The Cheap Hosting Plan:
The bargain that can cost you more than money
The cheap hosting plan can be enticing. Let's face it - none of us wants to pay more than necessary when we buy something, and this is particularly true of hosting services. After all, this is hardly the sexiest part of our website strategy and it's hard to get motivated by anything other than cost. So, our primary aim is all too often a budget hosting package rather than a professional and stable solution.
The main trap most people fall into is simple. They believe what the cheap hosting company tells them. The fact is, the budget hosting provider can tell you anything it wants and it may not actually be TRUE. Read the marketing blurb on many cheap hosting sites and you'll come across the same 'factual' statements. You'll have more server space than you could ever need, top of the range servers, support and security promises... the list goes on. But what if it isn't true? Well, the one thing you WON'T have is a working website that's available on the internet 24/7, 365 days a year! So how do you bypass this trap? One way to learn more about cheap hosting and how to choose your budget hosting provider is to read our web host reviews.
Let's take a look at where things can go wrong with a cheap hosting package. One of the biggest issues is that of server space and bandwidth allowance. It's not just about how much you get for your buck now, but how much extra the budget hosting company will charge you if you need to buy more later. Many budget web hosting providers start off with generous packages, but charge way too much if you want more. And, they make sure that you will NEED to buy more.
In some cases, you'll even find that cheap hosting plans are useless anyway because too many sites are put on to individual servers. Here, website speed won't be the problem you'll face because there won't be any! You'll be lucky if anyone can access your site at all. Look at the small print and you'll also probably see that the budget hosting company limits what you can do with your site. This might not be an issue for you now, but may hamper your growth later on even more.
And then there's support... or the lack of it. It costs money to provide a decent support service so many cheap hosting plans limit what they offer. Monday to Friday email support from 9-5 might sound okay, but is of no use to you if your site disappears from the internet at 5:01 pm Friday. It really is worth paying that bit extra to get a real person on the end of the phone 24/7, seven days a week.
So, what can you do? First, ask questions about their system, what you do and don't get, the support service, and the cost of future changes. Ask the budget hosting company if you can sign up for a trial period rather than giving a long-term commitment. Next, ask for a copy of a service level agreement. Any cheap hosting provider will give you an uptime percentage guarantee (this is the time that their servers are up and running OK). This figure should be in the high 90s. Of course, bad cheap hosting providers might lie, but good providers will offer you compensation if they don't meet their guarantee - simply because they know it's true so they can afford to bet on it.
Another good tip is to ask for the website addresses of current customers and then do a bit of research. This is better than testimonials as an unethical budget hosting provider can falsify those or pick a friendly customer (many bad cheap hosting companies aim to keep a couple of people happy to help pull in new business). Spend a few days trying to log into the websites at peak and off-peak times. If you can't get access or loading times are slow, then this isn't the service for you.
Fianlly, take some time to read our cheap hosting articles and check out our list of the best budget hosting providers out there!
Take some time to follow these steps and you'll soon find a cheap hosting provider or a budget hosting plan that is right for you!
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