Are you paying too much for your hosting service? Is that unlimited bandwidth plan really what it seems?
While it’s much easier to stick with your existing web hosting service, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t carefully research your hosting provider and re-evaluate it from time to time.
As a user, you might think the best hosting deal is one that offers you free unlimited bandwidth, but this isn’t always the case. It’s a common mistake to avoid, and by far not the only one. Here are the top 5 web hosting mistakes website owners make.
1. Assuming Unlimited Bandwidth is Unlimited
This is a key mistake; a classic case of “always read the small print.” Be it your “unlimited” cell phone tariff or features of website hosting, as a rule of thumb, a company offering something unlimited is likely not showing you the whole picture.
Usually, clauses in the terms and conditions specify that “unlimited” actually means “within reasonable use.” Just like an all you can eat buffet: at some point you’ll be asked to pay more or leave. Most websites don’t need unlimited bandwidth, just like most people don’t need to eat everything at the buffet, so in reality hosting companies rarely offer it.
2. Overpaying: Pricing is Not as Advertised
That big red number you see? That’s not the price you’ll eventually be paying! That’s right, what appears to be low-cost web hosting might actually be quite expensive. Look just underneath the advertised price, and you’ll see a tiny crossed out number which makes you think you’re getting an unbelievable deal.
You’re not. You’re paying the smaller sum for the first month and then the bigger sum for every subsequent month. It varies between companies, sometimes you’ll even get the first year at a discounted rate, but universally there is a trend of showing the customer a smaller price than they’ll eventually be charged. Read the small print and make sure you know what the actual cost of your hosting contract is.
3. Getting Stuck With Poor Customer Service
Make sure to research the company’s history and read customer reviews, preferably on an independent website. Most people don’t think about this until something goes wrong, by which time it’s too late and you’re stuck with horrible customer support.
Many companies, including the industry leader iPage, offer 24/7, 365 days of the year support to help you with any web hosting issues. Of course this doesn’t reflect on the quality of service. But companies that provide regular training to their support assistants will proudly let you know about it on their websites. If they’re good, this will involve interpersonal training as well as technical.
4. Not Upgrading as the Site Grows
If your website can’t support the amount of traffic it gets: you need to upgrade. Your hosting company has access to stats about your site and will provide advice according to your site’s needs. Most web hosts provide excellent upgrade options and there are often great deals for pre-existing customers.
If you’re with a good hosting company, it will value your business. It’s in the provider’s interest to keep you happy and maintain a good relationship. Don’t be afraid to expand as your site grows, and don’t be afraid to push for a good upgrade price with your hosting provider.
5. Not Doing Enough Research
You probably saw this one coming. As with anything, there are good, bad, and downright ugly options for web hosting. There are scams, bad companies which don’t value you as a customer, and companies that don’t operate ethically.
On the flip side however, there are environmentally-friendly web hosting companies which offset all of the energy they use; companies that have won awards for their customer service and hosting products; and companies that simply provide excellent hosting.
The best way to find the right web host is to research the companies you’re looking at. Establish what you want, find out who offers it and decide if they’re right for you by looking at how they operate. Always read reviews to get website hosting information about each provider, but remember: every website is different. So, features that might be right to one customer may not be relevant to you.