Even the most knowledgeable of web hosting clients need support from their web hosting company from time to time. Whether your site has gone offline, you’ve made a programming error or a script is wreaking havoc with your domain, you’re going to need to get in touch with a support team member. Want to wait in line for hours and hours or jump to the head of the class and get the quickest support available from your web host? Here are a few tips to help you navigate web hosting support.
Know your options
Long before you put down a chunk of change for your web hosting account, you should have familiarized yourself with all the different forms of support available to you. If you’re like many, you skipped that step. Go to your web hosting company’s website now and find out now what types of support they offer. Most web hosting companies offer a combination of the following forms of support:
Toll free telephone number
If your web host has an online forum, quickly skim the troubleshooting area and make a note of how long it took for a member of the support team to answer any questions that were asked. Online forums are generally not the best way to get timely support, but your host may be the exception. Read over the questions and answers and see if there are any complains about the wait times associated with telephone or email support. This will give you some direction as to which service is usually most efficient. If there doesn’t seem to be much information available, here’s a general guideline:
Live chat: Usually the quickest form of support. Try connecting with a support team member here first.
Help desk: Another fast, efficient way to reach out to support.
Email: Generally takes a little longer than a help desk.
Phone: If you’re with a small to midsized hosting company, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to get help by telephone. Phone support is perfect if you have lots of information to convey and don’t want to spend all day passing details back and forth by email or an online help desk.
Forums: Online forums are not usually geared to answer emergency questions, but will be helpful if you have general questions and aren’t in a rush for an answer. If your website is down and you want to find out if others are having the same trouble, this is a good place to ask that question.
No matter how you’ve chosen to reach out to your web hosting company’s support department, be as thorough as you can about what’s going on. Remember the three w’s:
Who: Verify your domain name and who you are.
When: Detail when the trouble first started.
What: Explain the situation. Tell support what the problem is and what, if anything, you’ve done to troubleshoot the issue.
The more information you provide to support personnel, the quicker they can help you. If you’re sending an email or trouble ticket, write out all of the above information in a detailed, concise fashion. If you’re reaching out by telephone, be sure to have that information ready to relay to support over the phone.
Web hosting companies are very good at sorting out technical problems and dealing with thousands of customer inquiries each day. You will always get the fastest support by providing the most detailed information possible.