When you’re shopping for a new hosting plan, you’re open to risk. It’s easy to make the wrong decision, and that could cost you dear.
Often, you won’t know how good the host really is when you sign up.
Hosting reviews really help, but you can also protect yourself by looking out for common pitfalls.
Here are six dangers to avoid.
1. The Long-Term Contract
Many hosts offer discounts when you take out a long contract.
Some of these contracts can stretch to up to four years. Occasionally, we see even longer agreements.
Tread carefully. Long contracts are always better for the host than the customer.
With a longer contract, you might be stuck if you want to move, or when you outgrow the hosting plan. The host may penalise you if you cancel, or refuse to process a refund at all.
These arrangements are especially risk when combined with very short money-back guarantee; you have very little chance to evaluate performance before you’re trapped.
Before signing any long term contract:
- Read cancellation terms closely
- Check the terms to find out what happens if the company goes out of business
- Consider signing up for a shorter-term “test” contract before committing to a long agreement
- Don’t be tempted to sign up for an excessively long contract just to bag a slightly lower price
2. The Bargain Basement Hosting Company
Once you’ve looked at some host ratings and reviews, you’ll get a feel for the price range you’ll be paying for your chosen type of hosting.
If a host is much less expensive than average, something is probably wrong.
We all want hosting for the lowest possible price, but the host does need to cover its costs. Any service that’s priced way below average has probably had to cut corners, usually by slashing support or overloading its servers.
Get a good deal – not a cheap host.
3. The Unlimited Everything Package
Many hosts advertise packages that look too good to be true. This is especially true of some shared hosting providers.
But no host can truly promise unlimited everything. Every company is working to limits, even if it is just the physical limitations of the server and the connection.
In short: there’s no such thing as unlimited everything. Hosts that promise unlimited features normally reserve the right to disconnect accounts when it suits them.
It’s better to know your limits.
4. The Host That Cannot Be Contacted
A telephone number is not vital when it comes to support. Many customers get along just fine with email and ticket systems.
But the complete lack of a telephone number should act as a warning sign.
If a host does not have a sales line at the very least, it’s a sign that it has cut back on staff or it’s located in a different country than it claims. A lack of a support number could be a sign that support is outsourced, or that tech support personnel are spread over a very large area.
If a company doesn’t have a phone number for support, look at how it provides assistance at the very least.
5. The Host On Another Server
Use WhoIsHostingThis to check the host behind the host.
When you check their main domain in our search box, do you see the host as the host of its own site?
If not, it is a likely sign that the company is a reseller.
There’s nothing wrong with being a reseller, but if the company is claiming to be a ‘true’ host, it’s a sign of dishonesty. It also means the person who sells you the hosting may not be the company in charge of supporting it.
Resellers are often more likely to oversell and more likely to go out of business without warning.
Don’t avoid resellers completely. Just be aware of the risks.
6. The Host With Fake Reviews
Hosting reviews help you appraise a company through the experience of its users.
Sometimes, despite everyone’s best intentions, fake reviews slip through the net.
Signs of fake reviews include:
- Comments that sound like marketing blurb
- A lack of a genuine URL in the customer’s bio
- An unbalanced, extremely positive opinion with no comments to counter the ‘good news’
- The same positive review or theme cropping up on different sites
Some hosting companies write their own reviews or hire people to comment on their behalf. If you notice it, walk away and don’t look back.
Is It Really That Hard to Choose a Host?
This article is intended to alert you to warning signs. There’s no need to panic.
There are hundreds of legitimate companies out there, and plenty are well-established and reputable.
Just don’t take any unnecessary risks – particularly if you feel the deal is too good to be true.
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