Any pointers on how to go about choosing a good web host?
 by Kristi Hagen

Any pointers on how to go about choosing a good web host?

  • My firm needs to find a new hosting company for our website and we are overwhelmed by the number of companies out there offering this service. Do you have any suggestions on what constitutes a good, reliable host and what we should really be looking for?

Answer: Our congratulations on actually doing some research on a topic that many companies today still take for granted. Choosing your host based on only the monthly fee is a great way to ensure you'll have problems down the road. Unfortunately, it's also the most popular metric used by most (amateur) companies to choose their hosting provider.

In our opinion all good, reliable, quality hosts share the following minimum requirements:

  • First-rate technical phone support and 24x7 customer service. Ideally within the same country, overseas phone support is typically not great.
  • At least a few years in the hosting business, with a track record of providing reliable service.
  • Resources available for server needs (PHP/MySQL/etc...)
  • Very low amount of downtime over a long time span.
  • Multiple distribution centers and power backup (generators) capability.
  • Excellent customer communication - will they email you when your site is going to be down for maintenance, server updates, PHP revision changes?
  • Availability of unique IP addresses.
  • Packages that fit the budget for the project.
  • Secure Server (SSL) encrypted website protection.
  • Serious junk mail Filtering and virus protection at the server level.
  • Personalized control of your plan through an account center.
  • Access to Apache and/or other server logs for traffic analyzation

We've worked with a lot of great hosts over the years. Some of the hosts offering plans online that share all the above characteristics include:

Certainly there are others we may not know about but ...