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Recommended Host for Phone Support
Hosts with Phone Support
When it comes to technical support, ticketing systems can be a slow and cumbersome way to address problems. Phone support lets you get help in real time. When you compare Web hosting providers and plans, you'll find a wide range of support options.
If support is included with your hosting plan (it isn't always), you may be offered one or more of the following support mechanisms:
- Knowledge base access
- A knowledge base is essentially online text documentation or a user guide. Some KB systems are wikified (can be edited by users) or allow commenting. Some Knowledge Bases are enhanced with video, tutorials, and FAQ sections.
- Ticketing system
- A ticketing system is a bug tracker for customer service issues. Customers submit problems called "tickets," which are then dealt with by the customer service team. It is a bit like emailing your complaints to a contact address, but more organized. You can also track the status of your ticket, which is really helpful if you are impatient.
- Live Chat
- Live chat allows you to IM (instant message) with support personnel. It offers many of the advantages of phone support, without having to wait on the phone. On the other hand, it isn't always easy to type out your problems. Sometime a human voice is the only thing that will get the job done.
- Phone Support
- Phone support is exactly that -- a number to call and a person to talk to when you need it.
When ticketing is too slow, and the knowledge base doesn't cover your exact situation, and the Live Chat operator just doesn't get what the problem is, sometime you just have to do things the old fashioned way: calling someone on the telephone.
Some Common Issues
Of course, what you can expect from phone support will vary by hosting provider. High-end, premium hosting providers may have well-trained, English-speaking representatives that work full time for the hosting company and know what is going on, and how to fix it. Even many of the larger discount hosts can afford in-country call centers and well-paid operators.
But this is not always the case. Many hosting providers save money by outsourcing their call center operations. This sometimes works, but it often backfires. Outsourced call centers aren't dedicated to one company and customer base, but rather contract out to a number of different companies. The person you are speaking to about your web hosting plan might have just been answering questions about a car warranty, handling a complaint about a broken cell phone, or dispatching a tow truck to the scene of an accident.
This can mean that sometimes the call center operators simply don't know enough, or have enough authority, to solve your problem. This is especially true when you have the sorts of problems most people call phone support about: unusual or off-the-wall issues not covered in the FAQ or knowledge base.
Phone support in this case is perfectly fine if there was a glitch in billing or you forgot your account password. But how can they help you if your website is mysteriously unavailable for five minutes every day at 4 PM? What will they do if one single Apache process spontaneously combusts on a frequent, but irregular, basis?
What they'll do is submit a ticket and real tech support will get back to you. (And you could have done that yourself.)
Another issue with phone support is that it may not be available when you need it. Some hosting providers have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week phone support hours. Others have limited business hours, which might not even be in your time zone.
There are also limits on phone support. Some providers charge by the minute, or offer a limited bank of time for phone support use.
Great Phone Support
Phone support problems are common, but there is a lot of really great phone support available. Read the customer reviews provided about various hosting companies and you'll find that many of them have excellent and friendly phone support.
Sometimes this is something that comes free along with your account. In other cases, there are Service Level Agreement (SLA) plans that you can purchase, which provide phone support along with other support options.
If you're a hosting reseller, you might have tech support for your own account. Some resellers provide you with the ability to offer their phone support to your customers (at a cost to you, which you may be able to pass on to your clients).
Phone Support and Web Hosting
If phone support is an important feature for you, make sure that it is included in the hosting package you select.
Also, check the hours of operation. If you are running a web business as a hobby or side project, and need to call phone support on the evenings or weekends, make sure your hosting company allows you to do that.
Phone Support Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is phone support?
Phone support means that your web hosting company has a support team that is available via a phone call, ready and able to assist you on the phone with any issues you encounter related to your web hosting account.
Do most web hosting companies provide phone support?
Phone support, while common in other industries, isn’t a guaranteed feature for all hosting companies. Many web hosting companies will save money by offering alternative forms of technical support for their customers instead of phone support, assuming that their customers are more technically inclined and willing to work out any issues on their own. If the availability of phone support is important to you, you should check to see if your chosen web hosting company offers it before you purchase a plan, since it’s not a universal practice.
Does phone support usually cost extra?
The vast majority of web hosting companies that offer phone support won’t charge any extra for it; it’s just an included perk with their hosting plans. However, some hosting companies only provide phone support with their premium hosting plans, or will charge by the minute for phone support for all their customers.
Why do some web hosting companies not provide phone support?
Many web hosts chose to save money by offering alternative support methods and forgoing phone support in order to provide web hosting at lower costs. The costs of keeping well-trained, capable support staff available via phone can be prohibitive for smaller hosting companies. Time zones can also be a factor preventing hosting companies from providing phone support depending on where their offices are located.
What are some other types of customer support that web hosting companies typically provide?
Most web hosting companies will offer one-on-one customer support via a support ticket system, email, or live chat. They also offer self-service help by providing access to help articles or knowledge bases on their websites. These methods can be less resource-intensive and, therefore, more affordable for most web hosts, allowing them to offer lower rates for web hosting.
What hours do web hosting companies usually provide hosting support?
Some web hosting companies only provide phone support during regular office hours, typically 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, excepting holidays. The specific times will depend on the web host’s office hours and the time zone where their support teams are located. Sometimes larger web hosting companies will offer 24/7 phone support.
What are the benefits of phone support from web hosting companies?
Many hosting customers prefer phone support because they can receive almost immediate assistance with their problems, instead of waiting on a support ticket or an email to be answered. Some also prefer chatting on the phone with a live person, instead of email or ticket support.
Are there any drawbacks to phone support?
In some cases, you might receive a faster response by submitting a support ticket instead of calling if your hosting company is busy and has long holding times before your call is answered. In addition, many companies outsource their customer support to other countries in order to save money and pass the savings on to their customers with lower prices for hosting plans. Often, this doesn’t present a problem since the support staff is likely to be sufficiently trained wherever they’re located. However, occasionally you might be connected with a support staffer who is a non-native English speaker with an accent that’s difficult to understand, making it hard to resolve your technical issues. Sometimes these call centers provide phone support service to multiple companies and don’t have the in-depth expertise required to solve complicated technical issues. Another issue with phone support is that you don’t have any record on your end of the support you requested, unless you record your conversation, which is illegal in some jurisdictions unless you give prior notification to all parties.
How does phone support compare to support ticketing systems?
Support ticketing systems are a very common way of providing customer support in a variety of industries because of all the features and benefits they provide. With a support ticket, your issue receives a number for you and your hosting company to keep track of, and you also have a record of the help you requested. Support tickets vary widely in their response times depending on your web hosting company and their current volume of work, however. Some tickets might be answered within the hour while other may take days to get a response.
How does phone support compare to live chat support?
Phone support and live chat support have their immediacy in common: with both forms of support, you get a near-instant response and help with your hosting issues. The live chat may be easier for those who have difficulties using the phone, while phone support may be preferable if you’re not a fast typist.
How does phone support compare to email support?
Email support is another common way to request technical support from your hosting company. Often, any emails you send requesting support will be processed as a support ticket. But if you have a smaller or more disorganized host, email support may be handled more casually. With email support, you have a record of the support you requested, although it’s not numbered like a support ticket. Email support will also take longer to receive an answer than phone support, with the exact response times depending on your host and the volume of requests they’re receiving at the time.