The good thing about web hosting market is that it is competitive. It is not possible to wake up in the morning and to realize that your are stuck with your current web host and there’s nothing to do. Many people have this feeling anytime when they take a look at their new cellphone bills. The customers of wireless phone service providers don’t receive nether better treatment, nor better service than those who pay for web hosting. To keep however the hosting market industry where consumers have choice we need to tolerate smaller web hosts. See why?
“What would you do with this customer?”, asks a member of Web Hosting Talk “Glace”. Here is their case:
February 20 2008 – 08:07: – Customer submits a standard support request via email.
February 20 2008 – 08:38: – Customer wants to cancel… “because you do not provide true 24/7 support”
“Alright… The problem is I do not claim to provide 24/7 support”, posted the host’s owner and explained that he already registered the requested domain name but the “30-minute-customer” asked for a full refund, including the money paid for domain registration.
Glace however has already paid to domain registrar to get the web address (domain) for their “customer”.
How to deal with cases like this?
Smaller web hosts can include a paragraph in their TOS which declares that domain registration fees are non-refundable. But most of them don’t get chargeback protection on their Merchant accounts. Their customers can issue chargeback against them anytime they want. This results in a negative merchant history, something smaller businesses want to avoid.
“It is sad that customers are so spoiled now, expecting the world for 3 bucks and replies to support queries within 29 minutes. I think we owe this to the big companies that are making unrealistic offers in order to kill us all off so they have the market for themselves.” adds also Glace to its post.
The WHT member opened a very imporatant debate about web hosting. Do we have to support “hosting-goes-corporate” trend or to give more support to small businesses?
Do we have a choice?
Sure we have! We can keep the hosting industry competitive by supporting small businesses. We cna also transfer more recources more money and more power to corporations. I believe that we need corporations in web hosting industry. We need them as a core of the industry, as IT corporations who provide technology and infrastructure for other corporations.
But I don’t think it is a good idea a muti-million-dollar-host to power my web sites. I need to be confident that my web hosting company cares about my web projects.
Cheaper Hosting, Bigger Corporations!
It is reasonable to price web hosting service between $3 and $5 per month. That’s why it is called “Budget Hosting”. But it is not reasonable at all to offer 24×7 support, advanced Control panel and many other expensive appliations with the Budget hosting accouns.
Most of the bigger web hosts claim they provide quality service for $3/month which comes with plenty of space, bandwidth and real 24×7 support. But let’s test their customer service.
Wating on the line?
Do you feel good when you call your cell phone company and then wait 15 – 30 minutes to cut away the automated telephone answering system, to reach customer service representative. This happens in web hosting business today! I’ve dialed the toll-free numbers of 5 popular shared web hosting companies yesterday, 2 of them corporations.
Each of my phone calls has been received by answering machine. It took me 5 to 10 minutes on each phone call to find someone to speak to. And when I asked one of the web hosts support operators a question about some configurations of PHP the he wasn’t able to answer. He told me to create support ticket.
Hosting a website with small company
A smaller web host will serve you better than any corporation. My advice is to find a small or middlesized company which doesn’t hide its staff from customers. If you know someone from your web hosts’s management team, or anyone from its employees you can address them any time you need assistance. And they will help you because they’ll know your website and your business.
Once more thing Be ready to pay for the support you receive. The average per hour rate in the developed world is at $10/hour or even more. So you can not expect to pay $30-$40 per year for web hosting and to be spoiled by web host’s support. If you need help on scripting or custom configuration, be adviced that this worth something.
I defend the perspectives of smaller web hosts not just because of my view that they can serve us better. Small businesses in web hosting industry need our support because they have already begun loosing their market share to corporations. One day, very soon any of us would realize that he or she is unhappy about the conditions of doing online business. I hope this is not inevitable.