With Spring officially underway, it’s time to expect “summer hosts” to start popping up. In this post we will explain what a summer web host is, why you should avoid them and of course, how to spot them.
What is a summer host?
A summer host is an industry term for a web hosting company that appears and immediately starts to offer low pricing for web hosting in the form of limited time offers etc. Only to disappear completely a few weeks or months later taking their clients websites offline and leaving the clients themselves frustrated & out of pocket. The summer host also typically offers large discounts/coupon codes for monthly or annual payments, money that the client never sees again once the host goes offline. These types of hosts are often referred to as “fly by night” scams and should be avoided at all times.
Why should they be avoided?
First and foremost signing up with a summer web host will result in a loss of your money, your website/data or both! While it will appear you’re getting a great deal on website hosting at the start, likely paying a fraction of what other web hosts are charging for fewer features than the summer web host is offering, the deal will soon turn sour when the summer host drops offline taking your website and e-mails with it. From that point onwards their support channels won’t respond and you’ll be left out of pocket and your website offline.
How can you avoid them?
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed method to determine if a new host is going to stick around and not become an infamous “summer host”, but if you consider the below when selecting your new hosting provider you’ll be much less likely to end up subscribing to a scam:
- Check their domain registration date
- Validate their WHMCS license
- WHMCS is a popular billing platform for many web hosting companies, if the host you’re looking at doesn’t pay for their WHMCS license then they’re using it illegally and should be avoided. Luckily WHMCS provide an online license verification tool, just enter the hosts’ web address to see if they hold a valid license or not
- See if they are a registered company
- While being a registered company isn’t a guarantee that the host will be around forever, it’s a good sign that they intend to conduct honest business as they have taken both the time and committed an investment to legally register themselves as a business in their country.
- Does the website look like a template?
- Look for ‘sample’ template text that doesn’t fit the context of the website
- Are all or many of the images stock images with no customization
- Does the text on the site have spelling mistakes/typos
- Are some links broken or link to a “#” (i.e placeholder links)
- Check their Terms and Conditions
- Have they been copied and pasted from another host, so they still refer to a host that is not them
- Are they relevant to web hosting or are they generic T & Cs referring simply to ‘products’ or ‘services’ etc.
- Are their deals too good to be true?
- Web Hosting with ‘unlimited’ features for a fraction of the price offered by other hosts are often false representations of what you will receive
- VPS’ with tons of RAM and CPU power is likely a clear sign of a summer hosts offering
- Check their ‘About Us’ page
- Does it give a history of the host
- Are staff members listed with realistic titles (a new host showing CEO, COO etc. is a red alert sign)
- Does the page detail where the host is physically located
- Chat to them
- If the host offers live chat, go ahead and open a conversation with them to talk about their services – a summer host will often be run by inexperienced individuals which will quickly come across during a live chat session
- Ask about the payment methods they accept and any money back guarantees they have
- If they don’t offer live chat drop them an e-mail and start a conversation that way to get a feel for how they communicate
- Look for reviews & Google their name
- Many reputable web hosts use independent review websites like TrustPilot to showcase honest reviews from their customers, along with Google and Facebook etc.
- If you can’t find any reviews ask the host where you can find some
- Google the hosts name to see if people have discussed them on forums, many poor web hosts will have been discussed on web hosting forums
If the hosting company you are looking at just doesn’t “feel” right, then it’s probably a summer host. Offers that are too good to be true likely are just that, your website is important to you – don’t gable its success & availability to save a few pennies.
Hugoton Hosting first launched in 2005, after 14 years in the business we’re confident that we will continue to serve our growing customer base for many more years to come. Why not take a look at our ‘An Insight Into Our Pricing & Infrastructure’ blog post to learn more about how we operate and why more people than ever are switching to Hugoton Hosting.