As a business owner, you know you need a web presence to keep people interested. With dozens of tutorials and free web templates available at every turn, it’s easy to feel a false sense of security if you decide to go it alone. However, if you aren’t experienced in purchasing domains and website hosting, you could easily find yourself in a money trap. Keep these hosting pitfalls in mind as you shop to keep your experience a positive one.
Avoid Free Hosting
First and foremost, no matter how small your budget, never use a company that claims to provide you with free hosting. Even if they truly give you free space for your website, you are likely to come across several issues. Many free providers make it nearly impossible to transfer a domain to their nameservers, meaning you’ll likely pay a much higher price to purchase a domain through them. Additionally, they usually do not provide a lot of features, often have downtime and will probably even post their own ads all over your website. Even if none of that bothers you, search engines like Google don’t like free hosts and will likely drop your search engine ranking.
Research the Restrictions
Some website hosting companies—especially those that offer much cheaper prices than average—have many restrictions regarding how much of their resources your website can use. If you go over their allotment, they may either shut your site down until your monthly allowance resets or charge high fees to keep your site up and running. Look for web hosting that allows you to install your own software, have multiple POP email accounts and create multiple subdomains. Remember to read the TOS as it is usually where you’ll find these types of restrictions spelled out.
Talk to Customer Service First
Most web hosting companies are easy to shop and set up without ever using customer service. This seems convenient on the surface but what happens if you have an issue with your website? You could find the previously convenient lack of customer support specialists is now a pain to deal with. Choose hosting companies that offer email, phone and chat support, preferably 24 hours per day. Ask questions before signing up for a package to determine how fast they’ll answer you.
When searching for the right website hosting company to meet your needs, always consider well-known providers first. They usually have more accurate reviews and more people to answer to should something go wrong. AT&T Website Solutions is an example of a company that provides excellent customer service and is a household name.