Cheap Web Hosting Guide 2017
Web hosting has come an incredibly long way over the last few years, with more and more competitors in the market, companies are advertising cheap monthly costs to entice customers to host with them. This naturally makes the market cheaper because there’s a lot of competition. However, when they are labelled as cheap web hosting providers we often find that there are pitfalls in key features, such as, support, uptime, and more.
Issue #1: Uptime
Arguably one of the most important features to look for in a web hosting company (cheap or not). If your website is down then it means no one can find your website; no one can search for it, or access its URL. This means you could potentially be losing out on customers, visitors, sales, and traffic.
The reason why up-time can affect cheap web hosting providers is simply because they may be loading up far too many websites onto one shared server; more people crammed onto one server means they don’t have to pay out as much for servers. This, in turn, causes poor performing servers which reflects badly on your website, equating to a user experience that would be ingrained into your customers’/visitors’ minds deterring them from coming back!
Ensure you take the time to research into your web hosts’ uptime records before you take up a pricing plan with them. No one wants to be left in the situation where their website isn’t accessible, so don’t let it happen to you!
|Date||Uptime||Downtime||Outages||Avg Response Time|
|2017-05-17||100.000 %||0 mins||0||585 ms|
|2017-05-16||100.000 %||0 mins||0||551 ms|
|2017-05-15||100.000 %||0 mins||0||542 ms|
|2017-05-14||100.000 %||0 mins||0||564 ms|
|2017-05-13||100.000 %||0 mins||0||546 ms|
|2017-05-12||100.000 %||0 mins||0||541 ms|
|2017-05-11||100.000 %||0 mins||0||547 ms|
|2017-05-10||100.000 %||0 mins||0||584 ms|
|2017-05-09||100.000 %||0 mins||0||559 ms|
|2017-05-08||100.000 %||0 mins||0||565 ms|
|2017-05-07||99.861 %||2 mins||1||534 ms|
|2017-05-06||100.000 %||0 mins||0||559 ms|
|2017-05-05||100.000 %||0 mins||0||556 ms|
|2017-05-04||100.000 %||0 mins||0||537 ms|
|2017-05-03||100.000 %||0 mins||0||506 ms|
|2017-05-02||100.000 %||0 mins||0||533 ms|
|2017-05-01||100.000 %||0 mins||0||477 ms|
Check it out for yourself
What is uptime?
In simple terms, uptime is the amount of time that your website is live and available to visitors and potential customers. Any time that isn’t uptime is downtime. Downtime means that visitors and potential customer can’t see your website; they won’t be able to search for it or view it, and if you’re running a business, that is certainly a very bad thing indeed! As a general rule of thumb, we like to see providers who offer at least a 99.9% up-time guarantee for their products and services. If a company doesn’t offer this, there’s a good chance it’s because they can’t, and they know they’ll not be able to stick to the guarantee.
Where can I check this information?
There are lots of free and paid tools online that you can use, including, server monitoring, from very simple to very complex analysis. Each one will offer different features, so it may be worth looking at a free version like Uptime Robot or Monitis to begin with, then move onto paid options like Nagios or Cacti if it’s something you want to keep an eye on.
Issue #2: Poor Support
There’s a handful of hosting companies that provide very poor customer and technical support; perhaps because they’ve spent their low budget on filling up their shared servers… who knows! However, support is a very important factor when it comes to web hosting, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. If your website goes down, you’ll want to be able to contact someone immediately to resolve the situation. You’ll also want to speak to someone who knows what they’re talking about!
Unfortunately there’s little you or I can do to resolve poor customer support. However, it may be worth looking for a web hosting provider who offers a money-back guarantee, so if you want to test the waters, you won’t have the fear of being trapped if you don’t like what you see. Keep an eye out for 24/7 support, including a variety of contact options like live chat, email, and free telephone.
Issue #3: Overpriced Renewal Fees
Cheap web hosting providers often lure you in with affordable prices to begin with, however, if you enjoy your services with them and want to remain a customer, you’ll likely be paying an expensive renewal fee to stay with them. This is a great way for cheap web hosts to recoup costs from their initial cheap prices. Most customers will blindly pay a monthly fee and not even realise the price has gone up at renewal, until they check their bank statement!
Solution #1 – Host Switching
As we’ve said, most web hosts will charge a cheap price for the first year or so, then if you decide to stay with them, you’ll be charged a much higher fee. This policy is present on most budget hosting companies, including, GreenGeeks, BlueHost, and FatCow. One way around this is to simply switch your web host every time your current web hosting package is due for renewal. This will ensure that you gain the benefits of cheap hosting without getting sucked into another year of high prices. Of course, this will rely on you doing your research and remembering to cancel before your renewal is due.
