I’ve made it no secret how important it is to read the terms of service before signing up for a web hosting company. The problem with reading through the terms of service is that there will always be some nonsensical legal jargon that won’t pertain to you. You need to be able to weed through this in order to find the things that relate to you and the service you will be getting. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for.
1. Promotional Prices. A lot of web hosting companies, specifically EIG brands, will offer very low promotional prices when you sign up for a new account. These promotional prices are not applied to renewals. Be sure you know what the renewal rates are before signing up, that way you avoid any surprises when they renew your account.
2. Unlimited Resources. I’ve talked about this at length before, but there is no such thing as unlimited disk space or bandwidth. It’s simply not possible. The terms will outline what limits there are to any “unlimited” resources that are offered. Be sure to understand this so your account doesn’t get shut down.
3. Free Features. Many web hosts will offer free features like a free domain name, free SSL, or something else to entice you into signing up. These features may only be free for the first year. You will want to check the terms and/or billing policy to see the stipulations on these free features or you may be paying for them in the future.
4. Uptime Guarantees. Many hosts offer uptime guarantees. In the terms you will find what constitutes uptime. Every web host will limit their liability when it comes to downtime to avoid having to compensate customers for any account issues. Some hosts do not even specify what you will be compensated should you experience a lot of downtime.
5. Money Back Guarantees. Almost every host offers some sort of money back guarantee, but they usually try to make it sound better than it actually is. “Any Time” money back guarantees are usually paired with a cancellation fee, addon fees, and other things like that to make sure the host gets as much money as they can should you choose to cancel. Check the terms to make sure what you can potentially be hit with if you decide to cancel.