Updated January 11, 2018
Agreeing to a long-term hosting contract with a company the first time carries significant risk, both financially and regarding your website performance over the short to medium term. Find out what questions to ask before signing on the dotted line.
A web hosting contract dictates everything you will receive in return when you choose a specific web host. You have to consider what’s in that contract and what the host is responsible for before you skim through the terms and part with your money.
Question 1. Is It Future-proof?
Knowing that the hardware and software specifications will meet your needs today is a no brainer. Knowing they will meet your needs 6 months from now is quite another.
Make sure you’re not locked into a given plan, with no recourse to upgrade or transfer into something more suitable, should circumstances change in the near future. Flexibility is key, and a win-win relationship is what separates mediocre companies from great ones.
It’s unbelievable how many people will sign a web hosting contract simply because someone recommended a certain host. They don’t check anything regarding whether it even fulfills their needs. If a web hosting package doesn’t fulfill your needs, it’s a pointless purchase to make.
Question 2. How Dependable are They? (Uptime %)
If your website goes down, it could turn hundreds of customers away, and Google is going to destroy your rankings. Uptime on a constant basis is more crucial than ever before. Google and members of the general public are holding websites to a higher standard.
Take your time to check the server reliability and uptime scores.
Question 3. Management, Monitoring and Migrations
The 3 M’s are critical parts of how a hosting company should lend a hand to its customers. Not having help with these three is like trying to win a NASCAR race without a pit crew.
A fully managed hosting plan is one which includes additional administrative time on the part of the web hosting company. It’s an insurance policy that you’ll have help before, during and after those times when you need it.
Proactive monitoring is what quality hosting companies do, so that they know an issue is appearing before you do – so that they can resolve it, without you having a loss of services.
Migration assistance is the hosting admin team lending a hand in moving your files, databases and configuration for emails (and others) from your old host to your new one. It’s like moving a house full of furniture, across country – do you want to do that yourself, or put it in the hands of the professionals, and just turn up at the destination calm, cool, relaxed and happy with your new home?
Question 4. What’s it Cost to Renew?
It’s an industry norm that renewal costs will always cost far more than signup costs. Unless you are willing to move hosting providers every time your contract ends, which isn’t recommended, you are going to have to deal with these increased costs.
But that doesn’t mean you should be accepting a high price for renewal. Many companies fail to check out what the cost of renewal is. Usually, this fee is around $10 more per month.
There are plenty of great hosts you can find for this price or lower, so it makes little sense to pay anything more if you are using a standard shared hosting account. Generally, just asking one of the sales team for a discount, to keep your price the same, is enough to keep that renewal cost within reason.
5. What about Security?
Unless you are very knowledgeable when it comes to security, the chances are you are unable to perform a security audit of a specific web host. So you are going to have to get someone else to do the work for you. By researching customer reviews and what people are saying about the specific web host online, you can get a good idea about the level of security.
The easiest way to find reviews is to simply go to your favorite search engine and search for something like: KnownHost reviews
The threat of falling victim to a hack attack is very real. The number of cyber-attacks has been consistently rising in the last few years. The control panel, offered by your preferred hosting provider, should have a reputation for keeping out attackers. It should receive regular and automatic updates.
Choosing your hosting provider shouldn’t be something that you do lightly. It’s something that you must spend some time thinking about. A bad hosting provider can destroy your website and make it difficult to market your brand.
You also have to think of the future, so check out how easy it is to scale upwards.
If you haven’t done so already, check out the industry leading uptime of KnownHost, our awesome real reviews by happy customers, and the commitments we make, and keep, every day, to our clients. We’d love to help take out the worry from your website hosting and leave you time to do what you do best – running your business!