Getting ripped off in the web hosting industry is very common and a lot of people fall victim to scam artists each year. This article will reveal how to spot the bad hosts and give you tips on how to avoid them.
The easiest way to ensure you are not going to be scammed is to only sign up for a hosting company that is recommended to you by a reliable source. A good source of information and approved hosts can be found at www.hostinginfo.ws - it also has other valuable resources for people looking for hosting. If this is not possible, there are a few things you can try to see if your host is genuine.
Firstly, go to the potential host's website. Find their contact details and call them (if they don't have a phone number, then you should not bother - it means that this host is most likely operated from somebody's bedroom. If they call and it doesn't sound like a business (kids screaming in the background, not a professional, business greeting, etc), you should also ignore the host.
While you are at the website, look at the general design. Click on a few links. Do they have a support forum? If the website does not look professionally designed, you shouldn't give up on them, but a you should see a warning flag - it could mean a new company without the staff to properly support you. When you looked at the forum, did you see a lot of unhappy customers? If you only see one or two, you can ignore them - everybody has customers that complains, and many of them over things that is out of the hosts control. If the general mood of the forum is pleasant, it usually means the customers are happy. If you see a LOT of complaints, you should find somebody else. If it's a very empty forum, you should also go somewhere else - it most likely means that it's a company without a lot of customers.
The last things you can do is to look up how old the company is. New companies are usually small and will not be able to provide proper support if something goes wrong (the owner and only staff member will most likely have a day-job). The easiest way to see how old the company is, is to see how long ago he's domain was registered (the address of the site e.g. microsoft.com). If it was registered recently, you should be wary, but if it's a few years old, it means the company will have many happy customers, or they wouldn't still be around. Doing this lookup is tricky sometimes, but the easiest way by far is to go to www.hostinginfo.ws - find the "Domain Lookup" link and click on it. You must then type in the domain name of the host, without the www bit. For example, www.microsoft.com will become microsoft.com.
Once the lookup is complete, you will get all sorts of information about the host, including the name, address, phone number and when the domain was registered. The last thing to do is to see if any of the information looks fake (e.g. a phone number of 123-1234) - if it does, you should not do business with them. If a company does not give you their real address and phone number, would you like to do business with them? Would you give them your credit card number?
There are many good hosts, but even more scam artists and rip-offs. If you follow the information in this guide, you shouldn't encounter any of them. One thing you should always remember. If your gut feeling says a company is bad, then they most likely are.
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