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Picking the best web hosting company: quick & cheap -vs- slick & chic

Updated on May 11, 2017

The Top Ten Best Web Hosting Companies


Getting your website online FAST.

The speed of the internet drives so many online decisions we make today. A click of a button is what many of us expect when making what seem to be simple choices in our lives. Convenience is a marketable product, and the Top 10 website hosting companies are no exception in using the benefit of speed and ease of use to attract customers.

When choosing the best website hosting company or service, slowing down and researching what it is you'll be getting for the money spent, is a basic cost analysis strategy. Many factors come into play with the web hosting companies we choose to use, and have represent us, and our online presence.

There are about 13,200,000 Google search results for "website hosting companies". Each has benefits and features, each have specific TOS and each want and need your business.

So how do you choose your web hosting service? Why should you choose one company over another? Does it really matter which company hosts your website?

In this article we will be looking at:

(Click on any title below to navigate to that part of the article)

Easy as Apples to Oranges?

When choosing a web hosting Company it should  be as easy as comparing apples to oranges, shouldn't it?
When choosing a web hosting Company it should be as easy as comparing apples to oranges, shouldn't it?

What is webhosting?

Basic Web Hosting Terms


  • Foundational Terminology.

This section defines some of the basic terms you'll find when researching the hosting of a website. Understanding these terms help in the process of researching, finding and deciding on a web hosting service based on your personal needs.

There are many other terms you will run into, I suggest you get your understanding down on these first and then begin to build.

Don’t get confused, learn slowly and learn solidly. There is no need to try and digest it all in one sitting. These terms are here just for a foundation.

  • Web Host

A web host is a web server that stores or provides space for all of your website pages, content and files. This could include programs and applications as well. In essence it’s the bundling of all your hardware and software that allows your website to run smoothly.

  • Web Hosting

Web hosting is the type of server for an individual or organization which makes a website accessible to the world. The levels of web hosting vary widely and can range from free to complex and expensive. The number of hosting services is ginormous and requires a little research before chosen. Understanding what you need is crucial in the decision process. (Have you defined your needs yet?)

  • Web Server

A web server is simply a computer or group of computers that connects to the internet and allows a websites stored files to be viewed by those who want to access it.

A small company may only need a single designated computer for this; a large organization could use a series of networked computers. (This can also refer to the hardware or the software that makes a website viewable but let’s keep the definition simple for now).

  • Domain Name

Domain names are used to identify one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name microsoft.com represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages." (source webopedia)

  • URL

The URL, also known as the Uniform Resource Locator, is the web site address. Simply its everything attached to your website name: http://www.EXAMPLE.com

  • IP Address

The Internet Protocol is the method or how data is sent from one computer to another over the Internet.

Looking at the TCP / IP "Stack"

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  • DNS

Domain Name System “A system for converting host names and domain names into IP addresses on the Internet or on local networks that use the TCP/IP protocol. For example, when a Web site address is given to the DNS either by typing a URL in a browser or behind the scenes from one application to another, DNS servers return the IP address of the server associated with that name.

In this hypothetical example, www.company.com would be converted into the IP address 204.0.8.51. Without DNS, you would have to type the four numbers and dots into your browser to retrieve the Web site, which, of course, you can do. Try finding the IP of a favorite Web site and type in the dotted number instead of the domain name.
(Source PCMag)

  • Web Space

(Two main definitions)

  1. The data storage space connected via the Internet, most often used to host websites and data files.
  2. A web hosting companies TOS and/or the services they provide to a customer.

  • Data Transfer / Band Width

Here's a quick analogy: Data is to available bandwidth as water is to the size of the pipe. In other words, as the bandwidth increases, so does the amount of data that can flow through in a given amount of time, just like as the size of the pipe increases, so does the amount of water that can flow through during a period of time.(Source PCSupport)

  • Customer Service / Support

Customer Service doesn’t change much as far as how its defined. The one thing I’d like to point out for your research is how your web hosting company is planning on providing their customer support. I have an idea, call their help line or send in a customer ticket and see how long it takes them to respond, this will give you a great indication of how good their support is.

  • Administrator (admin)

An administrator is a person responsible for maintaining one or many websites. These duties vary greatly depending on what kind of web hosting company and even the web site you desire.

