Using a new hosting company is very risky, but there are a few things you can look out for. Here are some of the things I look for when choosing a host.
When did the hosting company start?
If the company started a few months ago, I’m not going to trust them as much as I trust a host that has been around for a decade. The longer lasting host has already proven itself to be worthy of my hard earned cash. An older host can still randomly go bankrupt or experience technical difficulties, but at least they have the track record to work through any financial or tech problems that may arise.
Is their customer service 24/7/365?
The last thing I want is to look for help and hear “I gotta go to school, I can help you when I’m back in 7 hours.” A lot of newer hosts that pop up on forums are run by students or adults that are managing the service all on their own. A good host works around your schedule. As a client you should never have to work around a host’s schedule to resolve issues on their end.
Uptime is very important. Good hosts that have been around for years can boast anywhere from 95%-99% uptime throughout all of those years. That’s a much more reliable percentage than a host that has been around for 2 months with 99% uptime. One major issue with new hosts is that they may say 99%-100% uptime, but is their word 100% trustworthy? Who knows.
If you have 100% uptime, your site never goes down. If your site or host has 99.9% uptime that means your site might be down for around 44 minutes per month (a 30 day month). 90% uptime (it may sound acceptable, but it’s not), means a site was down for 72 hours in a month.
Long-term hosting companies have been around for so long that they most likely have investors and employees with a stock percentage of the company, and long lasting investments of their own. They own hundreds of servers, own or rent rack space, and own or rent the physical buildings for their headquarters. Even if the CEO wanted to quit, they would have to go through a board, investors and tons of financial paperwork before they could close down the hosting company.
The new guy on the block can cancel their domain, hosting/reseller plan, and close down their hosting service at any time, without many repercussions. Due to the transactions being pretty low cost (a few bucks per month), most clients that get screwed over by a new host usually just let it go, or plan revenge in other ways (Getting the bad host banned from forums and other sites), but nothing so bad that new hosts hesitate to close down their hosting company when they get bored (such as a lawsuit).
What You Actually Get
In most cases, new hosts are using a reseller plan from an already established host. You are not going to find many new hosts that have their own servers or rent rack space for powerful dedicated servers. Most new hosts are using reseller plans that simply allow them to sell shared hosting. Shared hosting is not crazily profitable and it relies on clients not using all of the disk space and bandwidth that they have allocated to their account.
Reseller accounts are also pretty limited. If I buy hosting from HostGator, I’m getting something different than if I buy hosting from one of their resellers. Resellers are responsible for managing their clients. So if a guy named Tom has a HostGator reseller account and I go to him, I have to ask Tom any questions I have. If Tom can’t answer something, he goes to HostGator. Alternatively, I could get hosting directly from HostGator, have their (most likely) more experienced customer support, and better meet the requirements listed above for finding a host.
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed my reasoning for why it is risky to use a new host. What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you agree with the risks in this thread, or think that new hosts are worth a shot? Share your opinions below I used HostGator as an example, please don’t go spamming this thread with links to your favorite or personal host.