Searching for a new web host company for your precious website can actually be a misleading experience. If you search for the top hosting companies in Australia (here’s a link: Google) you are going too see a lot of results.

Interestingly the top recommended companies are usually Affiliate Links. What does this mean? They are recommending where you should host your website based on the kickback they will get.  You sign up via the link on their website and they get paid.

SiteGround is Number 1

The top result for a lot of these websites is SiteGround. According to SiteGrounds own website they don’t even have servers in Australia! (https://www.siteground.com/kb/where_are_sitegrounds_servers/)

This means that your website is more than likely hosted in Singapore. Some facts on this:

How can an honest reviewer put SiteGround as their number one recommendation for Australians?

If your website has international market then you should be using OneFlare to distribute your website and SiteGround may be a good option for this. 

However, if your website is local then it should be hosted here in Australia for maximum speed and performance. As a point of difference Sydney to Brisbane ping time is around 12ms. 

So why do they all recommend SiteGround? 

Have a look at their payouts: https://www.siteground.com/kb/affiliate_program_earnings/ 

If you click the SiteGround link on a review site that reviewer is going to get paid a minimum of AUD$50. WOW.  No wonder they are recommending them.

Some websites will even go as far to say that hosting locally doesn’t mean you’ll get the best performance.  There are some slower hosts based in Australia but if your reviewers process is honest then wouldn’t they include the ones that are actually of high performance?

How Much Do they earn for misleading you?

At the time of writing 8 out of the 10 top ten review sites listed on Google all recommend SiteGround as number 1. They all also include a mixture of the other top affiliate payout web hosts:
(listed with their affiliate payout so you can see for yourself how much they get paid)

  1. SiteGround- https://www.siteground.com/kb/affiliate_program_earnings/
  2. A2 Hosting – https://www.a2hosting.com/about/affiliate-program
  3. Hostinger – (upto 60% per sale) https://www.hostinger.com/affiliates
  4. HostPapa – https://www.hostpapa.com.au/about-hostpapa/affiliates/
  5. BlueHost – https://www.bluehost.com/affiliates

None of these are Australian companies.

None of these have servers located in Australia.

A2 is especially misleading with their “Best Australian Hosting Solution” https://www.a2hosting.com/locations/australia. Look down the bottom of the page and you will see they don’t have servers in Australia either!

The other two sites in the search results is PCMag but this is targeted towards the american market. The other is WHTop (https://www.whtop.com/top.10-alexa-ranking/country-au) which lists their top 10 based on Alexa Rank.  This is the only non-biased Top 10.  All of them are Australian companies and not one of the five affiliate sites above are listed!

As a final point the independent user reviews for the supposedly best Australian web host is only 3 out of 5 stars on WHTop: https://www.whtop.com/review/siteground.com

Look for honest reviewers

When researching for an honest review look for these factors:

  1. Right at the top of the review article they should state if they are an affiliate or not. (hiding the Affiliate Disclosure in the website footer is not honest)
    Ignore any site that uses affiliate payouts.
  2. Hover your mouse over the link or click it to see where the reviewed host links to.  It should go direct to the web hosts domain name and should not include an affiliate tag (look for a question mark as part of the link such as ?afcode=)
  3. Choose a web host that does not have an affiliate program. We of course don’t but neither does VentraIP, Panthur, Zuver or NetRegistry.  Funny how these sites never appear in the top reviews yet lots of local Australians host with them!

How can you tell if a web host is good or not?

Do your own research!

  1. Check their business profile on Google and see if they have any reviews.
  2. Use other unbiased review websites like https://www.whtop.com/
  3. Use an independent website test such as pingdom.  Make sure you select Sydney as the test location.
    Most web hosts will have a test site you can check (here’s ours: https://tools.pingdom.com/#5bc496df46800000) or just test the web hosts home page) 
  4. Ask other people their experiences. Try Whirlpool or Reddit.

In the end the best way to know is to pick a company that has a free trial and will move your website for free.  This way you are not out of pocket and will get a true experience.  If it’s no good, try the next one.