Online reviews have become increasingly popular, as consumers look to their peers for recommendations for purchases of all sizes. From buying a book on eBay to buying a new car, before making that final decision the buyer will more often than not spend time to read reviews. Reviews are used across a wide range of areas. From selecting a hotel, or a restaurant to a pair of trainers or even an electrician, the internet gives us, as consumers, access and possibilities that we never had before.
So if you are the kind of person that would use TripAdvisor to pick where you go to eat out, then surely you would also use reviews to pick a service like web hosting? Surprisingly, there are a large number of people out there who don’t use reviews to help them to decide on an important subject like picking a web host.
If you end up with a poor web host, you could be set up for huge amounts of frustration and it could end up costing you a lot of money. Say you have signed up for a two-year contract with a web host at around £2per month (some of the best web hosting companies are more expensive). Then you start building your website, spend lots of time curating great content for your website and lots of effort goes into SEO. You’ve spent time researching and installing a number of excellent features. Your website is looking great, your marketing strategy is going to plan and it is time to start promoting your website. You carefully refine your email list to segment and target your emails appropriately for optimum results.
Then disaster strikes. You send out your emails to all the people you have handpicked for the campaign and your website suddenly crashes. Your hosting package simply cannot cope with the additional strain on the bandwidth, as your successful email campaign has resulted in the highest volume of traffic you’ve seen so far. Sometimes you don’t find out how good a host is until something breaks unfortunately. You can do rigorous testing but until you are in a live environment example such as this, it can be a case of hit and hope when you press the send button on your email.
If you had read enough customer reviews this issue may have been highlighted before you made your decision. So you wouldn’t be in the predicament that you now find yourself in. You might be able to upgrade your package to support greater volumes of traffic but those potential customers that were sent to an error page could be lost forever. Next time an email from you pops up in their mailbox they may just think, I’m not bothering with that broken site again.
Whilst most hosts will be upfront with the allowances/limits and other key features, if you aren’t familiar with what the quoted figures for storage and bandwidth translate to in terms of website content amounts or numbers of visitors, this means little. Unless you understand how much bandwidth you are likely to need, 5 GB might sound like absolutely loads and much more than you will need – until your website crashes.
You can find reviews from customers and hosting experts across a number of different websites. Take a look at sites like PCMag.com, Top10-WebsiteHosting.co.uk and Techradar.com who provide unbiased reviews of the different hosting options. You may find loads of other sites that provide reviews but more often than not, they are taking a fee for recommending certain hosts, so clearly have their allegiance with that particular host(s)!