Customer service is a tricky thing to gauge.
Most web hosting companies will respond to inquiries about new packages.
On the surface, the customer service department can seem friendly and easy to deal with, but what happens after you sign up for a web hosting package with the company?
If your site does go down, you want the assurance of knowing the customer service department will respond quickly and solve any issues you might have.
Here are some tips for making sure the customer service is stellar.
- Are there multiple ways to contact the company? Look for a company that offers a 1-800 number that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You should also be able to file a tech support ticket via e-mail, a support control panel or even via a live chat.
- Ask what their average response time is for troubleshooting problems.
- Contact other clients and ask them if they are happy with the company’s customer support.
- Visit any online forums you can access through the hosting company’s website. Often, customers will lodge complaints on the discussion boards about issues like customer service or response times.
I visited 20+ hosting companies’ website, asked for support via their live chat system, and recorded time taken to reply my requests.
WHSR users love that case study.
Spoiler: SiteGround stood out as the winner in this experiment.
Another set of questions to ask when you are examining your hosting options: What comes with your hosting package? Does it meet the needs of your company? What about as your website grows and you add new features?
Look at everything from how easy it is to install popular items like WordPress to how server backups are done and how sudden spike in website traffic is handled.
Some of the basics you might want to compare include:
- Does the host support video and audio streaming?
- Is the control panel easy to navigate and understand?
- Can you work with an SQL database easily? Are there wizards available, such as MyPHPAdmin?
- Is one-click app installer, ie. Fantastico, used?
- Is dedicated IP included in your package? If not, how much does it cost to get one?
- Can you easily backup your site?
- Can you host your own e-mails (and check them using web browsers)?
Having a bad web host can be almost as bad as not having a host at all.
The last thing you want? Server outages.
Which is why I emphasize a lot in server uptime in our hosting reviews.
Why is hosting uptime so important?
The term “Hosting Uptime” refers to how long a server has been running.
100% uptime means the host is running all year long. 24x7x365.
Each 0.1% drop in your host uptime is ~44 minutes down time in a month.
99.9% uptime equals to 43 minutes and 12 seconds downtime in a month.
99% uptime equals to 7 hours and 12 minutes downtime in 30 days.
In today’s economy, business is global. You’ll likely find visitors from all over the world in your site stats. Users in Asia are coming to your site while you are sleeping.
You are losing business opportunities when your site goes down. Even if it’s four a.m. in your timezone.
Your website needs to stay online 24×7.
This explains why good hosting companies always come with at least 99.9% server uptime guarantees and provide compensation if their server goes down for more than 45 minutes in 30 days.
The next time you go shopping for a web host…
Check if there is a uptime report or estimation. We want nothing less than 99.8%.
Ask how are users compensated if the server goes down more than an hour in a month?
While a dollar or two in compensation might seem paltry, a company that offers this refund is more likely to work hard to keep your site up and running, so they do not have to pay out those fees to their customers.
Inquire about the company’s backup plan in case of a power outage or if the server you are on crashes.
Demand for the Internet Hosting Services industry in the US grew substantially over the past five years due to high demand from companies hoping to expand their web presence. The annual growth rate has been 11.2% in the period from 2010 to 2015 and this trend is expected to continue in the five years to 2020.
Asia = almost half of global internet users; but US host more than 80% of world’s websites
Asia, as a continent, has the most internet users. It accounts for 48.4% of global internet users. Though more than 80% of the world’s websites are hosted by a US-based provider.
No company has a monopoly. In most countries the top global companies occupy less than 20% of the market. France is the only exception with OVH dominating over 60% of the local market.
GoDaddy still the biggest domain registrar
GoDaddy.com remains as U.S. (and world) top registrar with 52,020,828 domains and more than 55% market share.
At this time of writing, Amazon hosts the most websites (2,078) in world’s top 10,000 ranking, as per BuiltWith.com’s study.
The price of hosting a website is normally associated with the amount of service the hosting company provides. A dedicated server solution with 24/7 managed support is typically many times more expensive than unmanaged shared hosting (multiple websites on a single server) solutions.
According to the level of management offered: A managed server means less work for you but also less flexibility, an unmanaged server means more flexibility. There are packages that offer some management services so unmanaged/managed is only the two extremes, there is a spectrum of services in between.
.com remains as the fastest growing domain in September 2017.
According to Global Domain Extension Breakdown there are 79.61% registered .com domains in the total number of domains. The total number of .com domains is 128,686,196 with weekly growth of 148,652.
According to Global Domain Extension Breakdown there is 9.14% registered .net domains in the total number of domains.
The total number of .net domains is 14,775,377 with weekly fall of 3,481.
According to Global Domain Extension Breakdown there is 6.31% registered .org domains in the total number of domains.
The total number of .org domains is 10,207,640 with weekly fall of 8,315.
Numbers on paper can appear to mean the world.
But how much can you really trust them, and how accurate of a depiction are they to the performance of the device you are using?
When it comes to having your own dedicated server, for whatever use you may have, it would be ideal to have the best performance you can, right?
I don’t think many people are going to spend the money on a server and say “Hey, I don’t mind if it underperforms”, and if they do, well then maybe they should reconsider owning a dedicated server in the first place.
Best Server for Performance?
If you want server performance to outdo the competition, you will need a dedicated server.
If you simply want great performance relative to the money you are spending, then a virtual server is possibly a better option for your web hosting needs.
If you honestly don’t care about performance and just want to have an online presence, then some kind of free or cheap web hosting service for your website is the way to go.
We are not going to get to the ins and outs of what do you need specifically for your business. Instead, in this article, we will go over how to make your server perform at it’s peak, which would assume it’s therefore a dedicated server that you own.
