There’s a big difference between paying for web hosting and overpaying for web hosting. Yes, there are plenty of fantastic freemium options out there (don’t get burned by an iffy one!), but what if you just need a little “more” than what free can offer? You can basically pay as much or as little as you want for web hosting, and web hosts know this—some of the shady ones bank on the fact that you don’t know much about what web hosts do. That’s not your forte, but that doesn’t mean you should be taken advantage of.
Obviously, your website can make or break your business (especially if you’re solely online). It’s your reputation, your first impression, your storefront and your resume. This means it needs to be reliable, not too slow, and load like it’s supposed to. If it doesn’t, your customers are going to assume you’re the one to blame (not your web host). If you can’t even offer up a fast site that loads well, what kind of service, goods or products are you going to offer?
You Get What You Pay For?
Web hosting can be expensive. It can also be cheap. Then there’s that in-between area where you can score a great deal if you know what you’re looking for. Start by writing down what features you need (and really want) well before you start shopping around. Maybe you only plan to operate a single site, so why spring for that package that offers unlimited email addresses and domains? You’re paying a premium for those extra features when you don’t need to.
Once your must-have list is written, make sure you scour the web for deals and coupons. They should be aplenty when it comes to hosting since there are thousands of hosts battling for your attention. However, be aware that many coupons give you a great discount for a limited time, and you might be agreeing to pay full price at a certain date. That’s perfectly fine—as long as the full price fits in your budget.
The More You Spend…
…the more you save. This is a class marketing approach, and in the right circumstances it can be a win-win. If you sign up for a longer contract, you might be able to save a bundle. Why pay more for one year when you can get a greater savings at two, five or ten years? However, you need to be sure this web host is giving you what you want and that you’ll still be in business in X amount of years. Shooting for two years is usually appropriate, but a brand new business committing to five or ten years might be tempting fate.
Finally, don’t forget to always read the small print so you know what you’re agreeing to and the terms. There are a lot of legitimate deals out there, but there are also a fair amount of tricksters. Check for cancelation fees, hidden fees, and if you don’t understand something ask for clarification (or see that some web hosts intentionally write in jargon to confuse customers). Web hosting is a big deal, for both you and your customers, and you deserve a product and service that’s worthy of your business.