Tag Archives: bluehost

Free & Discount Web Hosting for Educators, Teachers and Institutions

Free Hosting Offers for Educators/Faculty

Company Offer Requirement
BlueHost Free Hosting Faculty at verified institution
InMotionHosting Free Hosting Education Professional
Kickassd Free Hosting School Email + School/Govt ID


Hosting Offers for Universities and other Education Institutions

LunarPages - Free Hosting for K-12 US public schools.

BlueHost - Paid offer designed to handle managing lots of students


Free & Discount Web Hosting for Students


If you know of any deals that are missing, please comment or contact us to add it to this list

The Rise and Fall of A Small Orange

If you're an unhappy A Small Orange customer looking to find a better web host and don't want to read why the quality went down, simply head over to our Web Hosting Reviews and find a better hosting company. 

How did a small web hosting company have such a huge impact on Review Signal?

The Early Days

This story begins in October 2011, a year before Review Signal launched. Review Signal had been collecting data for months and early ratings data was starting to become meaningful. A tiny company was at the top of the rankings. A Small Orange.

The most worrisome part of this revelation was that A Small Orange did not have an affiliate program. Which isn't a requirement at all for a listing on Review Signal.

However, after investing years of work, if the top rated company ended up not having an affiliate program, the business was likely sunk before it even started. So I inquired early and heard back from the CEO at the time, “we don't have an affiliate program and at the moment, we have no plans for one.” This was a potential death knell because the entire business model relies on making at least some money, even though I assumed it would be much lower than my competitors who simply sell their rankings to the highest bidder. But as any entrepreneur knows, almost everything is negotiable if you understand what the other person really wants and why. After talking further with the CEO, he explained his issue with web hosting review websites, “they typically have a pay for ranking sort of model and do it either through set rates or affiliate payouts. It varies. The economics at ASO don't really work out for a standard affiliate program.” A Small Orange didn't want to play the game that every other review site out there did. Pay to play, quality be damned.

This CEO hated the games being played as much as I did.

That was all the opportunity I needed. Review Signal's mission has been to fight against that very same model and I knew I had an early ally who could make this work. We ended up working out a deal to pay three months of whatever plan someone purchased and he put a cap on my potential earnings at $250 before he would review the performance. Considering the most popular plans were $25/year and $5/month, this wasn't going to earn a lot, but at least it might start covering some of the very basic costs. The first month I earned $52.38 on 6 sales for an average of $8.73 per sale with A Small Orange.
At least it was something. And a foot in the door was all I needed to prove this crazy idea called Review Signal might have some legs. A Small Orange opened that door and for that our histories will forever be intertwined.

The Good Times

The next few years were very good. I was their first affiliate. I was their biggest affiliate for many years, bringing in over a thousand new customers. I got to know many of the staff and would consider some of them friends. And A Small Orange continued to be the best rated shared hosting company through 2014. Everyone was happy - their customers, the company and Review Signal. I was happy to recommend them based on the data showing they had incredibly satisfied customers. I had people tell me personally they were very happy with them after signing up because of the data I publish here at Review Signal.

2014-01-20 13.34.07

Free Swag and Annual Thank You Card from ASO

The EIG Acquisition

A Small Orange was quietly acquired in 2012. They were acquired by a behemoth in the hosting industry called Endurance International Group (NASDAQ: EIGI) which owns dozens of brands including some of the largest and most well known hosting companies: Blue Host, Host Gator, Host Monster, Just Host, Site5, iPage, Arvixe and more.

EIG has a very bad reputation in the web hosting world. If you ask most industry veterans they will tell you to run to the hills when it comes to EIG. The oft-repeated story is EIG acquires a hosting company, migrates them to their platform and the quality of service falls off a cliff. The best example of this is perhaps their migration to their Provo, UT data-center which had a catastrophic outage in 2013. This outage was huge. The impact dropped four of EIG's largest brands many percentage points in the Review Signal rankings in a single day.  But these major outages continue to happen as recently as November 2015.

