One of the most commonly Googled topics are reviews of certain products. Diet pill reviews, gadget reviews, service reviews, hotel reviews and in the case of hosting companies, web hosting company reviews.
Reviews give you a good insight on what is the service all about, minus the sales talk if you are asking the actual service provider. It often gives you an unbiased or a reasonably factual list of things that you should consider before buying or committing yourself to a service.
Not all reviews are created equal. Some reviews are disguised sales talks! So how do you know if a review is a good review?
We have listed the things that you will be needing when reading web hosting reviews. It is best to keep a pen and paper handy so that you can take down notes as you read reviews. Best of luck!
What to look for in a review
Here are the things that you need to look for in a good web hosting review:
• Statement of facts – check if there are prices mentioned, contact information, concrete facts like uptime ratios
• Check for links to the sites in review
• Check for the overall tone of the review – does it sound overly excited? Or does it sound unreasonably negative? The best reviews are neutral and professionally-written
Check the host’s performance
One of the best baselines for you is to check the uptime performance of your prospect host. This is often expressed in percentages, like 99.9% uptime rate! 99.9% sounds good for a beginner but what does it really mean? Here’s a quick guide on how to decode the percentages of uptime ratios:
• 99% uptime means more than 90 minutes of downtime per week. That is a lot. So do not be impressed with this number.
• 99.9% uptime means less than 10 minutes of downtime per week. This is pretty good for normal sites like blogs or brochure-like sites. But if you are an online gaming, shopping or banking site, you need something more reliable.
• 99.95% means around 5 minutes of downtime per week
• 99.99% means around 1 minute of downtime per week. This is as high as it can go.
Check the freebies
Another thing that you should read about are the details regarding freebies. What sort of freebies can you get from web hosts? Here are the things that will be most useful for you:
• Marketing credits. Things like free Facebook ads or Google adwords can always help boost the popularity of your website.
• Web site tools like drag and drop website creation tools, access to templates and the like
• Shopping cart. Getting your own shopping cart is expensive. If you see a web host that offers free shopping carts with integration to PayPal, go for it.
• Domain. That one free domain, even if it is just for a year, is always a big deal.
Other freebies are of lesser importance. The four mentioned above are extremely useful and practical. It can help launch your site immediately or provide extra help for sites needing more traffic.
Read the fine print
In line with the freebies, you should also be mindful of the fine prints. A good review explains the fine prints to you so that you will not be ignorant of the details you are getting into.
A great example is the low monthly rates of web hosts. Some questions that you might want to ask about this are:
• For how long will it be that low?
• How much do I need to pay at the start?
• What is the total amount of the whole package I am getting?
These questions can help you know the real facts behind promos and pricing schemes.