I have paid for web hosting since 1995. When it comes to service, I’ve done pretty good. I follow a three step process when searching for web hosting.
- Web Research – Everyone does this. Find a host that meets all your requirements at the price point you are willing to pay.
- Sunday or Late Night Email – Let us say that you have 2 or 3 possible web hosts in mind. Wait until Sunday and then fire off an email to their support staff asking a question. The question shouldn’t be too difficult as to require lots of research, but not easy enough to be answered by a sales person.
- Wait For Responses – The winner of your business will be the web host that quickly and professionally responds to your off hour email question.
When I pay for web hosting I want to know that they have competent people working during non-business hours. Some of these discount web hosts are able to offer rock bottom prices, because they have bare bones technical support. They staff their rock stars during business hours, because that is when they are most likely to land a new customer. Sending an email on Sunday, or late in the night, is perfect way to test a web host before handing over your credit card data.
After you have established a relationship with a web host, periodically send an off hour email. Maybe once or twice a year. Keep them on their toes. Consider this test to be part of your website back up strategy.
This site uses WinHost, which I highly recommend for ASP.NET and SQL Server web hosting. They passed the Sunday email test.