If you’re looking for server company, you must be wary of scams and false advertising. And this isn’t always as easy as you might think. Web hosting scams can be surprisingly difficult to spot – and it isn’t just as simple as checking out some company reviews. Many of those reviews are written by other companies to make the competition look bad. Below is a list of the top five red flags that should set your internal alarm bells ringing.
#1 Unlimited Bandwidth or Space
Many companies’ advertising will offer unlimited bandwidth and web space. Back in reality, this is clearly impossible, if only because the company would go bankrupt if it were true. You will often see an asterisk behind this claim. And even if you don’t, checking their terms of service or their acceptable usage policy will reveal some sort of “excessive usage” clause.
Basically, even if a company claims to offer “unlimited” bandwidth and/or space, you can be sure that it isn’t actually unlimited. If your website will use lots of bandwidth and space, then it may be worth contacting the company directly to find out what their actual limits are.
#2 Complex Uptime Guarantee
Many web hosts also guarantee 100% or 99.9% uptime. But like companies that make “unlimited” claims, when you read their terms of service, you may find their guarantee is difficult to understand.
If the guarantee is complex, then the server company may be misrepresenting the quality of their service. Not all web hosts have the service to back up these uptime guarantees. A complex guarantee can give them a “get-out” clause if you complain.
#3 Missing Contact Information
If a web host provides few contact details, then that is a huge red flag. Not being able to contact your web host while having issues is a problem no webmaster wants to deal with.
Cheaper server companies will make contact difficult in an effort to keep costs down – that means bad support for you. Before choosing a particular web host, you can try to contact them to gauge how responsive they are and how professional their support is. A good web host will be easy to contact.
#4 No Short-Term Contracts
Some web hosts will only offer long-term contracts. They will try to get you to make a big advanced payment and lock you in. Offering long-term contracts exclusively suggests the web host is worried about customers leaving after experiencing their service. It is a virtual guarantee that the web host is poor.
Respectable web hosts may also offer annual contracts that offer a cheaper rate, but they will also offer shorter contracts. A respectable web host will let their service speak for itself.
When first using a server company’s services, it is best to test the company and go for a short-term contract. You can always sign up for the cheaper long-term deal later. If the web host isn’t all they claimed to be, then you will want the ability to jump ship.
#5 Registering Your Domain Name For You
Some web hosts will offer to register your domain for you. Unfortunately, they usually aren’t just being helpful – it is a way for them to register the domain in their own name. Like using long-term contracts, this scam is designed to make it difficult for you to leave the web host.
If you decide to leave, in the worst case the web host will keep your domain name and you will be forced to move to a new domain name. If you’ve built an established audience, that is a lot of hard work down the drain. Alternatively, they may charge you an exorbitant price to buy the domain name.
A major domain registrar, Network Solutions, was sued for defrauding millions of people of domain names. When someone searched for a specific domain, Network Solutions would register that domain themselves. This meant that if someone wanted to buy the domain they searched for, Network Solution held that domain at ransom and could charge an exorbitant price.
This is one of the most devious server company scams – be wary of it. You should ensure that any domain you purchase is registered to you.
In an ideal world, you could deal with a server company that doesn’t misrepresent their services in their advertising. Unfortunately, the web hosting market is highly competitive. Even respectable web hosts need to make great claims to attract customers. In most cases, if a web host seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
When selecting a web host, it is better to be safe than sorry. Choosing a web host doesn’t require as much commitment as a marriage, but moving to a new web host can be both time consuming and a hassle.
When searching for a web host for your website, it is important to be diligent. Read their terms of service and contact the company directly to clarify exactly what they offer. By doing your due diligence now, you will save yourself much aggravation later.
Category: Web Hosting