Budget Web Hosting - Are They All Created Equal?

Choosing a budget web hosting company can be overwhelming. In fact, choosing any web hosting company can be a challenge due, in large part, to the fact that there are so many of them. Do a search for "web hosting" with the quotes around the keywords on Google, and it'll return over 5 million documents! That doesn't mean there are 5 million web hosting providers but there very well could be at least 1 million! That's a lot of web hosts. How can you choose one that meets your need?

What is Budget web hosting anyway?

Budget web hosting is generally defined as any hosting service that is below $10 per month. The budget comes from the low price. Now, most companies in the budget web hosting category only offer one year plans. Most budget web hosting companies however, will quote you the monthly fee you would pay if you divided the annual fee by 12 months. Keep that in mind when you are comparing one company with another. The other thing to look out for is the setup fee. Do they charge you a setup fee to get started?

Evaluate your general impression of the company.

The first place to start evaluating budget web hosting companies is their front page. Does their website give you a sense that they are professional? Is it easy to find all of the information you need? Take a look at their contact information. Do they list a physical address, an email address and a phone number to contact them? If they don't provide any contact details, that has to throw up a red flag. If you run into problems setting up your website, and you have no proper contact information, how are you going to get service from that company?

Do they have a toll free support number?

Does the budget web hosting company provide a toll free number for you to contact them? If they are based in Atlanta, Georgia and you are in Seattle, Washington, you don't want to be paying long distance to them if you need to get them on the phone about a concern you have. A toll free number also speaks to their willingness to deal openly and honestly with their customers.

What kind of guarantee do they offer?

Choose a budget web hosting company that offers a good guarantee. Most budget web hosting companies don't openly publish their satisfaction guarantees. If you have to look in their terms and services agreement to find out where they stand with regard to giving you back your money if you are not satisfied, you should look elsewhere.

What is the uptime guarantee of the site in question?

Uptime guarantee refers to the amount of time the server is live and serving your web pages. An uptime guarantee of 99% means that the host guarantees that their servers will be up and operational 99% of the time. Over the course of one year, 99% uptime would represent a downtime (the one percent) of around 87 hours in a year or an average of 7 hours per month. An uptime of 99.9% would involve only 8 hours of downtime for the entire year.

What kind of after sale support can you expect?

While there are many other factors you could consider, the final one I will deal with is after sale support. What kind of resources do they make available for you. Find out if the budget web hosting company offers free scripts. Do they have any marketing tools they can make available to you? What kind of support for setting up your account can you expect from the budget web hosting company? All of these factors must be taken into consideration.

Just because a company offers a budget web hosting service, doesn't mean you necessarily have to compromise on features, quality or service. All three will only be found, however, if you make sure to do your homework to find a budget web hosting company that is a good fit for you.

This article was written by Joe Duchesne, president of http://www.yowling.com/, a business web hosting company that specializes in helping online business owners increase their website traffic. Copyright 2004 Yowling. Reprint Freely.

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