In a recent earnings call with share holders, EIG CEO Hari Ravichandran talked about two recent acquisitions and their plans for them. “We expect to manage these businesses at breakeven to marginally profitable for the rest of the year as we migrate their subscriber bases onto our back-end platform. Once on platform, we expect to reach favorable economics and adjusted EBITDA contribution consistent with our previous framework for realizing synergies from acquisitions.”

The EIG Playbook

EIG's playbook has been to acquire web hosting brands, migrate them to their platform and 'reach favorable economics.' They've been doing it for years and it seems to be working well enough for investors to continue to put money into the company. M&A to grow subscriber bases and economies of scale to lower costs. It's a very simple and straightforward business plan. It doesn't speak to anything beyond spreadsheet math though, such as brand value and customer loyalty. And those are certainly lowered and lost post-EIG acquisition according to all the data we've collected over years and multiple acquired brands. It's calloused business accounting, but it makes perfect sense in the race to the bottom industry that is commodity shared hosting.

Review Signal Rating Calculated Pos/(Pos+Neg), without duplicate filtering

Review Signal Rating Calculated Pos/(Pos+Neg), without duplicate filtering

You can see all the EIG brands tracked here on Review Signal in the chart above and their acquisition dates below:

iPage - 2009. BlueHost/HostMonster - 2010. JustHost - Feb 2011. NetFirms - March 2011. HostGator - June 2012. A Small Orange  - July 2012. Arvixe - November 2014. Site5 - August 2015.

You'll notice their ratings, in general, are not very good with Site5 (their most recent acquisition) being the exception. iPage was acquired before I started tracking data. BlueHost/HostMonster also had a decline, although the data doesn't start pre-acquisition. JustHost collapses post acquisition. NetFirms has remained consistently mediocre. HostGator collapses with a major outage a year after acquisition. Arvixe collapses a year after being acquired. Site5 is still very recent and hasn't shown any signs of decline yet.

The Expected Decline of A Small Orange

So nearly every industry veteran I talked to expected A Small Orange to collapse. Immediately after acquisition. Except me. I was, am and will continue to be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a company until I am shown evidence.

For years, post acquisition people were saying ASO's demise was right around the corner. For years, I still waited for that evidence and the prophecy to become true. But it didn't happen.

It often took EIG less than a year to ruin a brand. We don't have to look further than Arvixe for an example of this, which was acquired in November 2014. Today, Arvixe has one of the lowest ratings of any company on Review Signal at a shockingly low 27%.

But A Small Orange continued to chug along. It didn't hear the naysayers or believe itself to be a victim of the EIG curse. Instead, ASO was the best shared host for years post-acquisition. It seemed to have a fair level of autonomy from the EIG conglomerate. The staff I knew there, remained there, and all indications showed they were still the same company.

Until it wasn't.

The Fall of A Small Orange

A Small Orange Historical Rating

A Small Orange Historical Rating

The chart above shows Review Signal's rating of A Small Orange. The Blue line is the rating as calculated by [Positive Reviews / (Positive Reviews + Negative Reviews)]. The Red line only calculates the rating from the past 12 months of data. It's slightly different than Review Signal's actual calculation because I am not filtering out duplicates for quick analysis. The difference for A Small Orange is that when you remove the duplicates, the year 2015 had a 43% rating indicating there was quite a few people writing multiple negative things about A Small Orange.

Sometime in 2015, the A Small Orange that thousands of people trusted and raved about became another EIG brand. I tried to get the inside story. I reached out to the former CEO who sold the company to EIG and became an executive there for a couple years post acquisition. He reached out on my behalf to EIG's PR team to see if they would participate in this story. Both declined to participate.

So, I'm left to speculate on what happened at A Small Orange based on what's been publicly stated by their CEO and watching their strategy unfold for years across many companies/brands. My best guess is EIG finally got involved with A Small Orange. They used to be a distributed/remote team, now all positions they are hiring for are listed as in Texas (their headquarters). I saw a HostGator representative get moved over to ASO's team, so the internal staff was changing and people were being moved from brands with less than stellar reputations to ASO. The former CEO left mid-2014, which likely left a leadership and responsibility gap. ASO could probably run on auto pilot through the end of 2014, but over time having no champion for your brand in upper management eventually will come back to hurt the brand when decisions get made based on simple economics.

