There are a lot of fly-by-night hosting operations out there, setting up slick websites on a shoestring budget and pushing online ads to attract clients to their offers of cheap web hosting. But remember: anyone with a laptop, a hundred bucks and an internet connection can set up a website and try to sell you something.
While most web host companies are probably legit on the surface, the problem is that many of them just aren’t worth your time — or your money. They might offer web hosting at a great price, but what exactly do you get for that low monthly fee?
Here are four things you need to be mindful of when purchasing web hosting for your company website.
Lack of Necessary Services
With some companies, basic hosting on a shared server is about all you can expect. That would be fine for bloggers who just want to share video game tips, talk about their kids or put up photos of their chihuahuas.
But your business needs more than just cheap hosting.
Before you sign up for a year or more of service with a cheap hosting company, make sure that they offer everything your business needs. Do you need additional services such as business email accounts and ecommerce software?
Does this web host include one-click WordPress installation, design templates and easy site building options like the drag and drop Unbounce Builder?
Make sure you check out all the services offered and compare with other web hosts to get all the features you need at the right price point.
Unreliable Servers and Excessive Downtime
Another problem with some web hosting providers is performance. Any time your business website goes offline, you are probably losing money in the form of lost sales or lost leads.
When visitors come to your site and encounter slow page loads or error messages, they’ll likely just click back to the Google search results and click on one of your competitors instead. This is unacceptable.
While no service can guarantee 100 percent reliability, the one you choose to do business with should have a solid reputation for consistent server uptime and performance.
Hidden Fees and Upgrades
As mentioned above, one common problem with cheap web hosting companies is that they don’t offer all the other services that you need to go along with your web hosting. But the flip side of that problem is also very common. Some companies lure you in with dirt-cheap hosting rates, only to offer all those other upgrades at a steep price.
So you save money on the hosting itself, but then you end up paying a lot of extra money for email services, website templates, domain privacy and SSL certificates. Add up all the costs before you commit. Sometimes it’s more affordable to go with a premium service that offers all the extras for free or for lower additional fees.
Limited Tech Support and Poor Customer Service
Lastly, you also want to watch out for hosting companies with terrible support and customer service. It’s not uncommon for hosting services to outsource their tech support and customer service to agencies overseas.
That in itself isn’t a deal breaker like it was in the early days of outsourcing, as most of these foreign agencies today have well-qualified staff with excellent English language skills.
But you must make sure that they are there for you whenever you need them. If a cheap hosting service doesn’t offer 24/7 tech support, that is not going to work. Your business requires around-the-clock support.
Be sure to also look for online reviews of the companies you are considering and steer clear of those that have too many negative reviews.
Your online reputation largely depends on having a company website that looks great, loads pages quickly and is always up and running. So make sure that the web hosting service you choose offers reliable performance — and all of the other features you require — at a reasonable price.
Sometimes saving money in the short term can cost you in the long run, so never sacrifice quality just to save a few bucks up front.