Starting your first website is a very exciting and fun experience. Especially since websites are now inexpensive, and both personal and business sites have a purpose online. Buying hosting and domain names online is usually a secure process, and a web hosting company chosen should always provide reliable, secure services.
When looking to start a website, you’ll ask yourself questions such as where to buy hosting, and where to find web hosting deals. Both of these questions should be asked when finding the right hosting company, that you can trust and pay safely for web hosting services. With so much online competition, web hosting companies offer unbelievable money saving deals. This competition can sometimes bring out the worst in owners looking to make a quick buck and even web hosting scams.
Here are five things you should know about web hosting companies, before taking the website building plunge and pulling out your wallet.
A Web Hosting Company May Not Be A Registered Business At All
A beautiful, well-structured website template for a web hosting company may present them as a legit and licensed business. However, this may not be the case as that web hosting owner could be running an online business without actually obtaining a business license. A business license requires any business owner to pay both state, local and federal taxes. It may also contain additional licensing fees, and an individual must register a web hosting business to receive a business name (also known as a DBA).
A web hosting company you have chosen to purchase domain name services through could be running an illegal business by not being licensed. A way to tell this is by having only PayPal payments accepted by this hosting company or asking to have check or money orders written out in an individual’s name instead of a business name. To open up a bank account under a business name that business owner must have a license or a DBA mentioned above. Without a business bank name, they are unable to accept checks written out to the business. Therefore they ask for checks and money orders in an individual’s name.
Your Web Hosting Provider May Be a Teenager
Scary to think, but you could be sending money for website payments each month to a 16-year-old. Web hosting business again has a lot of competition in the online market. There is a lot of money to be made in web hosting, so it is appealing to teenagers who can purchase servers with their mom’s credit card. I will explain servers and server payments later, but a teenager can buy the necessary tools and open up a “web hosting business.”
While some teens may be mature and competent to run a business, most are unable to for legal reasons. In legal terms, an individual cannot enter into an agreement or contract with a teenager (someone not of age). You may not be so concerned about this if you run a personal or hobby site. However, someone running a website for business purposes can be concerned due to liability or potentially losing this site or any information stored on it. Fighting a teenager in court would be impossible. Therefore you would only end up losing.
We mean I
When looking around for web hosting services, you will come across websites that pump up the fact that “We are ready to help you” and “We are willing to provide you with the best, most awesome support ever!” This sounds appealing, beautiful and heck it promises your website everything it could ever want! The sad truth is that most of these businesses that say We mean I.
A web hosting company that oversells itself to the point of making no profits is unable to hire adequate staff. Therefore, they fail to provide you with “We” and most likely have one individual (web hosting owner) doing both sales, billing, and support. This could result in slow service, unresolved issues or support delays. It also means that if this individual is ill or takes a vacation, there is no one to keep an eye on your website or respond to any support questions.
Web Hosting Servers Are Rented
Another statement you may see on the web hosting company sites is that they have excellent, powerful servers. Their servers are also secure, bulletproof and super fast. However, this web hosting owner has probably never even seen this excellent server equipment they’ve ranted about. In fact, they are most likely renting servers from a data center and paying a monthly fee.
Every hosting company should pay their bills on time; this is especially important for server fees that store all website and database information. Failing to pay a server bill would result in having that server shut down, and customers would lose all of their data.
Web hosting companies will claim no liability or try to blame someone else. Which brings up another important fact that every customer should have their own, updated website backup. Never rely on someone else, or business to do backups for you. Do them yourself, in case your teenager web hosting business owner decided to spend his money on Batman DVDs and not paying his server bill.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
A sad trend in web hosting industry is that a web hosting company can shut down as fast as it can get started. People lose interest or realize that to make money; they have to work a lot. Web hosting is a 24/7 job and customer will need something all day long. Those web hosting companies who resell do not have much in profit, which also means their funds are stretched too thin. Being unable to pay basic web hosting bills such as server payments can result in that person walking away from their business and customers. It can also mean that they can leave overnight, leaving you without a website.
In closing, I hope that these five truths about web hosting companies do not scare you away. Starting your first website is fun, and super easy. There are many benefits in having a personal or business website. As with any online experience, it is important to be smart, safe and always have the proper knowledge.
Web hosting is a tough business that requires a lot of time and maintenance. Before purchasing a domain and hosting for your new website, ask basic questions by e-mailing or contacting a company you may be interested in. Do not be afraid to ask questions about that business, do online research by Googling for reviews on service or look for unsatisfied customers that raise flags about the ways that web hosting business is run. Also, always keep a copy of your website and make updated backups.