Before Choosing a Web Host: Topics to Consider

Buyer Beware!
Things to consider about Cheap Web Hosting
before they cost you Thousands of $$$$

Imagine this, you are going on vacation, you’ve saved all year for your one week off. You’re all packed and set to leave in the morning. Then the phone rings….(insert scary music).

Quick Reference of Questions
Answered Below

 – How many sites do you host per machine?
 – What kind of machines and connections are used?
 – Are they over extended?
 – How is their Technical Support?
 – What is the Refund Policy?
 – What does Unlimited really mean

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 it’s down. They tell you call back in 15 minutes… it’s 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 representative.

Tick Tick, Tick…

Finally, 30 minutes later you get a representative that says Hey, 15 more minutes: it’s 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 worth of sales….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.

Avoid Common Web Hosting Pitfalls

Here a few things you might want to ask a 500 megs for $6.95 web host just to make sure they fit your needs. When you hire a hosting company to host your site, in a lot of ways it’s a partnership.

How many sites do you host per machine?

If they have 200+ sites per machine you may want to ask these follow ups:

What type of servers are you running? 

If they are application servers like Cobalt, 200+ sites are 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.

Technical Support

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, and answers are not usually 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, it’s 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.

Refund Policy

  • 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 are the terms of cancellation. Again, the above company who uses the support ticket system, only charges by the quarter. If you do not notify them 30 days prior to your next renewal, you will have to pay for the upcoming three months, whether you have service or not. If you cancel in the middle of the quarter you are not provided with any type of refund. Period. It’s in their terms of service agreement that you have to sign before you can open an account there. You are contractually bound. In essence, they make it very difficult to cancel.

Unlimited Bandwidth

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.

Free 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 avoid the common web hosting pitfalls by heeding our advise and make sure you know about the company that you are choosing to host your web site.

Please visit our FAQs area which address our policies.

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