Anyone who searches Google with general terms such as “best web hosting” or “best hosting provider”, or any other general terms should be cautious of the results returned.
If you try it, the general view you will likely come to is that there are around 5-10 hosting providers mentioned. All of the sites you visit will have glowing reviews of these services.
Why is this an issue?
The issue is referral programs. The web hosting providers you are always seeing have programs where if someone refers you to them, they get paid.
Writing great reviews about these providers and spending a lot of time and effort to make sure you find that review and click on their links means money to the reviewers.
Most of these reviewers wont have used the providers so can’t write an honest review. Not that it matters to them. They are not interested in the truth, just clicks.
What makes it worse is that it can be popular websites that do this. Here is an example.
This is from a very popular tech site, note the language in the description. What could go wrong? They both appear amazing right? But, if you click on the link you will this part in the address of your browser.
I have removed the name of the site this was taken from but you can clearly see the reference to an affiliate link. So if you sign up the site you clicked the link on is paid for you signing up.
Nowhere does it state these are affiliate links and the reviewer is being paid if you sign up.
Some affiliate programs are really good. When you click on the link it will present you with a page that reference the name of the site you clicked the link on and make it appear like it is some exclusive deal available to them. It’s not.
So ask yourself. Are they really the best web hosting services? Or is it really just about getting your money?
Is their Web Hosting actually good?
Now to be clear. What I am not suggesting is that these providers you keep seeing are bad. Well, not necessarily. There will always be some that are not happy with a provider.
No hosting provider is perfect. But even those that you constantly see as a result of many trying to force affiliate clicks can be perfectly fine.
All I would suggest is that you try and find other sources to verify if they are as good as a review may suggest.
Trust pilot is a useful tool as one example. Here is an example using one of the hosts in the screenshot above.
Does that match the description of what you should be expecting? No, not with 68% of reviewers that use the service giving them a 1 star rating.
Now I would also use caution here. As with pretty much everything, people are less likely to be vocal when things go well and far more likely to be vocal when it goes wrong.
When using a site like Trustpilot I will always scroll through quite a few of the most positive and negative reviews to understand what the key issues are.
I have done that in this case. What I am seeing is that general performance is a key concern for users. Even those that give them between 3-5 stars but a very obvious concern with those giving 1 start. Support response times are a clear positive.
So I would be concerned. Whilst support is good that is really not much use if performance is a common issue.
Again, the actual user experience does not match the claims of the reviewer further up.
Hopefully, you understand my concerns here. Providers offer affiliate programs, nothing wrong with that. However, what it does is incentivises poor, misleading and sometimes straight out lies in order to get you clicking the links on websites to make them money.
I use affiliate links on this site but I clearly disclose them and I only use them for providers that I actively use and have experience with. If I stop using a provider, I remove the affiliate links as I can no longer know they still provide a good service.