While there are many factors to consider when you’re shopping for web hosting, these five items are universally important to everyone who’s considering buying hosting for their website. I’ve written about these topics before, but every person that is looking at web hosting plans needs to know these five things before making their purchase.
1. Does the web hosting plan offer unlimited storage, bandwidth, and add-on domains?
Yes, today most web hosting companies offer unlimited services in their plans. However, not all of them do. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy the hosting plan if it doesn’t have unlimited features. However, if your online presence is going to require creating a lot of separate websites, be sure the web hosting company provides this service in your plan.
2. What is the web hosting company’s backup and restore policies?
Most companies offer backup services for your website. But most companies will charge you a fee to actually restore the data from their backup. While some will restore for free, the fee web hosting companies charge can vary widely. Although you can always backup and restore on your own for free, under certain circumstances, you may need to get a restore from the web hosts backup copy. See my previous post for more info on data backup.
3. Does this web hosting company offer a money back guarantee? And if so, what are the terms?
It’s always good to know you have an out should the hosting company you choose turn out to be a bad fit. Again, this can vary greatly. Some web hosts offer a full money back guarantee, but the length of the guarantee varies. Usually, it’s anywhere from 30 to 90 days. On the other hand, some web hosting companies offer any time money back guarantees. Here you can get a refund throughout the term of your hosting plan—pro-rated.
4. What types of customer support do they offer?
Customer support is by far one of the biggest considerations. Be sure to look for what types of support the company offers. I like web hosts that offer live chat support in addition to phone and email. Surprisingly, some hosting companies still don’t offer chat support. Also, look for the stated response times that many hosts now list on their sites.
5. What are the renewal rates for the hosting plan?
Looking for bargain deals on web hosting is easy and certainly not a bad idea. However, don’t forget about those renewal rates. While some companies make these rates easy to find on their websites, others do not. So be sure to check with their sales department and inquire about the amounts before you decide to buy.