Host Hunting.

My father is someone who enjoys spending. In my younger days he would often chide me about being cheap. I am certain he was disappointed that I never had it in me to work my way up to his lofty purchasing indiscretions.

On the flip side, in the early stages of my relationship with my wife I was able to shock her at how I wasted my hard earned money on frivolous things such as take-out. I have been with my wife for some years now and she has had an effect on me. What may not have come as a surprise to my father, my wife has been quite successful in guiding me to becoming more… lets say, thrifty.

I’m not sure I can say it any clearer. As you must have deduced from my wordy intro and such a descriptive title, when it comes to web hosts I can be down right tight fisted.

Seeing as I’m on the search for another host you get to see me rant about them. I could be the responsible type and argue both sides of the topic but that is beyond the scope of this ‘article’ and my current interest.

Now, lets consider some of the options on hosting plans. There are hosts that are setting limits like: Number of Domains (1), Addons Domains (None on this package), Email Accounts (3), Mailing Lists (No), FTP Access (1 Account).

What the..? They’re giving away what costs them money when providing ‘free’ domain (sometimes ‘free’ domain for life) and ‘free’ site transfer (they have to pay their employees to do this). These are items that actually cost them something but they limit options that cost them nothing or next to nothing.

Is it really fooling any prospective clients into thinking they get a great deal when they can have 10 email accounts instead of 3? The fact is, from day one they would have been further ahead by pretending these extras were the lost leaders instead of having true lost leaders like domain names.

Ok, before I go any further, I will admit this post is coming a little late in the game. Most of the plans I’ve seen have become much more reasonable and have updated offerings. Sadly, I would speculate the change is due to pricing wars (or option wars) and not from customers complaining that they don’t appreciate the strategies.

As I hinted this reminds me of the strange pricing model you used to see fairly often in software. You know, that completed software package that allows one user at one computer for $39 but with a flick of the software switch you can have 12 users for only $3000, 64 for $50,000. Same software, same code. Where did this pricing idea come from?

There are a few things that should be the main focus in the cost of plan. Those are: Storage Space, Bandwidth (Traffic) and Server Load (CPU/memory usage). Some of the other features do increase some costs, but they are secondary. A plan should mostly be priced and monitored on the said three items.

For example, does it make sense for the poor sucker who had to purchase a Gold Plan at $30 a month to park 50 domains that are taking up zero bandwidth, a minuscule amount of drive space and basically no resources? Specially when the other guy has a Copper plan, for the low introductory price of $4.99 a month, and is hosting 1 site, taking up 2 gigs of space, 2000 gigabytes of bandwidth and is burning out CPU’s like crazy with custom coded software.

I’m just trying to say, as I search for a new host, my crazy mind keeps bouncing back to the whole idea that it would make me much happier if they would just be straight forward. Oddly, I’m not the type who appreciates the marketing garbage and the attempts to convince me how beneficial the Ultra-Diamond package is because it has a mailing list option.

Now before everyone goes crazy and wants to debate, obviously the pricing schemes must allow for facility costs, hardware purchases, employees and various standard business costs. That’s standard business and of course the company needs to make something. Further I do understand that some of the pricing schemes have to do with targeting specific buyers but I wouldn’t have had as much fun writing about that.

If you were able to last this long, I’m surprised. I’d be happy for any comments or suggestions on good, affordable hosts. I’m quite interested in slicehost but $20 a month for a hosting plan is downright painful for a ‘thrifty’ person.

3 thoughts on “Host Hunting.

  1. Pingback: My Domains » Blog Archive » Host Hunting.

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