Once 2015 rolled around, the service had noticeably declined. The overall rating for A Small Orange in 2015 was 43% (only using 2015 data). For years, they had been in the 70's. It also ended the year with a massive outage for most, if not all, of their VPS customers which has been going on since Christmas. I personally received multiple messages from users of this site asking about what was happening and alerting me to this decline in service quality.

ASO was also responsible for the Arvixe migration that went very poorly and caused the Arvixe brand to tank. I'm not sure why EIG doesn't have a dedicated migration team to handle these type of moves considering how many acquisitions they go through and how large a role it plays in their growth strategy. But that's a whole separate issue.
It's with great disappointment that I have to admit, the A Small Orange that played such a huge role in the founding and success of Review Signal and provided a great service to many thousands of customers is dead. It's become another hollow EIG brand where the quality has gone down to mediocre levels. And that seems perfectly ok to them, because it's probably more profitable for their bottom line.

Going Forward

This story has had a profound impact on Review Signal. One thing that it made painfully obvious is that the ranking algorithm needs its first update since inception. The current ranking treats every review equally. Which was great when this site launched, because time didn't have any opportunity to be a factor yet. But as this site continues to move forward, I need to acknowledge that a significant amount of time has passed since launch and today. A review from the beginning of Review Signal isn't as relevant as one from this past week in determining the current quality of a web hosting company. A Small Orange right now shows up around 64% which is artificially high because of their long history of good service and it hasn't been brought down yet by the marginally small (by time scale) decline of the past year. But it's painfully clear that it's not a 64% rating company anymore.

Another thing to note is the graphs here all used a simpler calculation [Pos / (Pos + Neg)] to calculate rating without duplicate filtering. What this means is the difference between the rating here and the actual rating on the live site is a measure of the degree people are being positive or negative about a company. If the rating here is higher than the published, it means people are saying on average, more than one good thing about the same company. If the rating is below (as is in most if not all cases here), it means people are are saying more than one negative thing about the company. I'm not sure if this will factor into a new algorithm, but it is something to consider. My intuition says you would see it hinge around 50%, those companies above would likely have more positive supporters, and those below would have detractors.

In the coming months I will try to figure out a better way to generate the ranking number that more fairly represents the current state of a company. My initial thought is to use some sort of time discounting, so that the older the review, the less weight it would carry in the rankings. If anyone has experience working with this or wants to propose/discuss ideas, please reach out - comment here, email me, or tweet @ReviewSignal.

BlueHost, HostMonster, and JustHost Down (11/25/2015)

We are seeing a lot of people complaining about BlueHost, HostMonster, and JustHost being down right now. It doesn't seem to affecting other brands I checked (HostGator, iPage, A Small Orange, Arvixe, Site5).

It is very strange that HostGator isn't down this time. Their last major outage in 2013 affected all four of those brands (source: mashable). I am wondering if their infrastructure has been separated meaningfully between HostGator and the other three.

I've heard rumors of a DDoS attack from people saying that's what support told them. No official confirmation.

If you're considering changing web hosts, we track and publish what people think of most major webhosting companies here.

It's gotten to the point people are making memes. Not good.

Site 5 Web Hosting Logo

Site5 Acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG)

Endurance International Group yesterday announced in their second quarter results that they acquired Site5 and Verio.

During the quarter, the company acquired assets of Verio and Site5. The total cash consideration for these acquisitions is expected to be approximately $36 million.

Via MarketWatch.

EIG continues to acquire hosting companies as a growth strategy and doesn't seem to plan on stopping any time soon. The hope is that Site5, which is rated as one of the better companies on Review Signal, operates more like A Small Orange which was acquired in 2012 and continues to be rated very highly. Time will tell how it plays out, I will certainly be watching the data and trends.

