Today, most start-ups and small businesses require a website. However, it can be hard to know where to begin. Some companies will end up with a simple one-page website, using a service like Wix or one of the simple plans that comes with a domain registration. Others will make it to the next level, realizing that a more robust and customizable website will produce better results. For them, one of the first steps is to select a hosting company. This is where things can get confusing, as there are literally thousands of choices. For this reason, many decision-makers turn to online reviews. This is a step in the right direction, but again, it can be confusing to figure out which web hosting reviews to trust. There are however, a number of steps that one can take, to figure out which reviews to believe, and which ones to ignore.
Choose Hosting Review Websites With Lots of Reviews
One general indicator is the number of reviews that a website publishes. If it only has a few reviews, then it’s unlikely that it is trustworthy. More likely, it was quickly posted by an affiliate who is looking to make quick money on commissions, without putting the work into actually reviewing each of the options. This doesn’t mean that a hosting review website needs hundreds of reviews. On the contrary, too many reviews can be overwhelming, too. A good review website may feature as few as ten hosting providers, and all of their plans. In order to figure out whether it’s a reliable source, you need to dig a little deeper.
Check for a Variety of Ratings
A quick and easy way to determine whether a web hosting review website is reliable is to spot-check the ratings on a number of featured hosting websites. If they’re all four, and five-star ratings, then it’s likely that they just want to convince you to buy from any of the listed companies. So, look for three-star reviews and possibly lower ratings. The broader the range of ratings, the more likely the website will provide honest information. For example, check out this A2Hosting shared hosting account review. You’ll see that the company is rated four stars on the review website. If you click through to some other reviews, you’ll see there are companies with reviews in the three-star range, such as Hostgator. This is a great starting point, as it shows that they are not just rating every company four or five stars. But, it’s not always enough to rely on editor ratings.
Read User Reviews and Comments
If the review website lets users leave their own comments and reviews, then even better. This means that you can rely on the editor’s reviews to point you in the right direction, but you don’t have to rely on them for your final decision. Instead, you can dig into the user reviews to get more honest feedback about each company. Just keep in mind that you have to read user comments with some skepticism, too. It’s possible that some of the reviews are fake. It’s also possible that some of the customers were just angry or confused about the plans they chose. Their expectations may have been high, even though the hosting company was transparent about their service. For example, a customer may lease a shared hosting account for just a few dollars per month, but they may expect the speed and versatility of a more robust server. In anger, they may then leave negative reviews all over the web based on their experience, which may or may not be accurate. For this reason, look for trends among the user reviews. If multiple people leave the same feedback about one company but not others, then it’s a good indicator that the feedback is accurate.
Try Live Chat Before Paying for Your Hosting Plan
Once you’ve selected a web hosting company, based on the reviews you’ve read, there is one more test you can try. Go to the web hosting company website, and try to contact them. If they have a live chat feature on their website, then start there. See if a live operator answers, or if they push your question to email instead. If you do get an operator, have your questions ready. Challenge them with some difficult questions, as this will be an indicator as to the level of customer support you might expect if you were to sign up for their service. If they have a phone number, then try that, too. Be sure to ask them about their customer service policy, and which sorts of issues are resolved immediately, versus those that require a trouble-ticket submission.
Sign Up for Your Hosting Plan and Launch Your Website
Now that you know how to select a plan, it’s time to put these tips into action and select your hosting provider. Be sure to consider the level of hosting that you need, and pick the right plan. Then, launch your website and start promoting your business. The sooner you get started, the better. Your website should look good, but it doesn’t have to be perfect when you go live. Make it a point to update your website on a regular basis, consider an SEO service, and you’ll be well on your way to success.