Web Hosting Comments – Should You Take Notice?

There is a temptation to look at web hosting comments, see a few negative items relating to a particular host and dismiss them but this can be a mistake. When reading web hosting comments it is useful to bear in mind the following:
The services provided by hosting companies do differ. There is no point in complaining about lack of support for a particular technology if this was never promised in the first place.
Users will generally complain more readily than they will praise so it would be surprising if there were no negative web hosting comments about a host.
The bigger the hosting company the more negative comments you would expect to see.
Many negative web hosting comments would not have been necessary if users had read the Terms of Service (although some hosts could make the key terms clearer on their web sites).
When looking at web hosting comments about the major hosting companies I was struck by how many are about financial, contractual and support issues rather than technical issues. These can be:Cancellations: Sometimes there is a procedure to follow which is set-out in the TOS. Not following this results in delays.Domain Names (and cancellations): When a domain name is included in the package it has to be paid for if you cancel, even under a money back guarantee. This is spelt out in the TOS but the website may only say that the money back guarantee relates to hosting costs and the implication of this is lost on some users. Failure to get a full refund generates some of the more angry web hosting comments.Renewals: Most hosts issue coupons/offer discounts but these apply to new customers only. Renewals are charged at the host’s standard rates, some websites do not make this clear.Definition of “Unlimited”: Most hosts offer unlimited bandwidth, storage, databases etc. but whilst it clearly cannot be taken literally, definitions of “Unlimited” are vague. The use of unlimited does keep things simple and hosting companies know that most users will only use a small amount of resources. However we are talking about shared hosting so if a site does get busy it cannot be allowed to take resources to the detriment of other users. At this point you have to rely on the hosting company to deal with this reasonably. Of course users in this position will see the host as unreasonable and will probably post negative web hosting comments.Backups: Hosting companies usually state that backups are the responsibility of the user. Whilst they do generally backup their shared servers periodically they do not accept any liability for lost data (not unreasonable given the low costs of hosting). Clearly anyone can suffer a hardware failure so you could be unlucky with any host.To make sure you do not end up writing negative web hosting comments I suggest reading the TOS of your host thoroughly and taking your own regular backups.

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