That brings the list of EIG companies here on Review Signal to:


Endurance International Group – Profitable?

Endurance International Group is one of the largest web hosting companies who own many of the brands you see in the consumer space. EIG owns A Small Orange, BlueHost, HostGator, HostMonster and JustHost to name a few of their most well known brands.

What caught my eye was an article on Nasdaq, where EIGI (EIG's Stock Ticker) is up and at an all time high. A lot of analysts are rating it as a buy and the price surge seems to indicate people are listening. But I'm not a financial adviser, nor am I interested in making stock recommendations.

What does interest me is web hosting and considering that is the core of EIG's business, the underlying numbers are quite fascinating.

EIG had its first year with a positive operating income with $629.85 million in revenue and $617.37 million in total operating expense leaving $12.48 million in operating income. However, they weren't profitable because they have a lot of debt they are paying off. EIG's net income was a loss of $42.82 million.

"Total subscribers increased by 91,000 in the fourth quarter. Average monthly revenue per subscriber rose 12% year over year to $14.78. For all of 2014, the number of subscribers rose 17% to 4.087 million and the average monthly revenue per subscriber increased 11% to $14.48." - according to the article on Nasdaq

$14.48 per month, per subscriber. $173.76 per year per subscriber. It's easy to understand how they are paying such high commissions with those numbers. That number also seems to be trending up which is a good sign for the financial direction the company is going.

How does that compare to other companies?

I dug up an old GoDaddy S1 from 2014 [Godaddy Reviews] which states their average revenue per user for the trailing 12 months is $105 (it's fluctuated between $93-$105 over the past few years).

I also found Web.com's latest 10K filing which stated monthly ARPU of $14.62. which is $175.44 annually.

EIG and Web.com look very similar just reaching positive operating income this year and very similar revenue per subscribers. It states pretty clearly in Web.com's filing "The growth in average revenue per subscriber continues to be driven principally by our up-sell and cross-sell campaigns focused on selling higher revenue products to our existing customers as well as the introduction of new product offerings and sales channels oriented toward acquiring higher value customers."

It seems like common knowledge to anyone in the web hosting industry that these companies are getting users in cheap. Those ~$5/month hosting plans are obviously not the only thing being sold. It would seem they are able to on average roughly triple that monthly figure by selling other services.

So the question in my mind becomes what do those new products look like? We're seeing a jump into the managed WordPress hosting space. Is there actual innovation that's going to happen or are these big companies simply going to carve out some of the high margin services provided by niche providers? Is that going to be a win for consumers?

I don't have the answers, but I'm certainly interested to see how it plays out.

Black Friday – Cyber Monday Web Hosting Deals

These are all the deals from companies we track here at Review Signal that are having Black Friday - Cyber Monday specials.

When? Deals
A Small Orange [Reviews Midnight Friday to 11:59pm Monday All Shared & Business Hosting plans: 75% off any billing cycle. (Coupon code: GIVETHANKS)
All Cloud plans: More resources and free addons! 2x HD & RAM, FREE VIP Boost Addon, FREE Softaculous Addon (No code needed)
Semi-Dedicated Hosting Plans - 25% off any billing cycle. (Coupon code: SEMI14)
Use Code DEDITHX for 45% off Starter Servers (Dedicated Annual Plan)
Use code STANDARDTHX for 47% off Standard Servers (Dedicated Annual Plan)
Use code PROTHX for 49% off Professional Servers (Dedicated Annual Plan)
Use code ULTIMATETHX for 42% off Ultimate Servers (Dedicated Annual Plan)
BlueHost [Reviews] Friday 12:01am EST to Sunday 11:59pm Pricing as low as $3.49
Monday 12:01am EST to 11:59PM Pricing as low as $2.95
FlyWheel [Reviews] Midnight Friday to 11:59pm Monday 50% off annual hosting plans
Host Gator [Reviews] 12am CST to 1am CST 75% off
1am CST-11:59pm Monday 55% off
Randomly 75% off for 1 hour 9 times from Black Friday-Cyber Monday
Kinsta Friday 0:00 GMT to Monday 23:59 PST 50% off first month
3 months free with annual plan
SiteGround [Reviews] Friday through Monday Up to 70% off
WPEngine [Reviews] Ends 12/2/14 4 months free with annual plan with coupon code 'CyberHosting14'


Did I miss any? Leave a comment below.

