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Finding a Reliable Web Hosting Company

We went through a nightmare recently when we changed internet web hosting companies and servers. Our sites were down for days on end and never worked right after the change! We lost tons of business and gained lots of wisdom in the process. I am trying to look at it as a learning process but after all the business we lost in one week, it isn't easy.

If you are considering an on-line business or considering changing hosting companies here are some tips I learned the hard way:

1. You get What you pay for. Those hosting companies offering $99.00 per year fees or $7.95 per month may be great deals. But is your business and livelihood worth the few dollars you'll save over legitimate companies?

We started our businesses on line using lower priced hosting companies and actually had no problems until our recent server change. But I will never skimp again.

2. Don't use a middle man. We have used one for years. We bought hosting through him and he in turn bought it from a large company. We had no control over server changes or things that happened between the middle man and the main hosting company. When our middle man decided to make changes and use other companies, we had no choice.

Our middle man was never available when needed and we had to wait days for our emails to be returned. Trying to reach him by phone was a nightmare. His mailing address is a P.O. Box. Enough said.

3. Support is important. Make sure the hosting company has 24/7 support. It isn't fun trying to get help over the weekends or late at night and in turn, that only makes the hold times even longer when they are in. Get support when you need it. Do NOT use a hosting company with bankers' hours.

You may not feel you need support. But when you first change companies, you'll have 100 questions and you'll want the answers now, not Monday at 9 am Pacific Time.

4. Wait times are important. It is important to be able to reach the support techs. If hold times are exorbitant, then that is not a company you want to deal with. I actually waited 2 hours on hold one day to ask a simple support question. I am not exaggerating, I waited 2 hours. I was that desperate.

Try calling any company before you decide to do business with them. See how long the wait time is. If it is too long then they are not for you.

5. Tech support needs to drop the 'tude. I can't count how many rude, surly tech support guys I spoke with. They had no patience and treated me like a damn fool. They fail to realize that without people calling tech support they would be out of jobs.

I guess they realized that they are in their miserable jobs, answering stupid questions all day, while most callers are entrepreneurs and business owners with real businesses to run. Who knows?

I did learn one thing: Women tech support people are nicer and more patient than men. I never ran into a rude woman on tech support but 90% of the men I dealt with had some sort of attitude problem. I would cringe when a man answered the phone.

The funny thing was that no one agreed on anything and none had a clue what they were talking about. I was told one thing by one support guy and something else by another support guy. In most cases my problems were not solved due to their incompetence.

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