For most hosting providers, after the first initial growth period, you will find your reseller hosting account is not sufficient, as I discussed in a previous post on whether a reseller account is sufficient for you.
Then, you need a dedicated server.
There are so many dedicated server providers. Therefore, a lot of free hosting providers chose the wrong ones. Here are the top 5 rules to ensure you find a reliable provider.
- Rule #1: Stay away from resellers. There are so many resellers in hosting industry. Most of them provide some good and additional services, especially for shared hosting. But for dedicated hosting, the premium provided by resellers usually is server management. If you need someone to manage the server, I usually recommend free hosting providers to hire some freelancers to do such jobs, instead of resellers. Getting a dedicated server through reseller has several disadvantages, for example, the reseller may have some billing disputes with the datacenter, and then your server will be in a vulnerable position. The problem is you even don’t know it.
- Rule #2: Buy the resources you will use. This sounds silly, but it is often overlooked even by some free hosting veterans. You have a budget, then you need decide what kind of resources are essential for you. If your free hosting is bandwidth intensive, for example, free web proxy, then you should spend choose a plan with enough bandwidth, if possible, upgrade to unlimited bandwidth. However, if your free hosting service is database intensive, for example, WordPress blog hosting, you should get a server with enough RAM, and more cores, and faster hard drive if possible, not to waste money on unlimited bandwidth. You always has a budget limitation, spend wisely to get the resources that you need and will use.
- Rule #3: Get a server close to you or close to your users. It is always better to deal with local dedicated hosting providers so that you can easily visit them. Some small datacenters may also allow you to enter and work on your server. If you cannot find a suitable provider near your location, try to find a provider close to your users. This will generally make your server more responsive for your users. For example, if the majority of your users are in Europe, it is a good idea to get a server in Germany or Netherlands if it is affordable. When you buy overseas servers, you need pay attention to the connection quality in overseas datacenters. Some datacenters in Africa and Asia can be quite slow and have very limited bandwidth. In this situation, you may just get a US server.
- Rule #4: Friendliness is the key. Not all datacenters welcome free hosting providers. Before any complaints arrive, all datacenters look good. How to handle complaints will differ datacenters greatly. As a free hosting provider, you should always expected that your service may get some complaints, e.g., spamming, phishing… A friendly datacenter will work with you and then solve the issue, others will simply boot your ass. So, sometimes, try to avoid big names because they usually have no patience on small hosting providers like you.
- Rule #5: Check network reliability before your buy. Over the years, the network reliability in almost all datacenters has improved significantly. But some datacenters still have more problems than others. WebhsotingTalk is a good place to check the network reliability of different datacenters. You may also find out whether the datacenters in your shortlist have many compliant. A gentle reminder, do not over-use the info in any public forum. Often the complaint in public forum is exaggerated. Anyway, WebHostingTalk should be able to give you a rough idea on the reliability of different providers.
Anyway, if you follow these rules, you will spend your money wisely and get the best ROI.