5 Web Hosting Tips For Finding Affordable Plans

Posted by Administrator on Sat, April 26th, 2014

Affordable web hosting. In this day and age that can sometimes sound like either an oxymoron or a bad experience waiting to happen. And while there are certainly plenty of unreliable web hosting services out there who market themselves as a great bargain, it’s definitely no bargain at all when your online business goes down in the middle of a busy selling cycle.

Fortunately there are things you can do to protect yourself from a bad hosting experience, while still pinching a few pennies along the way. Here is some practical advice we recommend when evaluating the right affordable web hosting partner for you or your brand:

1. Read the fine print.
There are some hosting companies out there who market themselves as ‘unlimited’ everything. Unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, unlimited domains, etc. and so on for an unbelievably low price. Well things that sound too good to be true often are. Right in the fine print somewhere, what you will typically find is something to the effect of - “By ‘unlimited’ we mean we do not monitor usage on an account by account basis, but if we determine you are using more than your share, we reserve the right to terminate your account”. Perfect.

This isn’t the only fine print scam out there, but it’s one of the most common. When it comes to cheap VPS or hosting plans, it’s best to check the fine print.

2. Call before you buy
Quality Customer service and support are a huge deal when it’s 3 in the morning and your business site is having a major outage. We recommend picking up the phone and calling the support line to see what the customer support experience might be like. How long are the wait times? Do the support staff speak english ( ...good english)? Are the support staff knowledgeable or are they just button pushers?

Getting answers to these types of questions can help you head off making a potentially huge mistake by picking the wrong hosting partner who present themselves as top notch for a bargain.

3. Read the SLA
The SLA, or Service Level Agreement, is a strong indicator about the quality of hosting service provider you are likely contracting with. Is it 99.99% uptime? Is uptime even guaranteed? What happens if downtime does occur? What increments of down time will credits be issues back to your account and in what amount? Are credits even mentioned in the SLA agreement? If not, you may want to look elsewhere.

4. Find out where the servers are
When looking for an affordable web hosting partner, it’s important to know where their servers are and the quality of data center they’re hosting in. Are they hosting in a top tier, SOC 2, SSAE 16 compliant data center, or somewhere else?

Just because the web hosting solution is affordable, doesn’t mean it has to be risky. When you hop on the call to learn about their support team, ask them where their data center is located. Ask them if they’re SSAE 16 compliant. Ask what type of emergency and security systems are built in to their data center. Are they using waterless fire suppression technology, or are you hosed (forgive the pun) if a fire breaks out.

5. Read lots of reviews
In an increasingly digital age, more and more people are taking to review sites and forums to provide very candid and honest thoughts about their experience with different web hosting providers. If the overwhelming consensus is that these guys are awful - then they’re probably awful. Read a lot of reviews first though - that one guy who was having a bad day isn’t a good basis to judge a company off of, but if the overall resounding voice is negative - it’s probably not a good thing.

Finding an affordable web hosting provider who is reliable, trustworthy, and an all around great choice for your business can be a challenge, but following these steps and asking probing questions can often give you enough information to make the better choice for your business and/or brand.

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