In this article, we share with you five essential cheks that you should always consider before you sign up for a new web hosting account. In today’s digital age, everything happens with a few clicks of your mouse. This has definite advantages, but can also lead to rushed decision making on the part of the user. You could be watching a video on your YouTube channel, and the next thing find yourself having signed up for a new web domain and hosting within a few seconds, without really thinking about it. How? Easy, two minutes into the video, an advert pops up, offering you a new web domain for only £1.99 per month! No brainer, you sign up, right?
Here is the problem. Do you know what you really signed up for? More than often, you are going to find that what looked like a steal, ends up costing you an arm and a leg, because of clever sales pitches. Yes, it’s called upselling. The magic weapon in the modern marketer’s armoury. In this example, you bought a domain name for £23.88 (£1.99×12) for a full year right, bargain! Good, but now you decide to put that domain name to use. And to your dismay, you find that just to get a basic website online, is going to cost you more like £15 a month. Again how, you ask. Have a look at the table below, setting out the indicative fees involved, all taken from actual packages offered out there on the web.
|Item||Cost / month||Comments|
|Domain Name||1.99||Your original deal – 99% of the time to increase 10 fold in Year 2|
|Hosting||12.95||Basic one page website|
|COST TO BE ONLINE||14.94||Assuming you design & build your own website!|
|SSL Certificate||12.95||Any reputable, trusted website must have an SSL certificate|
|1 x Email||4.95||You are likely to need more than one email account for your business, but let’s just assume you get away with only one|
|Extra Disc Space||4.95||You will find yourself running into problems without enough disc space|
|COST TO BE ONLINE EFFECTIVELY||37.79||Assuming you design & build your own website|
|Web Design & Build||25.00||Assuming a “cheap” design and build service of £300 for a basic website|
|COST TO BE ONLINE FOR AVERAGE BUSINESS OWNER||62.79|
But Wait, There’s More!
Yes, the scenario above is just the basics and there are so many more services that you may require and need to pay for, including, but not limited to:
- Privacy Protection – Hiding your information on WHOIS and keeping you safe from spammers
- Extra Capacity – You may need even more disc space or bandwidth, depending on what you want to achieve with your website
- Maintenance Costs – You may be charged extra fees to keep your technology and software current
- Website Updates – If you hired a developer, there will be development costs involved to update your website
But it’s Not All Doom and Gloom
Before you give up the idea of having an affordable, secure and professional website, there is hope. You are spoiled for choice in today’s day and age and having a website for your business should not cost you an arm and a leg. With proper planning and research, you will be able to find reputable suppliers out there that caters for the small to medium enterprise market.
The 5 Essential Checks Before Buying
We have developed this handy checklist that you can use before you sign up to any new website solution. There is no right or wrong way, just pick the solution that is fit for purpose for your needs. Whether you do this yourself, or outsource the process to professionals, we recommend you consider the following 5 essential checks before buying.
#1: What does the contract and small print say?
> What are the fee increases after the first year?
> How long will you be locked into the contract?
> Who owns the domain, website and its content?
#2: What does the web hosting fee include?
> Does it include a SSL Certificate and for how long?
> Does it include access to a Web Builder or WordPress Install (if you are developing your own website)?
> Does it include business email accounts (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and how many does it include?
> If any of these are not included, what are the add-on costs per element per month?
#3: What are the technical specifications?
This article is not meant to be of a technical nature and is aimed at helping users with limited technical knowledge understand the pitfals of web hosting to avoid. We will cover the technical aspects in a future article, but as a minimum, you should ask these questions:
> How much disk space is included in the package?
> How often will your site be backed up?
> Where are the host servers located?
> What is the guaranteed uptime of the service?>
#4: What are the levels of maintenance and support included?
> What support (email, chat, phone, video etc) is offered with the package and will this be sufficient for your needs?
> Where only email or chat support is available, what is the guaranteed response time?
> How often do they do maintenance and how do they keep you informed of any maintenance?
> What support do they provide when you want to transfer your website to another supplier?
#5: Is the service provider and services General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant?
> How will your personal data be protected?
> How will the supplier enable you to afford the same protection to your own clients via your website?
This articlemerely touches on all the considerations to take when you venture on the journey of taking your business on-line. It suggests the five essential checks to perform to help you when you want to establish a web presence, but is not meant to be an exhaustive list. There is ample help out there and we recommend that you look for further resources on YouTube if you are confident to take this journey on your own.
If you are not yet tech-savvy or confident enough to make the leap of faith on your own, why not contact us and we would be glad to provide you with a FREE consultation to help you make an informed decision. If you have the need for more comprehensive business solutions support, then you can contact our sister company, Prelude Business Solutions, where our friendly team of experts will be glad to help you find a fit for purpose solution for your business and challenges.