Step 1 : Search the net using search engines like google with the name of the dedicated server web-hosts from your list, you can see references to your web-hosting company on different sites. See what people are saying… are there any negative comments ? are the people singing praises ;-) Go through any discussions , comments posted on news-groups, forums etc.
While all companies will list their satisfied customers, you’ll not find the unhappy customers & negative comments posted there.. it is upto you to see if all is as rosy as it looks. See what web-hosting review sites like ours have to say about the company.
Delete from your list any hosting companies with negative feedback.
Step 2 : The customer Support factor.
Once you buy into the services of a dedicated server web hosting company, there will be occasions when you will have to contact the hosting company , for general queries, specific technical support, to register a complaint etc. So how ‘available’ is the company ? What modes of contact do they provide ?
The three basic modes of contact would ve via ‘Live-Help’ on their website, where you can chat in realtime with a customer support rep. Or via email, or via phone [many top-class companies provide a toll-free number] . Read their customer support pages to find out what kind of turn-around-time they promise on any emails. Do they promise 24×7 support ?
Many web-hosts also have some quick trouble shooting pages & DIY help pages on their site, check out how extensive and comprehensible it is.
Step 3 : The email test !
Send an email to the support email address of all the web-hosting companies on your list. You can even send an email on a Sunday or after hours to see if they really do have 24×7 support. Request for specific technical information about their service & also some pointed questions specific to the type of service you are looking for.
Evaluate the speed of their responses, judge the quality, competence and care taken in their responses to you. Test them even further by demanding that they assign a specific contact person to administer your account, so that his person will be familiar with your site and any problems it may have. This will do wonders for the Web Hosts’ accountability and sense of responsibility. Eliminate all those hosts who have not responded to your email or have responded inadequately.
Step 4 : Price-wise.
Evaluate the prices and see which host in your list offers the most for the least. The most expensive host need not be the best, neither does the cheapest host have to be the worst. Choose a host that offers you most of what you need at the most reasonable price, and with options to upgrade later for reasonable rates. If the web host has scalable packages, you can always upgrade to those other features later.
Most web hosting companies offer monthly, quarterly and yearly payment options, so be sure to ask about their minimum commitment period as well as their refund and cancellation policies. You should also receive a discount for longer time periods paid for. Exercising due diligence in these matters pays off many times over in the long run.
Now that you have all the information required.. it is decision time !
Step 5 : The final cut.
Having completed all the steps outlined above, you should be in a good position to make your decision. All the hosting companies who are remaining on your list are probably the best in the market. Choose the one which fits your requirement & your budget the best and the deal is done !
All that is left to do then is place your order and do the needful to get your site online…