We wrote an article called 8 Secrets Web Hosting Companies Won't Tell You a little over a year ago, and everything on that list is still relevant. As we browse web hosting forums and groups, we're still finding dissatisfied hosting customers, and all because they didn't understand what they were getting into when they signed on with a new hosting company. To help weed out the claims from the facts, we give you six more things your web hosting company may not tell you.
1. You may need to request a downtime refund on your own
It would seem like commonsense for web hosting companies to automatically credit clients in the event of downtime, but that’s not usually how it works. Today, many shared web hosting companies require the clients to request a refund on their own. You can find out how your host handles downtime refunds and credits by checking out their Terms of Service contract. If your host does put the responsibility on you to ask for a refund, make sure you’re using an uptime monitor so you can keep track of your network’s successes and failures.
2. Our hardware sucks!
I got the shock of my life a few years ago while visiting a data center in Florida. To my surprise, every hosting server in the data center seemed to be cobbled together with parts that made my five year old home desktop computer look technologically advanced. To make matters worse, there were cords, extension cords and miscellaneous parts scattered all over the floor. What a mess!
Before you sign up for a new hosting plan, ask what hardware is in use, and where it is located.
3. You’re totally responsible for managing your unmanaged server
One of the biggest complaints we see from new hosting customers is when they sign up for an unmanaged server and then expect their hosting company to manage that server for them. Unmanaged means that you’re 100-percent in charge of applying software fixes, locking down your server and doing operating system updates. If something goes wrong, provided it’s not network related, it’s on your shoulders to fix it. If you can’t handle that, go for a managed server or shared web hosting plan.
4. We’ll show you our uptime record
Just because a web hosting company promises to meet a 99.9% uptime guarantee doesn’t mean they always do. If you’re considering a new host, ask them to show you how their servers are measuring up to their guarantee. If they can’t link you to something this basic, move on.
5. Choosing a host is one of the most important business decisions you’ll make
There are those who poo-poo the importance of finding a quality web hosting company, figuring they can always move on to another low-cost host if the first one doesn’t work out. What those people fail to realize is that switching hosts often means extended downtime, wasted time and the throwing away of invaluable startup costs. Research potential hosts carefully to make sure you’re getting the best hosting right out of the gate.
6. We don’t own our servers or live anywhere near our data center
Some hosting companies rent or lease servers, and actually live in an entirely different state (or even country) than where their data center is located. In other words, those hosts are essentially resellers, and they have very little control over how soon things get fixed. You don't need to pay a middleman for slower support. If uptime and a solid network are important to you, look for hosting companies who have physical access to their own hosting servers.
Finding a quality web hosting company isn’t hard. Be smart in your research, read professional reviews, and know just what to ask a hosting company before signing up. Piece of cake, right?