Web Hosting: 9 Tips You Should Know

1. The Free Domain Gimmick.
A free domain sounds nice, however here are some things you need to know before agreeing to the “free domains” provided:

  1. Who owns the domain? The domain is free but the hosting company retains ownership of the domain name. You should own your domain names.
  2. What about next years renewal? The first year is free but they charge $19.95+ for renewal. That is a 200% mark-up over the average domain name cost.

It’s better to ask questions during the research process to know who will own the domain and also make sure that the standard renewal fees costs are acceptable.

2. Separate Domain and Hosting.
Domain names don’t have to be registered at the same company. Don’t take this the wrong way, we are not implying that your current web host is not trust-able; it’s more about finding a dependable and trustworthy registrar right from the start. After all, a domain name is your online identity and should be owned by you, not by your hosting company.

You may argue for convenience sake. Of course, web-hosting companies would prefer to have your domain registered with them, as it is their other profitable revenue stream. However, it won’t be that convenient if the web hosting company decides to go down together with your domain.

3. Read the Bandwidth and Disk Space Terms.
Bandwidth and disk space are terms often ignored by people shopping for a shared web hosting. You should ask yourself, “What if my website becomes really popular overnight, and draws in thousands or millions of visitors? Will I pay hefty charge for the huge data transfer?”

Of course, most websites won’t go past their bandwidth quota by high traffic alone, but if you provide some files for downloads in your website, it can potentially happen.

4. Unlimited Storage Catch.

Unlimited Storage seems like a great offer doesn’t it? That’s what some web hosting services want you to think. But, there is no such a thing as “Unlimited Storage”.

Have you ever read the TOS of your web hosting provider completely? If you’re like most people, you‘ll scan it and don’t read it carefully. Somewhere in the TOS is a section that mentions CPU/Server Usage. To sum it up, basically it says if your web site uses more than a certain amount of storage, it violates the TOS and will subject to termination. Of course, it is necessary for just about every hosting service to have something like that in their Terms of Service to protect resources on their servers from improper usages. However, many web-hosting services are using the CPU/Server Usage to get around their Unlimited Storage promises.

5. Research Before you Choose.
One common way to find unhappy customers is to search for “web_hosting_company sucks” and view the results. You may be surprise by the amount of consumers that complain about their web host.

This list may give you an idea but you should not take it for granted because:

  1. Unfair count. Large companies tend to disappoint more people because they have more disgruntled customers, although they might be only an extremely small percentage of the overall customer base.
  2. Bias and subjective verdicts. Statements on personal blogs can sometimes be highly subjective, biased and influenced. Any rebuttals can potentially deleted by the site owners to give one-sided impression.
  3. Complaints are common. It is easier for some people to rant than to praise. In general, if a web host performs smoothly, they’re just doing their job and if it doesn’t, then it deserves all the bad reviews.

6. Buy & Save with Rebates or Coupons.
In an online business like web hosting service, where companies are ready to pay one year of revenue for one customer, it might be unwise to go shopping without finding for commission rebates or coupons. Of course you’ll find many hosts that don’t give out coupons, or don’t even have an affiliation program, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good hosts.

7. Do Your Own Backups.
The following question might have crossed your mind – Should we trust and rely on our hosts to backup our files? Of course not. While the host needs to perform regular backups, it can be considered unwise not to do off-site backups.

The following question might have crossed your mind – Should we trust and rely on our hosts to backup our files? Of course not. While the host needs to perform regular backups, it can be considered unwise not to do off-site backups.

8. Use a One-Time Credit Card or PayPal.
Always use PayPal for transaction if you are not an American and PayPal is the only US Dollars you have. It may be impractical, slow and costly to ask your local bank do the conversion. If you have no choice but to use your Credit Card, make sure the company is a reputable one to avoid ending up an unpleasant ride.

9. Avoid Long-Term Contracts Unless You Trust them.
We’ve seen how companies giving us ridiculous discount for paying two years up-front. Unless the web host has an excellent track record, else think twice.