Bias, Negativity, Sentiment and Review Signal

Photo Credit: _Abhi_

People are more likely to express negative sentiments or give negative reviews than they are positive ones.

I hear this in almost every discussion about Review Signal and how it works. There is certainly lots of studies to back this up. One major study concluded that bad is a stronger than good. One company found people were 26% more likely to share bad experiences. There is plenty of research in the area of Negativity Bias for the curious readers.

Doesn't that create problems for review sites?

The general response I have to this question is no. It doesn't matter if there is a negativity bias when comparing between companies because it's a relative comparison. No company, at least not at the start, has an unfair advantage in terms of what their customers will say about them.

Negativity bias may kick in later when customers have had bad experiences and want to continually share that information with everyone and anyone despite changes in the company. Negative inertia or the stickiness of negative opinion is a real thing. Overcoming that is something that Review Signal doesn't have any mechanism to deal with beyond simply counting every person's opinion once. This controls it on an individual level, but not on a systemic level if a company has really strong negative brand associations.

What if a company experiences a disaster, e.g. a major outage, does that make it hard to recover in the ratings?

This was a nuanced question that I hadn't heard before and credit goes to Reddit user PlaviVal for asking.

Luckily, major outages are a rare event. They are fascinating to observe from a data perspective. The most recent and largest outage was the EIG (BlueHost, HostGator, JustHost, HostMonster) outage in August 2013. If we look at the actual impact of the event, I have a chart available here.

When I looked at the EIG hosts' post-outage, there really hasn't been a marked improvement in their ratings. Review Signal's company profiles have Trends tabs on every company which graph on a per month basis to see how a company is done over the past 12 months.

BlueHost-May2014 HostGator-May2014

There is definitely some variance, but poor ratings post-outage seem quite common. It's hard to make an argument that these companies have recovered to their previous status and are simply being held back by major outcries that occurred during the outage.

The only other company with a major outage I can track in the data is GoDaddy. GoDaddy have had numerous negative events in their timeline since we started tracking them. There has been the elephant killing scandal, SOPA, DNS outages and multiple super bowl events.


August 2012 - July 2013


June 2013 - May 2014

There are clear dips for events such as the September 2012 DNS Outage, the Superbowl in February. Their overall rating is 46% right now and the trend is slightly up. But they seem to hang around 45-50% historically and maintain that despite the dips from bad events. There is arguably some room to for them be rated higher depending on the time frame you think is fair, but we're talking a couple percent at most.

What about outages affecting multiple companies? eg. Resellers, infrastructure providers, like Amazon, who others are hosting on top of. Are all the companies affected equally?

No. Just because there is an outage with a big provider that services multiple providers doesn't mean that all the providers will be treated identically. The customer reaction may be heavily influenced by the behavior of the provider they are actually using.

Let's say there is an outage in Data Center X(DC X). It hosts Host A and Host B. DC X has an outage lasting 4 hours. Host A tells customers 'sorry, it's all DC X's fault' and Host B tells customers 'We're sorry, our DC X provider is having issues, to make up for the downtime your entire month's bill is free because we didn't meet our 99.99% uptime guarantee.' Just because Host A and Host B had identical technical issues, I imagine the responses from customers would be different. I've definitely experienced great customer service which changed my opinion of a company dramatically on how they handled a shitty situation. I think the same applies here.

Customer opinions are definitely shaped by internal and external factors. The ranking system here at Review Signal definitely isn't perfect and has room for improvement. That said, right now, our rankings don't seem to be showing any huge signs of weakness in the algorithms despite the potential for issues like the ones talked about here to arise.

