000 email sends an hour (I’m not silly enough to use that many)
4) They have THE best service desk I’ve ever come across, they ALWAYS answer in good time, they’re Eastern Europeans, technical as you’ll ever need…… and if you don’t understand what a Cron job is, they’ll install it for you!
5) They ‘Grandfather” the price, the price you pay now is the price your renewal stays at…… forever in theory.
“Bob says he’s happy as a pig in shit with GoDaddy”, and that’s great but ask Bob how many times he’s asked them to do something for him, do they offer answers ‘in person’ or is their ‘knowledge base’ all online FAQ’s, will they help him with 3rd Party plug in’s……. in other words has he really had service from them…… but in the end it’s your choice, so if you’ve done your homework, and it all ‘feels right’ go for it.