I know this seems like a strange question, but I saw a poll on another forum recently where quite a few web hosts voted that they were NOT legally registered, yet were still advertising services online. Those services ranged from shared and VPS to dedicated servers. As a consumer, how would you differentiate one from the other? If you’re in Missouri, you can go to the Secretary of State’s website and search for Business Entities.
Why are so many web hosts not registered?
In spite that US businesses are legally required to be registered, designing and posting a web hosting business online has become so simple that hobbyist do this with regularity. Some of them are very resourceful, have well thought out business plans, and work their plans successfully. On the other hand, many of them have no understanding of general business principles, thus struggle, along with their unsuspecting clientèle. What happens when you sign a contract with a web host that is not legally registered? Does all the risk fall on the consumer? The answer as to why so many are not registered is varied. Many of these entrepreneurs are tech savvy, but not business savvy. The economy is forcing many to find supplemental avenues for generating revenue, and see web hosting as an easy sell. Providing support after the sale is the hard sell, and this is what leads to so many start up businesses failing in their first year.
How important is your data?
If you’re considering which host to select, ask yourself this, “How important is the data that I’ll be entrusting to my host?” Is it mission critical? If your host should disappear, would your data disappear with them? If you have an issue at 3AM on a Sunday morning, will your host have anyone on staff ready to take your call and resolve that issue, or will you have to wait until normal business hours M-F 9-5, or worse yet, in-between classes?