You’re constantly told what you need form a web host, but what about things you could really do without? Some shady web host companies prey on the fact that a lot of consumers don’t really know what they’re looking for—plus, there’s a lot of competition in this industry. How can you tell the difference between jargon/mumbo jumbo and figure out what you really need (and need to know!)?
Like any other type of business, many hosts are boasting about things that should be a given or making huge, sweeping claims that simply can’t be totally true. Here are a few big red flags to watch out for when doing your research. If you see a host lauding one of these “perks”, you might consider moving on to another option.
- 99% uptime
That sounds like a lot, but is it really? Not if you actually break down what that means. It leaves you with up to 87 hours every year that your website might be down and there’s nothing you can do about it. A great web host should offer over 99 percent uptime, and as close to 100 percent as possible. However, also steer clear of 100 percent promises because nobody can guarantee that (things happen).
- Unlimited bandwidth/storage
The more storage you need the more the host needs to buy, and who do you think is picking up the tab for that? In one way or another, you’re going to be charged for that “unlimited” usage. However, you probably also don’t need unlimited bandwidth or storage, so don’t pay more just because. Bear in mind that hosting companies have a number of ways to make unlimited things limited, from throttling CPU usage at a threshold to closing your site to bully you into paying more.
- Email support around the clock
This one is a word scam because you can always send an email whenever you wish. There’s no promise that you’ll get a response in a timely manner. A better promise is 24/7 phone or live chat support. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and some web hosts aren’t above featuring these “upsides” as something unique when they’re not.
- Google Analytics for Free!
That’s like saying those cookies at open houses are free—they’re free anyway! In fact, it’s in your best interest to learn Google Analytics yourself (it’s an incredibly user friendly feature) so you can get reports customized and whenever you wish. Google also has a slew of other, related tools to help you optimize your website. Even luddites can take advantage of these features, so why rely on a host to do it?
The biggest sign that a web host is trying to pull a fast one is if they don’t describe in clear language what they offer. It should be their job to make things as straightforward as possible. If they’re not, they’re hiding something.