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Hosting Selection Criteria

Before explaining how the hosting companies I recommend made it on my lists, I think you should first know how the hosting review sites determine their top ranked web hosts.

As documented by Hosting Reviews Exposed, many host review sites sell their rankings. If a host wants to be the top-ranked web host, they only have to pay the review site the going rate. Each of the top ten rankings is a paid placement, not a true ranking based on objective criteria.

Yet other review sites merely rank the hosts with the highest paying affiliate program as the best host. Now, there's nothing wrong with affiliate programs, but there is something wrong in trying to deceive innocent people with phony rankings.

I know for a fact one host that is ranked highly on most host review sites is a horrible host. I know because I tried them and left them because of far too much downtime and extremely poor support—imagine one to two hours on hold every time you call to talk to tech support, and you have to call them once or twice a week on average because your site keeps going down. And to think, this is a top ranked host on several host review sites!

How I Chose Which Hosts to List

I've been in the web design business for over ten years, so naturally I have made several friends in the business. The hosts in my lists are the hosts I use for my many sites and my client's sites, or they are the hosts my trusted associates use for themselves and their clients.

Note: I included my associates recommendations to offer more choices, otherwise there would only be a handful of hosts listed.

Check the sidebar to see why I use several hosting company.

Admittedly, my lists of recommended hosts are fairly short, especially compared to the pages and pages of "rankings" at host review sites. That's because I'm not posting just any host, these are the actual hosts we use. Besides, you only need one or two good hosts, right?

Who would know better which hosting companies are good than those of us who rely on them for our living?

I did put together a big list of web hosts for those who do want to look at more hosting companies than are on my recommended lists. While my recommended hosts are also on the big list, be advised that neither I nor my associates have used the majority of the hosts on the big list.

Hosting Criteria

Host review sites only tout the features and pricing of a website host, but in reality those are not good measures of quality. The three most important considerations are these:
  • High Reliability
  • Responsive 24/7 Tech Support
  • Redundant Infrastructure
If you download my free ebook, How to Choose a Good Website Host, I go into the details of what to look for in a good web host. In this ebook I show you exactly how I choose a web host so you can choose one on your own. You don't need someone else's list!

While those three items are my most important criteria, they're not the first thing I look at because they take time to research. The first things I look at are features and price.


Because if the host doesn't have the features I want at a price I like, there's no sense taking the time to research the other stuff.

If they pass the features and price test, then I look into reliability, support, infrastructure and a few other items, such as how long they've been in business, their service level agreement, terms of service, and other items.

I usually research at least a half dozen hosts when I'm looking for a new one. After the above process, there's usually more than one still left standing. So how do I decide which one to host with after all that?

Money! By that I don't mean choosing the lowest cost host. Choose the one that has the best affiliate program so you can make money from them instead of only paying money to them!

By placing advertising for your host on your site you can create a passive income stream. If you only get a couple commissions per year it pays for your hosting costs. The potential is there to earn a lot more money, but that isn't all...

Having an advertiser does more than earn money for you. Most well known sites have advertising on them. If your site has advertising on it, that can help create a subconscious perception of credibility for it in the minds of your visitors. In psychology and marketing this is called spontaneous trait inference or attribution by association.

You may have noticed I have advertising for web hosting companies on this site and some of my other sites. This is where they come from. I've made as much as $300 in one month by advertising for hosts that I use. Some months I make nothing, but everything I make is more than I had.

My Links to Web Hosts

Full disclosure—most of the links to the hosts I recommend are affiliate links. I'd be stupid not to use affiliate links as long as I'm sending these hosts traffic, but a host isn't listed simply because they pay well. They're listed because in my experience (or that of my trusted associates) they're good hosts. It's that simple.

Since I've gone to the time and trouble to create this content about hosting, and since it doesn't cost you any extra if I earn an affiliate commission, I assumed you wouldn't mind that I use affiliate links. If you do mind, you're welcome to read my free ebook that shows you how to choose a host on your own and I won't earn a commission. Fair enough?

