Investigating Your Web Host Part II: Research is Important
In my last post I wrote about the importance of checking out your future web host’s technical support and test driving the control panel and website builder. I hope you found at least one web host that passed your tests! Now, let’s fine-tune our investigation and look at outside reviews of the company, and then check out their refund policy.
Are Their Customers Satisfied?
Many web hosts feature glowing testimonials on their site, but of course they would never post something bad about themselves. Some brave web hosts allow customers to leave reviews on their site, even if they’re negative. The best way to find customer opinions using just the web host’s site, however, is on a community forum. Not all web host sites have them, but they can be a great resource. I suggest browsing the forum for posts by disgruntled users, then see if a company representative responds to complaints in a timely and helpful manner.
InMotion Hosting has a lively community forum
After you’ve checked out the host’s forums, it’s time to turn to a search engine. Simply searching for the web host’s name will give you a long list of review sites. These often offer great comparison charts, as well as in-depth reviews of each web host. Another useful source can be forums on website topics. Web hosts might delete negative comments from their own forums, so an outside source might give you more insight.
Things to look for in reviews: uptime, website crashes, server speed, security, and anything else that pops out as overwhelmingly positive or negative.
Host Comparison Chat on InsidersHostReview.com
How About That Refund Policy?
Ok, so you found a web host that passed all your tests and bought a hosting plan—but then they changed a policy, your website started crashing, or you decided you could no longer afford to run your site. Either way, you want a refund. That’s why it’s important to research the refund policy before you buy.
Most web hosts will offer a full refund if you ask for one in the first 30 days (some offer longer) after your purchase. If they don’t offer you at least 30 days, don’t use that host! Even with web hosts that offer a “money-back guarantee,” make sure you check their terms of service. Sometimes you only get a partial refund. Most web hosts don’t offer a refund on domain names, but that’s because the domain name is yours to keep after you leaving a hosting service.
But what if you want to cancel your hosting plan after the trial period ends? Some hosts will give you a refund on the remainder of your hosting plan, or a pro-rated refund. Not all web hosts offer a pro-rated refund, so it’s up to you to check the terms of service. Some hosts will also charge you an early-cancellation fee.
What if your trial period is over, but you don’t think your host is holding up their end of the bargain? Check the warranty and limited warranty sections of your web host’s terms of service. In most cases, you won’t get a full refund if you dislike the service, but some hosts offer credits to your account or something similar.
Bottom line: The key to choosing a web host that’s right for you is to do your research before you buy, and never take the web host’s site at face value. Always look at outside reviews, test for reliable tech support, play with any online demos, and know the ins-and-outs of the refund policy and terms of service. To help you start your research, check out these popular web hosting. They are well reputable and are hosting more than millions of websites at the time of writing.