Sometimes you may feel that your hosting company’s tech support program just isn’t enough. But there’s more out there to help you then just the services that they provide. Sometimes it’s even helpful to check up with these 3rd party services even when your technical support is satisfying your needs. Most of these services are free to use for anyone, and just aren’t that well known amount new webmasters. However, you also need to understand that some services pose as being free and helpful, but really they might try to sell you things you don’t really need. Below we’ll go over a couple methods which webmasters commonly use to get help with any hosting-related problems, and a little bit about how they work.
The most obvious choice for some are 3rd party forums. A popular one used by most all webmasters is called “WebHostingTalk“. Discussions ranging from all sorts of topics take place here, from control panel interfaces to domain name registrars and even e-commerce stuff. It’s very well populated (usually a few hundred members are logged in at all times) and there’s a lot of knowledgeable people. You can spend time searching for questions previously answered, or sign up for an account and post your own questions. You can even assist in helping others out in the meantime while waiting for your own questions to be answered. Actions like this are what makes these boards functional and particularly useful.
The only bad part about 3rd party forums is that there are a few vendors lurking around trying to discredit their competitor providers. These people will often respond in ways that may be rude (mostly politely rude) or obnoxious, and for the most part they’re very easy to pick out. There’s also two other ways to identify these people. The first is to just take a look in their signature. Is there some link to the hosting company they’re defending? You can also check the previous posts they’ve made to see what kind of topics they tend to reply to and what their attitudes are in them. It’s a major benefit in forums; you can get to know someone instantly without them getting to know you.
The next best place to find support is blogs. Webmasters who share their experiences with web hosting can help you to figure out your own issues. The best types of blogs to look for are the ones which you can read various posts and feel as though you’ve been connected in some way with the person who wrote them, rather than feel like you’ve just walked into a car dealership.