December 1st, 2023
Cheap website hosting services for small to medium sized businesses: Nightmares, Website Shut Downs, Loss of Revenue, or even Worse!
Business startups have changed from the days of traditional store opening. In December 2023, small business owners launch their new businesses NOT by opening the doors of a storefront, but by launching a website, often through a hosting service. Creating an online presence is crucial to the success of most ventures, whereby an entrepreneur creates a website, gets a hosting company and launches their business online. This allows them to offer products and services over the Internet or simply use their website as a “business card” that allows people to find out more information about them and hopefully contact them and initiate the lead generation and sales process.
To have a website online, a business owner needs a hosting service, a domain name, a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate (security of their site) and some kind of a website editing tool or have a web designer build you a website.
However, while building a site or getting a domain name is easy enough these days, hosting service has turned into a nightmare for many small business owners.
The future of cheap website hosting is hence looking more like a nightmare waiting for business people.
We consulted with Christina Albert, CEO of Valley-Internet.com a long time managed hosting services company in Denver Colorado. She is one of the leading authorities on shared hosting data center as well as an award winning managed hosting services executive.
Question: Christina, thank you for joining us today on Zoom. We would like to ask you a few questions regarding shared and managed hosting on behalf of small business owners and the need for website hosting.
Christina: Thank you for having me, glad to join you today.
Question: Generally speaking, how can a business owner choose the perfect hosting service for their business? And is the future of cheap website hosting under attack?
Christina: In order to choose the perfect host for your small business, one should consider your budget for extra features as well as how much storage and bandwidth are required by your website. That’s a start. Then support is also an important consideration, so be sure you can reach someone when you need someone to help you. You also need to make sure you have a SSL security for your domain name (offered usually for free by most hosting companies). Other things that are important, including uptime guarantees, fast website page loading times, 24/7 support, servers in U.S. ideally, a dedicated IP address, truly unlimited bandwidth and SSD (solid state drive) storage for your website, cPanel management tool included, as well as WordPress hosting if needed. These are just the absolute basics you would need, in the near future or eventually. Yes, the future of cheap website hosting is now a major issue for entrepreneurs.
Question: How about a free domain name included with the service?
Christina: I suggest you buy your own domain name through a domain registrar. First of all, it costs about just over $10 for a new domain, and more important it is “YOURS”, when you buy it and own it. Many hosting companies use the domain name to hold you beholden to their service and if you ever want to move your domain name, you will experience many problems and issues. So avoid this by getting your own domain name from day one.
Question: What’s the difference between “shared hosting” “managed-hosting”?
Christina: Shared hosting is the least expensive type of web hosting service. It’s exactly what it says it is: sharing a hosting server among many customers. Some companies put as many as 5,000 customers on one server, which really slows it down and if one does email spamming, it could cause problems for everyone else. The amount of disk space and bandwidth you get with a shared service can be low, and you’ll be charged or your website shut-down if you surpass your allotted amount. For that reason, shared hosting is only a good option for businesses with low website traffic. Although it is not bad for a new startup, but you probably don’t want to stick with it for too long if you have a serious business. At some point, it will limit the growth of your e-commerce business.
Managed website hosting is specifically designed for serious business websites that have traffic of a few hundred people and more per day. It also tends to be more secure and offers better uptime and bandwidth and speeds. Managed hosting is usually about twice the price of shared hosting, although most businesses much prefer managed hosting since they do not need to be technical nor manage all the technical issues that can come up from time to time which business owners would have problems managing all on their own.
You can also get a dedicated server for your business that you don’t share. This is important for sites that have heavy traffic or expect to have heavy traffic in the future. However, it does tend to be more expensive than shared hosting.
If you’re looking for a much faster server hosting option, then a Virtual Private Server (VPS) may be a good option. VPS hosting mimics a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment. Make sure you get a VPS hosting service that is managed by the provider, rather than by yourself. Otherwise, it becomes a nightmare to manage on your own. VPS hosting is significantly cheaper than using a dedicated-server hosting service, but still provides similar bandwidth and disk space. However, it is more expensive than shared hosting, so you may be overspending if your site traffic doesn’t warrant the upgrade.
And finally, there is the cloud hosting services which is similar to VPS hosting in that your hosting is provided across a network of servers instead of just one. This type of hosting allows for significantly better uptimes for your e-commerce site. And it gives a more robust safeguard against DDoS attacks, which attempt to overwhelm your site with traffic to essentially shut the site down. Internet security has become a major issue in the last few years. These are all some options you can consider depending on where your business needs rest.
What was once a great benefit of the Internet, able to launch a business online pretty fast, is now facing huge issues that will remain with us for a while and making the future of cheap website hosting a lot more problematic.
Question: Why so many business owners talk about their nightmare experience with shared hosting services companies?
