Reviews can be useful when you are searching for a new company to host your website. They can provide a little information about each company and point you in the right direction as to which services to look closer into and which services to avoid.
My website hosting guide contains a list of reviews of hosting companies. One thing you may have noticed is that my reviews mostly stick to facts and figures. I do not rate services or give them a score of any kind.
In this article, I would like to give you all a little insight into why I review hosting companies in this way.
Why Are Hosting Companies Not Rated?
Rich Snippets allow website owners to review and rate products and services and have those ratings displayed in search engines such as Google.
All SEO experts agree that adding ratings to pages increases the click-through rates in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS). This is perhaps why so many websites use rich snippets.
Most review websites rate hosting companies in this way i.e. each hosting company is reviewed and given an overall rating.
I do not do this.
The reason I do not do this is that ratings are subjective and do not tell you the full story about the hosting company being reviewed.
If you look at most hosting review websites, the ratings are pulled out of thin air and frequently, the higher a company is ranked, the higher the commission they pay to the website owner. You will find many website hosting directories online that list hosting companies in order from who pays them the most to who pays them the least.
From an affiliate marketing point of view, it makes sense to heavily promote companies that pay higher commissions.
That, however, is not the route I have ever wanted to go down with this blog. I have a responsibility to my readers to be honest about every product and service I review.
The only true way to rate hosting companies is to allow thousands of customers and ex-customers post reviews of the service they received. Even then, the results can be very biased as hosting customers tend to be loyal to companies that host them and only move their websites when they have experienced downtime or bad service. Therefore, reviews from existing customers will be positive and reviews from ex-customers will be negative. Additionally, reviews can be heavily manipulated by false reviews.
I truly believe that it is near impossible to rate any hosting company fairly and be impartial.
Take pricing, for example.
If Company A charges half as much as Company B for a shared hosting plan, should Company A receive five stars for pricing and should company B receive two or three stars?
Rating a service in this way is misleading as pricing does not tell you the full story.
It does not tell you the performance of the network the hosting company use, it does not tell you whether the company owns their own data centre, and it does not tell you whether they are using cheap hardware or using top of the range brand name hardware. Nor does pricing tell you whether you are gaining access to an experienced support team and whether the company will honour the response times stated on their website.
Another big factor that is important is uptime.
Many hosting review websites will rate the uptime of a hosting company; however, this is also a factor that is difficult to rate accurately.
If the reviewer monitors the performance of the company's home page, the report will inevitable be positive as most hosting companies host their website on a dedicated page and optimise it so that it is always delivered to visitors quickly.
A better way to test uptime is to monitor the performance of a hosting account from the company. The problem is that the account is usually provided by the hosting company themselves, therefore the results are not always accurate.
Sticking to Facts and Figures
All of the reasons above are why my reviews stick to facts and figures. My reviews give information about the company, the services they offer, and the location of their data centres.
I believe the only true way to rate a hosting company is to move one of your websites there and use them for a couple of months. This will help you test uptime, network performance, and the quality of support.
Unfortunately, it just is not practical to do that in order to review a website. That is why I focus on giving as much information as possible to website owners and encourage them to do as much research as they can on their own. This includes reading other reviews, looking at comments from other customers, and speaking with the hosting company directly about your needs.