Going forward, the biggest challenge is going to be creating a decay function. How much is a review today worth versus a review in the past? At some point, a review of a certain age just isn't as good as a recent review. At some point, this is a problem I'm going to have to address and figure out. But now, it's on the radar but it doesn't seem like a major issue yet.

Black Friday Web Hosting Deals

Since there are some huge sales going on this weekend, I thought I would compile the list and share them here. They are sorted alphabetically by company.

A Small Orange [Reviews] - Coupon Codes Available Only Black Friday and Cyber Monday (EST)

'GOBBLE13' - 50% off shared, business, reseller (first invoice, all billing cycles)

'TREAT13' 50% off add-ons

'CHEER13' - 35% off Hybrid/Dedicated

2x RAM on Cloud VPS

BlueHost [Reviews] - $3.95/month

Digital Ocean [Reviews] - Coupon Code 'BLACK50' $50 Free Credit

DreamHost [Reviews] - 80% Off Through Monday

Host Gator [Reviews] - 60% Off with 75% Off Fire Sales (times listed below)

All Times in CST (GMT-6)

Friday 12AM - 1AM, 9AM - 11AM,  9PM - 11PM

Saturday 12PM - 1PM

Sunday 8PM - 9PM

Monday 12AM - 1AM, 10AM - 12AM, 10PM - 11:59PM

HostMonster [Reviews] - $3.95 per month Black Friday - Cyber Monday

JustHost [Reviews]- $2.25/month

MediaTemple [Reviews] - 75% off Grid / DV First Month

SiteGround [Reviews]- 70% Off Through Monday

WPEngine [Reviews] - 33% off Annual Plan Black Friday - Cyber Monday

'cyberhostspecial13' - 4 months free when signing up for annual plan.

Graph of Web Hosting Ratings at Review Signal Since Launch

Happy Staturday!

I didn't quite finish porting the D3 / Rickshaw version of this to WordPress, so that users can explore the data themselves. So that will probably be next Staturday. However, I wanted to share a preview visualizing how the rankings at Review Signal have changed over time.

A few interesting points are this month, August 2013, you can see the four major EIG brands we track drop (BlueHost, HostGator, HostMonster, JustHost). We see WPEngine come down to mortal levels. We see the rise of DigitalOcean. I will do a more thorough investigation when the interactive chart gets published.


[Click Graph to Enlarge]


How to Deal With Web Hosting Failures and Outages

First off, it sucks. I am sorry that you have to go through the ordeal of downtime and web hosting failures.  

There are a couple of facts about web hosting companies that everyone needs to realize:

1. Every web host has failures, given enough time. None are perfect.

2. Given 1, that doesn't mean every web host is the same. Some do better than others in handling situations. Different people will feel differently about how well a situation was handled, not everyone will be pleased. But in general, some companies handle failures better than others.

What happens after a failure

The company almost always apologizes. Sometimes they give their customers some type of compensation, often in the form of credit or payment forgiveness. Anything less than an apology should be an immediate warning sign.

Customers are then faced with a big decision.

Do you want to remain a customer of this company?

Some people will ditch the web host no matter what, given a good enough reason. Some will be locked in because of long term contracts or budgets. Some will be wondering what the future performance of the company will be like: was this a one off or a pattern? Everyone will make their own evaluations on these issues. People will see this outage differently. Choosing the right web hosting company is a personal decision. No web host is perfect for everyone.

I have a unique insight given the data I track here at Review Signal. My full time job is analyzing web hosting companies and what people think of them. I've watched multiple major outages and problems across different companies.

What generally happens is called regression to the mean. Simply put, the companies generally return to their pre-failure/outage service quality.


GoDaddy had a major DNS outage in September 2012. You can see a clear drop in rating and increased negative sentiment during and for a couple days after the event. However, within a week, things appear to be back to normal, their long-term overall rating is just under 50%.


HostGator experienced a major outage in August 2013. We can see a huge decrease in rating and a massive spike in the number of negative messages. However, within days, HostGator was receiving ratings above 60%, they were 62% before the crash.

