Everybody loves a bargain, but when it comes to cheap web hosting, how much of a bargain do you actually get? Web host companies seem to be falling over themselves to offer their customers cheap deals, but it’s important to remember that “cheap” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”. If you’re looking to build an online business, then the low cost web hosting option might turn out to be false economy.
How good is a cheap hosting?
It’s important to remember that certain deals are cheap because the web host itself has cut costs. The sort of costs web hosts tend to cut are things like hosting software features, bandwidth allowances, disk storage space, technical support and security measures – exactly the sort of things you need if you want your website to expand. Or perhaps costs are low because the company is running out of date or low specification servers.
Another way of keeping costs down is to spread them amongst a large number of consumers. This can lead to overcrowding on a server, with consequences for security and response time. Or there is the rather borderline ethical practice of overselling web space. In theory, this can work because very few websites take their full allowance. In practice, it’s selling something that the host doesn’t actually have, and there’s a very real risk of servers crashing if everybody starts to take the disk space they believe they’re entitled to.
However, with all that said, it is possible to get a good web host without spending a fortune. First of all, don’t pay for things you don’t need. Go through all of your provider’s hosting plans, and find the one that most closely matches your requirements. There’s no point paying for gigabytes of disk space if you’re never going to use it.
Secondly, don’t be seduced by clever marketing ploys. Time limited discounts are a good example, with the company claiming that such and such a special deal is only available for a short time. This is designed to create a sense of urgency, so that you’ll sign up there and then. In reality, there’ll be an equally good “time limited” deal on offer next week, or perhaps a better one.
Look for hidden charges and fees. You might get offered a very cheap monthly fee, but if that suddenly goes up after a few months, or if you have to pay extra for things like email accounts, then you’re not getting such a good deal.
Finally, balance price against things like reliability, customer support and user friendly hosting features. It’s better to pay a little more for a hosting plan that you can actually use than to save a few dollars on something that will constantly give you problems.
In the end, finding a good, cheap web host is a matter of doing a little research, exercising a little common sense, and resisting the temptation to jump at the first deal that you’re offered.