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Choosing a Web Hosting Provider from 40 Million Other Web Hosts - Pt1

Discover how to go about choosing a web hosting provider in ways that 99.5% of the advice on the Internet never mention.

If you struggle with finding good web hosting then using the process I describe could be the answer to one of the biggest problems you can face as a webmaster.

But first I'd like to give you an idea on the scale of the problem in choosing a good web hosting provider. A search on Google for the exact phrase " web hosting " returns over 32 Million results and " web hosting provider " or " web hosting company " produces around 800,000 results.

An IP survey by www.netcraft.com in 2003 found over 40 million web hosts.

Whether you want to believe Google's 32 Million web hosts or Netcraft's 40 Million, it gives some indication of just how many web hosting provider 's there are to choose from.

Google has over 7,800 sites offering advice on " How to choose a web host. "

But to be frank a lot of advice on the Internet is from sites promoting web hosting provider 's and resellers, which means it's not without bias.

If you think " web hosting review sites " are a good source of advice, try choosing one from over 6,000 listed by Google. Consider also that many are affiliated to the web hosts they recommend. This can mean not only do they get a sign-up commission, but a regular monthly fee for as long as a customer remains with the web host.

Much of the advice about choosing a web hosting provider talks about how much disk space or bandwidth you need, what type of server to use, or the features you should look for.

It's important stuff but it doesn't help in choosing a good web hosting provider.

I say this because disk space and bandwidth are today largely a non-issue, since most web hosting provider's are competing to offer so much of it, you'd need to have a website the size of CNN's to use it all.

As for the features offered by web hosts, there's often little to choose between them, they all generally offer enough of the basics for most websites. If you're looking for enhanced features like a website builder, adding a shopping cart, taking secure payments or promoting your website then these additional features might influence your choice.

But as a web hosting provider, you still don't know if they're any good.

At this point some of you may be thinking you'd read the other customers testimonials, or go to some of the website forums to see what other people have experienced with this host, or post a question to ask for advice.

Well again a word of caution, many forums are also the hangouts for people selling web hosting, so they frequently post replies or offer advice acting like the ordinary Joe. This means the advice can be biased toward or against a particular web hosting provider. One forum you could try that's dedicated to issues with web hosting is Web Hosting Talk

Oh! Let's not forget " Testimonials. " When was the last time you saw a customer testimonial on the sellers web site that said anything bad about the service or product they provide ? I have only ever seen it once in the past 5 years and then not for a web hosting provider.

I've had web sites hosted with dozens of web hosting provider 's and made 100's of inquiries to other web hosting companies that I never even got close to the point of signing up with. I've moved some websites two or three times in less than two weeks because a web hosting provider is unable or unwilling to solve problems, or whose server configuration is unable to support the scripts my site needed.

It was after many years of suffering bad web hosts, I finally decided to work out a process that gave me a better chance of finding a good web hosting provider.

It's a bit like taking out insurance, you don't know what the insurance company is like until you need to make a claim. As a matter of interest I did an exact search for insurance against bad web hosting and there were no results.

Obviously no one is providing insurance against bad web hosting, which must mean it's too much of a risk.

I don't even consider my sites to require anything special or more than any other typical business website. Yet despite all my experience, finding a good web hosting provider is still one of the most difficult website challenges.

You'll find the exact step by step process in the 2nd part of this article at : www.webpageaddons.com Choosing a Web Hosting Provider from 40 Million Other Web Hosts - Pt2

Of course no process is full-proof and it does not mean that the web hosting you find through the search engine filtering and techniques I suggest are the only web hosts capable of providing the services you're looking for.

You should also not assume because your Google Advanced Search was for web hosting provider 's with selected features that the sites you are reviewing are guaranteed to have those features.

Check every site on your short list, since search engine's are far from perfect.

What it does mean is that by using my suggested techniques you are selecting those web hosts who considered things like support, sufficiently important to want to be found for them on Google. Other web hosts may have good support, but the difference is that in your search you did not find them listed for this term.

It could mean support's not that important to them, even though they provide it.

It's also worth mentioning that the price of web hosting is not an indicator of the quality of the service. Some lower cost web hosting provider 's can give a far better service than some medium cost ones.

Conclusions

Using a six stage process I was able to choose from 40 million web hosting provider 's, a short list of 15 web hosts that met my selection criteria. With a further six stage process I was able to reduce the number of possible web hosting provider 's down to a choice of 2.

In the final stage the web hosting provider 's were both asked a number of general and technical questions that resulted in the final choice. Whilst the process is not full-proof I am yet to find a better devised way of choosing a good web hosting provider.

Tony Simpson, Advises on Website Design, Promotion and Optimization. The selection process in this article is covered in detail in: Choosing a Web Hosting Provider from 40 Million Other Web Hosts - Pt2

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