Although free web hosting exists, there is no getting around the fact that a company has to pay for it somehow. This tends to result in you having to make do somewhere along the line. Yes, you’d like to have a website without ads on it, or at least have some control over what is being advertised. But if the hosting is free, then you may have to make do with distracting and potentially off-putting ads on your site. You’d hope for good tech support, but they have to pay for that “free hosting” and good tech support doesn’t come cheap.
However, not everyone has the budget to go with the more established, well-reviewed companies, so there has to be a third way, and that comes in the form of cheap web hosting. Yes, “cheap” is a relative term, but if you’re paying something to them, and a lot of other people are too, then it at least gives them a budget to spend on important little things like tech support people who know what a computer is and servers that don’t explode when someone actually visits your site.
Cheap web hosting has this in common with the more expensive type – there are good providers and bad providers. The more established big names in the sector are, generally, well-liked by those who use them and while you might not expect as much from them as you would from a blue-chip company there is a lot to be said for a fresh, inexpensive option – especially when you’re starting out.
Whatever else you look for in a web hosting provider, you should always be on the lookout for good customer support. All web hosts will say they provide it, just as all heavyweight boxers will say they are going to win their next fight by a knockout. Just because someone is saying something, it doesn’t mean it is true. There are several things you will need to ensure your web host has before deciding that it will provide you with the right level of customer support.
A toll-free customer support line is a sure sign that the company really is confident that it can give you the help you need without any messing around. Someone has to pay for a phone call and if it isn’t you, it’ll be them. If they’re paying for the call, they want it to be short and final, so they will move mountains to get you back up and running if there’s unscheduled downtime. Still, it is helpful to have a record of every query, so if they offer an additional email support service, you should double up by sending them email.
Many of the better web hosting providers also have customer forums. If they’re any good they will be patrolled and moderated by techies, and placing a post on the forum is a good idea if you have an unresolved problem. They don’t want to see a lot of posts on there saying their service sucks, because that’s liable to turn people off them – expect someone to reply to your query fast and have you up and running again. Finally, look out for hosts who have frequently updated documentation of potential downtime and other issues on their site. If you’re going to have downtime, it’s nice to know in advance.