The Price of Upgrading or Downgrading
The importance of a dedicated hosting package may be clear, but what do you do if you’re already locked into a shared hosting package? Most hosting companies will allow you to upgrade for free, but some may actually charge a penalty fee for changing your plan mid-contract. Likewise, it’s not rare to be charged a fee for downgrading, though this is more common than being forced to pay to upgrade.
Before you make any major hosting move, make sure that you understand these very important terms – and the implications that may come with changing your hosting package.
The Downgrade Problem
The issue with downgrading is simple: your hosting company doesn’t want to lose money. That makes sense, right? So, let’s say that you’re currently paying a large enough fee for a dedicated hosting package, but you have decided to downgrade mid-contract because you can’t justify the cost. Well, any other package will cost much less, and this may mean that the company you’re working with will get less money.
If everyone were able to downgrade without a fee, hosting companies would go bankrupt. So, instead, downgrading tends to come with a small fee. But, this may not be the case. Check your hosting Terms of Service agreement, and pay careful attention to the downgrade section. In some cases, hosting companies may not charge you to downgrade if they wan to keep your business – you may also be able to negotiate this fee as you would a cell phone contract, so give it a try!
The Upgrade Issue
Upgrading tends to mean more money for any hosting company. Because of this reason, you probably won’t be charged to upgrade. The only thing that you may have to pay is the difference between your current hosting plan and the new plan. That said, though, it’s crucial that you really read your new terms of service. You don’t want to upgrade to a new plan only to find out that the terms you thought applied are actually bogus.
Here’s an example (a popular trap!): a hosting company offers you an unbelievable fee to upgrade as a holiday special. You don’t read the TOS carefully, and two months from now that fee triples. Ouch! The problem here is that you will be at fault. Why? Because you didn’t read your contract (and ask questions) carefully. You have to read the contract.
Other Important and Possible Fees
Upgrading may (or may not) come with technical support help. If you are upgrading to a more complicated package, check to make sure that tech support is included in the new package price. It’s not fun when you need help, call a company hotline, and are asked to hand over your credit card details in order to pay for support help. Yikes! So, do make sure that tech support is included in that upgrade price.
It’s also worth thinking about the offers that other companies might be making. Sure, it’s simple to stick with the hosting company you’re working with right now and simply upgrade or downgrade. But, there might be a company out there offering a better package deal. Before you make a change, be sure to comparison shop. Just like a cell phone or cable plan, it pays to be choosy about which company you decide to host with!
Learn As Much As You Can
This is an important lesson: learn, learn, and learn! Find out as much as you can about any give hosting company (even the one you’re currently working with!) before upgrading or downgrading. Check on things like real uptime stats and user reviews before you do anything else. You can find this information on the web, or you can simply head to SiteGeek.com for additional details about any hosting company that’s out there. And, remember, before you decide to upgrade or downgrade, do make sure that you understand the TOS and know all about fees!