Let me clearly state that this is not a web hosting company bashing article. I had a small web hosting company for a few years consisting of a few servers in a data center and my hat is off to those who can persevere and maintain both their hardware and their customer base with a modicum of success and profit. Hosting is one of the last bastions of “mom and pop” business opportunities and I support their efforts. The big companies are another story however and I’ll leave them for future discussion.
Almost everybody has a tale to tell about the host who was down for 3 hours and email couldn’t be retrieved or a billing mistake that needed correcting. My first hosting server was a dedicated at a major data center in Texas. It wasn’t more than a few weeks into the hosting biz that a backhoe operator chopped through a fiber optic cable going to the data center. Hundreds of servers were running just fine but without being able to talk with the world outside of the data center. My customers were down for almost six hours and only one ended up leaving. You would think your sister-in-law would be a little more understanding. All too often the reaction is to find another hosting company which is frequently found to be less satisfactory than the previous one. Just ask my sister-in-law. Stuff happens and you need to deal with your hosting company just like you would any other business.
Just make sure to keep a fastcomet coupon code in handy as it would be very beneficial later on because hosting companies do have a special offer to give out for important candidates.
Do the right thing
Utilize the host’s support system. There is hardly a hosting company in existence that doesn’t have some sort of trouble ticket system. There may be IM, chat, email and telephone available as well but the ticketing system allows a documented account of the progress of the problem with time stamps and the identity of the respondent. It’s also easier to remain calm under stress if your fingers do the talking.
Billing departments don’t usually work on weekends. Getting shutdown on a Friday night for non-payment of hosting fees is really rough since it will be Monday before you can talk to the billing folks about it. The guy who answers the support call probably won’t be able to help you unless this is a very small operation and he has the ability to enable your site again for a couple of days as a courtesy.
Don’t threaten to sue. You agreed to a TOS and AUP when you signed up for hosting. If you don’t know what those are then you didn’t read them anyway so you’re SOL.
Be reasonable. Accessing a site on the web is not simply a matter of going from point A to point B. There may be a dozen or more points that you connect through before that site appears in your browser. Any link in that chain can be a trouble spot and impair the quality of the connection and your host has no control over that.
You really do have a problem when…
You have been reasonable and tried to rectify the situation but there is no resolution. A prime cause of this would be the host’s failure to communicate properly. There could be dozens of factors and reasons on both sides but there comes a point when your $5 a month hosting account requires more support resources than they can justify. You do have a good backup of your site, right?
Do your homework
If you are changing hosting companies do a little investigating up front rather than rely on https://www.besthostingcodes.com/fastcomet/ website presentations which commonly use phrases like “unlimited”, “100%”, and “24/7”.
Do a WHOIS on their domain name. WHOIS is available at every domain registration site and allows you to check into the registration information for the hosting company you are considering. Look for a creation date for the domain name which should indicate when the business started. There should also be a registered owner’s name and address listed. There are a multitude of domain registrars that provide “proxy” or “privacy” registrations. This serves to hide the real registrant’s information from the public and I can think of very few reasons why an honest business would want to remain anonymous.
Check out the hosting forums for reviews on hosting providers based on real customer experiences. Even the best companies may have a negative review or two so read the reviews with an open mind and make you own judgments. The advantage of this avenue of evaluation is hearing both sides of the story. At webhostingtalk.com you will find just about every significant web host monitoring the posts since it is the major hosting related forum around and it weighs heavily in the hosting community.
Avoid web sites that give lists of the top 10 or 25 or whatever web hosting companies. There are a ton of these that are maintained by the hosting companies themselves so they are just another form of advertisement.
Use credit cards rather than Paypal for large hosting related payments. Hosting is an “intangible” for Paypal and you can read all about it in the fine print of their agreement. Your credit card company, on the other hand, is able to cope with things that can’t be held in your hand and will usually assist in recovery if warranted. A $5 a month hosting account is okay with Paypal but a $200 a month dedicated server payment is best with credit card.
Call their tech-support at 2 AM on Sunday morning and see if it really is 24/7. Consider it an added bonus if their native language is English.
Every hosting company has the occasional glitch but remember the 99.99% uptime your hosting company has provided that you never had to think about before you abandon ship.