To celebrate the one year anniversary of Travel-Junkies.com, our web hosting company (Just Host) charged our credit card $107. We were only expecting to be charged $60, and $107 was way too much to be paying for hosting a travel blog. I thought that this must be a mistake and we were billed wrong. So I contacted them about it and this was their reply:
Thanks for your email.
I apologise for the inconvenience with your Hosting costs changing, however this is for a variety of reasons.
We continue to work hard to provide the best products and services. Whilst we always make every effort to keep our prices low, from time to time we do find it necessary to make pricing adjustments to cover rising operating costs. This includes the rising cost of technology, support resources, and keeping up with inflation too.
Please refer to our terms and conditions:
Joining Just Host
Please note that special offers are limited-time promotional prices that are available only to new customers and are valid for the initial term only.
By renewing or using your services and products you further agree to all of Just Host‘s Terms of Services and any renewal prices.
If you would like to discuss your renewal with one of our renewals representatives please call 1-480-304-5434.
They basically told me that they can charge whatever they want and that was that. So, I did what any other budget minded person would do and started shopping around for a better deal.
Now this is where it gets odd. You Google “Web Hosting Reviews” and up pop 2.1 million hits. But looking through the reviews you see the same companies listed over and over and over, including the company we currently had, Just Host. And then it hit me. The web hosting companies can create all the web pages they want and create fake reviews to steer traffic their way. But this sounded kind of paranoid, so I Googled this new theory and Bingo! I was right. They do create their own reviews. I fell for this trick when I signed up with them last year.
So feeling a bit lost without legitimate reviews, I turned to a web hosting forum to see what they were saying, which unfortunately, listed many of the same companies listed in the phony reviews. But, I figured I might as well contact those other hosting companies and ask them about price guarantees. I went from company to company asking (through live chat) if I signed up with them for their $5 a month plan, what would the price be in one year. To my amazement, they said $107. What is with this $107 charge? I then asked them where it stated this on their websites? And they all said it was mentioned in the middle of the registration process. You must decide to commit to a web hosting company before you find out the real price? What a scam! And what really got me was all of the big companies out there seem to do this, or at least the ones I contacted. There were some other companies that I did not contact because their advertised prices were higher than what I wanted to pay. Those companies were probably just being truthful up front, but you never know…
Next year when we leave on our trip around the world, I don’t want to have to switch hosting companies or deal with surprise charges, especially if we are in a remote area with little or no internet. We just want an honest company that offers stable hosting and no surprises.
Through further searching I found a company listed on Microsoft’s website, AccuWebHosting. Their price was only $43 for the first year with a 10% discount, and $48 every year after with a price guarantee. That was cheaper than any other company I had looked at, and from the couple of reviews I could find on them, they seemed like an okay company. The one caveat is that at that price, you are limited to 30GB of bandwidth a month and 5GB of storage, but with options to upgrade at prices still cheaper than those other companies. At the moment, our simple blog is a perfect fit for that plan, as long as they don’t jack up their prices when we renew next year. I contacted AccuWebHosting through their live chat and asked them what the price would be in one year. They seemed a bit surprised, and stated $48. So with that, we switched Travel-Junkies.com to their servers and cancelled our hosting service with Just Host. And to my surprise, Just Host offered to give us a free year of hosting and extra services for free. But I declined and asked for a full refund. And once again to my surprise, they gave us a full refund.
UPDATE July 12, 2011: So far, AccuWebHosting has been a great hosting company. I have experienced no downtime or problems and there price cannot be beat. I generally don’t mention products or services, but after all of the hassle, time, and money in trying to find a decent web hosting company, I thought I would just mention this to hopefully save anyone else looking for a decent hosting company time and money.