5 Ways To Keep Your Host Friendly

I’ve talked before about how a host/client relationship is a partnership. As customers, we spend a lot of time dreaming up ways our hosts could treat us better (faster, more reliable hosting with good service and fair pricing), but have you ever spared a second to consider what your host thinks of you, the customer?

Just like you, hosts have an opinion on the perfect provider/consumer relationship. But, unlike you, they rarely take the time to communicate those expectations.

So, in homage to hosts everywhere, I’ve done it for them. If you follow these five guidelines, it’ll be the equivalent of sending your host a big bunch of flowers.

1. Don’t Abuse the System

Hosts take this issue very seriously and do actually go so far as to put it in their terms of service. By signing up for an account, hosts expect that you will not do any of the following: send out spam, upload illegal content, host copyright infringing files, run taxing scripts or anything else that could tax the system in any regard.

Web hosts design their system for the purpose of hosting Web sites; any deviation too far from that can risk causing servers to fail.

To please your host, don’t be “that guy” who regularly crashes his server (and the other accounts on it) or attracts five DMCA’s a week.

2. Don’t Go In Over Your Head

If you barely know how to turn on a computer, you probably shouldn’t be setting up a hosting account. Instead, you may want to get a WordPress.com or Blogger account to try out running a site for a while.

Setting up a hosting account requires a basic level of knowledge; that level is relative to the hosting account that you’re signing up for. If you’re registering for a basic shared account, things like FTP and control panel are about the right level, but if you’re aiming higher, to an unmanaged dedicated server, you’ll need to raise your game quite considerably.

Too many support questions and you’ll probably start to wind up your host. If you’re in over your head, consider either scaling back or finding some extra help to manage your site.

3. Pay on Time

This one is obvious: don’t pay your bill, don’t get any hosting. However, billing is one of the biggest headaches that hosts have to deal with and they expect you, quite reasonably, not to fall behind on your part of the deal. Whether it’s under $10 per month or in the thousands, your host expects you to pay the bill on time.

On this front, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to read your host’s guidelines on billing and see if there might be any problems. Usually, hosts send out invoices and offer X number of days to pay them, or automatically deduct hosting from your account (especially ones that are less expensive); others expect payment months or even years in advance.

Learn how your host handles billing and don’t fall behind.

4. Be Reachable

Hopefully your host will never have a reason to get in touch with you urgently but, if they do, they certainly expect to be able to do so. Whether it’s to alert you of a complaint regarding your account, a problem with your server or something else altogether, your host needs a good, effective way to get in touch with you virtually any time and any place.

This means you have to make sure you update and check the email address that you give your host and you work to whitelist their emails in your spam filter. The last thing you want is a notice that your account was compromised going into your spam folder.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your phone information is up to date. Though most hosts will contact you via email if needed, for extremely urgent matters or as a backup, they may try to call you. It’s worth the extra few seconds to keep that up to date as well.

5. Act Professionally

If your site experiences some downtime or you have a problem with your billing, you have a right to be upset but not to act like a jerk. Swearing, yelling, name-calling, etc. is never acceptable behaviour. Most hosts will say that virtually no contract is worth subjecting the employees to any kind of verbal abuse and will cut trouble-making clients.

As a client, the host is certainly at your service but that does not give you the right to abuse them. A host/client relationship is a business one and you should always act in a professional manner, especially if you want the relationship to continue at all.

Bottom Line

To most customers, these expectations are really just common sense and courtesy. Don’t be an exception or you might well find yourself bouncing from host to host by force.

If you don’t want that to happen to you, it’s best to understand what is expected of you when you sign up for a hosting agreement and follow it closely. It can save you a great deal of headache.

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