Advanced Guide On How To Choose A Good Web Host
After my recent frustrating experience with various web hosts I decided to write an article after some of my readers requested me to. My focus is on web hosts that provide shared hosting since and does not cover buying or using Dedicated hosting, since Shared Hosting is the most commonly used web hosting.
There are three Major factors you need to look at when you are about to buy Web Hosting. We’ll explore each point one by one and various tools to asses and collect data.
- Response Time
- Tech Support
- Ease of Use
100% uptime is a myth when it comes to shared hosting no shared web host can guarantee you 100% uptime. Why because, servers need maintenance to keep them running in top notch condition maintenance means downtime and In the case of Shared hosting this is very much true. In a month calculate the total time that your site goes down and if it is more than 5-6 hours then your Web host in very unreliable (DreamHost). Its is common for a shared hosting site to go down a few minutes(not more than 5 minutes) once a week.
I used tools like PingDom, mon.itor.us and Site24X7 to monitor my site uptime. Out of the three tools I highly recommend Pingdom (they have a 30 day trial which should be enough for you to do your research) since they have more servers around the world and you can configure it to check your site every minute.
Again PingDom is a great tool to monitor site response time, they have more than 15 different servers located around the world that tell you response time around various parts of the world. Or you could use this completely free tool to check your site response time from 5 different locations around the world. http://internetsupervision.com/scripts/urlcheck/check.aspx
You might face hiccups along the way when hosting a site. How fast do they reply to your emails. In my case BlueHost provides Instant live chat support. Most Web Hosts have some kind of ticketing system based on priority and complexity of the problem and you would be required to for 2-3 hours before you receive any reply. After being with BlueHost for a while I fail to understand why other Web Hosts also cannot provide live chat support, my previous experience with Media Temple was horrible with replies taking more than 24 hours. On DreamHost when I posted a support ticket I could mark the ticket as HIGH, Medium, Low etc and depending on the priority I found the response varied but on Media Temple they don’t have any such priority marking system which I think sucks big time like in my case my site was down for more than 3 days.
Ease of Use
How easy and intuitive is the Web Hosting Control panel. I have used DreamHost, Media Temple and BlueHost. And I found Media Temple User Interface a pleasure to use and understand. But both DreamHost and Media Temple Control Panels are rather slow in loading. BlueHost has a blazing fast Control Panel they use CPanel with their own enhancements and Addons.
While There are other factors that can slow down your site like having lots of images, widget, scripts. etc which can effect your site. I think I’ll cover them in another post since I myself am guilty of making some of these mistakes. Hopefully when I have finished redesigning my site I can tackle this topic.
If you want to learn more about on site optimisation here are a bunch of links that you find useful.
Tools and Extensions