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Can You “Afford” Cheap Web Hosting?

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Getting a bargain, saving money, spending less than we expected – it all sounds great, doesn’t it? There’s very few people on this earth who wouldn’t jump at the chance to grab a bargain, so it’s therefore no surprise that those looking for web hosting are any different. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of queries for “cheap web hosting” every month with search engines.

So, yes, getting a bargain is good – but one question you have to ask yourself if you’re searching for cheap web hosting is this: Can I really afford cheap web hosting?

That may so ridiculous – of course you can afford it! It’s cheap! That’s the whole point, right? – but there are different ways and means of ‘affording’ things. For example, can you afford – can you allow yourself, your website and your business interests – to be subjected to a poor service from your web hosting company?

While everyone likes a bargain, it’s only a bargain if it’s good value for money. If you pay $20 per year for web hosting, that might sound great, but the associated problems – down time, server crashes and perhaps worse – suddenly makes the deal seem less attractive. If you are only running a small personal site, maybe you can afford to put up with those issues for the sake of saving the pennies – but if you’re looking to make your website a money-making scheme, then you definitely cannot.

The key here is affordability. Don’t look for cheap web hosting providers, just affordable ones that still offer a high, consistent level of good service. Your business will thank you for it in the long run.

How To Really Find Reliable Web Hosting

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Scientists have recently discovered that cats can sing the national anthem of the country they were born in if you ask them nicely.

Let’s guess; you don’t believe that, do you? Of course not, it’s ludicrous, yet many a web hosting company sells their services on the very premise that if they write it, customers will believe it’s true. And why do they do that? Because, in most cases, they’re right.

The point here is that, when searching for reliable web hosting, don’t believe everything you read – especially if it’s the web host that are saying it. While every company on the world exagerrates in their advertising campaigns, web hosting companies are infamous for it due to the fierce competition in the market place. They’ll say things and claim things that just aren’t true, while storing the facts away in the small print terms and conditions so they’re covered legally should anyone challenge their claims.

One of the biggest claims made by web hosting companies is to super-technological feats of reliability. Everyone wants reliable web hosting – that’s a given – so by claiming something like 99% up time, a web host knows they’re going to get potential customer’s attention. What they don’t tell you is how often that 99% is; is it 99% uptime per day, per week, per year? If it’s per year, that’s still a lot of down time you’re going to have to deal with.

Finding reliable web hosting is all about asking around on internet forums and websites for true customer feedback on the offers available. Never, ever believe everything a web hosting company says.

The “Trouble Ticket” System: Just The Ticket Or Asking For Trouble?

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There are many web hosting companies that nowadays subscribe to the idea of a “trouble ticket” system for resolving customer issues. The idea of the system is simple – a customer who is having problems with their web hosting fills in a ticket on the error page that is showing, or on the web host’s own site, informing the host of the problem. This is then sent to the web host’s call center who prioritize the issue and assign an engineer to resolve the issue.

The benefit of the system is that it does allow companies to prioritize issues, ensuring that engineers can be assigned to the particularly problematic cases first. It also means that when you do speak to someone from the company, they should be up to speed on what is wrong with your service.

Equally, however, the system has its flaws. Not least of these is the fact that it is simply impossible to know when you will get a call from an engineer. The system is designed in such a way that your first contact will come when they have got around to assigning someone to your case. This leaves you at a bit of a loose end if your problem is stopping you working. How the cases are prioritized is also a gray area.

Research has proven that customers feel far more reassured with a company that has a dedicated tech support phone number that allows them to make direct contact rather than sending off a “ticket”. It is worth holding out for a company that does this, but does it particularly well.

See Through The Jargon of Web Host Advertising

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Learning to understand advertising jargon is essential whenever you are looking to buy a service or product. The process of “selling” themselves to the consumer is no different for web hosting companies; everyone wants your business, and they’re prepared to promise you the world in an attempt to get it.

Spotting web hosting companies advertising jargon is fairly simple. The most obvious ruse is used on pricing.

For example, a company may bill their web hosting as “$9.99 per month” – which may sound like a good deal. Many people starting up with their own website will like the idea of paying monthly for their web hosting, as it is less of an financial outlay initially.