Solution #2 – Find suitable renewal rates
It may take a little research and digging, but if you’d rather stay away from hopping between web hosts every year, look to stick with a provider who offers affordable renewal rates. Some web hosts won’t increase their renewal price at all, whereas others may increase it slightly, or if you’re unlucky, by a substantial amount.
Issue #4: Hidden cancellation fees
There are unfortunately some cheap hosting companies that charge a cancellation fee if you no longer want to stay with their company. These aren’t always obvious and are hidden within their terms and conditions, or worded in a vague manner. Companies like these should be avoided at all costs.
If a web hosting company is looking to charge a cancellation fee for anything other than your domain name or SSL licence, avoid them at all costs. Domain names and security licences are often purchased on a yearly basis, so cancelling these mid-term and being charged a fee is justified. However, cancelling a hosting package that are often charged on a monthly basis and being charged for doing so is certainly not justified. When looking for a web host, make sure you’re clear on their cancellation and refund policies. Dive into their terms and conditions and search for any keywords relating to cancellation or refund to see if they charge for cancellations. If they do, regardless of how cheap their fee might be, do not purchase a web hosting plan from them.
Issue #5: Nuisance Up-selling
It pains me when I visit a website and purchase a product; the product I’ve decided I want, yet am being pushed to purchase add-on services or extras that I have no use for! Well, unfortunately this is what a lot of cheap web hosting companies do too. They’ll recommend other products that you ‘should buy‘, such as, CMS themes, email spam protection, domain registration, email management tools, and more. Now, I’m not saying that these things aren’t useful, however, being tricked into free trials then being hit with premium prices is not welcomed.
Check every step of your purchase journey to ensure there aren’t tick boxes that have already been ticked for you, opting you into free trials. Unfortunately you’ll need to be a little on the sceptical side whenever you receive communication from your web host; read what the emails say without blindly clicking on links that will opt you into add-on service. Smart is the way to go here to ensure you don’t get caught out.
Issue #6: Data limits & storage caps
Many cheap web hosting companies will offer great affordable prices for a bare bone product, leaving you short if you try to include too many images, files, or store too much data on your website. Some providers combat this by offering unlimited hosting packages, others by allowing you to upgrade when necessary, and the rest leave you in a sticky situation with no choice but to cancel and go elsewhere.
Solution #1 – Unlimited options
If you know you’ll be expanding your website or blog, or you’re running an eCommerce website, it might be wise to invest in an unlimited web hosting package. This means you’ll have no data limits or storage caps applied to your website, reassuring you that you can pretty much do what you like with your website without any restrictions. Read the terms and conditions of these services carefully, however, as unlimited doesn’t always mean unlimited – even so, most of the time, the limited unlimited packages are often beyond sufficient.
Solution #2 – Upgrade options
Unlimited plans can sometimes be a little more expensive than the basic plans, so if you’re not ready to commit to unlimited, you should look out for web hosts that allow you to upgrade your plan whenever you need to. This will mean that you won’t have to cancel your web hosting with the hassle of looking elsewhere, or tighten the reigns and make room for more content. You can simply upgrade when you need to, and most of the time this is done instantly for you.
Issue #7: Limited MySQL databases
Databases are used to store certain information, for example, if you’re running an eCommerce site, the likelihood is that your online store/shop will contain a multitude of products, pricing information, and more. All of this data is stored on databases.
Learn more about MySQL databases and what they’re used for:
Before you place your order with your web hosting company, ensure they haven’t cut costs on CPU power by offering you limited usages of MySQL databases. Unlimited might sound a lot, but there are many cheap web hosting providers that offer unlimited MySQL databases, so do some research and don’t leave yourself short.
Issue #8: Subscription in exchange for the cheap price
We all know companies that offer a cheaper monthly price if you pay 3, 6, or even 12 months in advance – fair enough. However, some cheap web hosts have been known to ask their customer to pay up to 5 years in advance in exchange for their cheap prices – outrageous!
Choose a web hosting company that will offer you an affordable price with little or no subscription. You don’t want to be stuck in a contract with a company who might go under and take your money, or one that doesn’t suit your needs and you’re unable to cancel without further costs. Be savvy and pay attention to the billing cycle information before you purchase. Don’t necessarily shy away from paying on a year-by-year basis, but know what you’re getting into before you get there.