Knowledge and time invested in research are valuable assets for any buyer, and this is never more true than when you’re looking to buy expensive items or products from within a crowded market place (hence you have a lot of choice at the same or similar price point).
Advertisers will, quite naturally, try and highlight the positive aspects of their products whilst detracting or ignoring any flaws or indifferent aspects, but this is usually a fairly simple description or comparison and can gloss over important issues.
A good example of this would be purchasing a car. The car dealer can provide information such as horse power and fuel economy, for example, but may not mention whether a particular model has problems with rust developing in the wheel arches – yet this information might be available if you consulted product reviews.
A similar approach can be applied to web hosting, albeit in a slightly different manner. With web hosting it’s more important to understand some of the subtleties of the product which help set certain providers and packages apart from others, and this can go beyond simple disk space and bandwidth numbers.
For a start, do you have access to a drag and drop website builder? If not, are you comfortable creating your own website whether using a theme, your own choice of builder or from scratch? If you answered no then this is definitely something you want included within the price of your web hosting product.
Secondly, and this is a little more subtle and requires some understanding of the intricacies of the product, are you being offered unlimited server resources – by which I mainly refer to disk space and bandwidth? If you are then you need to be aware that disk space and bandwidth are not infinite resources and do in fact cost money to provide. As such you can never truly receive the ‘unlimited’ resources you’re supposed to be paying for, and instead what you often end up paying for is space on an incredibly overcrowded, largely unregulated (with respect to resource usage) server – after all, everyone on the server has unlimited resources at their disposal don’t they?
So although it seems counter intuitive, you’d likely be better with a plan with clear and defined usage restrictions (which can almost always be upgraded as and when you require them) which ensures that you get exactly what you pay for, and similarly that the actions of another customer don’t negatively impact your web hosting experience.
Lastly, how easily can you contact, and how ready to assist you are the support functions? A lot of companies advertise 24/7/365 support and, at least in theory, this is incredibly useful but it is only the top layer, so to speak. When you do get through to the support how much assistance do they then provide you with? A one liner – “Try the FAQ” in the middle of the night, for example, might be considerably less useful to you then a thorough and detailed response during work hours. Clearly, the company isn’t going to be able to tell you how well their support functions will be able to assist you personally, but trust pilot reviews (legitimate ones at least – be wary of reviews which are written largely the same but with a few slight differences ) and things of that nature should help provide a clearer picture.
Hopefully the above advice will be of some use to you when you look to purchase your next web hosting product. As always it’s not a fully comprehensive guide, rather a few questions you might like to consider/ask, although the idea that an informed buyer will have a better chance of finding the right product for them will certainly hold true in most situations.