How to choose web hosting - part 2

6. Refund Policy

Should you choose to cancel your host within the trial period, does the company provide full money return?
What is the hosting company’s refund policy after the trial session?
Is there any cancellation charges?
These are some basic questions to ask before signing up.
It’s important to know your hosting provider handle customer refunds so that you don’t have to lose too much money when things go wrong.
There are some hosting companies that charge absurdly high cancellation fees when users cancel their account during trial period. Our advice? Avoid these hosting providers at all cost. On the other hand, some hosting companies provide anytime money back guarantees where you can ask for a pro-rated refund after your trial period (good eh?).

7. Cron Jobs, Auto Script Installer, .htaccess, and Server Side Include

We are surprise that some web hosts out there still do not offer these basic hosting features these days. You need Cron for day-in-day-out operations, Auto Script Installer (like Fantastico, Simple Scripts, and Quick Installer) for time saver, .htaccess access for security/page redirects/etc purposes, SSI for easier site maintenance (when you are building a static site), and FTP access easy file.
Unless you are signing up on a specialty host like WP Engine, else these basic features are must-have and you shouldn’t settle with hosting providers that do not supply them.

8. e-Commerce Features

Are you running an e-commerce website?
Do you need to process business transactions on your website?
Are you using any specific shopping cart software?
If yes, then it is important for you to pick a web host with sufficient e-commerce features support. SSL certification, dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation are some of the essential features / supports you will need.

9. Account Suspension:

What Are the Limitations on Your Hosting Accounts?
Here’s a money tip that most hosting review sites will not tell you:
Hosting companies will pull the plug and suspend your account if you are using too much CPU power (yes, unlimited hosting is not unlimited) or violating the rules.
Before you sign up on a web host, it is important that you read the rules and know your limits.

Why read hosting company TOS?

Knowing your account limits help you understand two things:
1.How Generous (Or Stingy) Is Your Shortlisted Web Host – Should you go with that web host, or the other with looser restrictions?
2.How Transparent Is Your Hosting Company – Can you trust the words coming out from your hosting company?
Honest hosting company normally will have very clear guidelines on account limitation.

10. Environmental Friendliness

Having an eco-friendly website host is the primary concern for some webmasters.
According to science studies, a web server on average produces more than 630kg of CO2 (which is a lot!) and consumes 1,000 KWh of energy annually. A green host on the other hand, theoretically produces zero CO2. There is indeed a huge difference between a green web host and a non-eco-friendly web host.
If you care about the environment and wish to cut down on your carbon footprint, pick a web host that runs on renewable energy (or at least, a webhost that offsets its energy consumption via green certificates).

If you wish to host email accounts together with your website, then you should look at the email feature before signup. Most hosting companies will come with the ability to host your own email (something like email@ but hey, it’s always better to check and be sure of it, yeah?
In case email feature is not provided, no big deal. There are a number ways you can own an email account at your own domain (email@yourdomain). Google Email Apps, for example, is a free and easy one – you get the first 10 email accounts for free and $5/account/mo moving up (at this time of writing).

12. Hosting Subscription Period

Do not be surprise if you discover some web hosts force their customers to take up unreasonably long contracts. Lunarpages, for example, changed their pricing structure in June 2009 and lured customers to take up a 5-year hosting contract in order to enjoy the $4.95/mo deal. Lunarpages no longer offers such a deal now but still this is a good example in our case.
Should you commit to long term hosting contracts? Our answer is no – Never signup web host with more than 2 years upfront.
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