Your web host is the most important part of your website. There is nothing a web developer loathes more than hearing “I use GoDaddy.”

You might not care what a web developer wants. It’s your site, and it’s the developer’s job to launch your site on whatever web host you want. But you should know how GoDaddy and other hosts like them are hurting both you and your website.

About the worst host ever

As one of the more well-known web hosts out there, GoDaddy is often the go-to provider for domain registering and website hosting. Most people who sign up for a GoDaddy account don’t have to interact with most of the features they offer. But that also means that those people don’t realize that what they have to deal with isn’t normal.

Why does it matter who you choose? Your host is what makes your website visible to the world. It’s where your website lives and what makes it work.

A poor web host means poor performance and slow load times. A good web host should give you everything you need and nothing you don’t. When a host advertises FREE things at a GREAT introductory price, make sure to read the details. Those prices increase after a year. You end up paying for all those FREE things you don’t need.

GoDaddy takes every opportunity it can to tell you what else you should be adding to your account. It offers low prices because they break their hosting up into different parts. Everything you need is sold separately, which ends up costing you more. If you aren’t sure of what you’re doing, it can be easy to sign up for things you don’t need. This makes it harder for you to leave GoDaddy if you choose to do so.

So how do I choose the RIGHT web host?

It can be easy to feel lost or overwhelmed. What, then, makes a good host, and how do I know it when I see it? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t just a simple referral. The quality of hosts is always changing. Hosts that were once great get bought and sold, care less about quality, change their services, or increase their prices. Sometimes they make improvements to previous negatives and end up as a better choice. New hosts are appearing all the time.

A good web developer will know what hosts are currently among the best. They know which ‘best of’ lists are actual reviews and which are just paid affiliates. Most of the ‘best of’ hosting lists are paid advertisements.

But don’t give up just yet. There are a few things you can look out for when looking into web hosts.

How to tell the bad from the good

Most mediocre hosts usually have at least a few of the following things in common:

  • There is a “countdown” for how long their deal will last. Untrustworthy hosts will often have more than one “deal” page, all with different prices. Once promotional prices end, they usually renew at a much higher rate. Also look for early cancellation fees.
  • There is some sort of checklist about the FREE and UNLIMITED things included. Some free things might be temporary, and some free things might be worthless. Just because a company offers something doesn’t mean it’s of good quality. Free customer support might come with a two hour waiting time unless you have the PRO account. Free support should still mean great support.
    • Unlimited space does not actually mean unlimited. If you are using what is deemed “excessive” (often determined by the host on a whim), your account can be disabled. You’re sharing that unlimited space with unlimited others who also got unlimited space. What other people are doing on your server can affect your website’s performance.
  • Hosts that advertise their 99.99% up time might not be telling the truth. That shouldn’t be something you should base your decision on. Almost all hosts claim that as their up time, and only some of them actually mean it.

How to choose the right host:

  • Know what you’re looking for. There are tons of forums and people to talk to. If you’ve hired a developer, they might have a preferred server that they find easy to work with. Tell them what you need and they’ll tell you what features to look for.
  • Trust your gut. If a site feels like it’s a scam or too good to be true, it probably is.

A Small Orange Hosting

This website is hosted with A Small Orange (ASO), and that’s been the host for many years. If you’re looking for a reliable, dependable host with great customer service, I would highly recommend them. They also have a “tiny” hosting package which could be great for smaller sites, since you won’t be paying for tons of space you don’t need.

Not too long ago, spam traffic wreaked havoc on my bandwidth usage. ASO helped me figure out where the traffic was coming from and what files were being targeted. Without that help, my website would have been out of commission for the rest of the month.

EIG acquired ASO in July 2012. EIG has a terrible reputation, and for good reason. Most of the hosts I’ve had terrible experiences with were owned by EIG. Somehow, despite this acquisition, ASO has managed to stay true to its original goal of providing no-nonsense hosting at a great price. Some have noticed a small decline in the quality of its customer service, but I haven’t experienced any issues. I am optimistic about the future of ASO as we continue through the fifth year of the EIG acquisition.

Other Hosting Recommendations

I’ve also had great experiences with Media Temple. They’re great for more serious hosting needs, but you’re definitely getting your money’s worth with them. SiteGround and Site5 are also on the better side of hosting.

Almost all of the other hosts that I’ve interacted with have been just fine or absolutely terrible. Avoid GoDaddy. JustHost and FatCow are also on the ‘avoid’ side of things. BlueHost and HostGator aren’t awful, but definitely not the best options out there.

If you have any opinions about these hosts or others out there, definitely share your thoughts. The more reliable information that’s out there, the better the internet is.

Paperback Web Design embraces the next step in portable information.

Paperback books are easier to carry around than their hardcover counterparts. Anyone can access a website from almost any device. The cover of a book is a visual representation of what's inside. Websites are a digital representation of a person or company.

We could only share art, knowledge, and advertising by printing. Now, even books are electronic. The evolution of information distribution is constant. We are always looking for new ways to communicate with each other.

It is important to recognize the evolution of websites and information sharing, but it is just as important to look to the future. PBwebD can improve your data management or make you a website that takes advantage of the latest features while keeping the site working on some of the browsers from the past.