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Choosing a web host based on price? Don't!
Three reasons why price should not dictate the web hosting service you choose
By David Leonhardt
It's tempting. There are so many companies offering cut-rate web hosting services - loaded with astounding post-futuristic techno-gizmo intergalactic features ! - that it just makes sense to save a few dollars, right?
Think again. First, consider how much you would be saving. If you run a business site, saving $5, $10 or even $15 a month is not a big saving. No going concern will become a stopping concern on account of even $15 a month. But the wrong web hosting service can stop a business cold.
Here are three reasons to look beyond price when you choose hosting for your web site.
Sure, save a few bucks on hosting, and pay a whole lot more in lost sales and increased stress. Your web host is your Internet landlord. Take as much time choosing your web host as you would the place you live in. Price alone just is not enough.
- Control Panel Usability. Confession time: I chose my first web site host based on price. The control panel was not easy to use, and I often found myself traveling in circles trying to enter it. I switched to my second web host based not just on price, but on usability, and I instantly became a pro. Well, not quite. But I was able to manage my email accounts and learn about CGI, and check my traffic stats and edit my html files right on the server. Not bad for a newbie who couldn't even find his files on his previous host's server.
- Customer Service. I thought my second host had great service. They even answered my emails. Until the dreaded day that some guy with a chip on his shoulder filed a phony spam complaint. I was out in the cold. In fact, they would not answer my emails or even speak to me at all. Meanwhile, my ISP responded to the same phony complaint immediately, sharing with me a copy and giving me a chance to deal with it. That ISP is now my third web host. I pay a little more, but the personal service is worth it. I have no hesitation recommending Phastnet to anybody who wants the assurance that they won't be hung out to dry at the first whiff of somebody in a bad mood.
- Monitoring Reliability. When that phony spam complaint struck, my web site was down for four days. Ouch! But there are many other things that can bring down a site. What is your web host's uptime? And how reliable is its reporting and your monitoring? Other things can happen, like a form not functioning - meaning lost sales. Worse still, what if Google comes crawling just when your site is down? Search engines don't like sending people to unreliable sites. Web site monitoring services can often help avert such catastrophes, and the cost is nothing compared to the cost of lost sales.
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