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Should You Buy Web Hosting Plans from eBay

Published on 10/7/2010 by

Money concerns are still at the forefront of most people’s minds and as a result, we’re looking harder than ever for ways to cut corners and trim costs.  The web hosting industry isn’t immune to this trend and has been seeing growing competition from eBayers willing to sell web hosting accounts at a loss. Should you buy a web hosting plan from eBay?  Let’s look at the ins and outs of buying web hosting from eBay and what you need to know.

Understanding eBay ads

Anyone who’s ever purchased something from eBay knows that reading the fine print of an ad is of utmost importance.  Who can forget the hundreds of shoppers who paid $500 a pop for iPhones in 2009, but instead received pictures of an iPhone instead of the actual device?   Ripoff Report catalogs hundreds of complaints daily from unhappy eBay buyers who’ve had similar experiences.  Before you do anything, read the entire eBay ad and make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be getting!  Some important things to consider:

  • Will you be required to sign a contract?  It may look like an excellent bargain to pay $10 for one year of unlimited web hosting, but if the fine print states that you’ll be charged $400 a year thereafter for the next ten years, that isn’t such a bargain.
  • Are there setup fees?  The greater majority of web hosting companies setting up shared web hosting accounts will not charge a setup fee.  Many eBay sellers charge as little as one penny for web hosting, but tack on setup fees that exceed $100 per account.
  • What are the specs of the hosting plan?  Know how much space and bandwidth you’ll be allowed with your new account.
  • Is the company reliable?  A large number eBay sellers do not give out a company name, which means that you’re either buying hosting from an individual with extra space on their hands or the company behind the sale is too afraid to let you in on their identity.  Write the eBay seller to find out who they are and then do your research.  If it’s a hosting company you’re dealing with, be sure to read web hosting reviews to understand who you’ll be doing business with.
  • What’s included?  Several web hosting plans now featured on eBay will give you hosting for a low cost, but don’t include email or FTP access or they require that you spend $50 for a domain name.
  • Is there support?  Some eBay ads feature low priced hosting accounts that don’t come with any form of support.   Can you live with that?
  • Will there be advertisements on your website?  One way that sellers can pass off the savings to you is to earn their money back by placing advertisements on your website. 

Buying hosting from eBay isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  There are reputable companies who have been forced to sell off extra server space to balance their books and in those cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to take advantage of such a tremendous deal.  As always, the best bargain is the one where you end up with a reliable web host at a fair price.