Picking the right web hosting company can make all the difference in your website or blog’s success. There are no shortage of web hosts in the market today, each offering unique plans and features. Knowing what to avoid when choosing a web host can prevent you from being drawn into the wrong host by any particular catchy feature or marketing scheme. Avoid these ten things when choosing a hosting company and you’ll be off to a great start for your new blog or website.
1. Hosts With Bad Customer Service Records
One of the first things to do when picking between web hosts is to check their customer service record. Many third-party websites collect customer services complaints about web hosts, including the Better Business Bureau. The best way to check out a customer service system, if you have a few minutes to invest, is to email the host’s customer service department directly. Some hosts also provide customer service live chats systems. See how long they take to respond and how adequately they are able to answer any questions you have.
2. Overpriced Hosting Plans
Choosing the right hosting company means choosing a company with a plan in your budget. You can surely buy a dedicated server hosting plan for $150 per month, but if you’re running a small website or blog, a premium $15 shared or cloud hosting plan is likely more than enough to get you going. Don’t jump into a pricey hosting plan if your content doesn’t require copious amounts of storage. Medium-sized websites with 100,000 or so monthly visits would probably do well with a Virtual Private Server package which typically run $20 to $30 per month. Compare plans with identical hosting types across web hosts to make sure the pricing is competitive.
3. Free Web Hosting
‘Free’ web hosting is generally a bad idea. Much like the mythical ‘free lunch,’ free hosting plans come with numerous drawbacks that will hold your website back. Free plans often have incredibly small limits on storage and bandwidth, meaning your visitors could find an error page when looking for your website. Free plans often place advertisements throughout your site which may take away from your own content. Uptime percentages, software compatibility, positive SEO factors, and customer service systems are bleak, if not nonexistent, at most free web hosts.
4. Failing to Check Specifications
Hosting companies usually list their hardware and plan specifications on their front pages. Modern and capable hardware are, and should be, a point of pride for any reputable hosting company. Make sure your potential host offers plenty of GB or TB worth of disc space on SSD servers. Avoid hosts with few servers, or servers isolated to a single location. Good web hosts have plenty of servers in several geographical regions for data protection and redundancy.
5. Hosts Without Admin Access
As your website or blog grows you’ll need to install software and configure settings more often. Avoid hosts that don’t offer a control panel or administration panel of some sort. Even if you don’t intend to install a Content Management System or any dependencies up front, it’s better to have the option on hand. Admin panels are usually included in the standard pricing for hosting plans at reputable hosts. Administrator access will also be needed to create databases and FTP policies.
6. A No-Refund Policy
Most well-known hosts offer a strong refund policy, ranging from 7 to 30 days from start of service. If this is your first web hosting package it’s particularly important to choose a host with a no-questions asked refund policy. Avoid any host that states “no refunds” in its terms and conditions to ensure your money is never wasted.
7. Underpowered Hosting Packages
Every website has specific needs and requirements of its host. If your website stores large files or allows users to download media then you’ll likely need a host with unlimited storage and bandwidth. Avoid picking a host that doesn’t have unlimited or unmetered plans in place. Even if you opt for a more economical plan at first, it’s better to be able to upgrade your plan later on than to be forced to switch hosts when your website grows.
8. High Transfer Fees
Whether you currently have a hosting plan or are starting anew, it’s important to check out the transfer fee and other fees charged by your potential hosts. Some hosts will transfer a single website for free while charging a few dollars for additional transfers. The same goes for domain name transfers, for hosts that offer registrar services. Choose a host with low fees if you think you’ll need to transfer websites to your plan in the future.
9. Hosting Companies Without SEO Benefits
Free web hosts aren’t the only hosts with terrible SEO factors. In order to make sure your website or blog is indexed by Google and other search engines, you’ll need to pick a host with SEO benefits. Avoid hosts that don’t offer dedicated IPs if you think you may want the SEO benefits of having your own IP address at some point. Unscrupulous hosts offering dirt-cheap plans, of usually $5 or less per month, often have poor SEO factors. Spam and other low quality websites tend to gravitate toward these hosts, potentially harming the other, legitimate websites on their servers.
10. Hosts without Mail Services
Many hosts offer a single email through POP3 or IMAP, but one email account is sometimes insufficient for websites and blogs with thousands of visitors. This is especially true if you want to setup customer service, sales, support and admin email accounts or if your site has more than one administrator. Check for hosts that offer multiple or unlimited email accounts, or hosts that at least allow webmail to be setup through third-party email software.
After inspecting your lineup of potential hosts for these concerning issues you will be well prepared to choose the right host for your content. Look for unlimited plans, low fees, and a great customer service record from any host you’re considering. If you expect large growth choose a host that offers scaling solutions like upgraded VPS or cloud plans. If you’re running a business or blog for profit then make sure to avoid hosts that lack email systems with multiple addresses at your own domain name.