Finding the best web hosting service provider can actually be a pain at times. I never bargained for what was to come when a friend simply asked me to find a suitable hosting company for his small business. I thought that by going through a few reviews on the Internet would actually give me a better insight, however, I found myself in a worse state than I was before reading the reviews. No one could have been more confused and it felt like my head was being played around like a tennis ball in Wimbledon. Finally, I decided to conduct my own little web hosting experiment. It was not complicated, neither did it require any technical know-how.
At first, I made a short-list of possible hosting companies that met my basic requirements, in no particular order, as follows;
- Fat Cow
- Webhosting Pad
My technique was quite straightforward; many hosting companies out there offer similar services these days. From “UNLIMITED everything” to 24/7 customer service helplines. Therefore, I decided to base my methodology on the latter by clicking on the various live chat buttons to discuss and explain my plight to a member of their respective sales teams. Whoever provided the best service/response would eventually become my top choice particularly because there was not so much separating one from the other.
I was quite impressed that the chat window came up on time. However, I had to enter more personal information than I thought was necessary to speak to a sales agent. First it was my name, then email, phone number etc. Eventually, I was placed on a queue which I thought meant that I could finally chat to someone about my needs.. Well, a few minutes later the chat session was timed out and I had to fill another form in order to leave a message because all the agents were busy.
The BlueHost experience was quite different and actually more impressive. I only had to enter my name and fill an optional question (text area) to chat with their sales agent. Connection was fast and the agent seemed very knowledgeable. She also gave me fantastic feedback and references to almost all the questions I asked. It felt like I finally found a company that knows how to sell their product and was getting closer to making a decision.
The first issue that put me off FatCow was the familiarity of their “Live Chat” user-interface. It was exactly the same as one of the hosting companies I use presently. I exercised some patience and waited to chat with an agent before reaching the conclusion that this aspect of their business was outsourced. Within two minutes of waiting, I was chatting with a “sales agent”. I explained my problem to him and asked for 5 reasons why I should choose their hosting service over others. However, his response was shocking: “Sir, can you please tell me the exact link that logged you into this chat area?”. I could have said “WakawikiMC” for all I cared but then I didn’t. He kept me waiting for over five minutes then copied and pasted a few lines directly from FatCow’s website, by which time I was ready to leave.
WebHostingPad boasts of arguably the cheapest hosting plan in the market, valued at only $1.99 per month. However, after waiting for 15 minutes to get connected without success, I decided to take my business elsewhere. Perhaps that explains why their services are dead cheap.
My experience with Site-5’s sales agent was rather average. Although I was able to chat with an someone in less than 2 minutes, he did not seem to be very knowledgeable about their services. The only statement that caught my attention was the “99% Guaranteed uptime” he mentioned.
It does appear that HostGator actually does eat up competition, if the results of my little experiment is anything to go by. The connection was fast, the sales agent was very polite, intelligent and all my questions were properly answered. Although slightly more expensive than the rest, after the conversation, it appeared to me that HostGator might just be worth every penny.