Before Choosing A Cheap Web Hosting Or Shared Hosting Provider
There are so many options when it comes to choosing a cheap web hosting or shared hosting provider. Oftentimes, a cheap web hosting provider lures a customer in with attractive promises, takes their money, and then seems to vanish in thin air when you need them the most.
What about the company that lies about their downtime? Do you wish there was an easier way to choose your cheap web hosting or shared hosting provider? Here are a few things to consider when making that all-important decision.
1. Customer Service
Rule #1 in dealing with customers: be patient and friendly. It's amazing how many actually aren't. Some companies hire the tech geeks that speak condescendingly to the customer that has no clue about bandwidth, DNS, or servers. This is unacceptable.
Good customer service should also respond to your issue in a timely manner. If there is something keeping them from responding to you quickly, they should at the very least send a quick “So sorry for the delay, but “x” happened. We promise to deal with the issue by “x” time and apologize for the inconvenience.” At least then, you know they haven't ignored your request entirely.
Let's not forget the company that claims 24/7 customer service, but seems unresponsive late at night or on a Sunday afternoon. If your website is crucial to your business, this is unacceptable.
2. Updating And Taking Care Of Loyal Customers
This is simply logical for any business, but some cheap web hosting companies don't seem to get it: you should always keep your customers abreast of what's going on with the company, and don't forget to reward loyal customers.
Look for a cheap web hosting or shared hosting provider who maintains a blog featuring topics and tutorials useful to your website. Not only is this helpful for you in setting up and maintaining your website, it shows they know their stuff. Do they have a Facebook or Twitter account? They certainly should! Take a peek at comments from customers using their social media sites. Do they seem genuinely happy?
Discounts and specials for loyal customers are also nice. If Subway has a rewards card, why not your web host? It's a way to show the customer you appreciate their loyalty.
It's a well-known phrase: “You get what you pay for.” Although you might think that going with a more expensive hosting option will protect you, you could be wrong. Some companies trick you by charging more for the same services as the competition, so look closely into what the hosting company offers for the price you'll be paying.
Don't forget to read all of the fine print, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You know, “This company offers more for the same price!” Sometimes, that's a giant red flag to stay away. Read through the company policies carefully!
4. Server Response Time And Downtime
Look into customer reviews to see if they are pleased with the speed of the servers. Still unsure? Perform a ping test on one of the hosting company's websites. If you use Windows: click ‘start' and enter ‘cmd' in the command window. Type ‘ping' into the commander followed by the name of the website or server you want to ping. Example: typing “ping website.com”. If it takes a long time for the job to run, it's safe to say you should be looking for another provider.
A company should be forthright about downtime in their Terms of Service Agreement. They should spell out instances in which downtime will occur, as well as how long it typically takes until your site is back online. Also, do they have a backup plan for a power outage?
5. Additional Features
What other features do they offer? Does it jive with what you are paying? Sometimes, they may try to charge you for something that comes standard everywhere else.
6. Server Location
Where is the server located? Choose a server located in the country you will be targeting rather than just going with the cheapest. You wouldn't a server located in Denmark running your US storefront, would you?
7. Add-Ons And Upgrades: Turnaround Time
You would think that a cheap web hosting company would jump at the opportunity to take your money. However, sometimes it can take them a long time to respond to your request to upgrade or renew.
8. Money Back Guarantee
Again, this is where reading the Terms of Service Agreement comes in handy. Although they may state a 100% money back guarantee, it isn't always the case upon close inspection of the documentation. In some cases, the ToS spells out that the customer deserves nothing at all. Read that fine print!
This is obviously a big deal, especially if you keep sensitive customer data like credit card numbers. Look closely at how they claim to protect your information. Are there firewalls? Do they have a plan in place in the event hackers compromise your data? How often do they backup the data?
These are all things you must consider when choosing a cheap web hosting or shared hosting provider. The important thing to remember: research, research, research. The more you dig, the more you can reveal the true nature of the company in question, aiding you in making a final selection that you can feel comfortable with for years to come.