How to Choose a Budget Web Host - Step Four: Find out what the current customers think of the host's services
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This gives you the best idea of what you will get when you actually have the host. Everything sounds good when you are reading the marketing materials and the testimonials on the site, but that only tells you how things should be when you deal with that company. "Should" is the operative word in that sentence.
We all know that things are not often as they should be. Does the customer service department really stick to its 24-hour response time or is that all promises? If you can find out more detailed information about the quality of service, that will also be a boon -- a 24-hour response with a useless form letter is not the kind of service that you want to sign on for.
Also keep an eye out for reports of sites going down with any frequency. An unreliable host will be the kind of headache that you just don't want to have to deal with, at what will inevitably be the worst possible time. So keep your eyes peeled for consistently low user ratings, a posting list on Ripoff Report or any complaints to groups like consumer affairs.
This kind of research may prove itself to be a little bit more time consuming than what you had originally anticipated, but it will be well worth it when you have managed to eliminate the unreliable hosts from your search. Far too many sites have folded before their time because of a host that could not deliver the good or services that were needed. On the down side, this will probably knock your cheapest options from the list.
Keep an eye out for any of the following warning signs in the complaints (or notes) about your potential new host.
- Notes or issues about the poor response of customer service.
- Notes or issues about the site going down frequently, or reports of the site going down for a long period of time.
- Issues with being mis-billed, double billed or billed after the end of the contract period without permission.
- Reports of a parent company that engages in sleazy behaviors.
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