Here at Hosting Data, we have instituted a radical new process for reviewing the various services you will find on our website. We actually use them and test them out.
We do get a bit more technical than that so keep reading if you want to know more.
Our 3-Pronged Approach
We like to think of our review process as a weapon for the greater good. It’s the trident we use to protect people like you from the horrible web hosting services of the internet. On our journey, we uncover the good guys of web hosting so you know who to join forces with on your website journey.
1. Pricing and Features
We’re going to stick to our trident analogy all the way through this since we’re having fun with it. If you take a look at a trident, you will see the middle prong is made up of the little pokey part with the shaft connected to it.
In this analogy, the features make up the bulk of the middle prong with pricing being the pointy part that leads the way. We’re sure that the pokey part has a name but we’ve gone too far now.
Pricing and features can’t live without each other as one web host may have the lowest price on the market but the features they offer may reflect that. On the other hand, if a service offers a full suite of premium features, it’s important to know how much it will set your wallet back to procure such luxurious web trappings.
Good technical and customer support is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a web hosting company. Some hosting services turn into an employee for you when you need help and do everything you need to make sure you are up and running. Some services specialise in WordPress and can help you with design issues that may pop up.
The important thing that we figure out here is the capability of the customer support team. What kind of questions can they answer? How quickly do they answer? Are they around 24/7? Can you chat with them?
How much storage space or disk space are you getting with your hosting plans? This would be the amount of space on a web server that would be allocated to your website. The more the merrier and some hosting services can be rather stingy. This is where we would also look into what type of hardware the host is using.
This can be kind of hard to understand without an analogy. This is the data rate that can be supported by your hosting service. A good analogy is that bandwidth acts as the number of lanes on your website highway. If traffic acts as the actual cars on a highway, bandwidth decides how many cars can be on the road at once moving at normal speeds.
Some hosting companies offer “unlimited” bandwidth, which should be taken with a grain of salt. We like it when hosting services give us the specifics.
You’re obviously thinking of starting a website if you are reading this. What happens if it really takes off and millions of people want to visit your site? You need to be able to scale up with your venture growth as well as the number of people that want to check out what you’re doing. Some hosting services are built for this while others… not so much.
Any good hosting service offers some kind of backup service. That means if your website is wiped out by some malicious attack or if you try to update something and break the entire site—you still have access to an older version. Good hosting services offer daily backups but the best have multiple backups per day. The latter comes with more premium services.
Any added security features can be done by yourself such as scanning your website for malware. However, these security tasks take time and may cost extra money. Anything regarding security that a hosting service does for you is a huge added bonus. Premium services even take this to the next level and pretty much take all website security off of your hands.
This is something that most people don’t think about but we make sure to check where the web host’s servers are located. If you are located in England but the servers are in Canada, your website will experience a slow connection due to physical distance. We always make sure that we make note of hosting services that have physical locations in the UK.
2. Uptime Tracking
Our second and third prongs are almost as important as our first prong. Without them, you just have a silly old spear.
The second prong has everything to do with how often hosting services keep their servers up and running. Some services are better than others at this and many even make guarantees of having a 99% uptime. These sites may even offer refunds.
Uptimes measures how consistent the hosting service is. We represent this as a percentage. If a website has 99% uptime that means that 1% of the time, your website won’t be operational. That means for around 88 hours or 3.65 days out of the year, your website won’t be up and running.
Anything above 98% is considered good as the downtime will be extremely spread out and could be due to maintenance that would be scheduled in the middle of the night.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that some hosting providers boast uptimes above 99.9%. These are the ones that solidify themselves in the upper echelon of hosting.
3. Site Speed or Load Times
Our beloved third prong, site speed or load times. This is your website’s response time from the servers of the hosting provider.
Actual speed measurements are our favorite part of testing hosting providers. We get down into the nitty-gritty of how fast you can expect your website to be. This is impacted by many factors such as browser used, distance, network speed, and server traffic.
Hosting providers help themselves by having the best hardware and infrastructure possible. Anything below 2,000 milliseconds is considered good. Keep in mind, that is a full 2 seconds of load time. There are great hosting providers that can boast times of under 500 milliseconds, of half a second.
Forming a Final Opinion
We use all of the information above to create fully-formed opinions and reviews for all of our beloved readers. We make sure to create a final verdict that boils down our very clear and concise thoughts on the matter. Usually, we will even tell you what we think in the first few paragraphs if you don’t feel like diving into all of the details.
That’s How We Evaluate Every Host and Vendor on hostingdata.co.uk
If you're interested into taking a more detailed look inside our testing process, feel free to contact us.