Christina: Well there are a lot of nightmare stories out there. We hear about these when business owners first decide to move to our company Valley-Internet.com for managed hosting service. The so-called “cheap website hosting service providers”, (e.g. Hostgator.com, InterServer.net, BlueHost.com, iPage.com, GoDaddy.com, InMotionHosting.com, DreamHost.com, and others), are hosting services that are most ideal for very small businesses that do not have a marketing and campaigning strategy that is anything other than very, very small.
These cheap hosting providers use various technical tricks to bring you in and then get you on something else later and end up charging you a lot more than you had originally anticipated. For instance, they offer you a very low price, but when you read the fine line, you have to sign up for 3 years to get that deal. If there are any problems with your business needs: tough luck, no refund for the remaining of the period. GoDaddy.com use to charge only until recently $150 for SSL certificate installation, which is FREE with most places, and it takes a few minutes, and it really doesn’t cost that much. This was an extra charge that compensated for their low initial price.
However, the things that really matter, they do not offer for their base price and hence use it to charge you extra and nickel and dime you for it. For instance, every single one of these providers do not offer “static IP” for each hosting client they sign up. If you want a static IP which is ideal for your website and your SEO, then you have to pay extra, in most cases, every single month. Another trick up their sleeves: unlimited traffic. This means nothing, in reality. Look at this email we got from a client that moved to us from HostGator.com:
This client had 4 websites with HostGator, and after paying for a 3-year service (they paid nearly $500), their account was shut down. Why? The HostGator email above indicated that this business has used the CPU of the shared server, “excessively”. The client has been with us for quite a few months now, we have checked that their website gets about 250 visitors per day, they do not run anything to do with bots, or fake software, or anything of concern – otherwise, we would shut down their account too. But nothing that warrants the kind of treatment they got from HostGator. Their account was shut down completely, no one was able to be reached, the useless front-line tech support at HostGator kept telling our client that the “Admin Team” is looking at everything, and yet after the sites were down for nearly 2 months, the client moved their websites to us and now sleeps at night without being bullied with some fake unjustified excuse of “CPU usage” in order to pay exuberant amounts ($100-$500 per month) to move their website to a VPS service so a company can make lots of money from their pain and suffering.
This is just unfair. I offered to get on the phone and talk to HostGator but no one there was willing to speak with me regarding this client. Atrocious service.
Before you ask, I am going to reply to the question … no, it is not only HostGator. Our clients coming from many of these hosting companies have told us NIGHTMARE stories about every single “cheap hosting provider” name I provided above. Every single one of them, we have documented new clients complaining about their customer support or being shut down for what appears to us as bogus and fake excuses. We are a managed hosting company, this is what we do since 1996 at Valley-Internet.com so their b.s. excuses do not work on us.
If you offer “Unlimited Hosting with Unlimited Bandwidth”, it is trickery, deception, and misrepresentation to then shut down a client’s website AND business by suggesting there is “Excessive”, CPU usage. This is wrong. It is immoral. It is unfair to small businesses that think they are getting a cheap service but in reality, they are being ripped off. This is absolutely NOT UNIQUE to HostGator. Cheap hosting providers, almost all of them, have such ridiculous “TERMS” in their services. They bring people in, get their money, and when a business grows and has traffic, they hit them hard with additional charges, and if they don’t want to pay extra, they have to move elsewhere and start all over again. Another travesty I can talk about is how so many of these so-called “cheap hosting providers” are actually owned by a single company, namely EIG or Endurance International Group (see below and take a look at how many Cheap Hosting Providers are owned by the same company and same policy):
Take a look at the list. How many of these (hosting company) names do you recognize?
How can they be competing for your business, if they are owned by the same company? How can you expect a decent service for a reasonable price, when they have the ability to shut down your website, without any consequences to them, and then you get to go to another one of their owned hosting service, where they get you again, with the same nonsense “CPU Usage” misrepresentation?
How can you or any small business start a website for their online business venture, see their traffic grow, and when they are trying to make their marketing work for them, their website is shut down and they lose business?
Question: How to avoid all this nightmare awaiting a business owner who wants to just get their website up and running and get going with making sales?
Cristina: Do your research. Know what exactly you need and prioritize these needs (24/7 support, website speed, bandwidth, managed or shared or VPS hosting service, a reputable company, etc.). Paying a little extra often means that later the “cheap service provider” will not find a way to screw you for a few extra bucks. Yes, the future of cheap website hosting is over, or at least, get ready for problems and issues like many other aspects of running a business. Again, answering your first question, the future of cheap website hosting is really now in a very precarious situation.
Thank you Christina for your advice today.
Christina: Thank you for having me here today. All of best of luck and wish your audience all the success for 2022 with their business venture.--- article sharing ---