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Beware of non-transparent costs! Right, they don't have hidden costs. Or they would be penalized by the FCC. But web hosting providers do use obscure expressions to confuse online shoppers.
The most common non-transparent cost (NTC) is ... It's actually the monthly fee. We all know the monthly fee stated on the website is for a one-year sign up. Or... Actually, most web hosting providers indicate the monthly fee for a two-year sign-up. Yes. We were once deceived. So always doubt that the monthly fee stated by the web hosting provider is for a one-year sign-up.
So which hosting company uses this monthly fee confusion? There are actually two of them that we know of. One is HostMonster. The other hosting company is IX Web Hosting. Their tactics are good. When we signed up for a one-year plan with HostMonster, we weren't be careful. And we paid $12 more than we had expected.
Another non-hidden but non-transparent cost is the number of sub-domains available. Even if they indicate that they have an unlimited number of sub-domains, that doesn't mean you can use them all. Especially, if your web hosting provider supports vDeck, a control panel, chances that the number of sub-domains that you could use is obscurely stated are very high. Every sub-domain must be pointed to by a folder inside of your public html folder. And they often impose a restriction on this number. And yes... We were once deceived. It's not unlimited, 20 or even 5, but the number of free sub-domains that we found out could use is only 3!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
You are supposed to be able to cancel your web hosting plan with a full refund. But you may not get every penny back. They will charge you for transferring your domain to another web hosting provider. A typical domain transfer is $15 to $20. Many of them will charge you a setup fee, too. So it's better staying there for one full year if you have signed an annual contract.
Data transfer speeds
Sadly, there is no way of knowing what kind of data transfer speeds you will get untill you use the service. And downloading and uploading speeds vary depending on the web hosting provider. One web hosting provider offers some 480 kbps while another gives you around 170 kbps only.
As we all know, it is a common practice for printer manufactures to sell cheap printers and set the prices of ink cartridges high. In so doing, they make a lot of money. How about web hosting providers? Likewise, web hosting providers set limitations on such features as disk space, monthly bandwidth, the numbers of sub-domains, MySQL databases and e-mail accounts. And they set the prices of additional services high. In fact, online shoppers aren't careful enough to check the prices of these additional features. If you want to increase the number of MySQL databases, for example, they will charge you an additional monthly fee like $1 for each additional database. One web hosting provider charges $10 for just one additional sub-domain.
If you sign up for one year or longer, they will probably give you a free domain. No, no, no! Don't be fooled. Unless you are so sure that you will stick to that hosting company for the rest of your web hosting life, don't accept a free domain. Well, you can accept one. But you should have a domain of your own and use it as an add-on domain. In this way, if you find something intolerable at the current hosting company, you can always pack up your stuff with add-on domains and move to a different hosting company. They are giving you a free domain so that you will stick around for good. The popularity of your website comes with the domain name. If you decide to abandon the only domain, which you have accepted as a free gift, you will have to start from a scratch in building reputations all over again at a new hosting company.
Just for your information, we own three domains. Two of them, MHVT.NET and MHOUSE-J.COM, are add-on domains. We own them. So we can pack up our staff with these add-ons at any time if we decide to abandon our current web hosting company and go somewhere else. The Google Ranks that come with these add-on domains will follow us to a new location.