When your looking to start a website, chances are you don't have any real clue on which web host to do business with. I've been in your shoes and know exactly how this feels. Throughout my research, I found the most appealing hosts were the cheapest as I did not want to spend a lot of cash. Due to this, I made the initial mistake of choosing one of these cheap providers and experienced a nightmare like scenario. I know first hand the hassle and added frustation that was brought upon me in exchange for just trying to save a few bucks. Below I will touch on 7 real reasons why choosing a cheap web host is a bad idea and at the very end provide a reputable web hosting solution in which I have had a positive experience with & highly suggest!
Reason #1 – Website Speed & Performance
A website's speed is a huge factor as you want to always positively cater to your website's visitors. In fact, recent studies have shown that 47% of Internet users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, 40% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and lastly 52% of online shoppers say quick page loads are an important factor for loyalty to a particular site. Taking all this into consideration, it is evident that fast website speeds and solid performance will make your site more user friendly and will earn you more money in the longrun. Since search engine algorithms are now taking web page speeds into consideration for ranking, it is also more important to take potential website speeds into consideration when picking a host.
That vast majority of cheap web hosts don't bother to care how long your site takes to load or make the needed investments to upgrade their servers yearly in order to keep up with the new technology. Therefore you as the customer suffers and are forced to deal with dreadfully slow speeds and poor performance. When I was with my first host (which boasted it was the cheapest around), it was not uncommon for my site to take over 20 seconds to load! This was an not acceptable factor for me and I switched to a more reputable host immediately even though I had paid for a full year of service from the initial host and still had 10 months left of their service.
Reason #2 – Poor Uptime Guarantee Or Lack Of One
Thought your website's speed is an extremely important aspect to consider, it is even more essential to be sure your website will be available for your visitors as much as possible. This is where web hosts will advertise their ‘uptime guarantee' that basically states if you host with our company you should expect your website to be available for access XX percentage of time. Most reputable hosts will have an uptime guarantee of 99% or higher. I know from experience that many of the cheap hosts don't even bother to advertise uptime guarantees as their percentage is so bad that they do not want to release it publicly There is nothing worse than signing up for a year contract with a web host just to find out your site is available and working properly only a few hours of the day. A website that is constantly down will not help you gain valuable traffic and can poorly reflect the reputation of yourself and your company.
Reason #3 – Customer Support
For most of us the process of actually hosting a website seems like a foreign language. Since it is such an unfamiliar topic, things often are bound to go wrong and this can potentially cause you to deal with loss of data, unexpected website downtimes, runtime errors, and other serious issues. By choosing a premium web host you will be freed from future frustration as you always are within reach of a trained support specialist. Most cheap hosts will only offer one form of support which is usually email. This can take several days before you get a response. Another issue is typically these cheap hosts do not offer trained support staff so who knows how valid the response is. From my personal experience, the cheap hosting I used only offered chat support that gave the same generic response to every single support issue I contacted them about, therefore I knew nothing was actually being done to fix it. This response went something like “We are sorry for the inconvenience, this is a known issue with our systems and it should be corrected within the new couple of hours. Please be patient and check back soon”. Reputable web hosts will almost always offer multiple support options (typically email, phone, online chat) and are available for 24/7 or very close to it.
Reason #4 – Increased Renewal Price
Cheap web hosts often have a trick up their sleeves to get new customers to sign up with their service. For example, FatCow (whose homepage you see as the featured image for this article) is advertising their rate as $3.15/month which would give you 12 months of hosting plus a “free” domain name for $37.80 per year. Sure, you may pay that price initially, but did you know the following year the price triples to $107.88 per year plus $14.99 year to renew the domain? It's the truth, they just hide the details at the bottom of the page with this line in small text “*The promotional price is for the first term only and renews at the regular rate“. This type of shady trick is pulled too often with cheap hosts, which is disappointing as you could sign up for a more reputable host for under $100 a year, every year (no gimmicks).
Reason #5 – Poor User Control Panel
Each host will give you access to a user control panel where you can do things like setup email accounts, add-on domains, configure DNS records, and other various web hosting features. In most cases, cheap website hosts use control panels that are often buggy and limit the amount of control you have over your hosting plan. On the other hand, reputable hosts will use the cPanel, which has become an industry standard for web hosting over the years. cPanel is very user friendly and utilizes an a simple interface which virtually anyone can figure out. There is another huge advantage of a web host that uses cPanel. If you ever want to switch hosting providers you can easily transfer your whole cPanel account (including full sites, email accounts, documents, and any other files or configurations) from your previous host to any new host that also accepts cPanel. It is a quick and painless process!
Reason #6 – Lack Of Features
Reputable hosts will include features like unlimited domains for a single hosting plan, unlimited email accounts, as well as lots of usable bandwidth and storage space. They will also have built-in features for auto-installing popular software like WordPress, Drupal, BBPress, and many others. Cheap hosting providers will slack on these features and often only allow one domain per hosting plan, make you pay for additional email accounts, offer no one-click installations, and provide a marginal amount of bandwidth and storage space for each account. Don't get screwed over, make sure you get your money's worth!
Reason #7 – Potential For Company To Close
Though this is not a common occurrence it is something you need to consider. Since the web hosting industry has become cutthroat at this point, only the fittest will survive. This means more and more smaller hosting companies are being gradually forced into closing their doors and leaving shop. If you choose a host who is fairly new or too cheap, you will always run the risk that the company could close its doors unexpectedly, which often will result in you losing your remaining prepaid subscription and even worse, your website contents and files. On the other hand, if you choose a reputable host that has been around for many years and has developed a longstanding reputation, your risk of this happen greatly diminishes.
So What Web Host Should You Use?
So now that I've discussed the dangers of choosing a cheap web hosting provider, I hope you can get a real understanding of the severe consequences that could arise if you decide to follow through with one of these providers. To avoid this and to get the most value on each dollar spent, you will want to choose a more well known and reputable company. Personally, I highly suggest using Hostgator web hosting as it has been in existence for over a decade and has racked up a serious reputation as being a leader in the consumer web hosting market. I have owned a Hostgator ‘Baby' plan for several years to host some of my smaller sites and it is an excellent option for anyone looking to start out with their own website. I have experienced the horrors of a bad web host, but I wholeheartedly recommend Hostgator and would not be doing so if I have not had such a positive experience with them from my own experience. One thing I can definitely say is that I have realized “you get what you pay for in life” and this is especially true for website hosting. I hope this article will help you keep from making the same mistake I did when I started out!
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As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.