Amber Weinberg: Freelance Web Developer specializing in semantic WordPress, Mobile, CSS and HTML5 Development

The Blog

Finding A Good Hosting Company

Posted on 02/17/11 in blog, development about , ,

It can be insanely difficult to find a good hosting company that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Not too long ago, I wrote a review of all the hosting companies I went through before I found one that was really worth my money.

I’ve learned several things about what’s needed in a good host and if you want to take the short route and find a good host without having to go through five or six, here are some tips for you.

Technology Support

In this day and age, you’d think host would be able to support the simplest of things. However, I’ve run into several hosts that couldn’t even handle setting up a simple instal of WordPress. And don’t even think about using htaccess on some of these either. Do a comprehensive check on the host, and if possible, talk to some people who use the same package. Do they support the latest technologies? Do they run the latest version of PHP? Are you allowed to configure the backend and even add scripts on? What about the database? Can it handle a load. These items are the most important things to consider when finding a host.

Space, Transfer and Speed

The cool thing for cheap advertising companies to do nowadays is to offer “unlimited space” and “unlimited bandwidth”. Let me tell you something though – NOTHING is every truly unlimited. Yes, you may be able to store all 100 TB of photos and movies on your server, but what happens when you try to navigate the site? What happens when the neighbor on your shared server decides to take up all the space? His actions (or yours) might end up crashing the whole server and causing you to lose potential business.

It’s fine to use these companies, just be aware you’re taking a gamble. I much rather have my host give each person a specific limit to the amount of space and bandwidth the can use, that way there’s less chance to crash the server.

Also, watch how quickly your site loads on each server. At one time, one of my sites took over 20 seconds to load on GoDaddy, 4 seconds on Bluehost, and 1 second on ZeHosting. Who do you think I ended up with?

Price

Pricing varies widely on hosts, especially for shared accounts. I’ve seen shared hosting cost anywhere from $3/month to $50/month. More expensive isn’t always better though, so don’t pick a server based on price alone. I try to aim for a price in the middle, as $3 hosts most likely have terrible service and $50 hosts are likely to be overpriced and offer no additional features than say, a $10/month host.

Support

No matter how awesome the hosting company is, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to speak to support at one point or another. So before you decide what host to go with, try out their support section. How long does it take them to get back to you? Are they friendly? Knowledgeable?

I’ve used ZeHosting‘s support at least a hundred times – everything for downtime (happened only once!), to customizing my email server, to installing custom PHP scripts, to basically customizing anything I needed to run all of the apps I have. They’re awesome, I can get ahold of them almost immediately any time of the day or even on weekends.

Your Thoughts

How do you go about looking for a host? What factors into your decision?

Amber Weinberg specializes in clean and semantic HTML5, CSS3, responsive and WordPress development. She has over 15 years of coding experience and is super cool to work with. Amber is available for freelance work, so why not hire her for your next project?

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