I am an intermediate computer user who now wants to put their business on the web. For this reason, I have spent the better part of a 1/2 week searching for a web host for my site.
It is my personal belief choice not to ever conduct business with anyone that forces me into some automatic transfer billing plan. I have heard and read to many horror stories, both on and offline, about people being over billed, continually billed after service cancellation, ecetera with automatic transfer billing. Unfortunately, as best as I can tell, it is standard practice for web hosting ISPs to automatically bill their clients' credit cards. This is a deal breaker for me.
So far, the only solution seems to go with a local Web host ISP and hope that they offer regular billing. However, none of the local providers I have researched do not offer all the "goodies" at the same price as the web hosting ISPs I have found online.
Are there any good web hosting ISPs that do not force their customers to be billed automatically through their credit cards?
ask your potential webhost if they do single credit card billing or if they can send you an invoice a few days in advance of your billing date..
there are a few companies that do this (venturesonline.com is one - very good host) and them doing it this way gives you the oppurtunity to change the credit card you wish to be billed, notify them that you are paying by a different methord (paypal, check, wire, etc) or that you will be cancelling your account...
First of all, if they fraudulantly charges your credit card, you can raise a dispute.
A lot of web hosts do recurring billing because web hosting is, by its very nature, recurring. Instead of asking you for payment every month, they can just bill you. (you wouldn't want your site to be down just because you forgot to pay, would you?)
Having said that, there are still a lot of hosts who would accept payments on a month-by-month basis. You can either find a host you like, and asked (nicely) for custom billing. You can also post a request in the Web Hosting Request forum, and I am sure many hosts will be more than willing to accommodate your billing needs.
I don't automatically charge my clients' credit card, but send out an invoice. The client chooses whether they want to sign up for monthly, semi-annually, or yearly hosting; and then at the end of one hosting term (and hopefully the start of a new one), they are sent an invoice. It is then the client's responsibility to go to the billing section and enter the payment. I think that there are many other hosts and ISPs who operate the same way. (Personally I think that automatic billing is a little bit like opt-out spamming...but that's another rant, and for some people setting up automatic credit card billing can be more convenient. The trick, I suppose, is in remembering all the places at which you've set up automatic billing.)
Before you sign up with any company, email them and ask them if they bill month-to-month, or if they automatically charge the credit card unless the service is cancelled. Don't hope. Confirm - definitely politely, but make it clear in your mind what's going to happen.
I had some clients who didn't pay through credit card. It was a very unhappy situation for both myself and the client. The vast majority of them were consistantly late, and they had to deal with getting their websites suspended every month. The extra time and effort tracking their payments, sending their invoices, suspending their sites, e-mailing them to notify them, then unsuspending their sites was just not worth it. So, this is my way of explaining why your average host is reluctant to do this -- nothing to do with scamming people.
I can, however, suggest an alternative. Get a PayPal account and find a host that accepts it. PayPal is structured so that all payments are iniated by the customer (the seller cannot just reach in and take the money). Most (though not all) of my PayPal-paying customers were able to pay on time and avoided monthly suspensions and other headaches. If you are sure you can keep on top of it, consider that route.