Talking tech since 2003

The web hosting market is over saturated and full of utterly horrible web hosts looking to rip you off with their horrendous services.  I have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you select the best host for you (and to keep you from being taken advantage of).

Never register your domain through the web hosting company you are planning on using.  They’re not just offering to purchase the domain for you (or provide a free one) out of the goodness of their hearts.  The idea behind using them as a proxy to register your domain is so they can use it as leverage if you should ever choose to leave them for another host.  Always own your own domain.  Use a registrar service such as Godaddy.

Often times when looking through various web hosting packages you will notice the word “unlimited” – don’t buy into the hype. Unlimited with regards to web hosting means as follows: so long as you don’t use too much bandwidth, storage, and server power you are welcome to use this package. Once you start using too many server resources you will receive an email telling you should probably upgrade to the next package for better website performance – if you don’t, well, chances are you’ll have your website suddenly disappear. Bottom line is unlimited isn’t really unlimited – don’t buy into the hype.

Avoid web hosts with black listed IP addresses and/or questionable terms of use / spam policies. This is important, you don’t want to have your websites IP on a blacklist. Also, as I mentioned, check their terms of use and spam policy if it allows users to send mass emails (spam), then you probably don’t want an account there even if their IP isn’t blacklisted, it can potentially be due to their policies.

When it comes to payments try and pay via PayPal or a debit card. This is to ensure your safety. Some web hosts have been known to continue to charge ex-customers who paid via credit card and the only way to stop it was to get a new credit card. Additionally, check their refund and trial policies to make sure they will return your money if you cancel the service within x number of days.

Even if you are not very technical yourself, you should try and learn the basics of web hosting – the terminology, what everything means, etc. I would also recommend (If possible) to test their customer support before purchasing from them. Call or email them (calling would be better) and ask them some questions to make sure they understand the basics and know what they are offering.

Read about the web host you are considering using on forums such as Web Hosting Talk and Webmaster World to see what people are saying about their personal experiences.

Lastly, make sure you backup your website too. Do not just rely on the hosting company to backup your site.

Do you have any additional tips? Leave a comment!

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