Starting out

Whether you’re a small-time webmaster, or a small business looking to get online, one of the biggest headaches you can have is choosing a good webhost.

The market is completely saturated, and what’s worst is that it’s not a level one, with big corps at one end and kids at school running the lowest end.

The problem for many people looking to get their website hosted is that the big corps are simply too expensive for what is required, especially if you’re only looking to put a few key business pages online.

The other problem is that there are so many fly-by-nights out there, especially kids in school who think that being computer literate means they can get some pocket money. Until they get bored of the business responsibilities and fold up.

What the discerning person needs to do is find one of the players in the middle – cost-effective pricing, with companies or staff who have a few years proven experience as a webhost.

Many of these are small businesses with maybe just 2-5 employees, but so long as they know what they are doing, and can provide support as and when required, on stable servers, you should do fine.

Of course, the challenge here is finding such a company.

I have my personal favourites, but at the end of the day it’s simply the case that the best webhost differs according to different personal needs and priorities.

For example, how important is pricing to you? If you’re only putting a small website online and don’t plan on generate much in the way of costs, then obviously cost may be an over-riding factor. And if it’s only a few pages, then the support requirements are likely to be pretty low.

On the other hand, if you’re hosting your small business, and plan to do a few adventurous things, such as add a blog or forum, or custom scripts, this is where the support element really comes into play. Although many good hosts will try to offer as near as 24/7 support as they can, ideally you want a host with similar business hours as yourself. So if you’re a UK company, host in the UK – if in the USA, seek a US host, of course.

Hosting Resources

There are a lot of webhosting resources out there. Unfortunately, a great deal of them are driven by a huge market in affiliate sales, so it’s easy to stumble across a webhosting directory that will promote a webhost simply on the basis of affiliate sales – even if that webhosting company has known problems with it’s services.

However, there are a few good places where you can get good recommendations and have plenty of useful research material.

When you visit these places, use the search function – search on a company name and see what other people have been saying. Read the online reviews and dicussion threads that come up.

Do take note that sometimes the larger and more aggressively promoted companies will have a number of complaints made about them, simply for their size.

And there are plenty of vindictive people out there who, in being caught hosting wares, hacking scripts, and other activities most webhosts ban outright, like to post negative reviews in WHT as an attempt for revenge. So when you do see such negative threads, you need to go to read those threads to see the context they are posted in.

Of course, the good reviews are also helpful, but especially watch out for praise for companies who, when faced with major server or network failure, have still managed to keep their customers happy.

Web Hosting Talk

WebhostingTalk ( – aka, WHT – is probably the leading webhosting resource online. Although there are affiliates and viral marketers stalking the boards, generally the staff keep a good lid on the most outright abuses.

Host Hide Out

HostHideOut ( – aka HHO – is another webhosting forum with a strong presence of webhosts. Although smaller than WHT, and more focused on promoting discussions among webhosts, it’s still a useful resource to research further on.

WH Reviews

WHReviews ( – aka WHR – is a webhosting reviews site that isn’t powered by affiliate marketing. Although you should take any review with caution, this is certainly one of the more trustworthy places for actual honest reviews.

Web Hosting World

WebHostingWorld ( – aka WHW – is a webhosting forum focused on the UK webhosting market and so is significantly smaller than the others.

Taking the plunge

Once you’ve done your research, and you’ve come to a decision you’re happy with, all you can do is go for it and start hosting with the company you’ve chosen.

However, do be aware that it may not necessarily always be the right choice – the real mettle of a webhost comes from when they face major hardware and network failures, and the best will come through this with their customers supporting them.

Do also be patient with your webhosting company you host with. Sometimes it’s easy to find something go wrong and immediately blame your webhost for it, but it is actually very common for many such problems to be user error – a slight mistake in your website code, uploaded to the wrong file, you used a different password than was set-up with, etc.

Either way, once you have become a webmaster, still make sure that you keep an eye out for other webhost recommendations. You shouldn’t really move your hosting unless you have real problems with your own, but it’s always worth spreading your eggs into different baskets if you’re looking to host a few websites in future.

Author's Bio: 

Brian Turner is a moderator at the WebHostingWorld webhosting forums, and he is also involved with the Find Free Hosting forums.