Things to Look Out for when Searching for a Web Host

Just as there are many things to look for when searching for a web host, there are also many things to look out for. New web hosting companies are popping up every single day, and they all need to make the best claims to potential customers in order to attract their business. Sometimes those claims or promises are simply good deals on web hosting, but too often they’re tied to conditions that the web host isn’t always so forthcoming about. Here are some of the most common claims and promises made by web hosts, and what you should be looking out for.

Promise: Setup fees will be waived
Look out for: Setup fees will be waived on longer contracts

“Contact us today for web hosting – we’ll waive your setup fee!” This, or something like this, is often splashed across web hosting websites to give potential customers the feeling that this particular web host has a leg up on the competition because by using them, you won’t have to pay the setup fee (which is usually around $30). But look out for setup fees that are only waived on longer contracts. While many web hosts will in fact waive the setup fees on contracts of 6 months, a year, or longer, usually a monthly contract will still include setup fees. Make sure you ask before signing up, and never sign on for this reason alone.

Promise: Unlimited bandwidth
Look out for: Contract clauses regarding CUP cycles or time

Unlimited bandwidth is something the majority of web hosts offer and on its own, it’s nothing to be cautious of. Web hosts offer the unlimited option to all of their customers knowing that only a few will ever use significant amounts. However, when those few in the minority do start to use several gigabytes of bandwidth in a month’s time, some web hosts start to panic and will send notices to those customers stating that they’ve nearly reached their capacity.

But how can that be when the contract was signed for use of unlimited bandwidth?

When this is the case, the web host has typically tucked a clause in the contract regarding CUP cycles or time, so that they could fall back on it when needed. Always read the contract very carefully and make sure that unlimited means the same thing to the web host as it does to you. If it doesn’t, you need to look for a different web host.

Promise: Unlimited MySQL or MSSQL databases
Look out for: Limits on database size

Some web hosts will try to draw customers in with the promise of unlimited MySQL or MSSQL databases, leaving customers to think they’re possibilities are endless. However, web hosts get out of this by putting a limit on the size of either an individual database, or the total size of all databases combined, essentially nullifying the original claim.
Promise: 24/7 customer support
Look out for: No actual person available 24/7

Of course your server or your website is going to crash in the middle of the night. And of course you’re going to want to talk to your web host about it. Luckily they offer 24/7 support so that shouldn’t be a problem, right? It’s unfortunately at this moment that website owners sometimes find out that the “24/7 customer support” that was promised is really just an email address generating an automated response. Look out for web hosts that don’t have an actual phone number or at least live chat available on their website.

Look out for these biggest claims, and the truth behind them, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the right web host for you and your website!