Scams – Services for Life and One Payment


This is the first of our 'Scam Alert' articles to help you against  being deceived and cheated by online scammers.

I keep getting these 'amazing' offers of 'free hosting for life' in my email. Now as a provider of advanced hosting facilities, I find this rather idiotic! Running servers takes money and one-off payment for life is nothing but a ponzi-scheme. So I decided to consult my oracle at ChatGPT to see what he says about it. Here's the result:


One of the most tantalizing offers in the web hosting market today are lifetime hosting plans. The premise is simple: pay once, and get hosting for life. However, these too-good-to-be-true offers often are just that. This essay explores ten reasons why such deals can turn out to be a total scam.

1. Misleading Marketing

Lifetime hosting plans are often presented with misleading marketing tactics. The term 'lifetime' often doesn’t refer to the customer's life, but the lifespan of the company or the server. Read more about misleading advertising at the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

2. