There's an old adage which states that "You get
what you pay for".
In most areas of life, and business, this holds true.
Not necessarily so, however, in the webhosting industry.
Often, you pay too much, and don't get what you pay
Several weeks ago I got a call from a web designer
friend of mine.
"John," He said "You won't believe this".
He went on to tell me about a Plastic Surgeon he was
redesigning a website for. This client was paying $600.00
per month for his webhosting account.
"The incredible thing is" He related, "I
can't get the current host to return my phone calls
After looking at this clients needs, I was shocked
to find that there was nothing special about his site
that justified his being on anything other than a basic
shared webhosting plan. We quoted him a monthly rate
of under five dollars.
In this case, the client was being raped by an unscrupulous
host who was not only overcharging him, but not even
providing the basic support he needed.
This is an extreme example, no doubt, but it all to
often characterizes the poor deal which most website
owners fall into.
Several years ago, there was no such thing as a webhosting
industry. Nearly all websites were hosted by local ISP's.
The average monthly cost for hosting a website was $20.00
per month. Often, if you called the ISP with a technical
question, they would tell you to buy a book or take
Around 1996, we saw the emergence of a few "webhosting"
companies. These were companies which were strictly
committed to hosting websites. Using the economy of
scale, they were able to offer incredibly useful webhosting
packages for around $10.00 per month. What's more, some
of these companies provided useful tech support which
was geared towards meeting a website owners needs.
Fast forward to 2005 and we now see the emergence of
a new type of web host - the cheap webhosting provider.
These are companies which offer hosting for less than
$5.00 per month.
Generally, cheap webhosting providers are newer companies.
There's a reason for this. It's extremely difficult
for the older companies to lower their prices when they
already have a large customer base which pays higher
prices. They'd be slashing their gross, and most companies
just can't afford that.
So how do cheap webhosting providers offer such a low
price to begin with?
Part of it is that servers, hard drive space and bandwidth
are much, much less expensive than they were several
years ago. Cheap webhosting providers capitalize on
Another part is that cheap hosting providers use a
different business model than the older providers. Webhosting
is a very competitive business. Until recently, web
hosts attempted to compete by providing the most tools
and features. The problem with this model is that not
everyone needs everything. Most web hosts provide free
backup services to all of their clients. Backups are
costly, and not everyone needs or wants them, but everyone
pays for them because they're built into the cost of
A cheap webhosting provider, on the other hand, might
give you the basic features that everyone uses, but
offer weekly backups as an available add on feature,
putting the cost of backing up websites on only those
customers who want that service.
This all sounds great, I know, but what about service?
Will I get competent and fast customer support from
a company which charges me $4.00 per month?
The answer, surprisingly, is usually yes.
Obviously, not all cheap webhosting providers will
give you great service. But not all expensive webhosting
providers will give good service either. Our Plastic
Surgeon friend couldn't get his $600.00 host to return
But, with a cheaper provider, the key for the providers
success is customer retention. A savvy web host will
endeavor to please his existing clients by providing
the best support possible.
About the author:
John Pierce is a technology writer and the Customer
Service Manager for Gold Zero Web Hosting - http://goldzero.com-and
the Webmaster for Cheap Webhosting Info Guide - http://cheapwebhostinginfo.com