How Web Hosting Services Should Advertise Prices

Compare details of web hosting service plans can be stressful, even before you get to the price. Some services display their prices of $3, $4 or $5 per month like peacocks, but many make it too difficult to understand some key aspects of the price.

While many web hosts show prices divided into monthly payments, you’ll really be paying for an entire contract when you leave. Some services also fail to specify that in some cases the price will increase exponentially after your contract renews. Even the advertised savings can be misleading for people looking for long-term value.

I described these problems and what customers should look for beforehand, but what could these services do to better serve their customers? It’s easy to say that “services should clearly price their products,” but the details can be complicated. Additions can cause prices to grow exponentially, and the length of contracts plays a role in determining the final cost. However, services can take some clear steps to be more transparent about costs.

Here are four things these services should do to ensure customers aren’t blindsided by the price of their web hosting.

Show contract prices as annual, if applicable

Advertised prices are usually listed as monthly costs, but are ultimately tied to long, multi-year contracts that customers are expected to pay up front. Monthly contracts are available, but are rarely advertised as they are usually more expensive than annual contracts.

Services should make it clearer that customers are expected to pay for contracts in full upfront. Or they should actually charge monthly as their plans say.

Clearly explain renewal prices

If services insist on using the current model of offering discounted introductory prices and then moving to much higher standard prices later, customers need to have clearly presented information to fully understand the pricing model.

Some of the services mentioned above, like GreenGeeks, at least display their standard fares alongside their discounted fares, but there’s still plenty to do. Customers should see the total they will pay today and what they will pay upon renewal. A pop-up could also open at checkout to ensure customers understand that the price reverts to the standard rate later and explains what the standard rate is.

Show customers a scale of what they could pay today

Some services offer customizable plans to better meet the needs of their customers. AccuWeb Hosting VPS plans are highly configurable, allowing customers to choose things like what operating system their server will use, how much disk space and bandwidth their server will have, and how many additional IP addresses to include .

However, the initial price does not take into account any of these additions. Adding 5GB of disk space to AccuWeb’s basic VPS plan, called VPS Mercury, raises the payout price from around $95 to $155. Then choosing a managed server doubles the price to around $311. These two add-ons triple the initial price.

A scale would give customers an idea of ​​what they would pay for plans with no add-ons, plans with some add-ons, and plans with all add-ons included. These different pricing plans should also reflect what’s in them so people know what they’re paying for. Payment is no place for a guessing game.

A folded ten dollar bill

A price scale would give customers more realistic expectations of what they will pay today.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Get rid of misleading numbers and language around transactions

Web hosting services regularly show savings figures close to advertised prices. bluehost, for example, shows that its basic web hosting plan with a 12 month contract is at 70% and the same plan with a 36 month contract is at 50%. It’s easy to see 70% off and think that’s the best deal, but you have to remember that it’s only for 12 months until the discount expires. Once you do the math, the 12-month plan plus two additional years at full price costs around $275, while the 36-month plan will only cost you around $178.

Some services also advertise offers and guarantees, but don’t explain in advance that these offers and guarantees only apply to a handful of plans. Mokahostfor example, has a Lifetime rebate guarantee. Although this guarantee is advertised on their homepage – which might lead some people to think that it applies to all plans – it only applies to about a third of all plans.

I understand these tactics are marketing 101, but that doesn’t make them any more palatable. When offers aren’t as good as they seem and warranties only apply to certain products, it damages the company’s reputation and can upset customers and cause them to lose confidence.

Satisfied customers are more likely to stay loyal to a business or service, and they are more likely to recommend that business or service to others, according to Forbes. By being upfront with customers about what they pay and not hiding prices until the last minute – or until their contract is renewed – services could retain customers and not potentially put their means at risk. of subsistence.

For more information on web hosting, see what to pay attention to when looking for a web hosting service, what you need to know before launching your own site and CNET’s Best Web Hosting Services.

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