In today’s digital climate, having a website for your business is no longer an option. Choosing the right website hosting company is essential for any business, whether you manage a small business site or a busy ecommerce shop. So how can you avoid the pitfalls of selecting a less than desirable web hosting company? Before you begin shopping for a web hosting company, create a list that specifies the features that are most important to you and your business. After you narrow down the features you need, check out our list of the seven pitfalls to avoid when selecting your next web hosting company or plan.
- Substandard Technical Support
Avoid the pitfall of choosing a web host that does not offer top-notch technical support. Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing a website hosting company is the quality of their technical support services. Do they outsource their support services? How will you contact them if and when you experience an issue? Some cheap hosting services offer only online chat and email technical support, which is not optimal when you are in the throes of a downed ecommerce site. Make sure that the web host you choose offers 24/7 technical support with at least a toll free support phone number. Ideally, the company should offer multiple ways to contact the technical support staff.
Additionally, you will want to choose a web host that will follow through on technical support requests to determine the actual cause of the problem, not just initiate a reboot of the server and hope for the best.
- Cheap Hosting Services
Many individuals and companies choose cheap hosting services only to find that these hosts are lacking in terms of scalability, performance and support. Cheap website hosting companies are cheap for a reason. Cheap hardware, inexperienced or outsourced technical staff and subpar redundancy and backup practices are just three of the possibilities when you select an ultra-cheap web host. Spend a few dollars more per month to ensure your site users enjoy a rich, seamless experience each time they visit your site.
- Poor Customer Reviews
Though you will likely need to do some research to find hosting companies that their customers rave about in reviews, the time is well worth the effort. Search Twitter and perform a Google Blog Search to see what a particular hosting company’s customers are saying about them. When you see similar complaints from several individuals, it’s time to move on and consider another hosting company. On the other hand, when customers are pleased with their hosting company, take note. This company likely places a high priority on customer service.
- Poor Uptime Performance
Though most hosting companies boast of a “99 percent uptime,” fact is, most use this statement as a simple marketing tool. Instead, choose a hosting company that guarantees the uptime they claim. In addition to guaranteed 99 percent uptime, choose a host that has a strong reputation for redundancy. If they have mirrored servers in various locations, the chance for downtime is greatly reduced.
- Extra Charges for Standard Add-Ons
Some web hosts will lure customers in with low cost hosting plans, and then only later the customers learn that every little added feature costs additional money. For example, one large web host offers one single email address with each domain enrolled in their popular low-cost hosting plan. Customers can either purchase an additional “deluxe” email plan that provides them with five more email accounts, or they can upgrade to a more expensive plan. Many hosting companies offer unlimited email accounts for each domain at no extra charge. Make sure that the hosting company you choose does not require you to pay extra for features that are included in most reputable hosting companies’ plans.
- Lack of Scalable Solutions
As your business grows, presumably so will the traffic to your site. Be sure to select a hosting company that offers gradations of service. Many web hosts provide tiers of service levels, depending on the site owner’s needs. Choose a web host that will allow you to scale up when your business takes off or your site receives a spike in traffic. Some hosts will charge an exorbitant amount of money if your site traffic spikes beyond what is expected.
- Lack of an Elegant Exit Strategy
When shopping for a web hosting company, read the fine print in case you decide to move your site to another host. Beware of web hosting companies that make the process of moving a domain name more difficult that it needs to be. If a hosting company is confident in the service they provide, they will make the process of moving a domain name to another host as simple as possible.
Avoid the pitfalls listed above to ensure that your site visitors enjoy a standardized experience each time they visit your website. Not only will a poorly hosted website lose site visitors and cause the site to fall in Google page ranking, but if you manage a busy ecommerce site, a substandard hosting company can cost you considerable revenue in a very short time. Take time to research several hosting companies before you choose a plan and sign on the dotted line.