Don’t Make These 10 Errors When Buying Web Hosting

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If you want a successful experience when you purchase your hosting, be sure you don’t make these 10 errors when buying web hosting.

Error #1: Not Considering Renewal Rates

There are tons of great sales on web hosting being advertised and promoted everywhere. And while it’s great to look for a low sale price, remember that most of the time your renewal rates will be higher—sometimes significantly so. Now, you can actually find some web hosts that charge the same amount at renewal time—but these hosts are the exception. The point is that if you’re concerned about price, be sure you know how much you’ll have to pay after your initial term is up.

Error #2: Not Testing Out Customer Support

Because your customer support team is one of the most important parts of your web hosting experience, you want to make sure you’re comfortable and satisfied with your web host’s support services. But how can you tell what kind of support you’ll get before you even have purchased your hosting?–by testing them out beforehand. When you’re shopping for web hosting, be sure to contact the support department via live chat or phone and ask some questions about their hosting services. You’ll be able to tell how responsive, knowledgeable, and courteous they are before you spend any money. If your initial experience isn’t very good, you’re probably better off moving on.

Error #3: Not Looking for SSL

Now that Google and the web browsers are flagging websites not using https as “unsecure”, it’s more important than ever to make sure your web host includes SSL with your hosting plan. And while most hosting companies now include free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates with their hosting packages, some still do not. So, make sure that you choose a web hosting plan with free SSL.

Error #4: Not Considering Data Center Location

One of the biggest impacts on your website speed is the location of your data center. The closer your data center is to you and your site’s visitors, the faster your site performs. Therefore, you should always try to choose a web host with a data center closer to your area. Most web hosts will disclose their data center locations. And, many will let you select your data center location. So be sure you remember to check for this option.

Error #5: Forgetting about Data Backups

The best way to protect your websites from attacks is to always make sure you have your website data backed up. And while you should always perform your own website backups, you should also make sure that your web host also backs up your data on a regular basis. So when you’re looking over web hosting plan features, be sure that your host includes free automated backups—preferably keeping multiple copies (e.g. 30 days) for restore.

Error #6: Not Knowing Your Data Restore Policy

And speaking of restoring your data, be sure that you know what your web hosting company’s data restore policies are. Some web hosts tout that they include free data backups, but if you need your data restored they charge you a fee. To avoid the extra charges, make sure your web host includes free data restores in addition to free data backups.

Error #7: Not Being Familiar with Your Control Panel

Because you’ll be spending a lot of time working within your web hosting control panel, make sure you’re comfortable with the interface your host provides. For example, I prefer cPanel since I like the graphical interface. On the other hand, you may prefer more of a text-based simpler control panel. Make sure you know what type of control panel is included with your hosting plan. Better yet, some hosts even provide a demo of their control panel that you can try out before buying.

Error #8: Not Making Sure You Have the Most Current Software

If you plan to use a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you also need to be concerned about the associated software environment that your web host provides. For example, you want to make sure that they support the most current version of PHP so your site can run more efficiently.

Error #9: Focusing Too Much on Uptime Guarantees

You’ll see a lot of web hosts boasting about 99.9%, 99.99%, or even 100% uptime guarantees. That’s all very nice, but it doesn’t mean that your website will never go down. It only means that if there is some downtime, you’re compensated for it. While it’s okay to look for their stated uptimes, just remember that stuff happens and all web hosts experience issues at one time or another.

Error #10: Not Considering Money Back Guarantees

On the other hand, one guarantee you should be aware and concerned about is the money back guarantee that your web hosts provides. If you decide later that you need to make a change, you want to be aware of how long you have while you can still get a full refund. The time period can vary greatly from 14 days to over 90 days. And, some web hosts offer a pro-rated anytime money back guarantee.

By avoiding these 10 errors when shopping for your web hosting, you’ll be well on your way to a better web hosting experience.