This gives you the benefit of complete customization for all hardware and software, and allows all resources in the machine to dedicated to you and your needs.
If your server does not have a RAID setup, then I highly recommend you get it.
Not only can you help reduce the chance of losing your data by increasing the fault tolerance level, but you can increase performance too.
Having a system in RAID 0 allows you to increase performance by spreading the information over two drives, therefore allowing the read and write speed to theoretically double as one piece of information is only being written to one disk while the second piece can be simultaneously written to the second drive.
In the image above, if you can image the string ABCDEF makes a file, by spreading the information over two drives, the read/write speed is in a sense doubled.
‘A’ goes to drive one, ‘B’ goes to drive two, ‘C’ goes to drive one and so on.
RAID 1 is different for the fact it copies the information and duplicates it over two separate drives, so the time it takes to write or read the string ABCDEF is less than that of drives in RAID 0.
You can see a depiction of RAID 1 in the image.
This presents some issues though, as the chance of hardware failure is now doubled due to having two drives. You can always increase the fault tolerance level by setting up in either RAID 01 or RAID 10. Either way, performance can be increased with a system in RAID, assuming its one of the many types of RAID that stripe the data.
IOPS are important.
A lot of people seem to pass this by and only think of read/write speeds.
As important as reading and writing is, the amount of times something can be read and written is also very important. If your server is going to be handling many small read operations, e.g. reading small files over and over at an unrelenting pace, then you need to consider a storage medium with a relatively high IOPS level. IOPS stands for Input/Output Operations per Second for those who don’t know.
A storage drive is rated to a certain amount of IOPS, and with a 7200 RPM SATA HDD you are looking at roughly 100 IOPS. Compare this to a solid state drive with around 40 000 you can clearly see one outperforms the other. These SSDs aren’t even the limit, if you pick yourself up an SSD that connects to the motherboard through PCI, you can expect up to a whopping 120 000 IOPS with ridiculously high read/write speeds.
The OCZ Revodrive that offers this performance is already setup in RAID 0 to help get this incredible speed, however I have been told (but cannot confirm as I have never seen it done myself) that apparently you can get two of these bad boys and RAID them. A good middle ground for this I find is the OCZ Vertex 4.
At around $1 per gig with an IOPS rating averaging 90 000, this thing should handle both fast read/write needs and high IOPS needs without spending thousands of dollars on PCI storage systems.
Now that we have storage out of the way, we can move onto Bottlenecking.
In short, for those who don’t know, bottlenecking is where something in the system has the capability to perform at a high level, but another piece of hardware down the line restricts the ability for the entire system to perform as fast as the best piece of hardware.
This concept is similar to the term ‘you can only walk as fast as the slowest person in a group’.
This is something that a lot of people end up doing if they do not do their homework.
To tech heads, this stuff is second nature, however some places that ‘run on the cheap’ and use older generation hardware could be bottlenecking their system by using SATA2 devices, or installing slower RAM (even dreaded DDR2, but that would be very rare) but then have a fast CPU and advertise this fact as a selling point.
It is vital that if you want a system to perform at it’s peak there needs to be minimal bottlenecking to let everything run smoothly. For example, if you are writing information to a HDD with a slow read speed of 100MB/s and use a CPU such as an Intel i7 3960X that can process 51.2GB/s, you are severely bottlenecking the system compared to using an SSD.
By taking into account bottlenecking, not only can you optimise a system, but also take into account the fact you are able to save money on hardware by defining how many resources you need, and saving money by buying hardware that isn’t unnecessary for your system.
Bandwidth and Latency
This is something that is really out of the hands of a dedicated server owner.
The only real option here is to ensure the company you are hosting it with has sufficient bandwidth allowance available for your needs. If you are streaming 100GB from your website per month and your hosting company provides only 50GB per month, you will find yourself in a bit of trouble. This is general knowledge though, and realistically doesn’t need to be explained.
Latency is another aspect to consider, you need to find out where your audience is and have servers located as close as you can to the majority of them. You can’t control ping to a large extent; better switches can reduce the latency, however the data still needs to be transferred around the world.
As much as we all hype about the Cloud and wireless these days, the Internet still relies on data travelling through wires in order to function.
I guess the only ‘optimization’ you can do here is to pick the right company to host the servers, or host it yourself if you have the resources and a close enough audience.
Basically you need to have a dedicated server , use a storage drive that has high read/write speeds (preferably an SSD) with a good IOPS reading, put them in a performance increasing RAID setup, research your hardware to ensure there is minimal bottlenecking, and place the server close to the people who are going to be using it.
Simple stuff, right?
We signup and test hosting services for our reviews.
This site is hosted at Netmoly. Here’s the uptime record for past 30 days. For more details, read our Netmoly review at WHSR.
You’ve read the claims of some of the popular web hosting companies out there.
Unlimited hosting for mere dollars a month!
Unfortunately, this isn’t and couldn’t possibly be the case. Quite frankly, it is a form of false advertising.
While most websites will never run into an issue with these so-called unlimited hosting accounts, because those sites will never come close to using enough disk or bandwidth space to overwhelm the server, you do run the risk of the server crashing if you suddenly have a spurt of traffic.
Learn what hosting companies mean by “unlimited”, when you should be concerned, and how to find a webhost that truly will take care of your needs as a site owner.
You need a host to stay up as long as possible so people can access your website (hence, business) all the time. A 1% drop in server uptime is a lost of 87.6 hours of business opportunities. Can you afford to lose that much time in your online business? Don’t think so.
Also – you need a good web host to load your site quick. Users hate slow websites. Who has the time to wait for site loading? Not me.
There are 15 factors you need to know when you are choosing a hosting service. Read this guide to learn how I pick my web host.