Although the internet is a great resource for researching web hosts, some of the most visible information is worse than useless. Beware when using the following resources. They could lead you to make a big mistake in your choice of web host.
1. “Top” Web Host Lists – Websites that rank the “top” web hosts look like great resources. They display price and various features in a nice, easy to read table. Unfortunately, these websites are usually worse than useless. For one thing, the low pricing that gets a web host a good ranking isn’t a price you can get safely. The low price often requires a long-term commitment, which is extremely risky if this is your first dealing with the company. Another problem is that these lists are usually created to maximize affiliate (partner) commissions, not to inform the consumer. To recognize whether a link is from an affiliate, position the pointer over the link without clicking. If the link has characters that look like tags or redirection information, it’s an affiliate link. When you click on such a link and sign up, the affiliate gets money. The affiliate relationship introduces potential conflicts of interest and biases, and, unfortunately, most top web host lists have given in to these biases. Many of the hosts given high rankings in the list get terrible ratings on the sites where affiliate links aren’t in play.
2. Individual Web Host Reviews – Reviews of web hosts can be useful, but any single review may not be representative of the typical customer experience with that host. Customers who feel they’ve had a bad experience often fire off a negative review without much thought. The negative post stays alive even if the customer is wrong or if the host quickly resolves the issue to the customer’s satisfaction. Rave reviews can mislead also. A customer with minimal website requirements may not have yet encountered a bad host’s shortcomings. Some rave reviews have even been exposed as fakes, attempts by a web host to boost their poor reputation.