Once you have identified all your requirements, it’s time to look for a host who can deliver! One thing you should always keep in mind is that there is no single “best web host” so don’t even bother searching for that term on Google. There’s only the hosting company who suits your needs best and that’s what you should be looking for.
First thing you should do is to create a list of web hosts you are interested in. A smart way to do this is to check out the hosting offers section of the WebHostingTalk forum and see which offers appeal to you the most.
Avoid choosing hosts from the typical “list of best web hosts” published by fake review sites whose goal is not to help users like you, but rather to generate affiliate commissions. Most likely you’ve never heard of a company called Endurance International Group (EIG), but they have purchased more than 60 web hosting companies, including many of the hosts listed on fake review sites. For more insight into the story of EIG I highly recommend that you read my post about them that lists all of the web hosting companies EIG owns.
Now that you have a shortlist, you should research about each of the providers you chose. Always read and understand each web host’s terms of service to make sure you’re not going to be in any kind of disadvantage once you give them your money!
Another thing you should do is check how long they’ve been in business and if their business has been in some kind of trouble lately. Read real user reviews about their service, see if they’ve had bad reviews recently.
When doing your research, I strongly advice that you stay away from those top web hosting sites and fake review sites. They post reviews for one reason and unfortunately that reason is to make money out of affiliate sales — so when you follow their advice to “sign up with that host (who pays $100 per sale in commissions)” you’re most likely going to be screwed and I’m pretty sure you’re gonna be searching for another host in a few months (See Why Review Hell is Different).
It’s not that easy to spot a fake review from a real review especially if you’re a newbie. If you can’t confirm if the reviews you read are legit or not, I suggest you go to WebHostingTalk and ask around about the provider you’re researching on.
This step is fairly easy. All you need to do is get your list of needs and see which host has most if not all of your needs covered. Compare the hosts you selected and see which one addresses most of your requirements for the most reasonable price.
Before you sign up with a host, always test the speed and quality of their responses.
If they offer live chat, talk to their sales rep and ask them questions about their service. If they respond politely and they seem knowledgeable then that’s a good sign!
Also consider sending them a sales ticket, tell them you’re considering their services, and ask a few general questions. A detailed and interested response would mean that they would love to have you on board and you’re most likely going to receive the treatment you deserve as a client. On the other hand, a short and rushed reply might be a sign that they aren’t probably the host you should sign up with.
Ultimately, it’s going to be YOUR decision. Weigh the pros and cons of each host, then pick the one which you think is the best for your needs.
Don’t let other people or other websites tell you which host you should go with. Considering others’ advice is fine, but signing up with a web host just because they’re popular or just because they’re always in (fake) lists of “best web hosts” is never okay. Never sign up with a host without doing your own extensive research!
Be sure to read the next section entitled “Things to Look Out For” so you know what to avoid in a web hosting company.