That doesn't mean every company will always regress back to the mean. Failures and outages can often be signs of systemic or worsening problems. There are sometimes signs that you can look for to determine if this is something that simply happens or perhaps a sign of things to come. Here is a non-exhaustive list of potential warning signs:

  • Management Changes
  • Ownership changes
  • Degrading Service Quality (eg. slower response times, less knowledgeable customer service representatives)
  • New / Different Infrastructure
  • New / Different Software

So you still want to move or at least consider other options?

There are a lot of hosting companies out there. There are probably some even cheaper, there are some that have better reputations in different areas, there are some that might suit you better than your current provider. It's sometimes a good idea to look around just to make sure you're getting the best value.

When choosing a new web host people generally consider one of two options: asking friends or reading reviews. If you have a friend who knows the web hosting industry and you trust them to give you a good recommendation, that's often a good place to start. If you like reviews and trust a lot of opinions more than one person's opinion then finding reviews can be a better option.

I am biased here and I want to be upfront about that. This site (Review Signal) is a webhosting review site that works by tracking the opinions people share publicly on social media. That's where I get my data and insights, watching and reading all the recommendations and complaints against most of the major players in the web hosting space. All of the data we collect is published for free and available here. Each review is linked to the original posting source so you can verify it, or even reach out to that person if you really want. Review Signal's goal is to be the most honest and transparent review site in the industry and has more than 150,000 reviews (or ~100 times more than any of our competitors).

That said, there are other venues that you can look at too. Web Hosting Talk is the largest web hosting forum and has years of people talking about different companies. There is a ton of great information there and it's a great place for people interested in learning about web hosting as a business.

What should I be concerned about when looking for a new host?

There are a lot of considerations but I will list some of the major ones:

1. What do you need? The primary constraints of any site are software, hardware (disk space, cpu, memory/ram), and bandwidth. Unlimited sounds nice, but nothing is really unlimited and you don't need unlimited. Most sites don't need much at all. WordPress is only a few megabytes to put this into perspective. A high resolution photo is generally a few megabytes. Realistic goals and expectations can help make for a better hosting experience.

2. How do you expect to be supported when things go wrong or you need help? There are two primary categories of hosting: managed and unmanaged. Managed hosting means the provider manages the server for you and takes care of things like security updates and software updates. Please note this is on the server side, generally not the software you install yourself. When your server goes down, they fix it. Unmanaged hosting makes you responsible for doing these things. Most people aren't comfortable with that, but some are. If you decide you need managed, look at things like how you can get support: is it ticket system only? What about telephone? Is it 24/7? Test out the support. Try calling/emailing and asking a question. Was it fast? Easy? Did you like talking to the person? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you are going to be really pissed off when you're a customer and actually have a real problem. Maybe that company isn't right for you.

3. How much should I spend on hosting? There is no right amount. You should be asking yourself two questions, how much can I afford and makes sense? How much is what I am running on my website worth? If you have an online business making $1,000/day running on a $3/month hosting plan with poor support, you might want to re-think your plan. If you run a personal blog for fun with cat pictures you found on reddit and your mom is your only visitor, $3/month might be the right amount to spend on it (no offense to all the cat picture websites, the internet needs more of you <3 and take this cat picture offering).


4. There is no best host. Hosting companies are good at different things. Some specialize in very specific types of hosting and services while others are the best at being cheap. It really depends what you want and how you want to make trade-offs.


I tried to include some basic guidelines and help here for anyone considering the issues around a major catastrophe at a web hosting company. Not every situation is covered and getting specific help and recommendations is sometimes necessary. I am happy to answer any questions people might have and help any/all of you to the best of my ability. Please use our Talk to a Web Hosting Expert form to get started. If you are just interested in reading reviews, I suggest taking a look at our big list of providers, ratings and data available on our compare web hosting providers page.

Good luck and I hope this has helped!

-Kevin Ohashi



This post was inspired by the EIG outage [covered here 12] and a comment I wrote on Mashable discussing the outage.

Photo credit: Nathan Reed.