Picking the best hosting for your website

When you are just getting started in the web business – or taking a big step up in requirements – you have to pick the right hosting for your site. I know I’ve trawled through plenty of sites trying to gauge recommendations and to find the right company. In the end I’ve tended to rely on personal recommendations but we don’t always have those available from reliable peers or mentors.

Best Web Hosting was started up late last year to help people navigate through this tricky business – and they’re doing a good job. Granted, the companies they promote have affiliate programs but do you really want your site on a company that isn’t big enough to provide that kind of sales incentive? I actually see that as a GOOD thing.

There are useful articles such as one on Overselling – a real issue in this market. A bit like being bumped off your flight, but you don’t want your users bumped from your site. I didn’t see anything explicit, but I’d hope that the hosts being reviewed were top level hosts and not resellers. Nothing like buying hosting and then finding out they don’t control or support their own servers. I’ve even seen hosts saying “wait till I get home from work, and then I’ll fix it”, I’ve been very glad I haven’t been with them!

Each host has a review page – take BlueHost as an example. Users get to rate each host on:

and there are some pretty honest reviews in there.

On a technical level I’d like to see a review of some of the layouts so that the pages don’t have so many inline styles applied – it would make the pages neater. However the gains would probably be minimal as the pages load quickly every time, even though some are long and involved.

More importantly, perhaps, I’d like to see the trackbacks from within the site removed from the reviews pages. WordPress (the script running the site) does this automatically and it can give a clunky feel.

The Contact Us page doesn’t look right in Firefox and has a few grammatical errors (which are evident throughout the site) but they’re not a big problem.

The header for the site is very slick but the way it’s been sliced the logo can’t be used as a link to the homepage and the users have to find the home link on the right hand side of the screen – counter intuitive.

The links to the hosts are simple links, they don’t open in a new window/tab. There are two schools of thought on this and technically having the target isn’t good. As a user, however, I like the external page to open in a new tab so that I don’t lose my place. SnapLinks (a FF extension) makes that easy for me, but most people are just clicking the regular way.

All up though, Best Web Hosting is a great site and should continue to be a useful source of information to people making what is a really important decision.

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