In the highly competitive niche that is web hosting, you could be forgiven for thinking that there are only a handful of players capable of hosting your personal or business website. This is incorrect, in truth, there are literally thousand, maybe even tens of thousands of places who are quite capable of hosting your project. Some are obviously better than others in terms of service and support and some are most definitely more costly than others when it comes to what you pay month to month or year to year. But, web hosting is something which is most definitely worth investigating should you be considering taking out a new plan or package. As the title says, it’s not all about the big boys and in reality you can get a fantastic deal by simply shopping around and choosing a smaller company over a large one.
The Plans and Packages
If you’ve ever taken the time to look at the options on offer from each of the web hosting firms you come across, you’ll have undoubtedly notice that they all have one thing on common – they all off the same thing! Sure, the pricing is different and the package names might have a fancy name such as home user, premium, business or something like bronze, silver or gold etc – but if you look at what you actually get within this package it’ll be certainly the same as the next guy. But, if all the packages are the same then surely you’d just choose the cheapest one right? Wrong. There is much more to choosing a hosting package than simply choosing the cheapest provider who offers the same like for like package.
Reputation is Important
In terms of hosting, I’m of the opinion that reputation is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a host. First and foremost, you want your data to be secure. You don’t want it to be hosted in a 13 year olds bedroom somewhere on a server which is constantly going offline. You need someone reliable, reputable and ultimately trustworthy. Finding a host who has consistently good reviews is a good place to start. When it comes to reviews, particularly online, people who whole-hearted say what they think. If a host has a ton of bad reviews it can probably be avoided. With that said also, people don’t tend to like writing positive reviews unless they’re incentivised – so you should probably avoid companies who have a 100% perfect score also as something will probably be amiss – as odd as that sounds.
Location, Location, Location
If you’re an experienced web hosting buyer, you’ll no doubt be well versed in the benefits of having a server located geographically close to where your primary audience is located. For example, if I had a website targeting customers in the United Kingdom, I might use a UK web hosting service such as HostPresto.com where as if all my customers where in the US I’d want a hosting company with a US presence such as iPage.com or similar. But, there is another reason to want to use a local company – the support.
If you’ve ever been based outside of the United States and tried to get support from an American firm on European hours, you’ll be waiting a long time. Sure, some do offer 24/7 support but that only tends to be the largest of the large firms and given the amount of clients they have, even if they do over 24/7 support, your ticket is going to be in the queue for an age anyway. So if you feel like you need support, choose a local hosting firm so you’ll hopefully have someone working on the same clock as you.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
When we purchase any product or service, we tend to look towards the big, well-known brands to provide it. When we think of big well-known companies we think they’ll be reliable and secure and they’ll be able to provide what they say they can. But, this is not always true with web hosting. Sometimes, it’s more beneficial to find a smaller hosting company who can provide what you need but give you more dedication than you would get if you were to use one of the larger firms who to them you’re just another customer. The bottom line is, big companies don’t really care if they lose your custom whilst a smaller firm will usually go above and beyond the cause to keep you as a client. If the costs and packages are the same then I’d most definitely choose a smaller company on the same continent as either I or my website visitors are originating from. As the title of the article says, it’s not just about the big boys when it comes to web hosting.