What to look for in a hosting company

Published on September 14th, 2009 by admin

Hosting solutions are plentiful on the internet and some are better than others. Here are some of the things you should consider before you choose.

Dedicated or Shared?

When you go with a hosting solution you have two options, either dedicated or shared hosting.

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting means that more than one domain is being hosted per server. This allows the service to be cheaper but you will also suffer a performance hit because it’s takes more processing power and memory to handle the traffic from multiple sites.
Plans cost from $50 to $200 a year so if you’re just starting out and you don’t expect to have a lot of traffic right away then this is the ideal solution for you.

Dedicated Hosting

In dedicated hosting, your hosting provider will dedicate an entire server to your website. This is the most effective way to handle large volumes of traffic. However, it’s also the most expensive, with typical plans being hundreds of dollars a month.
This would be a good option if you are part of a larger organization and a majority of your business will be conducted online.


Most hosts promise 99% up-time, but you have to take this with a grain of salt because technology isn’t perfect, it gets old and needs repairs or replacing. Check online and see what people are saying, if you find a lot of complaints about their reliability then you might want to reconsider that host.

Also, not all servers are the same. A few years ago my website would keep on going down at least once or twice a week. I called up the host and it turns out that that server was being repaired. I asked them to move it to another server, which they promptly did and I haven’t had a problem since. So if the host typically has high praise then ask them about the technology their using.

Good Customer Support

Make sure they have great customer support! If you can, make sure they speak your native language with little or no accent. The accent gets even worse over the phone, and in a business environment, communication is crucial.

This is an easy one to try too. Before you buy their hosting service, give them a call and ask a question about their service. This will give you a good idea of how they handle customers.

The Control Panel

There are a lot of things you are are going to want to do with your host. Such as ad email addresses, change passwords, look up system configurations etc. You shouldn’t have to call up customer support to do these common tasks. So make sure that they have a powerful control panel that makes it easy for you.

cPanel Pro is a popular control panel today. If your host uses this software then you will have a lot of control.

cPanel Pro is a popular control panel today. If your host uses this software then you will have a lot of control.


Be wary of hosts who offer prices that seem to be too good to be true, because more often than not. . . they are.

You should expect to pay at least $50 a year for a limited package and around $100 a year for a typical package.

Also keep an eye out for hosts who charge much more than that. If they charge $300 to $400 a year for shared hosting they should have a good reason. Perhaps it’s limited sharing and they don’t put a lot of sites on their servers or they will do the setup and other kinds of technical support.

Hosting Capabilities

What kind of features do you need for your website? If you need a database make sure that the host offers one. A lot of the cheaper hosts won’t support MySQL, or they will only support one and you have to pay for more.

Here are some of the features you should look for.

  • FTP Support
  • Apache
  • E-Mail accounts
  • Mailing Lists
  • Subdomains
  • Parked and Addon Domains
  • PHP Support
  • MySQL Databases
  • PHPMyAdmin
  • Perl
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Python
  • Traffic Statistics
  • Account Management

Look up reviews

If you’re still not sure about a particular host, then do a search on the web for reviews. Every website has to be hosted somewhere so there are a lot of people with opinions about hosts. Just do a simple google search and you will find plenty of information about the host.

cnet offers great reviews about hosts and presents them in a neat table for comparison.

cnet offers great reviews about hosts and presents them in a neat table for comparison.

Further Reading

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