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The first thing you're probably looking at when considering a web hosting provider is the cost. While that's certainly important, it's by far not the most important. If you find a great deal, you may realize down the road that it wasn't such a great deal after all.
Imagine this: You find an amazing deal for a hosting package that seems perfect for you. So you immediately put down the money and invest in a year's worth of hosting. A month later, your site is going down three or four times a week. When it is up, it seems to take forever for your page to load.
You go to your hosting provider's site to find their customer support number, just to find that the only way you can get in touch with them is through email. So you email them about the problems. You check your email hourly, waiting for a response that doesn't come that day. Meanwhile, people are visiting your site and not being able to view it. You're losing money.
The next day, they respond and apologize for the delay. They promise that they are looking into it and it will be taken care of. Later that day, your site is finally back up. Great! Three days later, it goes down again, and you're left with playing the email game again. Obviously, this hosting provider either:
As you can see, this would be no way to run a business. It makes you look bad to potential customers and annoys or drives away current customers. That deal isn't looking so much like a deal anymore.
Price isn't everything.
Before you ever invest in hosting (or any other business decision), do your research. Make sure that should you ever need help, or a problem arises, that they are going to be there, willing and able to take care of you. Call them, email them. See what kind of communication they have. Get a feel for how they run things. A hosting company that's capable and cares about your business, like HostWinds, will have no problem answering your questions before any money ever changes hands.
An honest and legit company will not make you jump through hoops in order to contact them. We actually give you a number of ways to get in touch. You can call. You can email me. You can live chat with us or put in a ticket. It all depends on the urgency of the problem and how you're most comfortable communicating. In fact, we even give you an emergency contact solution. If something happens, that requires immediate attention, use the emergency contact!
There's absolutely no hosting out there that is 100% perfect 100% of the time. Just as with any business, there are bound to be bumps somewhere, eventually. The question is, how is your hosting company going to respond? Are they going to fix it asap and ensure your business is up and running? Are they technically capable of ensuring your business is in good hands (or do they even care)?
Written by Andrea Martin / January 6, 2013