Finding Cheap Web Hosting
When you first embark on an Internet enterprise, you need to make your budget go as far as possible, and keep your expenses down. You realize that reliable hosting for your website is something you can't do without, but you can't afford to pay too much for it. So it helps to know how to find cheap web hosting for your business.
First of all, of course, if you decide you want to look for cheap web hosting, you need to know what is meant by "cheap" in web hosting terms. Only about a decade ago, anything under $10 per month was regarded as cheap. However, this has gradually decreased, and now you can find hosting packages on offer for $1.99 per month, or even for less than $1.
You also need to consider what "cheap" actually means in terms of what you are looking for. As far as you are concerned, when you look for cheap web hosting, you are looking for a deal that will provide value and keep your overall expenses down. If you find a package that has a very low advertised rate, but that costs you more in the long run, this does not give you what you require -- so you need to check what is offered very carefully before you sign up, not after.
One obvious thing you need to check is the renewal charge, which is often considerably higher than the initial sign-up fee. For instance, iPage currently offers a sign-up fee of $2.25 per month. However, if you go to the Terms of Service -- which you must always check, however tedious they may be -- under Billing and Payment you find, in extremely small print, that special offers are available for the initial term only, and you will be notified of your renewal pricing prior to the start of the renewal period. Nowhere does it say how much the current renewal price is, but according to comparison sites it is currently $10.99 per month -- quite a difference. You also find in the Terms of Service that you pay a minimum of $35 for early cancellation.
Similar policies are followed by other cheap web hosting companies, such as FatCow, GreenGeeks and HostGator. On the other hand, you can find some companies that offer a Price Lock Guarantee. One of these is HostMetro, which is currently offering a sign-up price of $2.45, promising that this is for life. So searching on Price Lock Guarantee is quite a good place to start.
Another trap you have to look out for with apparently cheap web hosting is add-ons and additional software which may be promoted to you -- this is often how companies with low charges make their money. In some cases you can't complete the sign-up until you have agreed to subscribe to the free trial of a piece of software, which they hope you will forget to cancel -- and you almost certainly will. In other cases, you actually find you have been automatically signed up. You need to be very vigilant, in order to avoid spending considerably more money than you intended.
In order to be sure you are actually saving money with cheap web hosting, you also need to be careful of server reliability. If you experience frequent downtime periods, paying a low subscription is a false economy, as the downtime will cost you more in lost business than you are actually saving. You can find this information in reviews, and on comparison sites such as Uptime Best Host Ratings, which is free to use.
Similarly you should check the level of customer support provided by cheap deals -- not being able to get support when something goes wrong will also cost you money. The minimum you should be looking for is 24-hour telephone support. Online support is no use if your site is down -- neither is email support, if it goes to your domain which is also down.
What you really want when setting up your business is hosting that saves you money and provides value. If you look for "cheap web hosting" on the Internet, you will find dozens of companies that seem to offer incredible deals. You need to carry out due diligence to find the one that works best for you and your business.