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Points to consider before choosing web hosting

First thing you should know about this post is, THIS IS NOT A PAID REVIEW OR POST OR WHATEVER. This articles is based on my experience over the past 4 years.

Choosing the company that is going to hold and save you website data is one of the most critical part. If you really want to grow yourself online and you are serious with your online business, then web hosting is the first thing you should really worry about. You can actually get the good web hosting easily if you have big money but with limited budget, its pretty hard to find the honest hosting. I can still remember my first website, how it gain the popularity and traffic and how it went down (thanks to the cheap hosting). In the last 6 years, I tried several web hosting services, from local web hosting providers to many renowned companies. Most of those were a nightmare. I want to share a few points which I learned in the past  years.

1- CHEAP HOSTING (beware of this phrase)

Most of the people steps into WWW world, search for web hosting with this keyword and they get loads of results. Many companies claiming on their website that offer ultra cheap hosting with excellent support and blah blah. What does that exactly mean? What does they mean when they say cheap? Their service, support or what? Let me tell you one thing, bandwidth is not free. That is bought for money so did other stuff like space etc. You could find many hosting companies offering 5GB storage space and 50 GB of data transfer for just 2$s per month. Trust me if you know about server things, this will look like a joke to you. A few popular one even offer UNLIMITED STORAGE SPACE AND UNLIMITED BANDWIDTH. What they don’t mention in the feature chart is the CPU and RAM usage you are allowed to use. They tell you about this when you see a page instead of  your website, that says

You’re site is suspended due to violation of our terms of our services.

What the hell??? You worked hard to build the traffic for your website and when traffic started to arrive, they put this page. You email hosting support and they tell that your website was using high amount of CPU and RAM.

You need to understand here that you can’t use all the unlimited bandwidth or even 50 GB, because if you’re site is getting that much traffic, their server can’t bear that much traffic, and its time for you upgrade.

Conclusion: Before buying cheap hosting (cheap in terms of price) you should focus on what you exactly needed at the starting stage, not what unlimited stuff they are offering because you’re not going to use their unlimited stuff anyway.

2- Company Existence

These days, most of the guys think that web hosting is a good business so they just jump into this field after buying a dedicated server with CPanel and starts advertising their service on various forums etc. What they don’t understand that web hosting is a very complex kind of business and only pros can manage this business. Soon, the server maintenance and other things starts to become out of their control and you wake up one day to see your website gone from the WWW world.

Conclusion: Better check if the hosting company have a physical address and a phone number so that you have surety that you bought the service from some real world people.

3- Read Reviews before buying

You found a web hosting company, their website is just awesome, cool looking and all that. They’re offering almost all the things you needed. You emailed the support your queries, got reply from ‘em in 1 hour. You are impressed and you think you’re ready to buy. This is where you are committing a mistake, they’re not cool just because they look cool to you. Many people are annoyed with them already. Fortunately, there are many honest websites on Internet that are community driven and have bunch of discussions on web hosting. Webhostingtalk.com, CNET webhosting reviews, webhostingunleashed.com are one of those websites. Before you place an order, do a strong search on these websites to check what other people are saying.

Conclusion: Be patient. See what are the opinions of their customers.

4- Bandwidth

According to this link, Facebook is spending $7.8 Million per year on their bandwidth. Bandwidth is one of the core of the hosting business, 90% hosting companies actually resell bandwidth.

Lets suppose you find a hosting company that is real, now the problem which rises here is that they’ll gonna take good care of bandwidth. At this point you have to be aware that how they charge for the bandwidth. Most of the companies start charging big amount after you have used your monthly quota. For example you were allotted a quota of 300 GB of data transfer per month for lets say 50$s per moth, at the end of the month you have already used 325 GB of bandwidth. Now you’re thinking they’ll charge you a few extra bucks for the extra bandwidth you used. You are terribly wrong. They could charge you 1$ for each extra GB you have used. This is true, I have experience this case in the past. Following is the screen shot of the Invoice I received at the end of the month from my hosting company.

invoice

This invoice was a nightmare to me, I thought I’d lost all the profit I earned from my websites. However I emailed the support and asked why on earth they didn’t informed me that I have already used my quota and put the bandwidth exceed page when I used all my bandwidth. They told me that they know that for a customer website up-time is very important and many other reasons, however I end up paying 250 USD, terminated the hosting contract and closed my websites.

Another blunder that I did was not checking my bandwidth meter, not checking the right meter to be more precise. I was checking the bandwidth usage at AWSTATS provided by CPanel and I was good according to that. However the AWSTATS doesn’t show the total Inbound + Outbound traffic. In most of the cases you don’t have to worry about inbound bandwidth as its consumption is usually very low (FTP, file uploads etc) but I was running proxy websites so my inbound bandwidth consumption was almost equal to that of outbound. So together, it made a huge number and huge problem for me :).

Conclusion: You should know how much bandwidth you’re going to use and keep an eye on your bandwidth meter and upgrade to the right account before you have to pay the big amount.

5- Are you buying the right package?

If you have bought a package that was smaller than your usage, you’ll know that soon (your host will shut your site). You can’t run proxy or social networking websites with good traffic on a shared hosting. But make sure you’re not buying something that you’ll never use. Like buying a VPS for just running 2-3 directory websites or a small ecommerce website, or you are wasting your money.

Conclusion: Don’t waste your money or website by purchasing hosting services that is bigger or smaller than your needs.

Some Recommended Companies

With all these hosting scams around, there are still companies that take your business seriously. Following are a few web hosting companies that I will suggest based on what kind of hosting you needed. Please note that none of the following urls have any kind of affiliate or referral links.

Shared Hosting:

ExaBytes.com
HostGator.com
BlueHost.com
WP Webhost

Reseller Hosting:

ExaBytes.com

VPS / Semi Dedicated Server:

A2B2.com
SliceHost.com
LiquidWeb

Dedicated Server:

LayeredTech.com
RackSpace.com
Datapipe.net

I have used all the above web hosting services either personally or for my clients and I found their service reliable and honest. I hope this article will help you from stumbling into the problems that I faced when I started.

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