Every business and many individuals now have websites. From professional sales pages to personal mommy blogs, websites are now one of the standards of communication. As such, providing hosting service has become a very lucrative business, with new companies popping up all the time.

So when you are evaluating your web hosting options how do you choose a company that is going to meet your needs and provide consistent service? Here are five pitfalls to avoid as you evaluate your options.

1. Looking For Top Website Hosts

One of the biggest pitfalls novice webmasters make is searching for the term “top website hosts”. While you may want to find the best website host, the search engines are not evaluating their service. Rather, you will find companies that are paying for exposure through ads, or websites that have done a great job with their SEO.

Many sites that rank well for top website hosts are actually personal review sites. What is important to know about these reviews is that for most of the services that are highly recommended, the webmaster is likely receiving an affiliate fee for any contracts received because of the post. Be sure to look and understand if the review is sponsored in any way, which is supposed to be identified in the post.

2. Not Checking Reviews

Speaking of reviews, you do still need to check reviews. Be sure to check reputable review sites like CNet. These sites have both reviews from the editorial staff, as well as user reviews. With the reviews, you want to pay attention to more than just the stars a hosting provider has received. Rather, you want to look at the details of the review. This would include uptime reports, reviews of technical support, ease of use, and ease of upgrading service. Other places you may want to look for reviews include Google, RipOffReport.com, and the Better Business Bureau.

3. Ignoring ToS and Restrictions

When it comes to technical services and software, many people fail to review the Terms of Service. In these terms, you will find what is considered abusive use of the servers, which could result in termination of the service. You will also find things like the refund policy, and your rights and responsibilities, as well as any liabilities the hosting company passes to you. This is especially important if you are using a shared or cloud hosting package where a malware infection through another website could be passed on to your site because it resides on the same server.

Additionally, be sure to read the restrictions of your hosting package. If you are using a VPS or dedicated server, these are commonly part of selecting the right hosting service for you. However, if you are using a cloud or shared hosting environment, you will want to understand what you are allowed to use with your shared hosting, how much traffic you are allowed to generate, and any programs or apps you may want to run through your website. This is especially true if you are planning to use your web hosting package to also host a podcast, vlog, or high definition photography.

4. Not Choosing A Package With A Simple Backup Solution

With modern technology, having an issue with your website security is not a question of if, but rather a question of when. Many businesses have been caught unprepared when their website was infected with malware or a virus, and they did not have a backup of the site. It is extremely costly to recover the site, not to mention the lost business opportunity when the site is down.

While there are many different solutions to back up your website, the better website hosts have packages that include this service. This backup should include not only the page coding files, but also databases you are using to run your website. If your databases get corrupt, it can be expensive, at best, to rebuild them and have them function properly once again.

5. Making Price The Most Important Factor

Everyone wants to get the best service for the least price. However, like in most services and products, you get what you pay for. When you go for a service that is the bottom of the barrel price, such as free or near free, you get exactly what you pay for. Usually these have limited to no support, no backup plans, huge restrictions, and then hidden fees for services that are included with established and reputable website hosts.

Some of what you want to consider as possibly extra cost services include:

  • Phone support
  • Backup services
  • Security certificate
  • Infrastructure updates
  • Email hosting
  • Quick install of server apps like Joomla, WordPress, OSCommerce, etc.
  • Multiple domains on a single account

Not all of these are going to be important for everyone, but be sure to consider the price you are paying, and the additional cost for any services you will need to achieve your website objectives.

Take time to review your options and do your homework. Doing so will help you avoid these pitfalls and save both time and money in the long run.