Starting with a new host?

Here are a couple of tips that might come in handy when either changing or starting with a hosting company.

1. Before you sign up look at the contact information provided by the company, email addresses, instant messenger, snail mail address, and of course phone numbers.

Email Addresses:
First thing before you sign up should always test out the email response just because they list a contact email does not always mean they will respond to it I have seen where hours even days may go by before the client gets an answer to a simple question.

Instant Messenger:
This seems to be a common thing these days an internet business posting their Instant Messenger ID for support issues, which is a great idea ďIfĒ there is someone on that ID during the day or night when you need help. So I would not place much confidence in this means of support.

Snail Mail Address:
Of course we all know that this is not any good for support issues plus it can be misleading (on the internet you can claim to be anywhere you like) but it can come in handy when doing research or back ground checks on a business.

Phone Number:
Now in my book this is a vital one to use, letís say itís Friday evening and your site just disappears. It is the busiest time of the week you are losing traffic and sales!!
Well a phone number that you could call (even if it is not a toll free number) could save you big dollars.

2. Monthly or Yearly payment options; I suggest starting out with a monthly payment plan I know all hosting companies will offer a great deal on the yearly payment plan but this locks you into what may become a year of trouble.

Many, many times I have personally been contacted by a new client that was in need of a new place to host their web site. The story goes something like this:

We ordered an account with this hosting company seen we could save 2 maybe 3 months on hosting fees if we paid by the year instead of the month. Well all seemed good till my site went down and was down for x amount of hours or days, we have sent email after email to the company, posted trouble ticket after trouble ticket but no response.
Now my budget is shot for the year, I canít get my money back, the 30 day guarantee has passed (or even better they did not read the fine print on the guarantee). They are stuck with no site and no luck but to wait and see how long it takes for the site to come back to life.

3. Upgrade options. Once again fine print in this area can cost you big bucks.
Letís say you already knew that a yearly plan with a host you knew nothing about was a bad idea so you order a monthly plan on top of that you went with the smallest plan they offered thinking I can upgrade later once I find out how support and services are with this company.
One week before your month is up you receive an email invoice; you are being charged $8.00 for exceeding your monthly bandwidth limits (by 100 Megs) and your site and email will not respond till these charges are paid. You do have an option to up grade to the next plan but there is a $50.00 set up fee!

Now I know that some of these tips/stories seem far fetched but believe me I have seen these and many more problems happening in the last few years. Now days anyone with a few dollars a month can set up a hosting company on the net. Many do and once they have made a few dollars they close that site down, take the money they made and start another one just to sucker someone else out of money and leave a lot of businesses out in the cold with no web site and no way of retrieving their expenses.

So good luck and if this post does not get deleted (one for being to long, two not belonging here) I would be glad to post many other helpful tips for those who really have not experienced the problems that many others have seen in the hosting business.