You’re often 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. So how can you tell the difference between jargon and mumbo jumbo, and figure out what you really need (and need to know)?
Like any other type of business, many hosts boast about things that should be a given or make huge, sweeping claims that simply can’t be 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” as their topline features, you might want to dig a little deeper.
- 99% uptime
- Unlimited bandwidth and storage
- Email support around the clock
- Google Analytics for Free
99% sounds like a lot, but is it really? Not if you actually break down what it 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).
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 because it’s violating some sort of “fair-use” policy.
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 promoting these “features” as something unique when they’re not.
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 toolset) so that you can truly understand your website traffic. 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?
Don’t let this one trick you, even though it flirts dangerously with the fact that it sounds so “techy”. You don’t actually need anything special to run these files and if a host didn’t support them, then they would have no business being a host at all.
The biggest sign that a web host is trying to pull a fast one is if they don’t describe what they offer in clear language. It should be their job to make things as straightforward and easy for you as possible.