It's one of the people
at your office calling to tell you that your web site is down.
Okay so you pick up the phone and call your hosting company
to see what's up or in this case why its down. They tell you call
back in 15 minutes, its only a minor problem. You call back, this time, the number is busy.
Hit redial, "Your call is important to us, all representatives are
busy assisting other customers. Please hold for the next available
Tick Tick, Tick...
Finally, 30 minutes
later you get a
representative that says Hey, 15 more minutes its only a minor
problem. Well being that's what they said 5 hours ago, you hang up
in disgust, cancel your vacation. That was Monday
It's now Thursday,
your site is still down your vacation is cancelled and you are now
out 4 days of sales worth....That $6 per month web hosting account
has now cost you over $10,000.
We receive calls similar to this at least three times a week, from people
looking to see how quickly we can get their account set up and
running here on our servers.
Hosts that offer
unlimited or very large web spaces need to be approached with
caution. What you save on the front side in hosting fees may cost
you thousands in the long run. Please don't misunderstand,
depending on the nature and function of your site, as well
as how much technical support you may need, a cheap web host may
be an option for you.
Here a few things you
might want to ask a 500 megs for $6.95 web just to make sure they
are a fit with what you need. When you hire a hosting company to
host you site, it a lot of ways its a partnership.
How many sites do you
host per machine?
If they have 200+ sites per machine you may want to ask these
-What type of servers are you running, (if they are application
servers like Cobalt, this is far too many sites for the machine to
work properly.) You want at least a PIII 500 with at least
256 of ram.
-What type of connection do you have. T1s and T3 can be easily
purchased from local phone companies in the form of upper end DSL
lines. Any hosting company offering server for large numbers of
customers generally an OC-3 or better connections. The more
customers per machine, the more horsepower needed to make sure the
server and your web site responds quickly. A sluggish server may
lose you potential customers.
If you think you may need technical support, you may want to
investigate that as well. Generally cheap hosting companies, don't
answer the phone, send it to voicemail or have very long hold
times. Don't get caught by surprise, know the support policy up
front. Also, you may want to try the email support system. See if
it takes hours or days to get a reply.
We know of a great
hosting company (not us) that offers a lot of services for the
money but don't ever try to get support from them. They have an
elaborate ticket system, answers are not provided for at least 2
days. And they don't answer any question outside the realm of
their servers. So if you are having trouble with FrontPage, past
getting extensions reinstalled, its not going to happen. You are
on your own. And if you call without an assigned ticket, you are
told that you can't call them until you have a ticket and the
allotted time for the ticket to expire has past. For some this
situation works, for others it doesn't.
Know the refund and
service level guarantee (uptime). Make sure that if you are not
satisfied, you can always get your money back, or at least,
the unused portion of your fees. Cheap hosting companies, and even
the reputable ones, are notorious for not providing refunds. If
you pay them, assume your money to be gone. Make sure you they
have an initial refund period if you aren't happy. After that has
expired, what is the terms of cancellation. Again, the above
company who uses the support ticket system, they will only charge
in quarters, if you do not notify them 30 days prior to your next
renewal, you will have to pay for the upcoming quarter, regardless
of if you have service or not and if you cancel in the middle of
the quarter you are not provided with any type of refund. Period.
Its in their terms of service and make you agree to it before you
have an account there. You are contractually bound. In essence,
they make it very difficult to cancel.
Many hosts, especially the cheaper ones claim they have "unlimited
bandwidth." Simply put, its not true. someone eventually has to
pay for it. If you set up a site which chokes a host's Internet
connection, the host will either make you pay more or simply shut
off your site. We've even seen some unlimited hosts offer
unlimited only to penalize the top 5% of its customer base,
classify them as 'hogs' and charge them more. They get away with
this because its in their terms of service. Don't fall for
gimmicks, and this one is definitely a gimmick.
Check List of questions:
We have put together a check list for you to use when selecting a
hosting company. You should get solid answers and most
reputable companies, post this information on their site in a very
visible place. Those are the ones with nothing to hide or don't
have squirrelly rules designed to beat you out of your money
regardless if their service is inferior.
Unfortunately, we have
seen so many people get taken, in one way shape or form, we hope
that you will heed our advise and make sure you know about the
company that you are choosing to host your web site.
Please visit our FAQ
area which address our policies.
Click here for FAQ