Your web host plays a significant role in the success of your website. You count on this company to provide you with reliable service and the features you need to keep your site running smoothly. Ideally, you don’t have to think much about your hosting once your site is up and running. In some cases, however, problems arise that compel you to call support, make changes or switch your site to new hosting. In order to avoid such problems, it’s best to do plenty of research before choosing a web host. Here are five warning signs to look for when selecting a web hosting company.
- Numerous Complaints About the Web Host
It’s always a good idea to read customer reviews before choosing a web host. You can’t always believe everything you read, of course. No matter how good a company is, somebody will inevitably have a complaint about something. However, if you see lots of negative reviews, it’s worth paying attention to this. If, for example, many reviewers complain that their websites experience a great deal of down time, this is something to watch out for.
Another crucial area is customer service. If customer reviews indicate that the web host doesn’t offer helpful support, this is definitely a bad sign. It shows the company isn’t committed to giving its customers the level of service they deserve. One tactic you can try is to call the company before signing up to ask a few questions. This isn’t always reliable, however, as some companies have top-notch sales agents to sell you their services but are less conscientious when it comes to serving the needs of existing customers. That’s why it’s always wise to read reviews.
- No Free Trial or Money Back Guarantee
Most web hosts offer some type of money back guarantee as well as a free trial of at least 30 days. Some offer longer trial periods, such as 60 or 90 days. If the company doesn’t offer any free trial period or money back guarantee, this is a red flag. It suggests that the company doesn’t have confidence in its own services and wants to lock customers in before they’ve had a chance to sample the services. When you sign up for hosting, the only reason you’d cancel during the trial period is if there’s a serious problem. Quality web hosts realize this and aren’t afraid to offer generous free trials. A web host that doesn’t do this is one you should avoid.
- Free Web Hosting
First of all, free hosting is not the same as third-party blogging sites such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com. These sites have their pros and cons but they aren’t, strictly speaking, web hosts. This section only refers to companies that offer free hosting with your own domain. As a rule, it’s best to stay away from these offers. It’s always tempting to take advantage of something that’s advertised as free. If you do a Google search for free web hosts, you’ll find quite a few results. The problem is, there’s bound to be some kind of catch. In many cases, you have to put up with ads for the host on your own website. This detracts from your own efforts to build your brand.
There are also likely to be limits on the resources you get for free. Many web hosts offer free hosting to get you to sign up but then offer paid plans as well. In some cases, the paid plans may be reliable. On a similar note, don’t choose one company over another simply because it’s slightly cheaper. It’s easy to get quality hosting for $5 per month. Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing quality to save a few dollars.
- Choosing a Web Host With No Experience
There are many reliable and experienced web hosts from which to choose. Some of these are better than others depending on your needs, budget and locations. One thing to avoid, however, is a brand new company with little experience in the industry. It’s always a gamble to let a new company host your website. They may lack the financial or technical resources to remain in business for the long haul.
Companies that are only set up to serve limited locations are also likely to be less robust and reliable than ones that are nationally or international in scope. You don’t want to have your web host shut down abruptly, as this will mean your service is interrupted. You’re safer to stick with an established web host with many years of experience.
- Choosing a Plan or Company That Doesn’t Meet Your Needs
It’s essential to identify your needs before choosing a web host. This includes the kind of servers, databases, disk space and other resources you’re going to require. If you’re not sure about this, ask your web developer or IT team for advice. For example, most hosting is done on Linux servers. Some websites, however, are better served by Windows hosting, which is not offered by every host.
Another factor to consider is the location of the data centers. A web host may be perfectly reliable in one place, but if you’re located thousands of miles from their data center, your experience may not be so positive. Some larger companies have multiple data centers, enabling them to offer reliable service to people in different locations. Finally, look carefully at the hosting plan you choose. If, for instance, you are going to set up multiple websites, make sure you choose a hosting plan that allows you to do this.
These are some of the most important factors to avoid when choosing your web hosting company. This is an important decision that will have a real impact on the way your website functions. If your site experiences lots of down time or you can’t get reliable customer support, it can harm your business and reputation. It’s better to spend a little extra time researching web hosts so you don’t make what could turn out to be a costly mistake.