How do you shop for anything? All things being equal, most people will look for the lowest cost. Unfortunately, because we’ve been conditioned to make the final price tag one of the most important factors, many people fall into the trap of making that their first and sometimes only criteria.
A better way to shop is to find out what you are getting for your money. This advice holds true when you are considering web hosting.
Check out most hosting company‘s landing page and the most dominant thing you’ll see is their prices, “Starting as low as $3.95/month” seems like a pretty good deal until you read the fine print, “for a three-year term, paid up front.” That $3.95/month instantly becomes $142.20 plus any applicable tax.
Say you don’t have that kind of budget, or you just want to try it out before committing to a three-year term. No problem. That very same plan will cost you $7.16 each month.
Do you see what’s happening here? The big decision is all about the price. And we still haven’t seen what we are getting for our money yet!
Put Your Wallet Away for Now
OK, so you know there’s going to be a money game. If you are able to afford it and you’re comfortable with the company, by all means lock in for the longest term in order to take advantage of the best pricing.
But what about those FREE hosting services? Wouldn’t that be a great place to start, especially if you’re new and just want to try things out?
First of all, stay away from FREE hosting because when you use these services, it means someone else owns your site giving you little – if any – real control. Instead what you get is:
The Host’s advertising (usually irrelevant or incompatible to your content)
Very limited capability of what you can do with your site (usually non-commercial use only)
The site can be removed at any time, for any reason (did we mention you have little – if any – real control)
And in the event you do want to upgrade to a paid account, that usually means moving your entire site to another server! Sounds scary? Trust me, you don’t want to go there! Start with the best paid hosting plan you can afford.
Most Important Features of Good Hosting
Tech Support: Some companies will give you their best support only with their most expensive packages. Otherwise, you’ll most likely get a several page document and/or very limited email support. When you’re first starting out building your website, the learning curve is fairly steep. Good tech support is a must!
Ease of Use: Many of the better hosting companies today use the well-known cPanel for site management. This is where you control your files, set up email accounts, and even create WordPress blogs among many other functions. It’s imperative that you have an easy to understand and use control panel as it is the heart and soul of your website.
Disc Space: Some plans allow you to have only one domain. If you wanted to start another website, you would have to pay for another plan. However, there are hosting plans that allow you to maintain unlimited domains under one agreement. This is highly recommended as you will undoubtedly want to expand your affiliate empire as you get the hang of it.
Bandwidth: Early in your website’s development, bandwidth will likely not be an issue. But as you continue to drive more traffic and your site becomes more interactive, you’ll want to make sure your hosting company gives you enough bandwidth so your site doesn’t go ‘down’, meaning it becomes unavailable for your visitors. If your site goes ‘down’ too often, you’re out of business. Make sure your hosting company includes ample bandwidth for your plan.
Now You Can Ask ‘How Much?’
Once you know what you are getting for your money, it’s time to compare prices. You may see minor differences from company to company and only you can determine your own preferences and what is important to you. But all things being equal, by all means go with the best cost!