How can there be web hosting price wars when there are so many freemium options out there? As it turns out, there’s a lot more to web hosting than snagging a free package—especially for an IT professional who’s much more well-versed in the need for security and knowledgeable customer service support than the average web hosting customer. According to a Peer 1 Hosting survey which gathered data from IT pros in the UK and US, 80 percent of these professionals simply won’t compromise security in return for lower prices. Obviously, right?
However, IT users are in the minority because they’re the only ones who realize what they’d be giving up for lower prices. For the average customer, the jargon is intimidating and confusing so the bottom line is what they understand. The survey also found that nearly 90 percent of IT pros won’t give up good customer service for lower prices, either. Maybe that’s because they hope for the best/plan for the worst, while other web hosting customers don’t think they’ll ever have a need to call customer service.
Hopefully those customers are right. But when the server goes down in the middle of a website owner’s biggest sales day of the year, who are they going to call?
The VP of Product at Peer 1, Toby Owen, says, “In the age of heightened cyber threats, the boom in e-Commerce and also the storing and dissemination of data by thousands of organizations, the role of hosting in many businesses has never been more important. Whilst cheaper hosting has an appear for some who are motivated by price, the research shows that speed, service, and security are a priority for many IT decision makers who are not willing to compromise on their web hosting business.” In the UK, 60 percent of those surveyed said the hosting price wars were “confusing”, “annoying” or “not to be trusted.” Both in the UK and across the pond in the US, respondents agreed that customer service and security were their top considerations when choosing a web host.
However, this doesn’t mean that a freemium model can’t be a great choice—for some web users. While the IT professionals said they also wouldn’t sacrifice speed for a lower price, that’s not necessarily what some other users would say. After all, IT pros need lightning speed to get their work done. The same isn’t true if you just want to register a domain to host photos of your dog dressed up like celebrities.
Reeling ‘em In
One of the survey questions was, “How like is it that a price cut from another hosting provider would cause you to change hosting provider?” In total, 23 percent said it was either “somewhat likely” or “highly likely”, but 43 percent ticked “unlikely” or “extremely unlikely.” Of the 250 UK and 300 US professionals surveyed, the general findings were that those “in the business” weren’t blinded by price tags alone. And they’re tired of being pawns in this raging battle.
However, bear in mind that this survey was like asking bartenders if they’d give up quality in liquor in exchange for a cheaper price. Of course not. In many instances, web host customers can get a lower price without giving up quality, speed or customer service—but it’s not easy. It requires shopping around. Plus, a lot of those IT pros are likely depending on their employers to pay for that hosting, so it’s easy to say they wouldn’t go with a cheaper option.
In the end, it’s what matters to the user and their own budget that will dictate decisions.