However, in most cases, the “per month” figure is just the year figure divided by 12 – you still have to pay up front for an entire year, which in this case would be $119.88. That is a substantial financial outlay; and by that point, you might be ‘sold’ on other aspects of the plan and will just go ahead and pay it – even though you may be able to find cheaper elsewhere. The initial low figure of “per month” is used to attract the eye and drag you in, and then hit you with the full price when you don’t expect it.

Always watch out any asterisk use in web hosting advertising. Most companies will cram the truth of what they are offering underneath the main sales text; so if you see asterisks, go and find their corresponding section in the terms and conditions. That way, you’ll always be immune to flashy advertising banners, and will get a better deal because of it.

The Dangers of Relying On Your Website Host To Back Up

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Many a web hosting company attracts clients based on their promise of nightly, weekly or monthly back ups of the sites you host with them. These back ups are usually a key selling point for many consumers, who like the security it brings. In the event of a server crash, your site will be protected no matter what, and restoring it should be simple.

Mostly, web host companies back ups are a good thing – they provide stability and allow the website owner to relax. However, these packages do promote laziness; and many a business owner ceases to create their own back up files when they know their web hosting company are doing it too. This is a dangerous trap to get in to; while no one is looking to discourage you from buying a hosting plan that includes back ups by the web hosts, you should be aware of the continued necessity to create your own copies, too.

Web hosting companies are usually reliable. However, in the case of a server crash and you needing to restore your site from nothing, you don’t want to take any chances. You definitely don’t want to discover they have been reneging on their side of the deal, and have not been making back ups, after you’ve lost your site.

There’s no real way to verify your site is being backed up beyond requesting copies of those back ups. Some web hosts will do this, but even if they do, always keep making your own back up copies of your website – without fail.

Hello, This Is Technical Support, How Can I Help You?

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Customer service has become a real buzzword in the recent past, with companies the world over queueing up to offer it. However, as anyone who has experienced a battle with a customer support department will know, offering it is one thing, delivery is often another entirely. This is sadly often true of the technical support departments of web hosting companies, and of online service in general.

You may be familiar with the sinking feeling of being on hold to a company and hearing the recorded message telling you “Your call is important to us, thank you for holding” repeatedly. It cannot be underestimated how annoying this is, and how entirely counter-productive. The message may be designed to reassure the customer that their problem will be dealt with soon, and dealt with well – but to many of us it signals the company protesting too much.

Before you sign up for a web hosting company, it is essential that you research their record on tech support. Some companies do not have a tech support phone line, advising that you send them an email – hardly reassuring when they seem to have such problems with Internet downtime. Others offer a “live chat” service on the Internet, and this can be a worthwhile option, but only when it is adequately staffed.

WYSIWYG? ORLY? OMG!

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While many web hosts provide WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) site building software, it is important to consider the matter of whether this software is what you want to use. Make no mistake, for the most part these are perfectly useful and often even very good. But your best bet may be to ignore these editors and choose a Content Management System instead. The CMS (as it is known for short) can be installed on the cPanel of your hosting software and you can then use it for all your web building needs.

The advantages of using a CMS over the WYSIWYG editor on your site are substantial. Primarily, it comes down to the fact that these systems (Joomla and WordPress are the two most popular) offer you a lot more latitude with what you want to do with the site. Both are highly customisable and also offer a real “plug and play” element, which makes it a whole lot easier to install extra content on your site – content like road maps, YouTube videos and Paypal clients which make it a lot easier to create a business site.

Additionally, these systems make it a lot easier to make your site look good. It is very easy to download a “theme” or template for your site which will give it a distinct and professional look. Although the WYSIWYG editor is a nice touch and may be useful for basic sites, you should never look a gift horse in the mouth – install a free CMS today.

Is There Such A Thing As “Free” Web Hosting?

In this world, getting something for nothing is rare – and, perhaps naturally, people distrust things that are free to acquire and give benefits back for what is seemingly no financial reward. This applies across all walks of life, from business to finance to the internet – and applies particularly to the concept of free web hosting.

