You can’t throw a rock on the Internet without hitting a hosting company. They’re everywhere and there are more than you could possibly count. Not all of them are good, though. Many of them offer sub par services at highway robbery prices. You might even be using a bad hosting company right now without knowing it. Here are some signs you should probably switch web hosts right away:

There’s more downtime than uptime.

The entire reason you pay a company to host your website is to keep it up so your visitors can see it. And while some downtime is expected, having your website barely accessible is a sign your web hosting stinks. Before you sign up, ask about their guaranteed uptime. Most companies have a 99.9 percent guarantee. Then check up on them by monitor your site’s uptime with something like BasicState and UptimeRobot.

Visitors send you emails saying it would be quicker for you to come over with a Powerpoint Presentation.

Besides uptime, the second major requirement for a website host is that your website loads quickly. Slow loading websites lose visitors left and right. There are trillions of website on broadband Internet. If you’re running on a slow host, your visitors will just go to one that actually loads in a reasonable time. For an analysis of your site’s loading time (as well as whether it’s your host or your website causing the problem) try Pingdom Tools.

They nickel and dime you for EVERYTHING.

With some web hosting companies, your monthly payment is just the start. Need to install WordPress on your website? There’s an upcharge for that. Want to access a backup of your website? There’s an upcharge for that. The best hosts offer basic services like backups and app installs for no additional charge. Hosting business is so competitive, many companies even offer second tier services like transfer of data at no extra charge. Before you sign up, put together a list of web services you’ve used in the past and compare the pricing so you know the true cost of your hosting services.

Support is only available on the third Tuesday after a full moon.

When it comes to owning a website, stuff happens. And most often than not, it happens in the middle of the night while you’re on vacation on a federal holiday. When that happens, you should be able to contact your host without hiring a private investigator to track them down. Check out your host’s contact options. Are they available during weekday business hours only? How many ways can you contact them? Chat, email, and phone should all be standard. One major warning signs is that you can’t just call and speak to a person.

You just found out that the CEO of your hosting company steals candy from babies for fun.

As much as your hosting decision should be about service and price, sometimes you have to let your dollars speak for you. In recent news, some of the bigger hosting companies have come under fire for their advertising tactics, the personal actions of upper level management, or the support of unpopular legislation. Users flocked to other hosts in protest. If you feel your hosting company is doing a fine job but you don’t support some of the things it vocally supports.

The price you paid at signup must have just been a deposit because you’re now paying three times that.

When you’re buying anything you have to be careful of the bait and switch scam. Let’s say you sign up for unlimited hosting at $1.99 a month. But after you pay for a year’s worth of hosting, you find out that unlimited hosting refers to one website only. Or the advertisement says you can have a free domain with your purchase but at checkout you find that only refers to .info domains. They actually charged you $29.99 a year for a .com domain.  As a rule, the cheaper the prices they are offering, the more likely you’re going to actually end up paying more in the end.

Every time you ask them a question, all you get is the run around.

Sometimes dealing with a bad hosting company is like dealing with a cheating boyfriend. You ask a straightforward question about price, service, or why your website is down half of the time you go to it. In return you get back a convoluted explanation or, worse, a defensive question. It stinks and you don’t have to take it.

If your web hosting company stinks, it’s time to start shopping for new one. Do your homework. Compare prices and services between each one. And don’t forget to read the reviews so you know what their customers actually think of their services so you don’t get stuck with another dud.

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