If you don’t have any referrals from friends, picking a hosting company can be hard. You’ll look for the best deal around, from the biggest company you’ve seen, or try to go local. Unfortunately, you might stumble across a company who doesn’t care that much about their services and won’t help you at all when you’ve got a problem.
What makes a good hosting company?
I’ve had websites with two hosting companies already; one was awful and the other I’m in love with. Let’s talk about who they are later, let’s concentrate on what makes a good company for now.
1. No Downtime (or almost none)
You’re running a business. You don’t want to be contacting your hosting support every second day because your website is constantly offline. You’ll lose money and your sanity. If you notice that that hosting company you picked is always having problems with this, change immediately. It won’t get fixed, you’re just on a bad server, and will always be.
2. Customer Service That Helps You
If you have to wait for 2 hours to talk to a customer service employee and they tell you the problem is your fault and they can’t fix it, run the other way. This is not how customer service works. I remember once using a client’s customer service (not my usual host), and they almost shamed me into thinking I was dumb and didn’t know what I was doing. Another host would have fixed my problem in seconds.
3. Transparent everything
One thing I hate is feeling stuck with a company because they’re not forward at all, don’t want me to access certain functionality or hide fees from me. If a company is clear and transparent with you, you can trust them a lot more. Make sure you read the fine print to see if you’ll be able to transfer a domain name, how much the fees are going to be after the first year, if they’re going to transfer your website for you, etc. Some hosting companies love to keep you in the dark until you buy from them.
So… Which Company Do I Recommend?
I’m hosting all my websites with them and send all of my clients their way: SiteGround. My website is never down with them, if I have a problem they solve it within 20 minutes, and I’ve never been taken by surprise by any of their policies. They also have an amazing price for the quality of their services, starting at only a few bucks per month.
If you’ve been having problems with your current host, I would recommend checking them out! They’re the best service you can get for your money!
And if you have a website with more than 20 000 unique visitors per months and feel like SiteGround just couldn’t keep up, there are two great options out there: WP Engine (which was recommended to me by people I trust) and Fused (which my boyfriend uses and adores!)
And Who Should You Avoid?
Any hosting within EIG (Endurance International Group). They own companies like Bluehost, Hostgator, A Small Orange, iPage, Site5, etc. You can find the complete list here. With any those hosting company, you will have a very limited service, and might regret it not that long after you’ve paid for them.
Of course, some people might have a great experience with any of those company. But my website was always offline with Hostgator and Bluehost has the worst customer service I’ve ever seen. And I’m not the only one saying things like that.
The last one I avoid is GoDaddy, for personal reasons. As a web designer and developers, I didn’t find them very easy to work with. They make sure you stay in their ecosystem that making it extra hard to point your domain somewhere else or use services that aren’t their own. If you don’t mind that, you can go with them. But I stay far from them for the same reasons I’ve never owned any Apple tech: I just don’t like the way they do business.
But that’s just my opinion…