How to Search a Good Web Hosting Company



Stop there! Why do you think I am writing this article for when there are already many web hosting review sites? This is not just a simple web hosting review and I will not recommend any web hosting companies for you too. I am just going to let all the options open and tell you how to research and judge them yourself with the right tools.

We know there are many other sites out there which give you their review for every web hosting companies and finally give you an "affiliate" link to the site which will pay them a referral fee. How can you expect a neutral review when they are trying to sell you an affiliate link? I am not telling you that every review sites are like this, but most of them may do this for a living. In such review sites, there are also many user-submitted comments with pros and cons, which make it even more confusing to choose a web hosting company. On my own experience, there is no evidence that their comments are true and accountable. Web hosting companies may disguise themselves as users in the review sites who will write good comments for their site and "of course" bad comments for all the other competitors. They may also pay people to do this too.

Every web hosting company claims that their price and service are the best and unbeatable by other competitors. If they are all the same, how can you choose one that really suits your need? Before making the final decision, the only thing you need to do is simply stop believing whatever the web hosting companies claim until you do yourself a research, keep in mind this phrase

"Stop Believing - Start Researching"

Don't make yourself regret the decision, because choosing the right web hosting company is one of many factors will affect your site's income. If your site is hosted in a good server, all your visitors will feel comfortable visiting and browsing your site without lag and problems, thus making them loyal visitors which will revisit your site again and again. And you know that number of visitors is the major factor which directly affects your site's income.

  1. Calculate minimum hosting space for your whole files and folders size
    Before ordering a web hosting, you need to know the actual size of your site. Ordering a hosting space more than you need is just a waste of money, unless they are offering you unlimited disk storage for the same price. In Windows OS you can check this easily. Find the folder in your hard drive where you store all your site's files and folders. Select all of them, right click your mouse and select properties. An information box will appear and tell you how big the size of all these files and folders. You can then select your hosting space need based on this information. Don't forget to add some estimated free space for future files and folders. You will never know how big your site will expand by time. The more content you add to your site, the more hosting space you need.

  2. Define the bandwidth size your site need
    If you are moving from another web hosting, you may already have an estimated value on how much monthly bandwidth your site needs. But if you are building a new site from scratch, you should calculate an estimated bandwidth. This bandwidth value is affected by 3 variables:
    1. Average number of visitors per month
    2. Average size of one page with all iframes and images (images hosted by other sites do not affect your bandwidth, only images hosted on your site)
    3. Average number of pages visited per visitor

    The following example shows you how to calculate monthly bandwidth requirement:
    1. Assume your site draws average 30,000 visitors per month (30000 vpm).
    2. Check your average page size (or most visited one) with this online tool: http://www.websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/. Let us assume the result of this test is 150 kB.
    3. Assume most of your visitors visit 2 pages in your site per visit (2 ppv).
    4. So your monthly required bandwidth is calculated as= 30000 vpm * 150 kB * 2 ppv = 9,000,000 kB/month = 8.58 GB/month

    Bandwidth is a very fluctuating variable which may require you to add some anticipated safety factor for future. Unless you are planning to get an unlimited or unmetered bandwidth service, add at least 50% from your calculated bandwidth for future. You will never know when your site becomes a hit and attracts even more visitors.

  3. Find out the famous and most-used web hosting companies list in your country
    Instead of asking around, you can do a little research yourself. You can use webhosting.info for this purpose. They are an independent third party site which provides statistical trends and patterns of web services industry across countries and other variables related to the web services industry. To find out country-wise top 25 web hosts, you can check this page: http://www.webhosting.info/webhosts/ then select your country from the drop down list and click Go! Or you can go directly to their page such as http://www.webhosting.info/webhosts/tophosts/Country/US for United States top web hosting companies. For other countries, just modify the last word "US" in the URL to your country code, for example "UK" for United Kingdom. There you will be represented with a chart and a table of top 25 ranks of web hosting companies in that particular country. You will also find out how much the market share and total domains hosted by each web hosting companies. With this "top secret" information in hand, you can start visiting and researching some or the entire web hosting companies which "amaze" you.

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  5. Research and compare how many clients each hosting companies have
    Number does not lie. The more people trust their site's hosting space to a particular web hosting company, the more quality, reasonable price and reliability you can expect from this hosting company too. To get a closer look of number of domains hosted by that web hosting company, you can do a little research with a free tool from DailyChanges.com (a subsidiary of DomainTools.com). Type in the web hosting company URL you want to research in the search box or simply add the URL at the end of "http://www.dailychanges.com/", for example "http://www.dailychanges.com/awebhostingcompany.com". What you will get from here:
    • When was this web hosting company established?
      The older is better
    • How many total domains are hosted by them?
      Number of domains hosted is a good sign of a trusted and reputable company
    • How many new domains, transfers in/out and deleted domains in this company?
      Watch out why there are many domains transferred out or deleted from this web hosting company. Compare the value with new domains recently hosted by this company.
    • How many nameservers are used by this company?
      Please checkout the location and number of domains in each nameservers. It would be better to choose a server location near your major visitor's countries of origin. Also remember some of their nameservers' IP Addresses, because we will be going to use these IP Addresses for a speed test comparison in the next step. Repeat this step for your entire best web hosting company candidates.

  6. Test and compare the real speed of every web hosting servers
    Every web hosting companies may claim that their servers are the only top notch high speed servers compared to others. Do not believe it without checking yourself; they are all claiming this for the same reason: lure more new clients. With the entire web hosting nameservers IP address you have collected in step 4, you can then organize a "server speed test competition" between them with these tools:

    • With free online tool ServerScores.com
      To carry out a speed test, simply visit www.serverscores.com. There you will see a box to input test URL(s). Type in all the IP addresses you want to test line by line. And then select one of the two options "UK Server" or "US Server" from where the speed test will be carried out. Finally click "Test Your Speed >" button when you are done. A results page will show up where you can see all servers speed. Use this information to decide your ideal web hosting company. If you are not satisfied with the test results, just go back and do another test again.

    • With free Ping utility
      From your current location, you can also perform your own server speed test with a regular PING utility which is available in Windows OS. For example: if you want to test a server with IP: 123.456.789.012, first open a command prompt window from:
      Start > Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt
      In the command prompt type in:
      Ping 123.456.789.012
      and press Enter. At the end of the ping result, you can read the ping statistic for that server. Do this again for other servers' IP addresses and compare the results. If you want to send 10 times ping test (more than default 4 times), please use this command
      Ping 123.456.789.012 -n 10
      Pay attention to the space characters between words.

Finally, with all these researched "top secret" information, you may have filtered out some web hosting company candidates. And with this already short list candidates, you can easily decide your choice by comparing other factors such as price, service and features (auto backup, phpMyAdmin, databaseMySQL, stats, email account, email forwarder, add on domains allowed, anti virus, anti spam and etc).

That's all folks. Easy, isn't it?

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