Whatever the reason, you want to create a website and are thinking about the many variables involved. Among these variables is web hosting. There are a lot of factors to consider, even within this one variable. Price… Speed… Server types… Don’t feel overwhelmed, because today we look at web hosting, specifically cheap web hosting.
Pitfalls of cheap web hosting
Ever heard the saying that if it is free and cheap, it cannot be good quality? It is true in most cases. Below we give you 7 reasons you should avoid cheap web hosting.
1. Avoid free one-year plans
You are told that you can sign up for free for the first year or for a ridiculously low price such as $0.99. And you do sign up and are happy enough. Then year two comes and you are slapped with an unbelievably high renewal. Is this done in an attempt to recoup year one’s service? Who knows!
Another drawback of free or cheap web hosting plans is that you may not have any control over your domain name. What happens is that you get a portion of a larger website, a subdomain, so your ‘domain’ is tacked on to the mother site’s domain.
- Advice: Domains can be purchased separately, so follow these tips to finding the perfect domain name.
2. All website builders are not created equally
Tip one may have suggested that all website builders operate the same way and merely provided you with a smaller portion of their website. You may have heard of the popular site builders that operate using this business model, but not all website builders are created equally.
Our website builder, for example, gives you complete control over your domain name, offers domain name registration services, as well as, comes with no add-ons. Our prices are competitive and packages arranged to meet your needs.
3. Look out for bait and switch techniques
To provide cheap web hosting probably means the company is deliberately underselling themselves. This means that they will need a lot of customers to buy into the promotion. It also means that you will have no option to choose the type of server you use. You will be using a shared server.
The more customers using the same server, the greater your website’s chances of slowing down or becoming unavailable altogether. This means you will be losing potential customers (if your website is new) and customers (if already established). Customers have so many options these days that they will not be hanging around while your website loads.
Should you report these shortcomings, you will be strongly encouraged to upgrade to virtual private servers or even dedicated servers. Yes, they will solve your load speed, but are considerably more expensive and may be more space than you need.
4. Beware! Poor customer service ahead!
Don’t expect much from customer service with a cheap web hosting plan. Expect instead support mostly via emails, lengthy delays in the coming of responses, poor job knowledge and maybe live customer service between certain hours. Since you have no control over when something happens, this can spell disaster, especially if it is something that can pull your site or parts of your site offline.
- Advice: Ensure you have a super effective 404 page to prevent your visitors from freaking out and leaving, never to return.
5. Unlimited does not mean unlimited
The word ‘unlimited’ is used often, not to describe the resources you will have access to, but to lure you in. Because all of you will be using the same pool of resources, websites that draw on more resources limit the available resources for the others. To be fair, these companies try to limit the occurrence of this happening.
Therefore, be prepared to receive warning notices that you have exceeded limits (bandwidth and/or storage) and that your service will be disconnected should you continue. For some of you, this email will be the first you will have been finding out about these limits.
- Advice: Read the fine print of your contract, preferably before you sign.
6. Be prepared to pay for external security features
Web hosting providers with more competitive pricing strategies include several features that you will need as a website owner. Cheap web hosting providers, due to cost-cutting measures that we mentioned earlier, cannot afford to provide these services and features at their prices. What does this mean for your website?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to your website’s security. Your needs are unique to your site, the services you provide and circumstances. At minimum, look into the backup plan that should come with your plan.
- Advice: Get into the habit of conducting backups regularly should you opt for one of these services. You may consider purchasing such a service from a secondary source as well.
7. Time to first byte will be high
TTFB is a metric that Google uses to determine website rankings. This metric describes the amount of time that passes between the first communication with a server and the loading of the webpage. This should be as low as possible to benefit from SEO ranking.
Cheap web hosting providers will more than likely cause you to have a very high response rate (which under any other circumstance would have been a good thing). This is one factor that rests purely on the shoulders of your web host. Better servers that can handle the current volume of customers is the only way to benefit from this ranking criterion.
- Avoid free one-year plans because they can turn into a bait and switch traps.
- Some website builders allow you your own domain name, and many other features.
- You do not have unlimited bandwidth and storage despite what is advertised and because of poor customer service, you may not know this until you have violated the policy.
- Cheap web hosting might come with inferior servers that negatively impact both security and SEO.
Choose carefully and before you get entangled be sure to know what you are signing up for.