Web Hosting Guide Part Three: Web Hosting Provider Marketing Traps

Web Hosting Guide Part Three: Web Hosting Provider Marketing Traps


Published February 14, 2020, by Dominique Maez

marketing color wheel
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

In part three of our Web Hosting Guide, we will go over the common mistakes customers make due to marketing tactics by web hosting providers. If you had previously read Web Hosting Guide Part One: Choosing the Plan, then you should know what plan you need for your project. If you also followed up with Web Hosting Guide Part Two: The Features You Need, then you may be at the point where you have the top options. A Web Hosting provider wants to reel you in and start collecting your money as soon as possible. They are employing several marketing tactics. Be sure you know the universal language these companies use to convert you and understand the implications behind their words. 

Avoid These Marketing Traps
Screenshot from websitebuilderexpert.com showing the price comparison.
Image from Website Builder Expert Service Comprison Page
Choosing a Web Host Provider Based on Price

We have mentioned pricing in our previous article, Web Hosting – Picking your Web Host Provider. You never want to make your ultimate decision based on the price difference. You never want to pick the cheapest option, and in contrast, you never want to select the most expensive plan. Not all company plans work the same, so choosing the cheapest doesn’t really save you money in the long-run. The most costly web hosting provider plans don’t necessarily mean they offer the best service, either. 

Why can individual providers offer web hosting for dollars per month? There are some companies that offerer their hosting very low. Their price is low because they rely on selling their services in bulk for an extended contract. This means there will be many customers sharing a server, and customer service will not be responsive. When purchasing, they ask you to pay long-term rather than monthly. If you ever decide to transfer your site, it will be a pain. 

You may be between plans with a difference of $1-$5 per month, which can be a nice saving over time. What those few dollars usually translate to is improving your priority for customer service and dedicated technical expertise. If you are still unsure which plan or company will be best, then lookup reviews. Customers are willing to share their experience, usually when things don’t go well. Take the reviews with a grain of salt, but it can help you when you’re between two options. Web Hosting is not a commodity; it is a serious decision that can significantly impact your business success. Make sure your ultimate choice is in the best interest of your business success. 

Video by Bluehost on YouTube

Don’t Listen to Web Hosting Provider TV Ads

I hate to say avoid companies you’ve seen on TV, but it would be a good idea. You need to research the company carefully before diving into payments. TV ads can create an artificial reputation for a company that customers are going to be likely to believe. TV ad creates an illusion that they are successful enough to afford an expensive television ad spot. These web hosting providers make their name and brand become well known. So, when you start your search, you look them up first before anyone else. Usually, the companies who advertise on TV also have to raise their plan pricing to compensate for their expensive ad. Don’t get pay for an inadequate service’s ad budget. 

Investigate Affiliate Reviews
Image from websitesetup.org when you click their affiliate link
Image from Website Setup when you click the Bluehost link

Web Hosting providers will sometimes employ affiliate marketing to draw in customers off the back of another company’s good reputation and customer trust. Affiliate Marketing is a common tactic that is not dishonest, but it can become biased. If you notice the links the review is providing leads straight to a purchasing page, you might want to think twice about the affiliate review intention. When you believe you are encountering affiliate reviews, consider where the link leads if they are providing a genuine review, rating, or information or just hyping up the company for the contract. Beware of overly positive biases reviews dedicated to only one company. A pro tip is if you click their link and notice the URL that would be: simpleurl.com has changed to simpleurl.com/complex/complex/complex, they may be a paid affiliate. 

