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Hosting On a Budget – Warnings

When looking at web hosting packages from a budget standpoint, the cheaper services are going to be the most attractive ones. It’s important, however, not to let a cheap price hide a service’s flaws. For instance support. Often there’s hosting companies out there that make all sorts of claims that you’ll be able to access unlimited resources, but then limit your website once it starts to take up room on their servers. When trying to contact a customer support hotline, nobody seems to ever answer the phone and you’re stuck with what they decide to do with your account. To most people, this isn’t what would be considered a “great deal”.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short on Resources:

If you’ve got a website where 10 server-side scripts are running per user, and you get a decent amount of traffic, then a shared web host is probably not your best option. You may be able to get away with it for awhile, but you can’t really control what your website will be doing as your visitor count gets around that one-thousand mark. Going offline to make changes to your server no longer means that just new visitors are being effected, but probably return ones as well. It takes a lot of work to build up a community like that, and going offline all the time to correct technical issues, especially from limited resources, usually wont sit well with them.

Make sure customer support is available:

Customer support can also help you out in this area. This is your backup; your lifeline. If all else fails, you’ll want to make sure that your customer support team is not only available 24×7, but also somewhat knowledgeable. Test out their support system and staff before signing up. Being connected to someone halfway around the world that cares nothing about your website and has a hard enough time reading his or her pre-written script isn’t going to help you out very much. The best thing to do, even before you have any issues, is to just call them and get yourself familiar with their system. The more familiar and comfortable you are with it, the better you’ll fare in a situation where action has to be taken quickly.

Make sure your plan is upgradeable:

We can’t stress enough how difficult it can be to change web servers. There’s a lot of hosting companies out there that offer great deals on hosting packages, but the problem is that’s the only package they’ve got. If, in the future, you need something a little bigger and better than you’re outta luck unless you switch to someone else. Picking up your business and moving it somewhere else is challenging at best, and can turn out a complete train wreck. Data loss, being unfamiliar with new systems, and scripting compatibility issues can make it a real hassle that most business owners don’t have the knowledge or time to perform.

Don’t use cheap site builders:

There’s three reasons for this. The first is that if the site builder is integrated in with the hosting company, it can be impossible to try to move it if the company were to shut down. Your business then becomes dependent on your hosting company not closing up shop. Next, site builders often don’t allow for custom scripts to be implemented. If you want to have a site with any kind of advanced features what-so-ever, dealing with a site builder can be a nightmare. The last reason we don’t like them is probably the most shocking. Some site builders are designed to use features and resources which aren’t available in your hosting plan. What they’re doing is trying to convince you to pay extra money to upgrade your plan for something you could have probably done with the existing features by setting up the site yourself. Some of them are almost like sales ads.

Read between the lines:

A lot of web servers have been known to include some very strange rules in their Terms of Service (TOS) agreements.  Make sure the fine print backs YOU up as well as them. If you have any questions regarding the “fine print” ask the web hosting staff to clarify before you signup with them.

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