There are thousands of articles on the Internet that go into the specifics of starting a website and learning how to make money from it and grow it over time. While this is all incredibly useful information, the immense amount of opinions available can tend to lead to confusion. Many would-be entrepreneurs give up on their plans because they become so unsure about which advice to follow and what would actually work for them.
When it comes to choosing website hosting, for example, there are dozens of options to pick from and even more opinions on which one is the best. Whether you are about to start a new blog or e-commerce site, or just want to switch providers, it pays to understand some of the mistakes that people often make when selecting which service to use. Read on for a selection of the most common errors to steer clear of when making your choice.
1. Not Analyzing the Fine Print
Many people rush into a decision about website hosting as they don’t think it’s very important, and just want to tick the job off their to-do list. However, rather than quickly selecting the first package you see, or opting for whichever seems the cheapest, it pays to really analyze the fine print to understand what you are, and are not, getting if you sign up to a particular host.
Price should never be the deciding factor. Instead, looking at what inclusions you will receive, and think about what you will need over the long run. Often you’ll find that the cheapest offer isn’t the best because it is “bare bones” only, and doesn’t include necessary extras such as support, high guaranteed uptimes, and more. You should also check to see if there are any hidden fees and charges that you would not expect, as this can make a cheap option very quickly become expensive.
2. Choosing a Website Host that Does Not Provide Support
A particularly important part of finding a good website host is ensuring that you’ll receive tech support if required. Not all plans include this though, so make sure you check before you commit to one. If your site suddenly goes down or has some other technical difficulty, you need to be able to get support straight away from your website hosting provider and fix the issue.
Look for a plan that provides you with both online and over-the-phone support 24 hours a day —after all, technical glitches can happen at any time of the day or night, and you don’t want to have to wait 12 hours or more until you can get the issue sorted out. As well, do some research online to see what you can find out about the quality of the support provided. This will give you a good indication of which hosts are worth signing up with, and which ones to avoid.
3. Not Allowing for Growth
A common mistake that business owners make when choosing a website hosting provider is locking themselves into a contract for a plan that does not allow for growth. Although your new site may be small now with not much traffic coming through, you need to make sure that your site won’t crash if you happen to receive a sudden traffic spike that sees your current bandwidth limits exceeded.
Before signing on the dotted line with a provider, investigate what would happen if your site does start receiving lots more visitors, whether from a good marketing campaign or a great referral. Talk to the potential host to find out if your site would be shut down if the bandwidth is exceeded, or if you can quickly jump to the next plan up if needed. As well, be wary of excess fees— some hosting providers charge exorbitant costs for every additional megabyte over your plan’s allowance.
4. Using an Untested Website Host
In the same vein, you should also conduct some research to find out the track record of a website host before you pay for their services. Although companies may be offering cheap launch deals or other special offers, remember that if something seems too good to be true it usually is.
Large, reputable firms have generally been around for a long time and will have the right kind of servers, support and other features. They typically have backups, redundancies, and expert tech people on hand to guarantee high performance, and will often be able to showcase customer testimonials and other indications that they can be trusted.
On the other hand, newer, cheaper, or otherwise less established hosts may simply be reselling services from other providers, or operating inadequate servers out of their spare room with no real idea of what they’re doing or how to ensure uptimes are as close to 100 percent as possible.