Everyone seems to have an opinion on who should wear the crown of top 10 hosting providers.
We've even thrown in our two cents on who the best are, and we stand by that list.
However, nearly ever hosting company out there claims to be the best of the best, top notch, or most supreme whatever. We got to thinking… what if we put on our silly hats for a minute and looked at other reasons a web host might be able to claim to be in the top 10?
Some of these reasons are valid and others will clue you in to what you should watch out for if a company is trying to scam you.
Reasons to Make the Top 10 List
As you've probably already figured out, we're not necessarily recommending any hosting companies that might be inadvertently mentioned in this article, although some we may recommend. We're simply having a little fun with the concept of a top 10 list while teaching you what to watch out for from those who would claim to be better than they actually are and at the same time teaching you how to recognize a truly good deal when you do see one.
Check out our reviews for a list of website hosts we do recommend.
If we were going to write a list of the top 10 free hosting companies, we'd start with Timothy's list of Must-See Free Web Hosting Services. If you are just getting started with website hosting, a free hosting solution might be smart for you. There are obvious limitations with any free hosting company, so you'll want to be aware that you may have to put up with advertising on your site, very limited space and bandwidth, and servers going down.
However, some unscrupulous companies might place themselves on a top 10 cheap hosting companies list simply because they charge very little for their inferior services.
Things to look out for when choosing a web hosting provider that is cheap include:
Packages that require lengthy commitments. For example, your fee is only $3.99 a month, but you have to pay in advance for two years. This ties you in and no matter what they say you will have a hard time getting your money back.
Consumer complaints on the host's message boards.
Check the terms, conditions and cancellation policies carefully.
“Some of the most common complaints I've seen about hosting providers surround non-refundable terms and cancellation fees. And most of the time, these fees and policies are clearly spelled out in the terms and conditions you agree to before you start hosting with them.” – Jennifer Kyrnin at About.com
Most Twitter Followers
What about a list of the top 10 hosting companies with the most Twitter followers? Twitter is a pretty popular social platform after all. While we do recommend using Twitter to promote your business and gain new customers, we don't really recommend it as the best way to choose your next website host.
As of November, 2013, HostGator has 46,563 followers and 19,156 tweets on Twitter. That means absolutely nothing about whether or not HostGator is a good hosting company to trust your sites with. Of course, you can read through some of those tweets and get an idea of different things HostGator is offering customers, so there is a slight advantage in that. However, it really doesn't give you an indication of customer service.
Just as an example, the Twitter page had a Tweet that read:
Thank you for your patience today. Almost fully restored now; continuing to work with affected customers until 100% stable.
Yikes! As a potential customer, that would make me a little nervous. Why isn't the system stable? However, all servers have problems from time to time. This could be a one-time issue that they got on immediately and fixed. If you find a lot of tweets like this, though, then beware. Just above that tweet is a shout out from a customer named Kristi, who says, “Thrilled with @hostgator support today. Very professional & helpful!”
I seriously doubt that a hosting company would list itself in the top 10 complaints against web hosting companies list, but someone should probably create such a list (a future article possibly) so that consumers can beware of these companies. Unfortunately, there are some cut-rate hosting companies out there that are big on signing people up and not so big on providing the services they've promised or customer service. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid these companies.
Google the name of the hosting company and the word “complaints” and see what pops up. It could be very eye-opening.
Ask about their refund policy and make sure you have it in writing.
Maybe there should be a list of the top ten web hosts who over-advertise. You know the ones. You open up Facebook and there is ad for this company. You go to Google to do a search and there is an ad in the sidebar. You are watching your favorite television show and a commercial comes on about how easy it is to build a website if you choose this web host.
They may have quite an advertising budget, but my question would be how much they invest in training their tech support to help with customer problems. While advertising a lot doesn't necessarily mean a company is bad, it also doesn't mean it is a quality web host.
Whether the hosts name is a real dream or a blood sucking parasite, perhaps a list of the top 10 cutest web host names is in order. Here are a few of the ones we found while surfing around the Internet, reading through forums and that are already well known. Again, we are not necessarily recommending or disparaging any of these. The names are just unique.
No Up Time (Spoof site, but funny and shows you what you don't want in a hosting company.)
Big Wet Fish (UK)
Highest Number of Testimonials
“Hey! Look at us! We have ten gazillion testimonials, so we must be great.”
Perhaps there should be a top 10 testimonials list for website hosting companies.
Some web hosting providers have so many testimonials that you'd spend days reading through them all. These may be legitimate or they may have been written at a time the customer was happy with the company.
A better plan of action? Search the message boards for current customers, visit their websites, and contact them privately to see if they are still happy with the hosting company's service.
Favorite Website Hosts
Today's top 10 website hosts won't be the same as tomorrows.
The Internet is like a young lady who has a huge wardrobe and likes to change her clothes often. The website host that is the best today may falter tomorrow because of growing pains, a change in ownership or not staying up to date on the latest technology. Your best bet is to do your research, read reviews on WHSR and read everything carefully before choosing a new hosting company.
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.