Website Hosting Small Print – Be Careful What You Agree To!
Almost every site you buy anything from on the web has small print attached to it. Typically this is a separate page that goes on forever: I looked at one recently that would have taken 13 pages to print out. And, typically, most people don’t read it through even though they’ve ticked the box to say they have.
Unrelated to website hosting, a few years ago a computer games company included a clause that included you allowing them use of your soul unless you opted out of that clause. Very few people did so, even though those who did were rewarded with a discount.
Website hosting is a very technical business, so it stands to reason that there is a lot of technical small print. Like most small print on most sites, it’s fairly innocuous and doesn’t affect you unless you do something out of the ordinary.
It’s that last phrase that causes the most problems: “something out of the ordinary.”
Mainly because what a hosting considers odd isn’t what a normal person would necessarily consider odd. For instance, your website hosting contract probably limits the things that the sales page claimed were unlimited.
Most of the time, this isn’t an issue but there are certain things hidden in the small print that only rear their ugly head when you inadvertently breach a limit that was buried somewhere deep in the terms and conditions.
One common problem is the number of files that you can store on your hosting.
For cheaper hosting, the sales page almost certainly promised that you could have unlimited storage or a very large amount of disk space if that wasn’t the case.
What it quietly forgot to mention was probably the quantity of files you can store. This isn’t something that many people pay attention to – we’re used to Windows just storing files until our hard drive is full but I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s hit the 4 billion or so maximum number of files that Windows 7 can cope with in a folder or even half that number which is the Mac’s maximum.
In contrast, one of the more popular website hosts has a limit of 100,000 files on your complete website space, after which it refuses to take backups and a quarter of a million files as an absolute maximum. Which is the kind of number that can be scarily easily reached if you do like most people and store your emails on your webhosting.Which puts a new twist on the concept of unlimited. Emails are another area where the sales page is a woefully inadequate thing to believe.
Most website hosting sales pages don’t really mention sending emails at all. It’s only when you start looking at the idea of sending out emails from your hosting rather than paying an autoresponder company that you find out there are some limitations buried in the small print.
These are designed to stop unscrupulous spammers from using hosts to pester people with unwanted emails. But the limits are relatively small – often no more than 500 emails in a day, which is only 200 more than the number of texts a typical teenager sends every day, and often no more than 100 in an hour.
All of which means that you need to be very careful what you agree to when you tick that small box that says you’re happy with a set of terms and conditions you’ve never actually read.
You can find out more about the kind of website terms and conditions to watch out for here.
And, if you want, you can check how your website appears to the outside world with our website personality test.