  • TOS

Terms of Service are the rules and conditions laid down by an on-line service provider in relationship to their customers. What the customer and the company will and won’t do in your professional relationship.


Are reviews a scam?

Researching Web Hosting


Where does the information I'm reading come from?

Researching web hosting companies needs to be done with a neutral motivation. In other words don't just take the word of an online comparison chart strictly because it says "THIS" company is the best or "THAT" company does this.

Think through the information and what is important to you. Make a list of needs you have, services you need to have, and see which service lines up.

There are some very solid services out there that make it their job to know and have a solid reputation of providing unbiased recommendations. There are also companies that will do all this for you, if your budget allows.

  • UpperHost

Upperhost is a Non profit web host comparison company . This type of research is unbiased and in most cases is a great resource for you to go through. They say it best: "Upperhost remains truly independent and we absolutely do not take any advertisements from third parties" (Source upperhost)

  • Comparison Charts

There is an exhaustible amount of information online for you to sort through. Some is fantastic, and some is just a repeated report. Here is the best I've found, and really an absolutely amazing web host companies comparison chart available for free at a click. It took over a year to do the research for it. Kudos to the author.
(Source tomuse)

  • Elbow Grease

Nothing beats elbow grease. Do the research, hire someone you trust to do the research, and find the company or service that meets your needs. It will take some front end work but is well worth the time and money spent.


Sample Web Host Check List

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Web Hosting Service Choices

  • Quick & Cheap VS Slick & Chic.

In this section I'm going to lay out three types of host services and some personal recommendations of things to do in order to find your ideal web hosting company.

I can't stress enough that you need to draw your own conclusion and do the research or hire someone that understands your needs and will find the correct results for you.

Everyone has different needs and goals, your decision in a web hosting company or service hinges on knowing what those are.

  • Making a List of Wants & Needs.

Knowing what you need and what you want in a web hosting company is the first step. Here are a couple common things to think through: price, bandwidth, customer support, hosting size, uptime, attached email, eCommerce, values (see next section), need for an administrator, how solid is the company, what is the small print. Making a list to jot down comparisons will keep the process organized and help you come to a more educated conclusion. Just above is a "Sample Web Host Check List " and is a great place to start.

  • Free Web Hosting.

You may fall into the category of free web hosting if your goal is to share a vacation, your thoughts or if you just want to learn hands on how all this works. Its easy to jump in when you know you won't be out any money. If that's you try using a free blog service like Blogger or WordPress, they both offer some great free online templates and their hosting services will teach you a lot.

There are a lot of free hosting services out there that allow you to make and host a site on their server. The only draw back you may find is the limited amount of space you have to use, the restricted amount of editing you are allowed to do, and some hosting sites even want to put ads on your site. Again if you are just wanting to learn the process or do a small website this is a very common and legitimate way to do it. Their Search Engine Optimization is pretty good too for a free service.

  • All Inclusive.

There are plenty of very slick web hosting services out there that will do it all for you. Create, host, manage, update, promote, and all the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) / Search Engine Marketing (SEM) services you may need. They make it easy, and they do it well. If this is what you are after consider hiring a web consultant. Seriously, if you have the money it takes to hire an all inclusive web hosting service, you can afford to hire a consultant to make it even easier for you.

  • Somewhere in Between.

Most people reading this article will fall into this category. Depending on the needs of you or your organization you'll find that most web hosting companies focus on this type of service. In general because the market is so flooded these companies want you to research them, they want you to stay with them, and in general they want to gain a long term relationship.

These companies spend a ton of their money on PR and also in making your online experience stream lined. Use this to your advantage and shop around. Compare features and benefits. See if one will honor the price of another.

Take the time at the beginning of this process so when you do make the decision you will be happy with it and won't have to change hosting services, which is just a pain.

  • Keep in Mind

Some companies don't want a relationship with you, they just want to add you to their long list of users and get paid. That's why you NEED to research and ask the questions based on your needs.


Do my values really matter?

Ethics, Values and Morals


Do they matter?

Values drive our lives, for some more than others. When choosing a service to host your web page there are many other issues to ask yourself. Have you considered them in your decision process? Sometimes going with the least expensive won't have the results you're after.


