Some must read tips about the hosting industry, and how to avoid being taken for a ride!
Always test a host's support before joining them! how?
The truth to why many hosting plans are scams. info?
Be careful of hosts that force yearly payments! why?
Never purchase your domain name from your host. why?
A few tests you can run to check how good a host is. info!
Why hosting directories lie, and the truth to customer testimonials. info!
The truth to a hosts uptime and guarantees. info!
Do not join a host without testing out their support first. The best way to test out a host's support is calling in. You'll be surprised how many hosts with an 800 number never answer their phones, or have long hold times. E-mailing a hosting company or submitting a ticket to their sales department is not the way to test a host! Many of the companies have incredible response times when contacting their sales department, very few have good times when contacting support. After all they don't make money by supporting you. They only make money by selling to you.
2. Scam Plans
If it sounds too good too be true it usually is! All hosts have the same basic limitations when it comes to server resources and specs. There is no magic server that has a never ending supply of RAM and CPU. If a host ever claims to give unlimited space or bandwidth DO NOT JOIN THEM. The thing to remember is that the average web site uses about 50 Megs space and less then 1 gig bandwidth a month. So what hosting companies do is they lie! They make up scam plans with tons of space and bandwidth for around $8 bucks a month. It's a numbers game... Only one or two of every 100 people that signup on the plan are going to use all the bandwidth advertised. So what do they do? They usually terminate the sites that use it saying "your site is using too many resources." They aren't lying about the resource usage. IT'S the truth! Most people don't realize that bandwidth and space used have nothing to do with the server resources being used. Resource usage has to do with the amount of CPU and RAM a site uses. If a site uses a lot of bandwidth they aren't kicked for using their bandwidth they are kicked for using up most of the servers cpu and ram. Another thing to remember is that the cheaper the plan is, and the more space / bandwidth included the more sites per server the host will have to pack in to make their money back. So the lesson here is don't shop for a host based on their plans! You should shop based on recommendations and experience!
3. About Paying Yearly
Another thing you'll notice is that most of these incredible scam plans force you to pay for a year up front to get the good pricing. Why would a hosting company care if you pay monthly or yearly? After all if you're happy with them you're going to end up staying much longer than a year. Merchant fees aren't that much so why? It's because most have horrible support, slow servers, or even tons of downtime. If you were paying month to month you're not going to stick around, but if you paid for a year up front what are you going to do? You won't get your money back so you have no choice but to stay with them. ONLY PAY MONTHLY! We have one plan that requires a year payment up front (hatchling) Why? because most hosts advertise a low monthly fee if paid yearly and a much higher price if monthly. We still need to be competitive so we made one plan showing this option. We would however prefer you sign up for a monthly plan. Remember paying yearly to anyone is always a bad idea, but the choice is yours. We would do everything in our power to honor the year but anything can happen to anyone. The state of Texas where our servers are located could be wiped off the face of the earth. If this happened we would most likely be out of business instantly and have no way to honor your payment. All we're saying is no matter how good a company is anything can come up, and you could lose your upfront payment.
4. Domain Name Tips
Do not join a host that includes a free domain name with their hosting package, and never purchase your domain name from a hosting provider, unless you are positive they will be putting your information in the WHOIS (We do, most don't). If your information isn't in the whois they could blackmail you into staying with them. For all technical purposes whoever has their information in the whois is the owner. A domain owner doesn't go by who paid for it; it goes by whose information is on the whois. To check a whois on the domain go there and type "domainname.com" and click submit. Whoever's address, email, and phone number shows up is the domain owner. We recommend purchasing a domain from www.namecheap.com or www.godaddy.com after you purchase the name all you would do is put your host's dns in and your domain name will then point to your hosting company.
5. A few more tests to check out how legit a company is
Do a whois on their domain name. Then look for the creation date of the domain name. If the domain name was created less then a year ago it's more of a risk to join that hosting company. They could be a great host, but considering more then 95% of new hosts go out of business within a year that really isn't something you should be taking a chance on.
You could also test the speed of a host's network to your location by...
Clicking start > run > type in "command" enter, and then type "ping hostdomainname.com" wait for it to finish and look for the average ping. The lower the number the better, and chances are the faster your site will load if you should host with them. Any number around an 80 average would be good. Anything over 100 is very bad (unless you're living in another country from where the host is based.)
6. Customer Reviews
Don't believe anything you read on the hosting directories. They don't care who they recommend as they are all paid listings. The highest bidder gets the spot.
If a hosting company claims 100% uptime they are lying. All servers need to be rebooted every now and then for security and software updates. If they never reboot that means their server is insecure and they will eventually be hacked.
When a company guarantees an uptime, that doesn't make it true. A host has as many uptimes as they have servers. It all depends on what server they put you on, and how well they manage it from the time you're put on it. We guarantee a 99.9 uptime but that does not mean we will hit it every month for eternity. Our guarantee means we give you a 100% refund for the month if we should not hit it. Many hosting companies will give you a prorated refund based on the amount of downtime. So say you pay $10 for a month of hosting and your site is down for 24 / hours. They will refund you for one day of downtime which ends up being about 33 cents. A guarantee is worthless! What is worth something is how they define the guarantee, and if they do in fact honor it.