You may have noticed that there are many hosting "companies," out there that offer a seemingly great deal for hosting. Here are some of the common tactics hosting companies use to get your business and the problems with them.
Free Domain Name
You may have seen offers for free domain names with your hosting purchase. Domains rarely cost more than $30 per year.
The best case scenario is you get your free domain name for as long as you purchase hosting through the company. They will buy it for you, manage it for you and renew it for you. If you decide to cancel your hosting, they will usually charge you for the domain name, sometimes at a much higher rate than you would have paid before.
One thing to consider though is, when the domain name is purchased for you, you have no rights to it. It is legally the company's domain name and they can and sometimes do retain it, even if you offer to pay them for it. A domain name is nearly worthless to a hosting company...they would rather have your hosting business. Some companies, designers and developers will literally hold your website hostage.
In the worst cases, you cannot get your domain name back. This forces you into doing business with the hosting company. Very little is really free anymore, so be careful who you do business with.
Massive Amounts Of Space
Some hosting companies will offer you massive amounts of space and bandwidth, at an unbelievable price. These companies are banking on two things:
1. You will never, ever use that space or bandwidth. Most websites use less than 500 MB of space. And few will exceed 50 GB of transfer a month (and those that get close are very, very busy). So yes, they will tell you that you have those resources, but...
2. The fine print tells you exactly what you can and cannot use the website for. The terms and conditions vary, but most will not allow you to store files, have a website where users can login, or host other high traffic websites.
These companies will take your business, take your money and let you have a website up for a few months. However, if you get close to your bandwidth or space limits, after investigating, they may suspend your account without notice (this means your website becomes unavailable) and may force you to purchase a dedicated server at a cost of several hundred dollars per month. If you have a free domain name with them, the situation becomes much worse because you will have to purchase that expensive hosting.
Which Company Is This?
Many web hosting companies operate multiple companies, all with automatic account creation forms. These websites are fully automated and, with just a credit card number and domain name, anyone can sign up without human intervention. This is very convienent, but it also allows spammers and other malicious website operators to sign up for multiple accounts and go to work. Typically, many companies setup multiple websites to attract many customers.
You'll see websites with pictures of good looking men and women, on the phone or on the computer and a model-like woman just waiting to take your support call. Don't fall into the smoke and mirrors trap. This isn't real...many of these companies are no bigger than mine. But they are way too overloaded.
This fact contributes to the following:
A server is just a computer with lots of disk space, lots of memory and multiple processors. These machines are built specifically for serving web pages to thousands of users simultaneously. You never know how many websites are on your server and what they are doing. Many hosting customers have enough control to bring the web server down.
I purchased hosting from a company before starting this company. I paid $4.99 per month when I prepaid for two years. I had noticed that the website always ran slow, and it went down often. In fact, it has been down for several hours today.
Every website has problems, and every computer breaks from time to time, but it went down often enough for me to look into it more. I used a paid service and did a "reverse IP," which tells me how many other websites I was sharing the server with. There were over 1100 other websites on one server! That is way, way too many and the servers performance reflected that.
Terrible Customer Service
With overcrowded servers and many, many websites to deal with, these companies are lacking in customer service. Often times, there are only two or three people that run the entire company. Sometimes they have an 800 number they answer, sometimes they do not.
So you can just call and get your money back, right?
No Money Back
Many of these companies do not offer a money back guarantee. Check the fine print carefully. This same host I got suckered into did not have a money back guarantee. They have suspended my websites with no warning for a misunderstanding, and have shut off features that were advertised, after saying they would be available.
What Can You Do???
The bottom line is these companies do not care about your website, only your money. They have also gotten so big, that it does not matter to them if you cancel your service.
Some of the more reputable hosting companies who do things right are still lacking in customer service, because they offer other services which are their "bread and butter," or their prices are too high.
My company is small, we just started. I don't overload my servers because many of the websites I host, I have built. I need these websites to be up. Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising...and I fully believe one customer can make or break my business.
Hosting is not my bread and butter. I do not depend on the number of customers I can drag in. This means that I can give you the individual attention you deserve, and host your website with a %99.9 percent uptime guarantee because I do not have a thousand other customers to wait on.
Our money back guarantee is unheard of. If you have an issue and we cannot resolve it, I will refund the remainder of your hosting fee. We require prepayment for one year (currently $72.00), but not to trap you. It's a convience for you and us to not charge you $6 per month.
Contact us today for the best deal in hosting, development and design!