How To: Choose a Hosting Company That Won’t Drive You Insane
Ian Lurie Jun 10 2008
I spent the morning trying not to pop every blood vessel in my head. My blood pressure increased as I had to dump first one, then a second hosting company in a period of 8 hours.
I won’ go into the details. It’s still too painful. What little stomach lining is left needs some time to recover. Suffice it to say I ignored my Four Rules For Picking A Hosting Company.
Site hosting is critical to an internet marketing campaign. If your servers choke, you get no customers. If your hosting company’s tech support is clueless, you’ll lose time (which equals money) and years off your life.
Four Rules For Picking a Hosting Company
- Phone Number. Does the hosting company have a tech support phone number on their site? If they don’t, don’t use them. I ignored this rule. And spent two hours trying to figure out how I talk to tech support.
- Site Stability. Does the hosting company’s site work? I ignored my instincts on this one, too. I looked at the hosting company’s site. It ran slow. I signed up anyway. Insanity ensued.
- Clarity. If your prospective host can’t explain whether they, say, support stored procedures in MYSQL 5, they probably don’t know how to restart a server, either.
- Cancellation Policy. Find this on their site! If you can’t, call their sales team and ask. One of the hosting companies I fired today actually charged me $50 to cancel my account. Ouch.
Price: You Get What You Pay For
The test server for free that I used to get a benchmark of what you can expect from free servers was found at http://www.ittsystems.com/best-free-tftp-servers-windows/, admittedly it did the job I needed it to do. The first two hosting companies charged me $7.95/month for a pretty full-featured hosting package. Seemed too good to be true. I let my guard down, I admit.
The most expensive of the bunch? MediaTemple cost twice what the others did. And they’re worth every penny.
I had my site up and running in an hour. One hour. (And no, I’m not getting paid by MediaTemple.)
Follow the Four Rules. You’ll stay younger.
CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch.Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing.Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie. Read More