We’ve spoken extensively about how to find a reliable web hosting company and what you should expect as a hosting client, but we talk very little about your responsibilities. Even though your web host is in charge of providing you with bulletproof web hosting and top notch service, you also have responsibilities as a client. Here are nine web hosting rules every webmaster should live by.
1. Pay your bill on time
Your web hosting company will bill you once each month. Pay the bill on time. Not taking care of this basic task will lead to suspension of services, late fees and lots of extra work for your web hosting company. If you’re not good with staying on top of things like this, ask your web host if they can bill your credit card automatically each month.
2. Keep software up to date
Web hosting companies will do server operating system updates for you, but it’s up to you to make sure that the software that powers your blog or forum or contact form is up to date. Software is updated to fix bugs and holes, and not upgrading to the latest version leaves your website (and everyone else on your server) at risk.
3. Know when your domain expires
Your domain name will stay active for exactly one year from the date you first registered. Failing to renew that domain name before the end of the year may mean that you’ll lose the domain to someone else.
4. Follow the terms of service
Each web hosting company has laid out a set of rules for you to follow called terms of service. If you didn’t take the time to read those over before you signed up for your web hosting account, do it now. Violating any of the conditions of your web hosting account will lead to cancellation of services.
5. Understand the support system
Some web hosts offer support by email and an online ticket system and others are available to assist you by phone and live chat. Familiarize yourself with the services that your web hosting company offers so that in times of need, you know exactly how to get help.
6. Backup your own files
Even if your web host backs up your website daily, you should be doing it also. The golden rule of web hosting backups is to backup your data once and then do it again.
7. Don’t SPAM
This should be common knowledge and yet web hosting companies are inundated daily with complaints of customers who spam. It is never OK to spam. Spam doesn’t only mean that you’re sending unsolicited email. If you’re leaving blog or forum comments that offer nothing of value and simply give you a free backlink, you’re spamming. All web hosting companies have strict policies against spamming.
8. Be polite
If you need to contact support, be polite. It’s frustrating when your website goes offline or something isn’t working, but your host won’t do a better job just because you’re yelling at him.
9. Write a review
Whether you’ve had a good or bad experience with the web hosting company, the best thing you can do to help others looking for a host is to a write a web hosting review. Rate your host and let others know whether you’re confident with your web host or if he should be avoided.