When a web developer asks “Who is your host?” or “Where is your domain registered,” the most common answer is “GoDaddy,” which is usually followed by the web developer’s eye roll.
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…
“Worst host ever” is an exaggeration. There are plenty of completely awful hosts out there. Most of them are EIG-owned companies. But since GoDaddy is the most-known – and automatic go-to host and domain registrar for most people – they deserve a little more scrutiny.
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.
Over the years, GoDaddy has attempted to make changes, which is a very good thing, since it’s still the most recognized host. It’s still not the ideal host, but at least it’s not the worst.
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. You can also read up on some of the language related to websites.
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 Change Was Needed
This website has been hosted with lots of different companies over the years. The longest-running host was A Small Orange. Like with most EIG hosts, once they’ve been acquired, their quality begins to decline.
It started slowly, with updates to the account area not making sense or causing issues or just plain not working. Then came the customer service speed, which used to be top-notch. Then when they failed to auto-update my domain despite the account settings, I knew it was time to leave.
There are actually a number of good independent hosts out there now. I’ve 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 is comparable to Media Temple, and their prices are a little more reasonable. I’ve also heard good things about GreenGeeks, Web Hosting Hub, and InMotion.
Ultimately, after much research, I decided to go with WebHostFace. Their customer service has been great so far, and I was able to get my site up and running in minutes. They’re a growing company, so they have tons of cheap options, and you can even purchase lifetime hosting with them! Pay once and never have to think about it again. That’s definitely something I’ve never seen a host offer, and it’s only for a limited time as they build their business.