The internet has become a large money-making tool and everyone is trying to get on the bandwagon, however not everyone provides an honest service or has the skills or tools to provide you with even the simplest web hosting service.
There are many tricks that these providers use in order to trap you into paying for more than you’re getting and we want you to know what is important to look for in a good web hosting service.
KNOW WHAT YOU NEED:
Make sure that you know what you need before you go price shopping; generally you will need at least a 1) Domain Name (website address), a certain amount of 2) Hosting Space (known as DISK SPACE – measured in MBs) and an allowance for 3) an amount of Website Traffic (known as BANDWIDTH – measured in GBs). Do you know how much your website or an average website needs or how much you’re getting?
Beware when comparing prices! Company A will start off charging R10/ month for web hosting (giving you 20MBs and 0.2 GBs), which could probably host 1 maybe 2 pages with a little writing on it (you generally don’t even get email accounts that small)! You could sign up for that package, not knowing that your website needs more and then land up being upgraded to a higher package and paying much more than you bargained for!
Whereas other companies, like us, offer a starting package at R49.00 which gives you 100MBs and 1GB (and more). If you just looked at the prices, you would go for Company A, but you need to look at what each company is offering for their price.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY:
Research sounds painstaking, however look for these small points and you’ll know some of what you need to about the company.
- Google them (type their company name in quotation marks): If there are few results, this means they are very new or very small (possibly risky). Also type in their name and the word “scam” and see if anyone has complained about their service.
- Email and Phone them: Response time can show a lot about a company!
- Assess their website: Do they have a physical address? If not, this could mean working out of their bedroom? (This is not always so, if you’re worried, ask them where their offices are). Are there broken links/ images on their website? This shows a thoughtlessness that could move over into how they host your website.
There’s no denying that where any technology is used there are potential problems that can and do occur. When these happen, you need someone to help get your website back online or to protect your website from getting hacked etc… This means that these problems are generally time-sensitive and so you need a company that you can rely on for good customer service. 24/7 support is also important, imagine that your website goes down on a Friday night!
When you email them, see how long they take to respond – this is usually a good indicator of how their general service is. Also check if they have a contact number; (you’d be surprised how many website companies don’t) there’s nothing like having a major problem and having to wait for the cavalry to check their emails before they know that you even have a problem!
EXTRA FEATURES/ FREE SERVICES:
Many companies will offer you something for FREE and then overcharge in another area or later (in a few months) for this “free” service. Such as telling you that you will get a free domain/ email account with your hosting, and not letting you know that after a year you will be charged double for said domain name or the email account is free for only 1 month!
Don’t slate all companies for offering free services though, just be sure to read the fine print before you accept that anything is truly for free, and ask questions such as “Is this free forever or will I pay for this after some time, and if yes, how much will it be then?”
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE:
Think twice about companies who:
- Make you pay annually: Many companies will offer web hosting as a month-to-month pricing, because we’re confident in the service we provide and therefore the fact that you won’t cancel. Some companies ask for 1yr or 3yr contracts, thereby giving you no recourse if they do a poor job!
- Offer Unlimited Bandwidth/ Disk Space: They may offer this because most websites use a small amount and when one or two go over it is usually not huge, therefore it averages out for them. However, if your website uses a large amount of bandwidth they may refuse to pay. Send them an email before you sign up saying that you’re interested in them hosting your website, but it draws 50GBs a month and see if they still stick to their “unlimited hosting” claims.
- Have Transfer Limits: Daily/ monthly limits of data can mean that when you have a busier day/ month than usual, your quota is exceeded and your website goes offline – unless you pay extra fees.
People need to make money, so if they are providing you with a free service, they must be getting something out of it. The downsides for you can be:
- Adverts: they can and will place ads all over your website. These generally have nothing to with your site and add absolutely nothing to it, besides for making your website look “spammy” and discouraging clients from coming back.
- Limited Traffic/ Bandwidth: free hosting has a limit (usually a very small limit) and once you’ve reached a certain amount, your access can be blocked, thereby rendering you with no site!
- Slow Services: as the company gains popularity (due to freebies), the service could slow down.
- Domain Name: there may be little choice regarding a domain name and you will most probably get stuck with an unprofessional sounding name for your business, such as yourbusiness.freedomain.co.za.
- Less Control: you most likely will not be able to upload files to your site; but if you’re lucky and you can, you are generally very limited as to how to do this and what you can upload.
- No Longer Free: they could start charging after a few months anyway.
- Termination: YOUR ACCOUNT CAN BE TERMINATED AT ANY TIME!!! They hold the rights to your account, therefore everything that you’ve uploaded or done on the site will be lost and you will have to start again. This is highly probable, as most free hosting companies don’t survive past the first 12 months!
READ THE FINE PRINT:
Ultimately, the best advice that I can give you is to shop around (it only takes a few clicks), but shop around KNOWLEDGEABLY! Know what you need for your particular website (or an average website) and know what the companies are offering in concrete MB/ GB value before comparing prices.
Research the company, ask them questions and please remember to read the fine print!
– The Easy2usesites Team