Suppose someone comes to you with this proposal. They’ll perform a service for your business (clean the floors, landscape the plants, be your answering service, something like that) for a year and as a bonus they’ll even give you some money (let’s say $90 or so). In return, you agree that if you’d like the service to continue after that, you’ll need to pay say $120 for the next year. Does that sound like a good deal or a scam?
Before you answer, let’s consider a few things. Are you obligated to continue with the service after that first year? In our example, let’s say no. If you don’t like the service, you’re free to go elsewhere. Is the fee you’re going to have to pay after the first year reasonable and comparable to what others are charging? In our case, let’s say yes, the price is competitive with others and not absurdly higher.
What does all this have to do with web hosting? If you stop and think about it, most initial web hosting sales for new customers are pretty much like the deal in our example above. True, with web hosting you will have to pay something during your initial term. However, the introductory rates are often discounted greatly—in essence; the hosting company is giving you something for choosing their service. In return, when it’s time to renew your hosting plan, the rates will be somewhat higher.
So, back to our initial dilemma: Is getting a bonus the first year for choosing a service a good deal even if you have to pay more money afterwards? Well, if you need the service anyway and it proves to be effective, you’ll probably be more than willing to continue with the service. You’d be happy receiving the bonus the first year and not mind paying a reasonable (though higher) amount for future services.
Getting back to web hosting, while cheap introductory deals are meant to draw in customers, that doesn’t mean they are scams. The points to keep in mind are to make sure the web hosting plan you sign up for includes all the features your site is going to need, stick with established web hosts with a proven track record, and be aware that after your initial term you probably will be paying a bit more. A great web hosting company makes your job as a webmaster easier. And with increased competition among web hosting companies, even renewal rates are more reasonable these days. In some cases, your web host will even offer you some type of loyalty discount when it comes time to renew.
Remember, a cheap hosting deal doesn’t mean you’re not getting a legitimate hosting plan. Take the time to do your research, and you won’t regret taking advantage of a great introductory hosting sale.