If you're shopping around for an affordable web hosting plan, knowing what services you want and what you should pay for them can help you pick out hidden costs that could launch your cheap hosting plan into an expense you just can't afford. Here are a few things to be on the watch for when you're shopping for the best low-cost web hosting plan for your personal or business web site.
A La Carte Pricing
Don't be pulled in by impossibly low prices. While the explosion of reseller web hosting has dropped web hosting costs to bargain basement prices, you should still expect to pay for quality, dependable, professional web hosting services. A la carte prices can make a web hosting plan seem like an incredibly good deal, but be sure to know exactly what you need and what you'll be paying for it. When you add in setup fees, upgrade fees and additional monthly fees for things like scripting support, a mySQL database and php support, you can end up paying far more for your affordable plan than if you'd opted to pay a few dollars more for a more inclusive plan.
Read the Fine Print
Read through every little entry in the comparison chart to see what you're being charged for, and what fees you might incur if you go over your monthly limits. If something isn't clear, or isn't listed, email the company to ask what they charge for particular services and if there's a setup fee. It will tell you more than just how much the services cost - it will tell you how well they respond to support and help requests.
Unlimited May Not Be Unlimited
Don't put your reading glasses away yet. If a plan promises 'unlimited traffic', read the fine print to see how they define 'unlimited'. Many web hosting providers use 'typical usage patterns' to define what unlimited means. If your web site becomes popular enough to exceed what's normal for other web sites of your size, you could end up getting charged extra for bandwidth even if it says 'unlimited'.
E-Commerce Ready Sites for Cheap Prices
Check to see what's actually included in that cheap e-commerce ready site. Does it include access to their secure server, or will you have to purchase your own license? Is there a good deal on bill-collecting services and credit card access, or will you have to arrange your own? Be sure you know what you're getting for your money so you can plan your web hosting expenses wisely.
There are a lot of legitimately good web hosting deals to be had, but just like any other purchase, it pays to do your homework to make sure that you get the most affordable, most professional and best web hosting deal you can find.
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Carrie Reeder is the owner of eZerk, an informational website, with articles and the latest news about various topics.