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Validating support claims of web hosting companies

By Staff

It stands to reason that every reliable web hosting company takes care of its web servers regularly. Maintenance not only includes all the hardware but also the software applications that are installed on the different servers. This allows webmasters to focus solely on running their web sites and not having to worry about technical problems that may arise.

A unique selling point adopted by most web host providers is the boasting of their superior 24/7 technical support. The fact is that it simply may not hold true. The question you should be asking is, How can a web hosting company who is offering $2.99/month web host plans have a 24/7 technical support team? Staff is expensive and this is exactly where hosting companies often try to save money. If a web hosting company is truly committed to satisfying their clients, then their technical support must be outstanding. Availability of reliable technical support therefore is always a major consideration when choosing a Web host.

Determining whether technical support is dependable is key because if anything goes wrong with the server your web site is hosted on, you need to have a way to get help when you need it.  Hosting providers may make claim that they have technicians working around the clock in operation centers maintaining mission-critical systems. While this maybe true, many companies offer no proof that their support team is even qualified to fix the problem.

Technical Qualifications

The truth is that sometimes the most unqualified people in the hosting industry work in support call centers. Because of the unprecedented demand for IT professionals in the workplace, there is a shortage of qualified technical support professionals that can be found by Web hosts. Many firms allot a good chunk of their budget to advertising and marketing. Technical support becomes a secondary priority most of the time. In both cases, customers suffer because they cannot access immediate or qualified assistance.

So before you select a host, put their support claims to the test.

Begin by calling their technical support and ask them to walk you through the basic routines needed to maintain your site. Ask the technical support technician what their hours of availability are. Make sure that you find out what type of professional training program qualifies them for the job. For instance, if the technician is assisting you with a Windows NT-based issue, make sure to ask if they have MCSC, or Microsoft certification and how long they have been working with the company.

Next, it is important to determine just how knowledgeable the technician really is. You can tell by listening and assessing their tone of voice. Have you ever had an instance where a technician put you on hold? This may be due to the fact that they may only be employed to answer the phone or answer e-mail. They in turn relay support requests to someone more qualified. To determine if technical support is outsourced, ask the location and address of the provider. This might give you an indication or tell you whether support representatives are working out of the firm's server farm or head office.

Find out if the technical person is employed on a contractual basis and try to determine how sophisticated customer tracking and billing is handled. Ask the technician to pull information about your account. This will give you an indication whether the company has an automated technical inquiry tracking system. Ask about an online "knowledge base" or "technical support center.” If the provider has one, make sure to inspect the support documentation to determine whether it is specific to the service. These tests will give you a strong indication of whether the technical support is reliable and dependable or questionable. In the long run, you will have to trust your host provider’s ability to provide the technical support that you need. After all, that’s one of the reasons you chose them in the first place.



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