10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider

1 - 10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider
2 - Limited or No Uptime Guarantees
3 - Limited or No Security Guarantees
4 - Doesn't Take Steps to Back Up Data Correctly
5 - Allows Unscrupulous Customers to Host in Their Data Centers
6 - Unwilling to Customize Service-License Agreements to Meet Your Needs
7 - Uses Sales Teams Motivated by Monthly Quotas
8 - Geographically Concentrated Data Centers
9 - Lack of Industry Standard Designations and Audits
10 - They Nickel-and-Dime You, or Prices Increase Without Warning
11 - Support Is Hard to Reach and Has Long Wait Times
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10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Selecting a Hosting Provider

by Chris Preimesberger

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Limited or No Uptime Guarantees

This is the first red flag that your hosting provider may be suspect. Quality hosting providers offer some level of guarantee regarding the reliability of their services (e.g., 100 percent network uptime guarantee and 99.99 percent server/cloud uptime guarantees). If you are experiencing occasional outages, you should look elsewhere.

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Limited or No Security Guarantees

Similar to reliability guarantees, if your hosting provider does not guarantee that your data is safe with them, you may want to avoid that provider. A good hosting provider offers a 100 percent security guarantee that your data is always protected. Security should be included with every hosting plan, not be treated as an optional item.

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Doesn't Take Steps to Back Up Data Correctly

An experienced hosting provider realizes that computer systems occasionally fail. Having the necessary backup and restore systems and procedures in place is of paramount importance. Avoid any provider that does not proactively address this with its customers. Have them demonstrate their backup process.

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Allows Unscrupulous Customers to Host in Their Data Centers

Your hosting provider should not risk compromising your data by allowing companies with poor security practices to share data center resources. Demand a provider that performs background checks before allowing customers to host.

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Unwilling to Customize Service-License Agreements to Meet Your Needs

Rigid contracts, policies and procedures is a preview of a hosting provider's commitment level to its customers. A customer-focused provider is willing to work with its clients and prospective clients to craft arrangements that meet mutual business needs. Remember, if you are paying for unneeded server capacity, you are paying too much.

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Uses Sales Teams Motivated by Monthly Quotas

Avoid the hosting provider with ultra-aggressive and eager sales reps. A good way to ensure proposed solutions will work as promised is to go with a hosting provider that uses the same sales engineers (pre- and post-sale).

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Geographically Concentrated Data Centers

If your hosting provider's data centers are close in proximity, its claim to provide reliable redundancy and disaster recovery should be questioned. A reputable hosting provider manages multiple geographically dispersed data centers on separate power grids.

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Lack of Industry Standard Designations and Audits

There are certain industry standards and certifications, such as SAS70/SSAE16, that ensure the credibility of hosting providers. Additionally, many hosting providers offering compliance solutions such as HIPAA and PCI undergo regular audits to ensure their compliance. If your hosting provider lacks these designations, run away—far away.

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They Nickel-and-Dime You, or Prices Increase Without Warning

It's reasonable to expect a long-term plan that locks in a price for a number of years. If your provider has continually increased pricing without a warning, you are in the wrong place. Plus, if it is charging extra every time you need support, that's a red flag. There's something to be said for a hosting provider that regards its customers' problems as its problems. A good provider offers this support and often solves complex problems at no extra cost.

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Support Is Hard to Reach and Has Long Wait Times

Support should be a phone call away, especially when it's a server issue that happens in the middle of the night. If your hosting provider does not have a direct line of communication with support staff or takes days to resolve issues, you may find yourself in a major downtime situation.

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