course, the hosting. This
is quite popular as it whittles down the process of getting a site up
and running for many new to the Internet and online marketing.
However, with the
convenience of Web-hosting packages of this sort, there also can be
inconveniences. No road is paved "with gold" and this type of
registration, hosting and design package deal is no exception. There can
be problems that surface later on when purchasing a Web design and
hosting package that also includes registration. These problems usually
present themselves in the following forms:
1. Once a Web site
becomes popular, the hosting charges may rise exorbitantly, as the
"special" that was presented initially can become inapplicable once a
certain amount of traffic or the size of the site changes. This is more
of a problem for larger business sites than for smaller business sites
or "personal" or "theme" sites.
2. Some "specials" only
exist for a limited amount of time, and the charges can rise steadily
after that period.
3. A Web site owner may
have different needs as time goes on, and the "package" no longer suits
the needs of the owner. This can include the inability to change the
pages on one's own, or the inability to effectively track traffic, as
some come with traffic statistics packages.
4. Downtime (when a
site is down and can't be viewed) can be significant enough to warrant a
change of hosts or domain name registrars.
5. A Web site,
registration, and web hosting package company may go out of business,
leaving a client with no way to contact them, and three services to
quickly replace. This also leaves a site open to loss of the registered
domain name, as well as loss of revenues while the site is "down".
6. A contract may exist
which states that the "special" prices are only offered contingent on
remaining with a certain company for a specified amount of time (which
may be years).
7. The actual "name" of
your site may not even be registered to "you" the perceived "owner", but
to the hosting and registrar company that initiated the purchase through
the package deal. This how the Web site hosting, design and registrar
packages "save" money many times for consumers, as they "buy in bulk",
registering hundreds of sites per month.
All the above seem
simple enough to rectify. Simply "switch" the Web site, hosting, and
domain name registrar to that of other companies.
This is the point,
however, in which "trouble" can rear its ugly head. Some hosting and
domain name registrars seem reluctant to "hand over" a site to any other
company, as it does mean the loss of a customer and therefore, revenue,
for themselves. The current hosting company and registrar may likewise
delay a transfer, or refuse to provide sufficient information to a new
host or registrar to effectively conclude a transfer. It becomes even
more tangled, if the name of a site has been registered to them.
This is where it is
possible for a "nightmare" of subterfuge regarding a site to begin.
Sometimes, after numerous contacts, with no reply, a Web site owner will
realize that the switching of the site has become a real battle.
Here's an actual real
life example of a friend of mine, Katheryn:
After much downtime had
occurred, Katheryn wrote to the initial hosting company, and domain name
registrar, stating her disappointment in the service. A rather nasty
letter was received in reply, telling her that she could either "like it
or lump it" and that there was not anything they could do, as a contract
was in place that could not be "broken" by any means. The language of
the e-mail correspondence was rude and uncalled for, and a phone number
was not provided anywhere for more personal contact, neither was the
name of the support person that wrote the e-mail.
The site remained down
consistently, as well, over the next few weeks, forcing Katheryn to sign
up for a different hosting plan with a different host, and also
re-register the domain with another registrar. Luckily for Katheryn, the
registration of the site was in her name, and a new name did not need to
be purchased. At the time of import, however, the previous "problem"
host refused to initiate a transfer, claiming that the contract remained
intact, and therefore the site could not be transferred. The new hosting
company had to "maneuver" the site onto it's own servers without the
cooperation of the previous company, costing the client more time and
money than was necessary.
For months afterward,
Katheryn was billed repeatedly by the previous hosting company for
monthly hosting, even though a site no longer existed on their servers,
and they were in essence hosting "air" at this point. Copies of all
correspondence had to be sent to the billing service to "dismiss" this
recurrent billing, which was the only option left to Katheryn at this
I'm sure there are many
people like Katheryn who at one time or the other have gone through such
Some possible methods
of avoiding the "trap" of packages such as this:
1. Read all paperwork
and contracts thoroughly. The fine print is indeed, very "fine"
sometimes, for a reason, and reading everything thoroughly will save
frustration and misunderstandings later.
Above all, make sure
that the registration will be done in "your name", as the loss of a
popular name, with a large amount of traffic, is a HUGE loss. Or better
still, register your domain name yourself. With so many online domain
registrars, it's very simple to register a domain name online. The only
thing you need to do once you have bought a hosting package is change
the "name servers" through the control panel provided by your domain
If at all you are not
satisfied with your hosting company and would like to shift to a
different company, simply change the name servers to point to the new
company. That's it!
2. Make sure there is a
contact phone number and physical address for correspondence with the
companies if the need should arise. As in the case of Example #1, the
lack of a phone number and physical address was detrimental to effective
correspondence and resolution.
3. Take the time to
research different plans and different companies. If at all possible,
ask to speak to some of their other clients to ensure that they are
indeed sensitive to the needs of their own customers and are flexible
enough to adapt to changes in a site over time.
4. Take the time to
correctly ascertain your own needs and the needs of any site you'll be
building. The package needs to "fit your needs" explicitly.
5. If at all possible,
use different providers for each stage of a Web site: hosting,
domain-name registrar, site building. It does take longer to get a site
up and running with this method, but the overall control that you will
have over the site is well worth the extra effort, usually. If one
provider proves to be a disappointment, it is easier to replace one
service, rather than try to replace everything at once.
As you can easily see,
sometimes "time saving" strategies are not really that, and can lead to
heartbreak and headaches. As with everything else, "slow but steady"
wins the race, and it does pay to take the time to initiate each stage
of a Web site individually.