Choosing a Reliable Hosting Provider (10 Criteria to Evaluate a Hosting Provider)

With thousands of host companies on the market, it’s no wonder that choosing a reliable hosting provider for your website, is a tough decision you have to take.

While big host companies assail you almost everywhere (online) with catchy ads and tempting offers (trying to convince your subconscious that you’ve already met reliable hosting provider), your friends, colleagues, and online reviewers seem rather advise you to look closely at small, but reliable host providers.

So, in this article, I’ll try to make your research work much easier and help you figure it out faster what suits and what doesn’t to your website/s needs.

How to Find and Select a Reliable Hosting Provider?

1) Make a list of what you need and expect from your future hosting provider:

  • How important is technical support for you?

If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably need a lot of guidance from the start and keeping in touch with the host provider’s team will be essential.

If you’re tech-savvy, you won’t need the same guidance, of course. But when you finally call technical support, your questions will be more in-depth and more specific. And, that means what you need is highly-qualified support members to communicate with.

  • Traffic, contract time, or the number of websites you manage? Which one defines best your interest?

If your websites will have significant exposure and you’re expecting to have intense traffic, unlimited bandwidth is what you’re looking for.

If you’ve just started an online project and it’s difficult to estimate the future results, or are testing a new online project, contract time is what you need.

If you’re going to manage several websites (your websites or for clients as well), pay attention to providers’ offers from this perspective.

  • Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, Reseller Hosting or VPS Hosting? What should I choose?

Shared hosting will cost you (most probably) less than others, and this is important if you have a limited budget. At the same time, if the hosting provider isn’t a performant one, there could be some limitations and disadvantages that shared hosting involves. So, before making any purchase, be sure that you’ve chosen the best hosting provider.

WordPress hosting – while any plan can run WordPress, the server environment is specifically optimized for WordPress. This means you can enjoy faster page times, a higher level of protection against WordPress-specific threats, and other features such as automatic WordPress updates or WordPress staging.

Reseller hosting is an opportunity for (small and mid-size) companies to make a profit by reselling an existing product (web hosting). Usually, the reseller buys the hosting product at a discounted price and sell it to their clients at a higher price.

VPS (Virtual Private Server) is a hosting solution that will provide you with dedicated resources only for your websites.

2) Check out for recommendations

  • Friends, colleagues & followers – ask them directly or put a question on your social pages
  • Social media groups. Find out dedicated groups and launch a question or ask for a recommendation
  • Forums and Q&A platforms. Quora, for instance, hosts a wide range of information filtered by topics. Here you can find detailed recommendations from various users.

3) Save some company’s names and check out their offers.

4) Compare commercial offers. You can do that manually or use a reviews platform

5) Make a shortlist with top 5 suitable web hosting providers

6) Check reviews, testimonials, comments, and recommendations for each hosting company from your list.

You can use review platforms to make your work easier, or you can do this manually by collecting in a document the most relevant feedback from customers.

7) Test their responsiveness and their customer approaches.

It’s always a good idea to test your future providers’ real interest to his clients.

8) Check if there are any ongoing deals or coupon codes available for their plans. This way you could do some savings.

How to avoid the “best hosting offer” gimmicks

  • Unlimited offers for only a few bucks a month. Free or cheapest commercial offers deserve a second thought. A high-quality hosting service should be at fair and realistic prices.

Our advice: check out the terms and conditions and look closer if there are hidden costs.

  • 100% uptime – is that for real? Even the best hosting providers will put your website offline once in a while. So, take the “100% uptime” offer as a myth. Instead, what reliable hosting provider can guarantee to you is 99,99% – this meaning under 5 minutes of downtime per month.

Our advice: check customers’ comments about each providers’ uptime

  • Shiny advertising but not reviews allowed on social pages. Ant lack of transparency should be a signal that the reality may look different.

Our advice: see what provider’s clients say about the brand on external websites (other social pages, reviews pages, forums, etc.)

Checklist – 10 criteria to evaluate a hosting provider