If you’re in the process of choosing a new web host, a quick Google search will reveal many companies promising the cheapest web hosting rates. These companies might tell you that you don’t need to pay more than $5 per month for hosting, and that companies that charge more than this are overpriced.
While it’s true that some web hosting companies might be charging their customers disproportionate prices for the service they’re getting, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the best deal by selecting a company that charges less. When choosing web hosting, you need to look at more than just the price of a package. Research the included features and options, try to find reviews of the hosting company, and compare several different hosting providers before choosing.
Cheap web hosting might not have the features, or the quality of service you need, especially if you’re running your website for business purposes. You’ve probably heard the saying “Nothing in life is free” and this applies to web hosting too: if you pay less money for your web hosting, you might end up paying in different ways!
Here are five reasons to resist the sales pitch of discount hosts, and consider paying more for your web hosting:
Web hosting companies that charge less often have limited resources to offer customers. This can lead to all kinds of problems that can affect your website’s performance, including longer page loading times, frequent timeouts or connection error messages, and a staggered view of web pages as they download. All these factors contribute to a poor user experience, which could drive people away from your website in the long term.
Cheaper web hosting deals normally offer shared hosting, which is when you share a server with other websites. Normally, this isn’t a problem until your website has a large amount of traffic.
Some cheap web hosting companies, however, can oversell hosting space, which means they sell more web hosting to more customers than they can fit on the server. This practice generates more income for the hosting company, but can lead to crowded disk space and bandwidth, which worsens the issues listed in the previous paragraph. If you expect your website to have a high volume of traffic, or need a reliable service, you should check that your web host offers around 20% more than the amount of bandwidth you currently need, and see what previous users have to say about their service.
Every web host should publish statistics about the amount of uptime and downtime they experience within a certain period. Downtime describes the ratio of unplanned time your website is unavailable to visitors due to a connection timeout or a faulty server, while uptime is the ratio of time your website is available and fully functioning. This doesn’t include time your website is unavailable due to redesign or website maintenance, but rather describes the hosting company’s performance.
When your website experiences downtime, you could be missing out on valuable traffic, including visitors that might translate into customers. First-time visitors are less likely to return if they see your website is down, and repeated issues with downtime could affect your website’s reputation, and consequently that of your company too.
Cheap web hosting is more likely to incur downtime than pricier packages, so it’s important to check the company’s uptime rates before signing up to a package. As a general rule, the uptime rate should be as close to 100% as possible. In my years of experience maintaining and running tonnes of websites, I believe 99% uptime is considered bad, as it costs you 3.65 days of outage a year, but that a service with an uptime rate of 99.5% could cost you significantly more.
Search engine optimization (or SEO for short) describes best practices that can help increase your website’s ranking in Google search results. While word-of-mouth and social media marketing increasingly yields results, SEO can still have a significant effect on the success of your website.
Remember: The higher your website is ranked for certain search terms, the more likely it is to be found by browsers using those terms.
Keyword density, tags and several other factors are very influential on your website’s search engine ranking. Recently, however, Google’s ranking algorithm also started taking your website’s uptime into account. Websites whose pages frequently failed to load, or those that experienced more downtime than others are now ranked lower in search results than more reliable websites. Therefore, not only is your website more likely to deter potential repeat readers when you experience downtime, but over the long-term unreliable hosting will also damage your SEO.
Backups and Recovery
Backups are crucial for hosted websites. If your site goes down, the code becomes corrupted, or you make an irreversible change you’re not happy with, having a backup can help you restore your site to its previous state quickly and smoothly!
Good web hosts should offer a backup and recover option as part of their hosting package, however companies offering “cheap” hosting might not include this as part of their deal. If your site goes down and you don’t have a backup, you could lose all your data. If you have multiple web pages, a blog, or your website has been active for years, this will severely damage your web ranking and your business!
It is possible to create manual backups of your website, however this is a complex process, and it’s much easier (and more reliable) to find a hosting company that offers this service as an automated part of your hosting package. That way, you have a backup ready and waiting if something does go wrong with your website, and in the meantime you have extra peace of mind.
Customer service is a must if you’re having your website hosted by an external company. Ideally, this should also be 24-hour customer service. Depending on your home country, your web host might be based in a different location and time zone, so you need someone you can contact at all hours of the day, not just during office hours.
Having an available customer service contact is crucial, as if something goes wrong with your website and you don’t know how to fix it, you will need to be able to talk to someone in order to get your website running again. In the meantime, your website will effectively be in downtime, leaving visitors unable to load pages or see your content. As discussed in points one, two and three, this can have a number of knock-on effects, especially if you’re using your website to run a business.
Cheaper web hosting companies often don’t provide 24-hour customer service, and a few don’t provide any customer service at all! My advise is never signup with these web hosts!
I highly recommend contacting a hosting company’s customer service team before committing to a plan to see how fast and helpful they are in supporting their customers. The easiest and quickest way to contact them is to use their live chat support.
Web hosting shouldn’t bankrupt you, but everything comes at a cost. If you find a web host that promises hosting at a low cost, do your research to find out whether they have the features you need, and are going to help boost your website’s popularity, rather than hold it back.
If you are currently looking for a reliable web host, I highly recommend you to check out InMotion Hosting, who has been hosting websites since 2001 and is very well known for their business web hosting. Our coupon code enables you to lower InMotion Hosting Business Class Hosting price to $5.56/month (A huge 20% discount).