Getting the best value from a web host

There have been many articles focused on how to find the right web hosting company. They almost always focus on a company’s features, uptime, customer support, etc. These are very important factors, but are often misleading when judging a company. Any company with a decent Marketing department can make their features seem better. They can enhance their customer support with fancy wordsmithing and testimonials. By using these factors to compare and pick a web hosting company, customers are often left with unrealistic expectations for support and performance after they signup.Other articles focus on the web hosting company itself. Is it a mom and pop shop? Is it a large corporation? Can it do what it says. A lot of businesses feel “safer” putting their web services with larger hosting companies. When your business depends on a site you want to know that if someone goes on vacation there is someone else in the office. On the other hand smaller business and personal sites like the intimacy of small mom and pop hosting companies. Instead of calling a toll free number and wading through an endless menu of options, they want to call the owner, who they know, and talk to them personally about the issue.

This can bring its own sense of security. Even location is an important factor. Some business want to talk face to face with their hosting company. They are not interested in the cheapest plan. They want a solid local business they can meet.

All of these are factors that need to be addressed, but another way to evaluate the right hosting company for your specific need is by examining your Value Proposition. This is the value your companies will add to each other by doing business together.

What Value Proposition do you bring to a web hosting company? A company’s site may promise excellent support and uptime, but if you are one of 200,000 customers paying $5/month you do not bring a good Value Proposition to the table. If your site is down how important is your complaint? On the other hand, if you have a handful of sites with a small company and are a sizable portion of their monthly revenue then your call will have more priority to them because you bring a better Value Proposition to the equation.

Then again, if you are a large company with a very profitable website you probably do not want to host with a one man company that can go out of business at anytime. In this case the hosting company does not bring a good Value Proposition to the equation. Websites are businesses that will last a long time and your Hosting Company is a partner in that venture that will be with you the whole way. Choose one wisely. Do not think of the up front cost. Think about 9 months from now when the server goes down; how will they respond then?

There is no one hosting company that is right for every website. Some are better for the personal homepage, others for the small ecommerce site, still others for the large corporation website. There are numerous ways to evaluate the thousands of hosting companies. You can look at the price per memory, price per bandwidth, uptime, customer support, company size, company location, etc., but always remember the Value Propositon that you bring to the equation and the Value Proposition that the hosting company brings to the equation. This will help you define how things will really go once you have signed up and find the company that is the right fit for you. I believe this method will help set your expectations properly for the products and services that you will actually receive versus what a sale promo or testimonial says.

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