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For Webmasters
Article: Read the Small Print



Use A Magnifying Glass: Read The Small Print

Whenever purchasing anything of value, whether it is a new car, a new home, and yes even something as simple as web space, you need to be aware of what is commonly known as the small print. This is where the bottom line, the real deal, and the facts are often stored. All of the big words, fancy designs, and marketing hype can become null and void within the small print. It is in the small print that you may find what the limits to unlimited are. Extra fees, rules, and even some surprisingly silly explanations are often times stored within the small print.

Below are a few of the definitions we found while searching various hosting companies. Our hope is that by enlarging this print, you will be better equipped, while searching for a host, by knowing what types of things may be within the Terms Of Service and hidden deep within the Acceptable Use Policies and FAQs.

ALWAYS search for these areas and read them before signing up for hosting. If there is something you do not understand within the small print, email the host and request an explanation. If the explanation you receive makes sense and is agreeable to you, great! If the explanation never arrives, and or is not good enough, maybe it's time to continue your search.

You may find some of the following excerpts humorous, others you will find appalling, and many you may find are simply unbelievable, but rest assured all of them were found during our search through the hosting companies and all of them were very real. The ****** are used to replace the names of the hosts.

  • Unlimited is limited to ...

  • All of your bandwidth/space usage is unlimited unless you exceed...

  • Your bandwidth/space will not be monitored until you reach...

  • Unlimited only refers to our limited features if you do not exceed the limits noted within the limited features list

  • We reserve the right to determine what amount of usage exceeds the allowance of the unlimited features. This amount may change at any time depending on server load

  • Unlimited bandwidth refers to the amount of bandwidth used for files with the extension of .html. All other files are subject to the listed bandwidth fees

  • We will not limit your bandwidth usage unless you exceed the amount of bandwidth offered with plan A, B, or C...

  • ****** will remain administrative and technical contact on all web hosting account's unless you request otherwise.
    [Note: This means that this host would own your domain name, even though they require you to pay for it, unless you have read the small print and specifically requested otherwise]

  • No MP3, .wav, or video files are permitted on any of the ****** servers.
    [Note: This same host boasts about offering Real Audio/Video servers for just such files.]

As you can see from the short list above, many things that are commonly boasted about on a host's main page are quickly defined and end up being quite different from what is truly offered. If the host advertises YOURDOMAIN.COM but notes in the small print that they will own this domain, well that simply does not make sense. Legal? Yes! Ethical? No! It will be up to you to decide whether a host that offers things like this is right for your web site or not. The key is making sure you are aware of the actual offer before you purchase it so that you are making an informed decision rather then a mistake.

We speak about the term unlimited in various areas of our web site. This is always your first clue that it is time to start looking for the small print. If you see the term unlimited, mostly where it concerns space and/or bandwidth, rest assured there are limits deep within the site somewhere. Some simply avoid 'unlimited hosts' all together; others seek them out just to enjoy a type of scavenger hunt, while finding the limits. Both of these types are fine, the ones who are harmed by 'unlimited hosts' are the unsuspecting new site owners that never considered the fact that there would be a limit to a feature that is advertised as unlimited.

Regardless whether or not the host you choose advertises limits, it is important that you are sure your site will fit within the allowances offered. Wise shopping is finding a host that provides what your web site needs. Unwise shopping is searching for a host that offers ten times more then what your site needs and carries with it more rules and regulations then you can shake a stick at!

If your web site will contain any type of scripting or media files you will want to read the small print to assure the host you choose actually allows these types of files. If you want to host a web site that contains adult only content you must read the small print to be sure it is allowed on the servers. If you plan to offer images or programs to the visitors of your web site, it is within the small print that you will find out if the host is ok with this.

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If you're in the market for webhosting, we recommend FutureQuest for the absolute best hosting experience out there, or DreamHost for a solid, lower cost alternative.

FutureQuest DreamHost
 
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