Aditya Lall Patel-

The most important process in the selection of a dedicated server is the choice of the hosting provider. Quality and services differ widely and extensive research is suggested before making the selection.

It is not enough to compare hardware and prices alone, other factors are of even bigger importance. What good is a dedicated server that is unreachable for most of the day because of overselling or poor infrastructure?

Key points

• Start off with good quality hardware (look for enterprise-grade HDDs)
• Choose a host which offers excellent support (you’ll likely need it at some point!)
• Find out the hardware replacement guarantee (SLA)
• Find out the Tier rating of the datacenter(s) used by the hosting provider
• If a deal looks too good to be true, the chances are at its best to prove.


This article will help you make that decision by showing you how to compare apples to apples. By understanding what hosting companies mean by what they say, you’ll be able to decide which hosting company and package best suits your needs.

1. Price:

This is the aspect most of us will look at first when choosing a hosting provider; however, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. When you see price differences it’s helpful to remember the old maxim that we get what we pay for. Jumping on the cheapest offer you see isn’t necessarily the best idea, especially if you rely on your site to make money.

Things like non-outsourced support and quality hardware cost money, and a hosting company that charges $1.99 per month likely won’t offer these features. Take a closer look at the features that each host provides, and THEN compare prices.

With all the companies out there each promising to have 99% uptime, unlimited resources, and knowledgeable support, there has to be a way to cut through the gobbledygook and make an informed decision.

2. Area of Focus / Specialties:

It’s a fact that not all web hosts are right for all different kinds of customers. Look into a company’s specialty or area of expertise before you buy, and go with one that understands your particular needs as a customer.

3. Tech Specs / Limitations:

If you’re hoping to host a blog, an e-commerce site, rich content, and videos, then you shouldn’t go with the cheapest hosting package you can find. A cheap hosting plan probably won’t have the RAM, processing power, and disk space to serve all these needs, and you’ll spend more time dealing with downtime or load issues than you would like.

4. Software Options:

Operating System: 

Do they offer all of the main Windows & Linux distributions? If they only offer Linux, it’s likely the support team will be unable to help with any Windows-related problems even if you are installing a custom operating system.

Always look for a hosting provider which offers all of the main operating systems, though you should expect to pay an additional monthly fee for Windows-based OSs since these require a paid license.

5. Hardware:


This choice is a difficult one to prescribe, because it depends on a lot of variables. What kind of machines does your hosting company use?

Are they top-of-the-line, out-of-the-box new machines, or are they cobbled together from what might be spare parts and chicken wire?

You might have to do a bit of reading (or question-asking) to get to the bottom of this one, since hardware can affect the performance of both their servers and your site.

6. Additional software:

Can your hosting provider install additional software such as Softaculous (1-click software installer), WHMCS (billing software) etc. if needed?

Although you could buy software licenses and install the software yourself, it’s good to know your host can do this for you if needed. You’ll most likely be the one working with it, so if you can’t figure it out, then that’s going to be a problem.

7. Scalability / Room to Grow:

Finally, an important thing to consider about your hosting provider (and the plan you choose) is whether or not they fit into your plans for the future. In other words, what you consider adequate hosting now might not meet your needs two years from now, once you start selling your wares online and getting some good traffic to your site.

Will they be able to easily upgrade your account?

Transferring from one host to another takes valuable time and effort which could be avoided if the company can scale their solutions for growth.

8. Email Features:

This is one of those areas where you might not have considered asking your host for help. If you have a spam problem, then it may be because your hosting company doesn’t provide an adequate solution to stop it.

Look into or ask about your provider’s spam solutions and general email practices. For many companies today, email is the single most important communications tool their employees use. No matter what they say, email isn’t dead quite yet.

9. Control Panel:

Does your provider use most recent control panel to make updates and modifications easier, or do they use some clunky interface that no one can figure out? Which different control panels are offered? It’s usually best to opt for one of the well-known panels such as cPanel/WHM (WebHost Manager), or Plesk. This way, if you ever need your websites to migrate away, it’ll be much more straightforward.

10. Network Quality & Uptime:

Even if the server hardware is of a good standard and the datacenter in which your server is located has a good hardware replacement guarantee, if the network suffers from packet loss or regular outages, this all means nothing – your server needs to be accessible from the outside world.

Since datacenter space is limited, this often means servers are crammed in any possible space, and there will be more servers per rack and network switch.

As a result of this, you’ll likely find the network is congested, and you suffer from longer ping times or packet loss at peak times.

As with all these factors, do some researches, get some opinions, and make an informed decision.