How to Choose a Budget Web Host - Step Five: Figure out how payment is going to be made, and get contract details
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Since you are in search of a budget host, it is safe to assume that you are not flush with a large amount of start up cash to pay for your hosting up front. This means that you should take a look at more than just how much the hosting will really cost you on the whole. This breaks down to two main elements, the way that the costs are billed and the length of the contract. These may seem like small matters when you are looking at your monthly costs, but it is something that you need to consider.
Let's say that you get a contract for $10 a month to host your site. Will that be billed as 12 individual $10 payments or one $120 payment? This is important to know if you are strapped for cash. What if, to get the hosting that you need, you have to sign on for a three year contract? Can you afford a $360 up-front payment for your hosting? What if you find out that your host does not meet with your expectations? Can you cancel out the contract and stop the payments/get a refund?
Since you are taking the time to go through the contract's items of service with a fine tooth comb, you need to figure out what will happen to your domain name if you let your contract expire or if you have to cancel it. These are important concerns if you end up having a problem down the line.
Just to be on the safe side, look it over for anything that will set your spidey senses tingling. To be honest, most sites will not put these things up on the main site until you begin to go through the motions of buying. If you don't want to do that, and it would be completely understandable, then just shoot off an email asking to see the contract, or asking for answers, to the host.
It may take them a few days to get back to you with the details, but it is worth the wait. You should have a distrust of any hosting company that will not willingly give you information about those kinds of things. They should give you the information willingly because they are in business to make a sale.
Now you should have only a few choices on your list, so you can go ahead and make a decision. If pressed for one last piece of advice, choose your host based on how many of the items it has from your "nice to know" list if you can; if that doesn't help, once you've reached this point, you can go by costs alone.
Be as selective as you can when you are choosing your host. I know it seems like a minor thing, but when you think about it, your host is going to be one of those things that you are stuck with for a very long time, and you do not want to end up with a lemon. The Internet is full of people who will give you hundreds of horror stories about what happens when you get the wrong host. It is kind of a buyer beware situation. Good luck!
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