Choosing a web hosting company can be bewildering. You type ‘web hosting’ in a search engine and you are presented with literally millions of web sites. Some are actual web hosting sites but most are probably ‘review’ sites and other ‘best web hosting companies’ type of listings. There are so many of these review / directory sites because many web hosting companies pay a commission to the site owner if they get a sale from someone coming from that site.
This does not mean that you should disregard review sites. They can be very helpful.
First of all, there is definitely the odd review site out there that is not driven by commission. Secondly, most hosting review site owners do not list companies with bad reputations anyways. Bad hosting companies quickly get a reputation on the net among webmasters; and nothing makes someone disregard a web hosting review site more, than seeing a known ‘problem’ company with a high rating. Review site owners need some credibility to continue making commissions!
Thirdly, web hosting companies that can afford to pay relatively high commissions to review sites usually must be doing well to afford to pay these commissions. Cheap web hosting companies; or ones that are losing a lot of customers, typically cannot pay high commissions.
I will explain how simple it is to see if a web hosting company has a good or bad reputation among those ‘in the know’:
First, look at a bunch of review sites and note down the companies which are consistently in the top 10 and offer the features you want (that’s worthy of another article!) and are in your price range. Then bring up Google or any other search engine and type in the name of the first web hosting provider on your list as well as the word ‘forums’. This will bring up any mentions of that web hosting company among internet message boards; where unlike review sites, most information is just people’s honest opinions. You will typically find messages posted on webmaster and other specialty sites where the users usually know what they are talking about. Although finding positive posts about the particular web hosting company you are interested in is the best outcome – its also true that no news is good news. If people are not posting messages about that web hosting company…then at least you know they don’t have a bad rep. Compared to happy customers posting positive messages, people are much more likely to post negative messages if they are disappointed in the service they received; since pissed off people like to vent!
Read through a bunch of these messages, and you’ll get a good idea of the reputation the web hosting company has. Do that for all the companies on your list; and you can feel confident that you are in a better position to pick a web hosting company that really does have a good reputation.