Choosing a Web Host: Beware Marketing Tricks

Webhosting market is very competitive. The competition is becoming more and more aggressive every day. Webhosts are offering wide range of attractive plans. Some webhosts use marketing tricks to attract (or sometimes deceive) customers. How to avoid this situation?

Read Terms and Conditions

A lot of customers ignore reading the details of host’s terms and conditions. They depend on the brief and attractive write up of the hosting plan. Most webhosts are able to deceive customers because of this. To avoid being tricked or deceived by these marketing tricks, take your time reading the terms and conditions carefully.

Unlimited Space and Bandwidth

A lot of hosts offer “unlimited” space and/or bandwidth in their plans. This is the most widely used marketing trick. In reality, there is no such “unlimited” space or bandwidth. Any person with a little background about web hosting must know that a web host is actually a computer, similar to the PC you are using now. No matter how powerful the web host is, its hard drive space is limited, and it can only transfer limited amount of data during a given period of time.

Whenever you see a hosting plan offering “unlimited” features you must remember it’s not real. This, however, does not always mean that those hosts are bad. First thing you should do is to read their terms and condition. If they claim they are providing “unlimited” features without any conditions then avoid registering with them, they are lying to you.

Most hosts that offer “unlimited” space and bandwidth will put restrictions on some file types and sizes. For example, they will disallow you to put video, audio or executable files on your site. In other cases they will allow any file type given it’s not exceeding certain size (e.g. 500KB). Sometimes they use a generic condition to prevent consuming their resources. An example condition will be: “we may find a customer to be using server resources to such an extent that he or she may jeopardize server performance and resources for other customers. In such instances, we reserve the right to suspend that site immediately”.

Unmetered Space and Bandwidth

The term “unmetered” is closer to reality. They imply to you that the offered space/bandwidth is limited but not watched. This is, however, not 100% true. It’s just another way to attract you to their plans. In most cases terms and conditions will be more or less similar to those of “unlimited” space and bandwidth.

Unlimited Websites

Or sometimes it’s called “unlimited domains”. This probably is the most honest marketing phrase, although it’s sometimes confuses na?ve customers. It simply means that you can point as many domain names as you want as long as you are within the space and bandwidth limits. This is good if you plan to have more than one website, but if you are intending to build only a single website then you do not need this feature.

$1 hosting plan

Sometimes you might see a hosting plan that offer plenty of space and bandwidth (usually cost $10 or more) for very low prices such as $2 or less. This is not a marketing trick, because you will get the space and bandwidth stated in the plan, but you should not expect the same level of support and reliability. Cheaper web host usually means more customers sharing the same server, which means less performance and reliability.

Uptime

A lot of hosting companies claim their servers’ uptimes are 99.99%, while in reality they are not. You can test this by using an uptime monitoring service for a week or two. Some websites (such as netcraft) provide free monitoring for a list of hosts.

These are some of the tricks used to attract customers, of course there are more. Reading terms and conditions carefully, reading customer reviews and consulting experts will help you avoid being deceived by these tricks.

by Abbas Alafoo