Hosting Horror Show
Your small business has a website through a cheap hosting and domain provider. Things have been going well for you, and your website is generating quite the revenue. Suddenly, you aren't receiving emails. After that issue is corrected (which points out the issue of poor support, as it took you days to receive a response of any kind), your site goes down altogether.
How do you ensure you don't end up with a web hosting company such as this? Is there any way, when sifting through cheap hosting plans, to avoid getting stuck with a bad hosting company?
An Example Of The Worst Case Scenario
Jim Daniels, owner of the site bizweb2000 and JDD Publishing, ran into the problems just outlined above. When he contacted support to alert them to the fact his email accounts were nonfunctional, he received no response for a full day. When he called them, they assured him they were back up and running, but upon testing, he discovered that in fact, they were not. Another call to customer support, and an hour later everything was working fine.
A few weeks later, ironically just after receiving notification that he had exceeded the allotted 1 gigabyte transfer limit for them month and seeing his monthly fee triple, his email accounts were yet again down. At that point, he made the decision to switch cheap hosting and domain providers.
Of course, he was about to head out on vacation, so he decided to wait to transfer his files over. That's when his site went totally dead. Numerous calls to support and no response. Finally, when he was able to get a response, it was unsettling: “We really don't know what's wrong yet.”
After the entire day passed, he received an email stating the site was functioning properly again, although upon visiting the site, it was clear it was still down. It wasn't fixed until the next evening. That's two days of lost profits! And what about the site backups the hosting provider advertised? Well, they lied. They did not have a backup of his site as they said they did!
Of course, it doesn't end there. He set out to transfer his files over to the new hosting company. The problem: when they registered his domain, the one he paid $125 each month for, they registered it in their name instead of his. InterNic was contacted and he was able to transfer everything without a problem, but not without the headache of proving he owned it and numerous emails and phone calls.
Could He Have Avoided This?
Yes! You can't always guarantee your site is going to be up and running. There's a reason it's virtually impossible to find a site that boasts 100% uptime. Things happen!
Here are some ways to at least choose a helpful hosting company when sifting through cheap hosting plans, making the process of getting your site back up and running a whole lot easier!
- Contact other companies who utilize that hosting provider prior to signing up for their services. Start with locating some customers in their chat or support area, and if they don't have one, request a list (a long list) of customers with contact information. They might assume you'll only take the time to contact the first handful and set up the list with their happiest customers first, but make sure you contact as many of them as you can possibly handle.
- Don't choose anything less than 24/7 live support. Yes, electronic support is great and all, but you want to get through to someone during that frantic moment your site goes down, as soon as humanly possible. Give the hosting provider's support number a call and see how easy it is to get through to someone prior to signing on the dotted line.
- Assure that when your domain is registered, YOU are listed as the administrative contact. In this way, if you have to jump ship, you can do it easily.
- Don't rely on the hosting provider to back up your site. Do it yourself! Set a schedule, weekly or monthly, and stick to it.