What is a Great Webhost?

Which host is the right one for your website? There are lots of them. Prices range from free up to 100 Dollar per month or more.
It is obvious to me that I do not look for an exciting startup company to host my websites. I need a stable environment, managed by people with a track record, who know what they are doing. For this reason I prefer a utility-like company, with a clear focus on customer service.
To navigate through all this possibilities, I suggest you use a set of clear criteria. Here is the list the most important ones:

  • Reliability (99% uptime)
  • Excellent Helpdesk – fast response
  • Uses cPanel
  • Very fast internet connection
  • Abundance of bandwidth included
  • Multiple domains and subdomains allowed
  • Solid package of stats for each domain. I must know how many people, and who visits my websites.
  • Allows domains registered through an independent domains service
  • Multiple databases allowed
  • Located in free speech country

All these points are a must. I will not settle for less. If the hosting company asks for a contract running for many months, or even years, I want first a trial period. And I will ask about upgrade opportunities, in case I need some features not included in the actual package I consider to book. During this time I will see the real connection speed and reliability. I will also have a chance to experience their customer service department.
There are some features I really like to have. They are

  • SSH access, which allows me to manage minor changes directly on the server.
  • The ability to install SSL certificates for my domains. These certificates are necessary for encrypted connections. And they proof my identity to my visitors.

The bottom line is: I am looking for a reliable established company in a stable environment. I want a customer service giving me respect, being able to listen and willing to find solutions for any problem.
I want to keep my domains registered somewhere else, clearly not affiliated with the hosting company. If I allow the hosting company to register my domains, they can create complications if and when I should decide to move on to their competitor.