Take the time to ask yourself the deeper questions; such as:

  • Does this company represent things I want to support?
  • Does this web hosting service practice high ethics in business?
  • Will my business matter or will I just be lost, another number?
  • What will my money be supporting?
  • Can I live with knowing this?


What you believe and stand for is important

It's possible to find a web hosting service that practices and pursues most of the areas that you hold values in.

Here are a couple examples that may come into play:

  • Is going green important to you? Eco CHIC Hosting offsets 100% of their energy usage with Certified Wind Power.

  • Adult content is a big issue. Many hosting services allow them, and many don't. If this is a value of yours a little research goes a long way. Read their website, call their customer service and ask the specific questions you want answered, such as "Do you allow Adult Content or Adult Sites?", "I need a service that allows NO adult content, can you guarantee this from your service?", "How will you guarantee this?" Leave no room for doubt.

  • Faith based hosting services are important to some people. Take the time to research and call a few companies and ask your specific questions. Once again look for specific terms in their service contract. If this is one of your values, it should be plain and specific on theirs.


Take the time to research the web hosting companies.

Ethics, values and morals should play out in every area of our lives. Sometimes it takes only a little research to discover who is in agreement with what we believe, think, or feel. You are the customer, take the time and find the service that best fits to you and what you're trying to accomplish.


WebHosting Comparison Chart

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(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE) | Source

Website Hosting Companies


Conclusion

In the ever growing, ever changing world of the internet and web site hosting companies, having an online presence is becoming increasingly more popular. For some people it's becoming a necessity, for most a daily reality.

The uses and needs for being online vary from person to person, organization to organization. It could be email, or inner office communication. It may be sharing our daily activity in our favorite social networks, or blogging our thoughts and feelings. It could be doing eCommerce, paying bills or shopping and of course promoting a product, service or idea.

Websites are a great way to accomplish these needs pretty seamlessly and choosing the right website hosting service is just as varied as the needs present.

Researching the top 10 website hosting companies can be a daunting task but one that shouldnt slow you down. Make your list of needs, ask yourself the deeper questions, put in the elbow grease and when you make the choice you'll sleep better at night knowing you took the time to find just the right fit to represent you and your organization.



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    • Zazuzu profile image

      Zazuzu 6 years ago

      This is a great hub! I'm not in the market for a web hosting service just yet, but I've bookmarked this hub for future reference.

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      Very thorough and interesting article. You've covered a lot of information from basic terms to researching what fits for a particular individual. Great article.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      Great hub and useful information! I bookmarked this for the future. Thanks for sharing.

    • saintodd profile image
      Author

      saintodd 6 years ago from Suffolk, VA

      @Zazuzu - thanks for posting and for the bookmark! I appreciate it.

      @FaithDream - How are you doing? Looks like hubbing has been treating you well. Thanks for the post and reading.

      @tlpoague - thanks for the bookmark! I'm happy it's a help to you.

    • ThunderKeys profile image

      ThunderKeys 6 years ago

      Oh my goodness you write practical hubs! I love reading these and I can't wait to get to the point in my writing that I can refer back to many of your hubs and apply more of the strategies you present. Thank you yet again!

    • saintodd profile image
      Author

      saintodd 6 years ago from Suffolk, VA

      @ThunderKeys- thanks for your encouragement and the post. I enjoy what you're doing too - KEEP IT UP!

    • FaithDream profile image

      FaithDream 6 years ago from (Midwest) USA

      saintodd, the hub community is great. I'm enjoying it and always finding fresh articles to write about. I like your articles, they teach and inspire. Keep up the great work.

    • citychick profile image

      citychick 6 years ago from Ulster County, New York

      This was very thorough - great job! Wish I'd read it before I started on the web.

    • saintodd profile image
      Author

      saintodd 6 years ago from Suffolk, VA

      @Citychick - thank you! Hinds feet are 20/20 so they say :)

    • sunnymarie profile image

      sunnymarie 6 years ago

      Very useful! Thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Michael Smith 6 years ago

      Nice article indeed! This is probably the most detailed hub on web hosting I've ever read. Choosing a web hosting company is not an easy task, and with the diversity of information available on the web, it can get even more complex. Your sharing of knowledge about this is highly appreciated.

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