People shopping for their first web host are undoubtedly assaulted with flashy offers and inexplicable features from a barrage of providers – sorting through all of the options and terms can be overwhelming, never mind frustrating. And while there are plenty of excellent providers out there, it’s all too easy for first-time shoppers especially to be tricked with less than transparent offerings.
Make sure that you choose smartly by knowing exactly what you’re buying. For starters, learn how to protect yourself against a bad host. Also, make sure that you know the truth about these five popular hosting myths.
Myth #1: Any web hosting provider will do
False, just false – that’s all. Just as all shoes, all people, or all home builders are not the same, not all web hosts are created equal. Your web host has a large hand in your site’s success – so choose wisely.
Your hosting experience is determined by many factors, just some of which include:
- Server reliability – You’ll see uptime guarantees from pretty much every provider; these guarantees are incredibly important, as are actual uptime records. A drop in just 0.5% uptime is equivalent to an extra two days of your site being down – that’s a huge difference when your site is your revenue source. Don’t accept anything less than a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Period.
- Site response speed – Your site load and response times are critical for securing – and keeping – happy visitors. Beyond the fact that most visitors will abandon your site and go elsewhere in just seconds, your response times also affect your search engine rankings. Google loves fast websites and ensuring that yours is fast is a quick way to get a better search listing.
- Price – Some unsavory hosting providers take advantage of uninformed shoppers with extremely inflated pricing; don’t fall prey to this tactic.
- Number of allowed domains – Some web hosts allow just one domain while others support unlimited domains. For some organizations, one may be enough – but for those looking to work sophisticated SEO strategies or multiple sites and sub-sites, this is an important factor.
- After sales services – Customer service shouldn’t end once they get your name on the dotted line – a quality web host will provide ongoing support and education, such as a proper how-to guide or instructional videos, not to mention an option for human-to-human customer and technical support as needed.
* A little more on uptime/downtime
Just 1% drop in uptime will cost you more than 7 hours down time in reality. To emphasize on how significant is the uptime scores impact on website downtime (in minutes), here’s an Uptime/Downtime Table I made for your reference:
||Downtime Per Year
||Downtime Per Year
||4d 0h 22m
||7d 15h 58m
||1d 2h 17m
||11d 7h 34m
||1d 11h 2m
||14d 23h 10m
|*Note: d = day(s), h = hour(s), m = minute(s)
Myth #2: Free is the best
Free web hosting comes with the obvious benefit that there isn’t a cost… however, that benefit is generally overtaken by the slew of disadvantages.
For example, since it’s free, you’ll receive far from professional-grade hosting – which means you aren’t able to provide your customers with professional service in the way of load times or appearances. Which leads to another disadvantage… to pay for the costs associated with providing hosting without client-based income, the hosting companies secure income elsewhere; namely through advertisements they will place on your site (that you won’t be able to remove, regardless of your tech and coding prowess. Additionally, free hosting solutions are far from reliable or reputable. Beyond the obvious downtime risks, you run the risk of the host shutting down overnight – which means that your site also disappears.
There are plenty of budget-friendly web hosts that cost less than a cup of coffee each month. Considering the reliability and benefits you receive for such a slight expense, there is really no reason to go free… the business and revenue that you’ll lose far exceed the cost of hosting.
Myth #3: All cheap web hosts suck
A good host doesn’t need to cost a fortune – and, really, not all inexpensive hosts are bad.
Sure, there are some drawbacks (think fewer included features and premium support options), but if you do your homework, filter out the bad apples, and smartly manage and work around the drawbacks, you should be able to find an awesome budget-friendly web host.
Myth #4: You need to be an IT expert to host your own websites
Consider me living proof than everyone – not just IT pros – can make their own websites. Personally, my education was for mechanical engineering, but I have been running web -based businesses and blogs full time for the past eight years.
Without an IT expert.
The truth is that many hosting providers offer a huge benefit of a user-friendly interface with an easy-to-use hosting control panel (cPanel or vDeck works just fine). And while graphic design prowess can certainly help to give you a one-of-a-kind high end site, there are several sites that make creating your own custom website or blog a piece of cake.
Joomla! And WordPress are two of the most popular sites due to their ease of use, free guides, and support articles from users that are pretty much everywhere you look online.
You don’t even need to know how to code to create a dynamic site that runs on databases. Sure, these types of skills help you to customize your look and functionality to the “nth” degree – but there are so many features already built in on existing platforms with graphic user interfaces that anyone can create a custom site.
Don’t lose faith or confidence – just give it a try.
Myth #5: You should find a web host with zero negative reviews
As they say, “haters gonna hate.”
Let’s be honest – people are far more likely to provide feedback when they are angry or upset than when they’ve had a positive experience – not to mention that some web hosting shoppers simply have unrealistic expectations. That said, you’re much more likely to find negative reviews or complaints. Beyond that, the more business that a company does, the more they grow and the more likely they are to receive negative reviews. It’s just a mathematical fact.
The truth is that every hosting company – no matter how great they may be – will have negative reviews. This isn’t to say that you should completely ignore the comments; there is likely something to the majority of them. The real proof of a company’s value and service is to investigate deeper to find how the hosting company in question handled those critiques and negative comments.
Is there evidence that they have made changes to address the concerns and complaints? Did they take the time to respond to the review or reach out to the person who left the feedback? What was their tone when doing so? Finding the answers to these questions will provide a much better, much more full-circle view of the provider and your likely experience should you sign with them.
Now go play!
There is plenty of information out there about how to find and select a web host. Be wary of what you read and make sure to ask questions. If you do your homework, you will no doubt find a great web host that meets your needs and also fits within your budget.