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11 Things to Check Before Purchasing Web Hosting

A lot of people fall victim because they don’t do their proper research of a web hosting provider before they make a purchase. While the list below is not a comprehensive checklist it does cover some of the most basic things to check for when you are looking to buy web hosting.

Contract Terms/Length

This is a biggie, especially when it comes to those hosts offering unlimited disk space or bandwidth. The fact of the matter is that web hosting providers can’t actually afford to offer anything for free. There is always a catch and the catch is explained within their Terms & Conditions. Yeah the big wall of text that you never read because of the length but that you have to agree to. Read through the contract and you will find out just how limited your account really is and how much freedom you truly have.

Server Backups

Considering we are dealing with computers things can go wrong at any time. When they do go wrong it is usually far worse than expected and this is why you should have multiple backups of your files in different locations. Many of the larger web hosting companies offer multiple backups that are automatically done for you but you need to make sure of this beforehand. Just because a host doesn’t offer backups does not necessarily mean that you can’t purchase from them, you just need to take extra measures to keep your files backed up in multiple locations.

Server Uptime

You have a website because most likely you are trying to draw visitors to it in turn to make money. Having your web site go down can costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars of lost profits. Making sure that a web hosting provider has multiple options for power can decrease the chance that your server will go down. There are many sites dedicated to providing server uptime monitoring for web hosts scattered throughout the internet.

Negative Press/Reviews

No hosting provider is perfect and not every customer is going to enjoy their experience. Before you purchase hosting make sure to do a search for reviews of the web host. There are many sites online that provide you with honest reviews from web hosting customers. Make sure to read over the reviews carefully and to understand the negative reviews. Many times people over exaggerate a situation that could have been simply solved by themselves.

Awards

As stated above, there are many web hosting review sites out there. Some of them may also offer awards to a particular web hosting for having the most uptime or providing the best customer service. It is a good idea to research the awards that have been given to a web host. Some hosting providers like to prominently display the awards that have been given to them while others have the awards tucked away on a sub page on their site. However, just because a web host does not have an award does not make them any worse than a host that does.

Compare Prices

This is probably the most obvious point of this list. With the industry as competitive as it is, providers are always looking for ways to provide you the most resources for as little as possible. One web host may provide 1000MB of storage and bandwidth for $10 a month while another may provide 5000MB of storage and bandwidth for only $5 a month. Write down a list of what you need and while browsing for hosting plans write down the information from each host. Then once you are done, go over the list and make comparisons to see which host will give you the most for your money.

Look For Coupons

As stated above, the hosting industry is competitive and hosts constantly have to improve their services while keeping the price low. Many providers will offer coupons that give you a free domain name, a discount on a yearly hosting package or a major discount on your first month of hosting. There are many sites and forums on the internet that look for these coupons and provide lists so that consumers can save some extra money.

Programming Language Support

Depending upon your site, you will most likely need some kind of programming language. Most hosting providers nowadays offer PHP as a standard because it is widely used throughout the word. However, your site may require additional languages to be able to function so make sure that you are aware of what languages they do provide or what languages they can provide upon request.

Customer/Technical Support

When things go wrong you need somebody to talk to no matter what time it is. Most of the major hosting companies offer 24/7 phone, live chat and email support. Companies such as HostGator have a great reputation for their customer service and are very eager to go out of their way to help you. While you may not need to contact support everyday, it is nice knowing that if you do ever need to there will be somebody on the other end of the line ready to assist you in any way possible.

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