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Features of Web Hosts You Should Consider Avoiding

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The web hosting industry has a lot of competition. To set themselves apart from the crowd, many web hosting providers offer a custom set of features. While most of such custom features are generally very useful, there are certain special “features” that you should stay away from.

So, which offerings and customized solutions of web hosts you should try to avoid? This article will answer the question.

Unlimited Everything!

It is common knowledge that there is no such thing as unlimited hardware. Unlimited hard drives do not exist, nor does unlimited RAM. Naturally, you should know that if your web hosting provider is offering unlimited resources, it is just a marketing buzzword.

With that said, not all forms of unlimited hosting are bad. For example, unlimited bandwidth is something you should not be suspicious of. However, when the web hosting provider is offering unlimited memory and CPU resources, it is a good idea to stay away from such web hosts. No shared hosting package can exist with unlimited access to memory and CPU resources, irrespective of the hardware and configuration being used.

Phone-Only Support

Every now and then, you might need to contact your web host for support with hosting issues. The best and most convenient way to do so is by means of email-based tickets. Live chat is also a good thing to have as it lets you explain the problem and issue at hand in real-time and get solutions therein.

Along similar lines, phone-based support too can prove useful as you can talk to real person and discuss your problems with them. But what if your web hosting provider offers only telephone support? You should try to stay away from such web hosts.

The thing here is that telephone support rarely has any real proof left after the call ends. You cannot refer to the replies of the support representative and explain your distress, if you were misled or your query was mismanaged. As such, while the web host is safe and can happily claim to have solved your queries, you may end up with no real solution to your problems.

It is always a good idea if your web hosting provider offers more than one channel for support.

Free Domains

You might have often come across web hosts offering free domain names with annual or likewise billing terms for hosting packages. While it sounds like a really sweet deal to get a free domain for life, it is rarely worth the trouble.

Once you opt for a free domain from a specific web host, you might end up being locked to that particular web host. Should you ever wish to move your data elsewhere, you will have to transfer the said domain name too or pay a higher than normal renewal fee. At times, an unethical web hosting provider might simply refuse to release your domain name, thereby compelling you to stick with them or lose access to your own domain.

It is always a better strategy to purchase your domain names separately from a different registrar.

SEO-Friendly Hosting

Every website owner wants his or her website to do well in the search engine results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not everyone’s forte and many site owners tend to lose traffic due to lack of proper SEO.

Many web hosts capitalize on this fact and offer SEO-friendly hosting. Such terms are nothing more than marketing gimmicks and are generally untrue. Here are some scenarios, wherein a web host might try to sell a particular hosting plan by calling it SEO-friendly:

  • You are forced to purchase dedicated IPs as they are SEO-friendly (false claim).
  • You are urged to purchase additional SEO features such as search engine submission (barely takes a minute and can be done by you), one-click sitemap generation (again, something that you can manage for free), and so on.
  • You are told a specific type of hosting package is more SEO-ready than the other one. This is especially for hosts that are resellers from a bigger host.

You should be wary of such marketing terms and steer clear from these SEO-friendly claims. Furthermore, if a web hosting provider is admitting that a specific plan of theirs is more SEO-friendly than the other one, it also implies they have less SEO-friendly plans. Naturally, this is not the type of web host you would trust your online presence with.

Custom Admin Panels

Certain web hosts often project a proprietary or custom hosting admin panel as a selling pitch. It might be claimed that their version of admin panel is more intuitive and easier to use, and can also help make life easier for you by saving your time.

Such claims may or may not be entirely false. In fact, many web hosts out there do really have intuitive and highly user-friendly custom admin panels! However, there is a practical side to it as well.

The industry standard procedure for migrate websites from one server to another is by means of the admin panel. It is very easy to migrate a cPanel account from server A to server B or vice versa if they are both are running cPanel. Same way, migrating a Plesk account from server A to server B is easy too, as long as the target server is running Plesk.

Now, when running a custom admin panel, you cannot possibly expect such ease of migration. What if you ever need to migrate your site to a different host? In this case, a custom admin panel, as intuitive or user-friendly as it might be, can turn out to be a nightmare as the target web hosting provider may simply not support it at all!

It is always a good practice to rely on hosting admin panels that are popular in the industry, such as cPanel, Plesk or even Interworx.

Longer Billing Terms

It is a common practice in every industry to offer greater discounts when the buyer opts for a longer billing term. Thus, you will come across web hosting providers that offer additional discounts and cheaper pricing when you opt for a longer billing term, such as biennial or triennial.

That said, things tend to change rather quickly in the web hosting industry. You may choose to pay for three years in advance, but what if the web host is purchased or taken over by EIG or a similar entity and things go downhill? Therefore, it is a smarter strategy to overlook the temptation of an added discount and pay for no more than a year in advance. In this manner, even if your web hosting provider ever changes hands or takes a turn for the worse, you can simply choose to migrate at the end of the month or year.

Note that this concept may not apply if your web host offers pro-rated refunds (e.g. A2 Hosting, MDDHosting, InMotion Hosting). When in doubt, be sure to check with the web host about money-back guarantees and pro-rated refunds before signing up.

That brings us to the end of this article about features of web hosting providers that you should consider avoiding. What do you think of these features? Share your views in the comments below!

Sufyan

Sufyan is a contributor to a variety of websites and blogs about technology, Linux, open source, web design, content management systems and web development. He is a published author, coffee lover and the guy behind CodeCarbon.com. Learn more about his works on this page.

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