Internet for the terrified, plain English guide

Buying a lemon?

Background

In 1970, George Akerlof wrote a paper on market economics called "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism", more, what Akerlof described was a situation where the buyer and seller of something know different things about the quality of what is being sold. This leads to differing values being placed on the object or service.

The classic example is a used car, the seller knows all about the vehicle, what it's like on a cold morning, how it performs etc. The seller knows the real reason why the car is being sold, that could be just because the owner is trading up, or that it's costing a fortune to keep the vehicle on the road. The buyer knows nothing about the car, except what can be seen from a visual inspection.

There are two extremes of car, one that has faults, the lemon, so the seller does not want to tell the buyer too much or the sale may be lost. The buyer doesn't want to pay much because of the fear that all used cars are lemons. This drives the price of used cars down, and can lead to a collapse in the market because no-one will buy for fear of getting a lemon.

Web hosting is like that too

If you search the internet for 'web hosting' or something similar you will get thousands of matches, many showing all sorts of packages from incredibly cheap to expensive.

You can't tell how good the product is until you actually buy it, then you may find out that you have bought that lemon.

The effect is that the really high-quality services can't sell their product because buyers don't know they are getting what they pay for. Neither do they know how good the support services will be until they need them, at which time things may be difficult.

What can you do about it?

Find out about the service, ask questions that will reveal who provides the service and what you can really expect when things don't go as well as you would like.

Here are the awkward questions and the answers for Hosting for the rest of us's service

Do you offer a money-back guarantee?

Yes; if you are not happy you can have a full refund within 7 days, including any set-up charges.

How quick will I get my refund and how?

We'll cancel the account immediately and refund you same day, in the same way you paid.

Who provides support?

We do; we do not subcontract it out to a third party. You can expect your emails to be dealt with promptly, usually within a short time. This is a small business, so there are times when we are not available, we go shopping and for vacation. Even so we don't get a lot of support requests and do pick up email every day.

As questions arise we use them to produce faq pages and put them on this site.

Do you provide backups?

Our server is backup up to an off-site location once a week. Most people have a complete copy of their website on the computer where it was produced and so can restore any lost data quickly. We provide three other features that are very valuable backup procedures. Firstly if you have a mysql database on our server you can request a complete database backup at any time, the resulting file will be downloaded to your computer very quickly where it will be available for restoration The second backup mechanism is the ability to download a complete, compressed copy of your website. Thridly you have the ability to have a complete, compressed copy of your website saved on another server - this is done via file transfer protocol. It means you can schedule backups yourself at any time.

Why should I buy from you?

This is a small business, hosting a limited number of sites. We provide an honest service and don't take on things we can't handle. We're also website developers, so we're using our own services on a daily basis and can provide help with other services.

Are you a reseller or do you have your own in-house server?

We're resellers. This is a good arrangement because it means that your website is hosted on a server in a major datacenter that has a super-fast connection to the internet, physical security, the latest software updates and patches etc so you know that it's always running well. If we had our own in-house server we would have to have all the expertise to keep it at peak performance etc. We would also need backup power supplies, security etc, by reselling capacity all those costs are spread over many servers.

Ok, I'm convinced - show me your web hosting packages

Not interested? - look somewhere else

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