Take a look at the most common web host complaints, and you’ll see a pattern emerge—and it’s not a pretty one. From customers finding out the hard way that hosting sale was too good to be true to fine print that was a little too fine, web hosting is very much a confusing part of the website development process for many businesses. It’s filled with jargon, it seems like all those freemium packages are the same, and choosing a web host comes at a point in the domain registration process when customers just want to be done with it. After all, what difference could a few dollars per year make?
Quite a bit. However, it’s on web hosts to rise to the occasion, educate their customers, and make it clear what’s on tap. On the other hand, web hosting is also a really saturated market and the competition is fierce. This makes it easy to put customer service and education on the back burner, which is a huge mistake.
Here are some of the most common ways web hosts fail customers and what to do about it:
- Lack of transparency
Sometimes this is intentional, like when a shady web host wants to confuse and trick consumers in order to gain their business. This might include hiding terms in jargon, making customers keep linking to other internal sites to lose them, or using unnecessarily complex descriptions. However, sometimes this isn’t intentional—after all, techies like web hosts aren’t always well-known for their writing skills. If you’re on the up and up, hire a professional writer with a knack for turning complex content into Layman’s terms.
- Poor customer service
This can come in many forms. However, ditch the customer automation if that’s part of your phone system and offer a variety of ways to get in touch around the clock. Your customers could be anywhere around the world and may need live chat or video calling instead of just a phone number. They could have a question at 3am and simply can’t work around your business hours. Put the customer back into customer service and think of what you’d want if you were in their shoes.
- Trapping them in a contract
This is a short-term financial gain that will lead to a long-term loss. The only hosts that need to “trap” customers in long-term contracts are those who think their customers might figure out they could do better. It’s even worse if the customer doesn’t realize they’re signing into a contract when it happens. A web host should rely on knowing they offer the best solutions and the best service in order to keep their customers.
- Wrong pricing schemes
Technically, a web host can charge whatever they want for their services. However, they need to stay competitive, too. Great customer service or better servers are certainly worth a higher price tag—but are these web hosts advertising why they’re better (and thus why there’s a price difference)? Freemium packages have also received a bad rap from a few bad apples. There are certainly instances where free hosting is fantastic for certain clients (as long as those customers know what they’re getting into).
Web hosting isn’t all that unique from any other type of service provider. There’s a spectrum, including great companies, mediocre ones, and subpar web hosts. However, when one web host fails a customer, that can tarnish the entire industry. Web hosts should challenge themselves to do better—and customers should try to write honest reviews when they discover a good web host as well as a bad one.