Many small business websites and blogs will run fine on cheaper web hosting plans. However, never compromise quality or that web hosting may end up costing you money!
With more than 25 years of experience as a digital marketer, many of my friends have come to know me as a source of information for many things relating to website design as well as search engine optimization. But when my friend Will approached me about recommending a cheap hosting provider for his wife’s new custom jewelry business, I was reluctant to make any recommendations.
I am not a big fan of cheap web hosting services. While it is true that not every small business website requires a dedicated server or even a VPN, things like uptime and the amount of available dedicated resources are some of the benchmarks by which those seeking low-cost website hosting should be concerned with instead of dollar amounts.
With that said, is cheap web hosting costing you money? More often than not the answer is yes! Just like insurance, getting the cheapest hosting may come back to haunt you. Yes, there are bargains to be had and depending on the platform of your website, migrating from one host to another is relatively simple. However, if you are seeking organic traffic, or spending any money on search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, or social media marketing having a quality host becomes very important. When it comes to choosing a hosting provider, you should take a look at what they offer instead of just the cost. Here are four things you should ask any affordable website hosting provider before you buy:
Do you have an SLA that includes money back guarantee?
An SLA (service level agreement) is a contract where a provider pledges to reimburse a client if the service provided fails to meet the requirements of the agreement. In the case of website hosting services things like a website go offline because of the server crashing should be covered. A good SLA should also cover things like power outages and ISP reliability.
Does the SLA cover Network Availability, Infrastructure Guarantee, and Hardware Guarantee?
There are many cheap hosting companies out there operating with the equipment larger data centers have disposed of or sold after renovations. Old, dated servers with a lot of hours on them are prone to fail without notice leaving you with an offline website. While it is important that your hosting provider has an SLA, it is just as important that the contract covers network availability, data center infrastructure, and hardware reliability.
Is your data backed up?
Backup is something that normally is not emphasized but extremely important. Some providers offer great deals as long as you manage your account and server. This may include routine backups of web content and databases. It is important that you understand whose responsibilities is this. Unless you are IT savvy, more often than not you may require a third-party agent to execute the routine, scheduled backups. If you’re going to pay a third party for this service is often a good idea to have the data center do the backup in-house even if this entails an extra expense.
How long does it take to recover a website, database, and or entire server?
Once you and your data center have agreed on who’s doing the backup is extremely important to have an idea how long your is your websites going to be off-line in the event of a catastrophic failure. Many data centers operate with skeleton crews and have the bulk of the maintenance done by remote agents overseas. A catastrophic server failure may require an on-site technician to address the issue. If the data center has no available staff or a limited crew, it could be hours if not days before the server is back online. Large data centers, as well as many small top providers, will have standby servers ready to go at a moment’s notice. However, this quality of service is rarely found at a bargain price.
It is human nature to seek a good buy but more often than not those seeking an affordable web hosting platform are more concerned about the actual cost than the performance. Regardless of how much a hosting account cost, if it is constantly going down or the server is very slow to render your website due to lack of memory or over usage of resources than that hosting account may be costing you money. At the end of the day, you know what they say, you get what you pay for and not a penny less or at anymore.