In an ideal world, your contractors and people you do business with have your best interests at heart. This goes for the company that delivers your office’s water to the freelance SEO expert you have on retainer. However, when it comes to web hosting, they’re not all created equally and they don’t all want what’s best for you. It’s a business just like any other, and the bottom line is their driving force.
Are you curious whether or not your web host is transparent, treating you right or giving you the best possible rates? Some shady web hosts are all about the hard sell, the upsell and locking in clients so they can’t pursue better options. Finding a reputable, high quality web host is paramount to your business’ success, but what if they’re not being communicative?
Here are some of the most common things subpar web hosts don’t want you to know. If you can’t get a straight answer about these questions, consider yourself warned.
- How much down time there really is
A professional web host will be up front about down time, often in percentages. For example, they might promise 99.4 percent uptime which is fantastic (anything about 99 percent should be your goal). However, if the say something like, “we’re rarely down” but won’t give you clear figures, start running. Your server will likely be down more often than what’s acceptable.
- Compensation (or lack thereof) for not delivering
If a web host promises a certain amount of uptime, but there’s an unexpected emergency and your server is down more than promised, what happens? A great web host will offer some sort of compensation, but shady hosts won’t address that issue at all. It should be in writing from the start, and if it’s not then that’s a deal breaker.
- How slow it’ll really be
There’s no real way to define how slow or fast a website is, but you know it when you see it. However, one of the most common things that slows down a shared server is having too many clients sharing it. Some web hosts won’t want to tell you have many other people will be using your shared server because the numbers are so high, slowness is guaranteed.
- The reality of add-on fees
The total cost of using a shared server or having a dedicated server should be up front. Hidden fees can be slipped into any type of industry, and the same is true of web hosting. Other times, these fees might not technically be hidden, but you could be bombarded with add-ons and upsells non-stop. If a bad web host senses you’re not tech savvy with servers, it’s easy to use scare tactics to drum up more revenue.
- How knowledgeable (or not) staff is
Your first point of contact should be someone who’s highly skilled in server management and troubleshooting. The web hosts’ actual technical team should be expert level. Ask about experience, background and training for each web host staffer you’ll be dealing with. When a server goes down at 1am, you don’t want to be talking to an entry level work who’s previous experience had nothing to do with servers.
Keep in mind that the best web hosts don’t need to resort to underhanded tactics. Trust your gut when comparison shopping, ask questions and don’t get bullied into signing anything until you’re ready.