Website Hosting Reviews are Garbage
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If you perform an innocent search for something like “who should I host my website with”, you’ll get 1,180,000,000 results. You could narrow it down with something like “what hosting service should I host my WordPress website with” and you’ll end up with 81,800,000 results. No matter how you look at it or what search terms you use, it’s a lot of information. You have a lot of reading to do my friend.
Ok…in the featured image is a really nice charcuterie spread. If someone served that to you at a party (or after party), you’d say that they were a “Good Host”. Just lean into it buddy, the jokes aren’t going to get any better.
How to find a host for your website series – #1
You’re going to find a plethora of websites displaying nicely formatted lists, ranking all of the best hosting services. This should make everything easy for you, but why is there so many lists? If there was an actual clear leader in the hosting game, then all of these lists should be exactly the same. They are not.
As you start clicking around, you’ll see that all of these lists are vastly different, even if the same names keep popping up. Some of the lists are so completely out to lunch that they’re laughable to someone that’s been working in the industry for some time.
Why are the Lists Different?
There’s several factors that go into making a list of web hosts. Some of these factors are above board but poorly explained, some are thinly veiled attempts to promote a specific service or services, while some are downright nefarious.
Not All Websites are Created Equally
WordPress can and is used for almost every type of website on the internet. Being initially free with a massive plugin ecosystem to extend the functionality to do almost anything, means that not all WordPress websites will be the same. A small, low traffic business card website for a local business in a small town isn’t going to need the speed and resources of a busy, multi-national e-commerce website.
Some lists will specify the type of site that they’re targeting with their list, but many times you just get a list of hosts, with no idea of what it is that they’re rating for.
Affiliate Fees Can Motivate List Positions
I’m not saying that anyone using affiliate links is effectively selling list positions in exchange for an affiliate fee. Many people creating lists are doing so using legitimate methods and use affiliate fees to ensure that they can continue doing the work they do. Some of the links to web hosts on this website, WP After Party, use affiliate links.
Some of the lists you come across will be built using affiliate fees as one of the prime motivators for which hosts they choose. If you take the time to read the lists and the information on the page, you can usually tell when something is fishy. I’ve seen lists where the host in the number one position also has a pop-over ad when you load the page.
Hosting List Motivation
There’s people in the web design and web hosting space that are experts in their field when it comes to hosting and host performance. I’ve seen web host lists created by a experts that do extensive testing on multiple hosts under different real world conditions and systematically gather data to create a report that is factual according to their test conditions. Even with this expert approach and above board testing, the results might not be relevant for your use case.
It’s important to look at the methodology for creating the list and report and determine if the results are legitimate and relevant.
The Problems with User Reviews
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that reviews are something that get gamed on almost every platform. Big platforms that host reviews like Google and Amazon, etc spend a lot of time and energy trying to ensure that reviews are legitimate, but even then, so many slip through the cracks.
The fact that reviews can be gamed, means that in many cases, you just can’t trust the reviews. If reviews can’t be trusted on the large platforms, what are the chances that a small website about hosting will only have legitimate reviews.
In the case of completely legitimate reviews, in most cases the person leaving the review may or may not be running the same hosting needs as you. If you’re looking to create a large e-commerce website, it a review by someone with a tiny business card website relevant in the slightest?
Is There a Solution?
If there were hosting reviews from people paying actual money that didn’t rely on their personal thoughts and opinions for websites that were similar to the sites that you wanted to create, perhaps you’d have something useful that you could use to make an informed decision.