Unnecessary Software Push

The software can be vital to site performance and functionality, but you should only install the software you 100% need. For example, when you use WordPress, they recommend not using too many plugins to optimize site speed and performance, well the same works for the software you install from the hosting provider. Just because a company has over 150+ included software doesn’t mean you need all of it. Do the research for the necessary software for your website you plan to build and only focus on installing those that will work best for you. Every web hosting provider is going to advertise free software, so don’t distrust this claim. Just be aware you don’t need to implement them all. 

uptime scores
Image from lifewire.com
Uptime “Guarantees”

A company cannot guarantee the uptime of your website. There is nothing available to check the uptime of any specific site without a lot of extra work. A company will not be watching your site all day to log how many times it went down every minute of the day. There isn’t a way to backup uptime guarantees either. You can potentially lose a sale due to downtime, but there isn’t a route to take for reimbursement for that sale. To learn more about uptime, visit our earlier article, Web Hosting – Picking your Web Host Provider.

The best way to know how reliable a companies uptime guarantee is to look up some reviews. Customers who have issues with uptime and dealt with customer service are likely to blog or review it somewhere. Customer reviews should always be taken knowing some are full of bias, but it can clue you in how a company’s relationship with customers typically goes. 

Image from GoDaddy Homepage 2020
Free Domains

You do not need to have your domain tied with your hosting company. There are benefits to it but also a set of setbacks that should be considered. For my personal portfolio site, I use a domain name registrar, name.com, to manage my domain name and SiteGround as my web hosting provider. The registrar and web hosting provider accounts have a connection to one another. So, have two separate accounts to manage.

The benefit is if I ever decide to change host providers, I can easily connect my new provider to my registrar account. The main issue of having my site set up this way is I must remember to renew my registrar account yearly; otherwise, I could lose my domain name and, ultimately, my site. If I ever forget to renew my domain, I will need to purchase a new domain provider and relink it to my web hosting provider account that holds my website information. 

Previously I had my web host and domain intertwined. Once I decided to switch my host provider, I was sent down the customer service rabbit hole. I was using a free hosting service and only paid for my domain name. At the time, it seemed like a perfect cheap option, but now I am paying in time. I spent about a month getting everything switched correctly due to the customer service provided by my old web hosting provider. Now that I know the value of paying for a plan, I have no problems going forward. 

Image from SiteGround Account Portal
Paying Extra for Unnecessities

When checking out, it may be tempting to click continue so you can get up and running, but be sure you’re not opting into paid extras your site doesn’t need. You are at the end of the process. We get you’re excited, but take the time to check for any checkboxes that are automatically checked on. The upsell items are for domain name privacy, a dedicated IP and SSL certificate, backup service, web design, SEO, and Business consulting.

Domain name privacy is essential but usually best to get from a name registrar because they typically include this service. Dedicated IP and SSL certificates are generally only necessary with eCommerce sites not so much for smaller websites. If you make a WordPress site, then there are free plugins that can handle securing your website. Backups are essential, but they are making them for their benefit, not yours. The company may not let you use the backup for site transferring only if your website needs to be recovered with them. And lastly, for web design, SEO, or business consulting, you are better off with a CMS like WordPress or hiring a local web developer. 

Image from ionos packages page
Is it really unlimited?

Most of the time, “unlimited” features are never genuinely unlimited. Yes, shocking, but there are limits to unlimited features. This is another reason you should pick the right plan for your site needs. If you choose correctly, you shouldn’t have a problem with the theoretical limits. The plans they offer provide the services you will typically need, so of course, if you get a plan that’s too low, you will go over the unlimited limits. With enough research, you shouldn’t have problems with limits.  

Thinking about the options
Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Final Thoughts

So by this point, you should be able to pick the perfect web hosting provider plan for your desired site. If you still have questions about your ultimate choice, you can always email us, and there are numerous WP Urgent Care tech nerds who are ready to put in their two cents. You will get different advice because everyone’s needs are different and so are their site needs. You can consider their input but always keep your site goals in mind when making big site decisions.

If you are not sure if you should transfer your site to a new web hosting provider, then read (Insert Debbie’s article here). Do not be afraid to contact a sales rep for your top web hosting provider options. If they are potentially getting your business, they will likely be very responsive. Beware, they are salespeople, and their job is to sale you, so keep the common marketing traps in mind.