Friday, November 25, 2016

Top 10 Web Hosts All the Same

I think the word is out! "You can't believe anything you read on the Internet." (By the way, if you haven't heard that, it's true!) And that means this article too. Don't believe it. Don't believe me, don't believe Huffington Post, don't believe RedStatesResurgent.com (band name, I call it!), don't believe Snopes, or Politifact, or even NPR.org.

Consider this the truth. If you're reading this on the Internet, you can't believe it. Don't believe any of them. Don't believe me.

So what can you believe? And what does that have to do with reviews for web hosting companies?

First of all, where it comes to politics and governance, I'll leave the sorting out of truth to you. As with art, tastes vary, and you might actually be among those who don't actually want to know the truth anyway. There is a great deal of merit to the observation that "The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night." (Translated from the original German: "Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts.")

You see, many people will tell you that the "laws and sausages" comment originated with German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. But that's not the truth. (The earliest attribution of this sentiment to Bismarck is seen in 1958.) Other scholars will tell you that the saying was first heard on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1878. There is little evidence that this is the truth. Another might tell you that the sentiment is first seen in print in 1869 in the University of Michigan's University Chronicle.

It's a simple matter really, and yet we cannot know the absolute truth.

So in all likelihood, our relationship to "the truth" when it comes to politics, governance, and history will be a function of our willingness to dig, research, and invest time in finding evidence about what really happened, or what was really said.

But what does this have to do with web hosting?

Remember web hosting?

Funny how so many of the "Top 10" lists 
come largely from the same source
Oh yes, we came to discuss the fact that according to most available sources, the "Top 10 Web Hosting Companies" are actually the same company. Now that IS the truth! Seriously, why would I lie about this?

Let's start with the claims. If you do a Google search for "top 10 web hosting services" you will get a string of ads that originate at domains with names like "top10webhosting dot com." (Note that I haven't linked to them, I don't want to encourage this.)

If you look closely, what you'll find is that most of those sites list pretty much the same "usual suspects" and all of them are subsidiaries of Endurance International Group (EIG). This means that Bluehost, HostGator, HostMonster, and BlueDomino are all owned by the same company.

When those names show up consistently in many of the "top 10" lists, and when most of those lists seem to originate from domains that seem suspiciously like advertising sites for just one company, then it's like that thing your girlfriend says to you:

"It's not that you aren't really one of the Top 10 web hosting companies. It's that you LIED about it!"

Because this has been carefully documented elsewhere, I won't go into the evidence or the claims that EIG isn't in fact, one of the best choices available to you. I mean, in the spirit of questioning "truth," we might even consider that they are a very good hosting company.

It's just that when you are a truly powerful emperor, you don't need to hire legions of minions to rush around and screech, "what a wonderful king!" So I mean, why would they feel the need to lie to us, even if it's merely that remote-control lie where their supposedly "independent" reviews put them at the top?

So if you are thinking about where to host your own small business website, you may want to dig a little deeper than the 20 minute Google search. You can ask a professional for an opinion (such as someone who is a member of this web designers' collective). Or you could ask my opinion (I use and recommend Dreamhost, they've been reliable and provided me responsive service, and their pricing is moderate).

Or you could take a few minutes to read these recommendations from Michael Bely who appears to have invested a great deal more time than me to research the matter.

In the end, you may find that there is no such thing as an absolute truth on this matter. And in business, we know that "true enough" is almost always sufficient. Just be aware that the first, or most obvious answer in this case, is almost certainly insufficient.

Vincent Lowe is a professional corporate educator and filmmaker whose commitment is to education that empowers people to live and work in space. He assures us that has in fact, not ever told his girlfriend that he is "one of the Top 10 web hosting companies."