Ethics may not be a word that you associate with your web hosting company, but it may be time for you to add this important aspect of online business practices to your criteria for who qualifies as a great web hosting company.
Most people think that you simply pay a web host to host your domain and web space and that’s the extent of the relationship, but there’s more to it than that. If anything, it’s the beginning of the relationship and as long as you’re paying for their services, there are certain ethics that a web hosting company should abide by to keep your business.
One are of ethics of a web host that you should look at is their commitment to up-time. Does your web host guarantee a certain amount of up time as a part of your web hosting package? How frequently do they have down time, and for what reasons? Do they schedule down time and let you know about it in advance? There’s nothing wrong with down time because it’s needed periodically to upgrade hardware and software, but does your web host give you fair warning?
When your site is down, you lose everything that site was designed for. You lose leads, income, and communication for everything connected to your site. Let’s say you’re trying to sell a product on your site on a specific day. You’ve set up traffic campaigns and you have subscribers on your mailing list. Then, out of the blue, with no warning whatsoever, your web host has your site down to perform maintenance and they never let you know about it? You’ve lost all of the momentum that you’ve spent days, weeks, even months building, all because your web host couldn’t take a few minutes to inform you of scheduled downtime.
Another aspect of web hosting ethics is server performance. In case you’re not aware, web hosting companies will put hundreds, if not thousands, of web sites on one server. How does this affect you? Well, you may not have a problem with that, but then one day you try to access your site and it takes forever for the home page to load. And you notice that you have the same problem with the rest of the pages on your site. Do you know what the problem is? Your web host has crammed too many web sites on one server and it’s more than the server can handle, causing your site to load slowly, if it loads at all.
Find out what kind of policy you web host has for how many websites are placed on one server. Talk to your web host about this issue and if you find that all of your web sites are on the same server, you can request that some of your sites be placed on different servers to help protect you from problems like this.
Clear, consistent, open communication is another ethical matter to consider with your web hosting provider. Does your web host contact you about anything that may affect your web site’s performance? Do they let you know about upgrades or maintenance? Does your web host inform you of any issues they have found with your web site or their servers? Do they let you know when you’re getting near your web space limits or bandwidth limits so that you can make the necessary adjustments?
Communication with support issues is another ethical issue to consider. If you send in a trouble ticket, does your web host let you know that they received your ticket and are working on it? Or do they leave you in support limbo and you don’t hear from them for several days? If they acknowledge your ticket, do they provide the help that you need for the issue? Or do they reply with a lot of nonsense that makes no sense to you?
The key here is to be treated with a respect that shows that the web host knows who pays their bills: you! When dealing with web hosts, remember that ethics is an important factor in whether or not you stay with the company or seek a web host that actually has ethics. Choose wisely and never settle for less.