Web hosting can be expensive, and for those without the funds to go for some of the big-named hosts, it may be tempting to settle for the cheapest thing on the market. After all, you’ll have to sacrifice some features, but you’ll be able to stay within your budget and save money, and that can only help you out in the long run, right? As long as you get your name and website out there, it doesn’t matter how you host it.
As it turns out, that isn’t exactly the case. Staying within budget is important, but that doesn’t mean that the cheapest option is the best option out there for you. There are better services out there for not that much of a difference in price, and you need to be able to spot the difference in quality. At the end of the day, the difference between choosing an affordable web host and settling for a cheap one could be the thing that decides how many views your website gets, and how successful you’ll be as a whole.
Here’s what to look out for so that you can stay within budget without getting ripped off.
Signs of a Cheap Web Host
When you talk about cheap web hosting, you’re talking about the bottom of the barrel, a service designed around getting the lowest price possible. Companies that try to market cheap web hosting usually don’t have the infrastructure to support the number of websites they host on them, nor do they have the customer service to actually care about whether or not you have a problem. Security is another area in which these companies tend to cut corners, so your data might not be as safe as you’d like it to be. In addition, many companies that fall under this category know that their customers are usually first time customers or customers only concerned about price, so their offers usually come with a catch. Low first-year pricing with a big jump in price during the second-year, or higher than usual pricing for adding new domains or features are some of the hallmarks of the cheap web hosting company.
But that makes sense, right? After all, you get what you pay for. If all you need is basic functionality, why should that matter? Well, it turns out that companies that settle for cheap web hosts tend to report a profit loss in the long run, ending up with sites that tend to be slow as resources get shifted around too many accounts. The key here is choosing an affordable web host, not selecting a cheap one, but in many cases, the line between choosing an affordable web host versus a cheaper option might not seem very clear. What does an affordable web host even look like?
Features of an Affordable Web Host
An affordable web host might be just a little bit more expensive than the cheaper offerings, but with a wider array of features that you need. They might ask for slightly higher monthly payments for example, but come with much lower hidden fees. In addition, affordable web hosts have some working form of customer and technical support, and offer a reasonable amount of bandwidth and disk space. As far as uptime goes, any company can promise 99.9% uptime, but the truth is, servers still go down. What’s more important is finding out what, if any, guarantees the company makes in that event. A company with several data centers can reroute traffic if one server goes down, saving you some downtime. At the end of the day, choosing an affordable web host tends to pay off more than cheap web hosting, with all the money being spent in monthly or yearly fees coming back in the form of profits and no hidden fees or price jumps coming out of the woodwork.
How to Tell the Difference
Okay, so you understand that choosing an affordable web host is important, but how can you tell the difference? You still have a budget, after all, and all this talk about things ‘paying off in the long run’ isn’t going to pay the bills this month. So how can you choose? First off, look at the features. An affordable web host will probably list more features than a cheap web host, for not that much of a difference in price. It’s also important to look over the reviews to see whether these companies actually deliver on the features they promise, or whether these ‘features’ are actually tied up in extra fees and can’t actually be accessed without paying exorbitant amounts of money. Above all else, and I cannot stress this enough, if this is your first time finding a web host, ask around. Other people have been through this song and dance many times before you, and will know better than you who to trust and how to deal with it.
Choosing an affordable web host can be difficult, but at the end of the day, it boils down to looking at the options you need and finding a company that offers them. No matter how tempting it might be, don’t settle for the first likely-looking offer that comes around. Keep your eyes open and keep looking. Make sure to give yourself choices before deciding, and make sure that when you make a decision, it only comes after careful research and consideration, to make sure you’re making the right one.