After you've done your research on different webhosting companies and the services that they provide, you may find the company for you offers their webhosting services under contract. Before you sign that contract, there are several important points you need to consider.
Depending on how well the arrangement works out for you, you may love the webhosting company you hired or perhaps you'll be second-guessing your decision from the very beginning. If you have a contract, it will specify how long the formal business relationship will last.
Think carefully about how long you would like that to be. For some contracts, a longer term will result in cost-savings on services. If that's a benefit you're interested in, that's great, but be sure that this is a company that you want to do business with for the long term.
Before you sign the contract, be sure that you understand if and how the contract might be cancelled. Most contracts can be cancelled under very specific circumstances.
Be sure that you know exactly what is cause for the webhosting company to terminate the contract and what is cause for you to terminate the contract with the webhosting company.
If there is a renewal clause, read that carefully too. The webhosting company may automatically renew the contract and bill you if you don't notify them of your intention to cancel the contract within a certain amount of time.
Webhosting companies may have different policies for payment options. If you pre-pay for your webhosting services, you may get a break in price. You may also get a break if you pay for your webhosting services on a long-term basis, say, for two years versus one.
Just to be on the safe side, make sure you understand what the webhosting company's policy on late payments, returned payments, etc. You don't want to find that a misdirected check that doesn't arrive by a certain deadline means that your files are wiped out by the webhosting company.
While no business person ever hopes to have a dispute with a vendor, be prepared that at least once during your business relationship with a webhosting company, you'll have a dispute. The contract may outline exactly how the dispute will be resolved.
Make sure you understand your rights and obligations as outline in the webhosting contract. Make sure you understand any arbitration or other legal remedies provided by the terms of the contract.
Webhosting companies will usually specify exactly what services are covered in their contract. Make sure that the services being offered are what you need for your business. If you think your service needs might change, see if there's a clause in there that provides for amending the contract if needed.
The more specific the terms of the services provide are, the less of a chance you'll be surprised by something that comes up mid-way through the duration of your contract.
In conclusion, there are several important factors to consider before signing a webhosting contract with any company. A good contract will help make for a good working relationship between your company and that one.