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Are all cheap web hosts the same?

By Staff

You’ve seen all the ads on the net, I’m sure, offering web hosting plans for as little as $5.95 per month. You get excited at the prospect of finding a web host to host your business site because you figure that it won'’ cost an arm and a leg after all. These types of offers for cheap web hosting are made from so called “budget hosting” providers and while the cost may be in your ball park, the services that they offer may not be adequate to support a business presence on the web.

Any hosting service that costs less than $10 per month falls into the category of budget or cheap hosting because of the low monthly price. They usually offer only one-year plans but there are some that will allow monthly payment plans. The thing to look for here are hidden setup fees that are charged by many of these cheap host providers.

The first thing that you need to do if you have your mind set on finding the lowest cost hosting provider possible is to evaluate several of them before making your selection.  Begin by searching the web for them and make a list of several that you want to check out in more detail. Next, visit their web sites and pay particular attention to their landing page (the first page you will see).

         When you first view the home page you need to ask yourself the following questions.

         Does it have a professional appearance? If not, chances are they could be a “fly by night” business who may just take your money and run.

         Do you get a sense of credibility for the company by what you see on this page? If you don’t feel that they are a credible, reliable business, don’t do business with them. Go with your gut instinct here and keep searching.

         Can you navigate the site quickly and easily and find all the information that you need? This is important because if you can’t get through the site easily and find the answers to all your questions you are better off searching for a host that is not afraid to spell everything out upfront instead of one that makes you dig for the information.

         Do they have all their contact information readily displayed? This is extremely important especially if you need to contact the host provider in an emergency situation. It is especially beneficial if they also post an “800” number for technical support or specifically for emergencies. This gives you a sense that they are willing to make themselves available around the clock and are open to responding to your needs.

         Do they list information of a satisfaction guarantee for uptime or getting your money back if not satisfied with their service? Choose a host provider that offers a solid money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with their service. It is also important to make sure that they offer a solid “uptime” guarantee especially if you are trying to run an Internet business. You can’t have your site down or you will lose business, it’s that simple! Look at their record for “down time” of their servers. Any good host provider whether they are budget hosts or more expensive host providers should never have more than 87-hours of server down time per year or roughly 7-hours or less per month. They should be up and functional 99% of the time.

         Do they spell out the type of administrative, marketing or technical support that they will provide? These along with several other after sale support factors should be weighed carefully You should find out if after they get your business, just what services in the customer satisfaction area do they provide. Many provide various types of resources such as free scripts, marketing tools and account setup assistance. You need to know just what you can expect to receive if you choose them.

These are very important points to evaluate when considering signing on with a budget host provider. They are also key factors that need to be considered especially if you are looking to a provider to host a business site vs. a personal site. 

Remember that just because a host provider offers a low cost service doesn’t mean that you can’t expect to get quality features and support to fully maintain your business on the net. The trick is to find a budget host provider that can meet all your needs for the price.




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