If you’ve ever tried to choose a host for your website, you’ll know just how stressful a decision it can be. With so many hosting companies eager to take your money, how can you be sure that you’ve made the right choice? If you make the wrong choice, of course, it could cost you dearly, in time, money and reputation. This only adds to the pressure. For this reason, it’s no wonder that so many aspiring webmasters turn to online hosting reviews to help them make that choice.
Can I trust a hosting review website?
In an ideal world, they would make a webmaster’s life a lot easier. Review sites will give you lots of useful information about the reputation and reliability of a particular hosting company, as well as technical information about security, data transfer speed, hosting features and so on. A good review site would use a professional survey to give web hosts a score based on each of the above criteria, which should, in theory, allow you to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different companies at a glance.
However, you have to be just as careful in choosing an online hosting review as a web host. The fact is that many so-called review sites are anything but independent. Many of them are little more than marketing tools for the web host companies themselves. Most web hosts run affiliate schemes. An affiliate gets paid for every customer they send to the web host who then signs up. It’s therefore in the affiliate’s best interests to give as positive a review of the host as possible.
If you’re looking for an objective review, avoid any review site that has the host company’s name in the title, eg X Hosting Co. Reviews. Also treat with caution any “review” that does little more than give you a list of the hosting company’s features. This has probably been copied straight off the host company’s website, and tells you nothing.
Generally speaking, the best place to look for independent, unbiased reviews are discussion forums and blog comments. There you’ll find a range of opinions from a number of different people. Some hosting companies encourage their employees to post positive comments on these sites, but these can usually be detected fairly easily.
One thing to bear in mind is that it’s usually only people who have had a bad experience who can be bothered to post, so don’t take negative comments at face value. There’s usually two sides to the story. However, if a hosting company is picking up consistently bad reviews, then you’d be well advised to avoid them. Look at the overall balance of opinion, and decide whether it’s positive or negative.
Online hosting reviews can be useful, but you need to be sure that the review sites themselves are genuinely independent.