Why Small Web Hosts Are Worth Considering
Published on 3 Nov 2014 | Last updated on 3 Apr 2015
A lot of people believe it’s a given that larger web hosting companies provide much better services than smaller providers. After all, those well-known companies have been around for a long time, and they have the budget for solid infrastructure and knowledgeable staff. Now this may be true for some hosts but unfortunately it isn’t always the case.
I know of a couple small hosts that can blow much larger providers out of the water. Understand that when I say “small,” I don’t mean one-man-show “companies” that may be gone tomorrow. I’m talking about hosts who are well-established with possibly thousands of clients, but they aren’t as popular as universally known companies such as GoDaddy, HostGator, etc.
You might be thinking, why should you give your personal information AND hand your money to a company you’ve never even heard of? Why should you choose a small operation when you can go with a more established and popular web host?
You won’t be treated as just another customer.
In my experience, smaller web hosts tend to value their clients more. You aren’t “customer #821903” to them; you’re a valued customer they’d hate to lose. This means your feedback is very important to them — if you think something isn’t right, you can expect them to actually assess the situation as soon as possible and make an effort to improve.
You’ll see better consistency in customer support.
Have you ever experienced being passed around different support staff? I really hate it when that happens because by the time you reach the 3rd or 4th guy, he probably won’t have any idea of what your original issue was to begin with. I don’t know why, but some (mostly level 1) support technicians don’t even bother reviewing the ticket history. As a result, a lot of time is wasted before you get an issue resolved.
On the contrary, most small hosts only have a few people in their support team. This means that you get to work with the same people every time and the level of consistency in terms of support will be much better.
More often than not, smaller hosts go out of their way just to please their clients.
If you’ve read some of my reviews you’d know that I experienced this several times. I’ve dealt with many small hosts and a lot of them have gone above and beyond to make sure I was happy with them.
I remember I once had an issue with file uploads. I couldn’t upload large files through my site’s uploader and I was very frustrated. I contacted my host (MDDHosting, read my review here) about it but they couldn’t find anything wrong with the server’s nor my site’s configuration. After hours of troubleshooting, they found out the problem was caused by CloudFlare’s upload limits! This was totally out of their support scope but they went out of their way to solve the issue for me.
Here’s one more thing I’d like to share. I have a shared hosting account with WireNine and a few weeks ago, I was experiencing speed issues. I hopped on to live chat to ask if there was a network problem or if it was just my site. WireNine’s support tech said my site was hitting resource limits and this was causing the slowness. To solve the problem, he raised my account’s I/O limit to a comfortable level. Bigger hosts would’ve simply asked me to upgrade. Heck, I bet some would’ve suspended my account!
I’d share many more experiences but I’d rather do that in my reviews, not in this post. So far, I can say that most small hosts I’ve used are dedicated to keeping their customers happy. Not that this can’t also be true with some large hosting companies… I guess it’s just more common with smaller hosts.
Smaller providers should definitely be given consideration when choosing a web host. It’s not impossible for them to deliver quality services. Furthermore, they can offer a more personal approach to hosting which larger firms may not be able to provide.
Even with that said though, you should always do your due diligence prior to signing up. After all, there are thousands of fly-by-night operations out there and you wouldn’t want to be a victim of one of them. Before signing up with a host, make sure you verify that they’re a registered business, check their company history, chat with their sales team, and of course read customer feedback.
Doing the above should at least give you a general idea of what to expect from a certain host. You should be fine as long as you do good research, so don’t be afraid to sign up with a not-so-popular host. I can’t stress enough that there are some small hosts that can outperform even the most popular web hosting companies. Yes, they do exist! You just have to give them a chance to prove it.