Downtime means that people can’t reach your site which can be frustrating to potential visitors while also costing you traffic and revenue. Additionally, if people aren’t able to reach your site the first time, they may not try again. That said, hosting providers provide minimum uptime guarantees which is a guarantee that they’ll have your site up and running that percent of the total hours in a day.
Some site owners subscribed to VPS or dedicated hosting simply because of their ego – with the kind of mindset where they think they are different and better. But that’s not true. In fact, I know some small business owners who have switched over to dedicated hosting when they didn’t need it, and they have regretted it. They have spent money on unnecessary server resources and expert technical assistance when shared hosting would have been fine.
The best hosting companies provide a moneyback guarantee period. This ranges from 30 to 90 days, depending on the company. If you cancel your services within this allotted time, you'll receive a refund, but some companies will deduct certain fees from it for things like domain registration. If you cancel your services after this allotted time, you likely won't receive a refund. A few companies we looked at may even charge an early cancellation fee.
BigCommerce is a bit different from our other hosting plans in that it's a SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider instead of an IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) provider. In other words, rather than renting space on a virtual machine where you setup and configure your own site, BigCommerce provides you with an app you login to that creates and online store.
Many hosts will help you to transfer your site, but it depends on the individual company's policies. If you're moving from the same control panel that you have at your new host, the move is likely to be easier. cPanel to cPanel moves are arguably the easiest, and many hosts will carry these out for free. But check the fine print before you sign up to your new hosting company.
Many web hosts offer limited features in their starter packages and then expand the offerings (sometimes tremendously) for higher-tier plans. Read the small print to make sure the plan you are selecting offers what you need. If you need a site builder application to design your website, make sure that the low-cost web host you are picking actually comes with a site builder. Many of them require you to pay for the builder as a separate add-on. Website builders usually don't cost a lot of money, but if you can find a web host that includes one for free, that's money in your pocket. And, if it's integrated with your hosting service, you're more likely to have a smooth, supported experience.
Almost all the services offer some sort of page builder that makes it easy to drag and drop to build your page. These are great for getting started, but they often lock you into the service. Most page builders are proprietary to the service, or don't create HTML that's portable enough to be easily moved to another service if you decide it's necessary.
Cloud hosting is relatively new and has the potential to be the best option for everyone because, in theory, your website will never go offline. It’s not tied to anyone particular server, so if one fails, your site will bop over to one on a different cloud. And you pay for only the server space you use: you’ll pay less when you have slower traffic and more when you have a traffic spike. The downside is that it’s new enough technology that security is a concern — no one is quite sure how safe information in a cloud can be.
Once you decide you price range, you need to consider how long you'll need web hosting. If it's a short-term project—say, less than a month or two—you can typically receive a refund should you cancel your hosting within 60 days. Some companies offer 30-day money-back guarantees, others offer 90-day money-back guarantees. Once again, it's beneficial to do your homework.