Should You Sign a Yearly Contract with a Hosting Company?

In the quest to save money, many webmasters fall into a trap of signing a yearly hosting agreements. While this may not result in unhappiness with most companies, it is important to be very careful before signing a contract that will lock you into one server for that long. Many yearly contracts require a purchase of the entire year of hosting, so it is especially important to weigh several options before making this decision.

Many web hosting companies require a year’s agreement to ensure that they can rely on that income stream for a specified amount of time. The competitive nature of web hosting means that webmasters are always on the lookout for a better deal and companies need to make sure that they will have enough clients to meet their bills. A yearly contract is their way of locking in that specified amount so that they know they can make their ends meet and rely on a set amount of customers.

The type of site that you plan to have is a very important factor when signing a contract. If you are just planning on having a basic web presence that will not need to grow or be updated frequently, a year’s contract can give you the security of not having to worry about finding a new server or losing your hosting company.

First, does the contract offer a cancellation clause? If your hosting company defaults on a part of the contract, such as providing a certain amount of uptime or features, you should be able to get out of the agreement without any contest. If your contract does not feature this kind of clause, you may be stuck with a deadbeat host and unable to do anything about it.

Next, does the contract offer a buyout clause? If you are unhappy, most companies that require a yearly contract will have a clause that will allow you to pay a fee to cancel the agreement. Again, if this option is not offered, you can end up miserable until the contract expires.

If you are worried about signing the agreement, it is a good idea to take it to an attorney that is well versed in Internet law to make sure that it is a valid, enforceable contract. You may end having to pay for this advice, but if it can save you money in the long run, it is well worth it.

A trial period is a very good way to see if you will be happy with this company for an entire year. If you must sign a yearly contract, try to find a company that will provide you with 30 days before the contract is enforced to make sure that they can meet all of your site’s needs.

A yearly contract can provide peace of mind not only to a web hosting company, but to a webmaster as well. This is only true as long as both sides uphold their end of the agreement. Before signing anything, make sure that you have done your homework so that you will not end up unhappy with your hosting company.

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Posted on 12/14/05 10:03 PM

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