I also don't offer fake rankings, there are no rankings at all, just links to good hosts. Everything is above board, as it should be. Find the one you're comfortable with rather than the one I make the most commission from and we'll both be happy. That's a win/win for us.

Some of the best paying affiliate commissions are from hosts I wouldn't recommend to anyone because I've tried them—and left them because of their poor service—so they are not on my list. Some hosts on my lists pay very little by comparision, but they're included because they're good hosts that I or my trusted associates in the business use.

So, the difference between my lists of recommended hosts and those of most host review sites are these:

  • I'm honest enough to tell you most of the links are affiliate links.
  • Either I or my trusted associates actually use the hosts we recommend.
  • Placement on my lists are NOT for sale.
  • You can download my free ebook, How to Choose a Good Website Host and learn how to pick a good host on your own if you don't like the idea of me earning affiliate commissions for my efforts. I always strive to offer value to everyone whether I'm making money from them or not—that's how I believe business should be conducted.
If you do choose a host on your own and like the idea of using them as advertisers on your web site, let me emphasize that you should never choose a host based primarily on how much they pay their affiliates. Choose a few equally good hosts based on the quality of their services, and then narrow down the list of good hosts using the affiliate program as the tipping point.

I should also mention that most hosts DO NOT allow you to be your own affiliate customer. In fact, some will revoke your affiliate status for trying to cheat them. No one likes being cheated, especially when it comes to love or money.

I hope you've found this article refreshingly honest. I have several web sites and earn my living online, so my credibility is crucial in maintaining and growing my income level. If I recommend a bad host because they pay well, it makes me look bad.

I'd much rather look good while making money . . . as good as a slightly out of shape, slightly balding, middle aged guy can look anyway. :o)

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truth in hosting At last, someone who is honest about web hosting issues. honest hosting reviews
Free PDF ebook...

How to Choose a Good Website Host

How to choose a good web host.
Current Version: 1.8

Download: Right-click Here and choose Save Link As (Firefox) or Save Target As (IE), or similar wording if you use another browser.

Description: This FREE guide to choosing a good host explains the criteria I use to choose a hosting services provider. It includes giveaway rights if you want to share with your own website visitors or friends.

Want a Shortcut?

Choosing a good website host can be a lot of work if you take the time to do it right. If you want a shortcut, my associates and I have put together a short list of our recommendations.

Want More Choices?

Admittedly our recommended lists are pretty short because we only recommend hosts we use. If you want a bigger selection, I've put together a really big list of hosts.

Understand though, that other than the hosts carried over from our recommended lists, we haven't tried the other hosts on this list.

Why I Use Multiple Web Hosts

With so many hosts offering unlimited domains on one account, you may wonder why I don't save money by hosting all my sites under one account instead of using multiple hosts?

I actually did host all my sites with one host at one time, but learned the hard way this was not the best idea. Here's what happened...

A few years ago the area where my host was located was hit by a severe storm. Power lines were down all over the city. The host went down, and with them, so did all my sites.

To make matters worse, the host was out of power for a week, and when they came back online some of my websites weren't fully functional so I had to spend another day fixing things.

In all, my websites were down for seven or eight days, so I was out of business for that long. I made no sales, earned no ad revenue, had people wondering if I'd gone out of business, and so on.

Now I spread my sites among several hosts. If one host goes down, I'm still in business with the sites that I have with the other hosts.

Here's another scenario where using multiple hosts pays dividends...

If all your sites are at the same host under the same account and one of them gets hacked, say with a phishing script, the host will shut down your account and all your sites will be down until the script is located and removed, which isn't always easy.

That exact thing happened to someone I know, it's not all that uncommon.

If you only have a hobby site it may not be that important if something happens to your site, but if you have more than one site and depend on them for income, it's a very good idea to use multiple hosts.

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