Web hosting is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why offers for free web hosting seem too good to be true, and many users will just avoid on sight. In reality, there are some benefits that can be gotten from free web hosting. For some users, it might be worth looking deeper in to the idea.

Free web hosting is not without its drawbacks – usually you cannot use your own domain name, and you will be limited in terms of how much space and bandwidth you have. So far, it’s not such an attractive package if you are looking to host a professional, large site – and in truth, it probably isn’t a good idea if you fall in to that category.

It is with the small, often first-website user that free web hosting comes in to its own. If you only want to put a minute website, with a couple of pages and perhaps contact deals on the web, then it may be something worth considering. It’s certainly cheaper, and if you are not relying on the website solely to generate business or income, then a free offer may be exactly what you need.

Web Stats With Your Hosting Service

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If you are paying for web hosting, then it makes sense that you should expect to see some return on that money in the form of a service that enables you to make the most of your site. Simply put, the least you will require is a viable stat counting service, and most of the better paid web hosting services will offer something along those lines. When you are looking around for a web host, this should be one of the deal breakers for you – if they don’t offer a decent stat counter, begin to look elsewhere.

Stat counters are an essential for anyone looking to get the most from their website because it is only by seeing what action people take once they arrive at your website that you can begin to put right any wrongs that are escaping your attention. if people are surfing away from your site at an early stage, then clearly you need to make your website grab their attention more. If people are visiting a certain page more than others, see how you could bring some of the magic onto other pages.

It is of course possible to download and install your own stat counter on your website, but when you are paying for the privilege of web hosting it really is not too much to expect that the site should have a stat counter built in and ready to run. That way, you can really start to make the most of what you have got.

Customer Support Is A Deal Breaker

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Whatever else you look for in a web hosting provider, you should always be on the lookout for good customer support. All web hosts will say they provide it, just as all heavyweight boxers will say they are going to win their next fight by a knockout. Just because someone is saying something, it doesn’t mean it is true. There are several things you will need to ensure your web host has before deciding that it will provide you with the right level of customer support.

A toll-free customer support line is a sure sign that the company really is confident that it can give you the help you need without any messing around. Someone has to pay for a phone call and if it isn’t you, it’ll be them. If they’re paying for the call, they want it to be short and final, so they will move mountains to get you back up and running if there’s unscheduled downtime. Still, it is helpful to have a record of every query, so if they offer an additional email support service, you should double up by sending them email.

Many of the better web hosting providers also have customer forums. If they’re any good they will be patrolled and moderated by techies, and placing a post on the forum is a good idea if you have an unresolved problem. They don’t want to see a lot of posts on there saying their service sucks, because that’s liable to turn people off them – expect someone to reply to your query fast and have you up and running again. Finally, look out for hosts who have frequently updated documentation of potential downtime and other issues on their site. If you’re going to have downtime, it’s nice to know in advance.

The Truth About ‘Unlimited’ Web Hosting

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If you are in the market for a new web hosting provider, you’ve probably seen a lot of advertising literature. Adverts claiming that X company is the best, for X reasons, and for X amazing price. Everyone is out to impress and to snare your business, and they’ll say anything to catch your eye. That’s why the word “unlimited” is so over-used when it comes to web hosting companies advertising literature.

The promise is usually something along the lines of “unlimited space” or perhaps “unlimited bandwidth”. And you immediately think: wow! That’s a good deal! I’m going to get server space, a web host and everything I need – and I don’t need to worry about my site becoming too big, because my space and bandwidth is unlimited! So that’s the company you sign up for.

Well, it pains us to burst your bubble, but there’s no such thing as unlimited web space.

When these companies advertise ‘unlimited’ space, they are relying on their consumers to only use a small amount of space. Even with limited web hosting plans, few consumers ever use more than 75% of the space provided – so a web host company knows that they can offer ‘unlimited’ service because it’s unlikely they will ever be required to supply unlimited web space.

In reality, they have just the same server storage capabilities as anyone, and they are limited – it just so happens their limits are wide, and they can afford to entice people with an ‘unlimited’ offer. The moral here is do not be fooled by the offer of ‘unlimited’ space; only ever buy the amount of web space you need, because you’ll probably find you don’t even need that much.

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