I got a call yesterday from someone who was looking for help with a web hosting account they had signed up for. They thought they had found a good deal. But the truth about web hosting deals is they can cost a lot more money than people think if the regular features they need aren’t already included.
The person who called just wanted to add a secure certificate to their website — so their readers would see the secure “green padlock” when visiting their site — which should have been simple and free. Instead there were ridiculous extra charges that made their hosting account cost way more than they expected.
This kind of thing is way too common and it’s especially frustrating since there are excellent web hosting companies with hosting plans that provide all of the features without any extra charges.
So how did that person end up being charged so much more than they thought and how could they have picked a better web hosting deal? Let’s look at this more closely…
Cheap Web Hosting May Cost A Lot More Than You Think
So here’s what happened to this person who got stuck with a cheap web hosting plan that ended up costing way more.
They found a hosting plan for only $4 per month on BlueHost, one of dozens of hosting sites that are actually part of a huge web hosting company — more about that in a minute — and got locked in to a 3 year plan.
They installed their website and then went to add SSL, an option other hosts offer for free. But on BlueHost the least expensive SSL certificate was an extra $4 per month.
So at that point the $4 per month plan became $8 per month… but there was still another extra charge coming…
BlueHost also required adding a “dedicated IP address” to enable the SSL certificate and they charged an extra $6 per month for that. That’s extra crazy since a dedicated IP isn’t required for many SSL certificates in the first place!
So that $4 per month plan was actually $14 per month!
That’s more than three times the original price! And that plan only allowed one website to be hosted while most other plans allow multiple sites for the same price. To add another website BlueHost would — yes you guessed it — charge them even more!
What they didn’t know about web hosting deals like the one they signed up for is they’d be charged so much more than they expected. It’s outrageous that some hosting companies sell these kinds of plans and charge people more for features that should be included in the first place.
Don’t worry, though, there are more reasonable options. Let’s learn more about different kinds of hosting companies and how to choose a good one…
Finding The Web Hosting Sweet Spot
Choosing web hosting is all about finding a company that fits into the “sweet spot” of being big enough to provide all of the features and infrastructure you need and small enough to be fully focused on hosting and customer service. They should offer 24/7 support and fully featured plans (like the middle plan here).
The Types Of Web Hosting Companies To Avoid
Big companies that also sell cable TV and phone service aren’t fully committed to web hosting. Their resources are split among their other businesses, they tend to focus more on large corporate customers and they don’t care much about individuals, bloggers or small business owners.
The big companies tend to have lots of customers and not enough support agents so it may take hours to get help from them. Once you finally reach a support person they still may not know who you are, where you are or who to assign your help request to.
There are large companies which are notorious for hiding the details about web hosting deals which have extra costs hidden in the fine print.
Then there are the really small web hosting companies. They’re usually one or two people who rent a server from someone else and sell hosting on that server. Those kinds of small hosting companies tend to have fewer resources and rarely provide 24/7 support which people really need.
Choosing A Quality Dedicated Web Hosting Company
In my experience medium sized dedicated hosting companies give you the best value. They’re big enough to have the resources you need — like fast servers and 24/7 support — but small enough to value your business and treat you right. They can give you full web hosting features for one price with lots of customer server — and no unexpected charges.
One More Thing To Watch Out For
BTW, watch out for hosting companies that seem like they’re medium sized dedicated hosts when, in fact, they’re really just one of those giant hosting companies using lots of different names. For example: BlueHost, HostGator, BizLand, iPage and many others are just a bunch of names used by the same large hosting company.
Now That You Know The Truth About Web Hosting Deals
I work on folks’ web hosting accounts every day and I’ve seen every kind of web hosting shenanigan you could think of. But there are great web hosting companies out there including the one I recommend for most folks who are building blogs or sites for their small business.
When you sign up for a hosting account you should get all of these features for one price:
- Multiple websites hosted on one account included
- Unlimited email addresses/accounts included
- Unlimited databases included
- Multiple SSL certificates included (yes, free certs!)
- Fast servers that aren’t overloaded with too many customers
- Fast and knowledgeable service and support 24/7
- A hosting partner who really cares about you and your website
And it should be one flat price — for everything!
Here’s a link to the hosting plans I recommend for blogs and business sites. The middle plan gives you everything I’ve listed above — including free SSL — with no extra charges. There’s a discount for the first year, too.
The best part, though, is having your site on good servers and getting really responsive support 24/7 so you’ll know your site will be up and running at all times.
If you have any questions or would like me to walk you through getting your hosting account up and running, just let me know.