1 Find a web host (including all the big players).
First, we visit the hosting company’s website to review what they have to offer and how their pricing compares to other companies.
Then, we analyse their contracts/agreement terms to find any hidden fees or unfair practices consumers should know about.
Finally, we look at the types of support they have available – like live chat, phone, ticket or email.
- Packages/services available
- Listed prices & hidden fees
- Deceptive marketing language (e.g. 100% up-time, unlimited bandwidth – both are impossible!)
- Available support
2 Open our wallets and pay for the hosting (in other words: We sign up).
Unlike other reviews websites, we actually sign up and USE the hosting we review.
We report on…
- Ease of signup
- Payment options (Credit card, PayPal, etc.)
- Surprise fees, unexpected conditions or unfair clauses
- Available upsells (and whether they’re worth the price)
3 Get to know all the "In's & Out's" of a web host
Not every hosting company gives you access right away – some take DAYS to activate your account and even require an ID card!
Once we’re in, we also take a look at the control panel the hosting company uses (cPanel, vDeck, custom, etc.) and see how easy it is to do simple tasks (keeping beginners in mind).
Finally, we install WordPress and get a simple site up and running.
- Activation time and ease
- User-friendliness of control panel
- Ease of WordPress installation
4 Set up test sites and start monitoring performance (Speed and Uptime)
With the site up and running, it’s time to see if the hosting company is living up to their promises.
We plug our domain names into Pingdom to calculate average up-time and page load speeds in real-time. We can also see how fast the site loads in certain countries, or on certain devices.
Slow load times are terrible for users – almost as bad as being offline!
- Up-time percentage (How often does the site go down?)
- Page load speeds
5 Have a quick chat with their customer support (i.e evaluate their service)
Bad support can ruin great hosting. You need to know the company will be able to help when something goes wrong.
We put the company’s support team to the test by contacting them with 3 – 4 questions that new webmasters often have. Usually this is done over Live Chat, though we do test other support channels like tickets, email or phone calls when available.
- Response times
- Communication (Are they friendly and easy to understand?)
- Accuracy of advice/help
- Availability of support (Phone, email, etc.)
6 Get them ranked...
Based on everything we’ve learned about the company’s pricing, features, up-time, page load speed, customer support and marketing practices, we assign a rating from 0 – 10.
To calculate this rating, we use the following weighting:
- Support is rated by 0/10 (Weighted 25% of the overall rating)
- Price is rated by 0/10 (Weighted 25% of the overall rating)
- Up-time is rated by 0/10 (Weighted 25% of the overall rating)
- Page load speed is rated by 0/10 (Weighted 25% of the overall rating)
We list each of these factors separately, giving you a clear understanding of where the company is strong and where it needs to improve.
You have the ability to sort all of our reviews based on the overall score – or the factors most important to you!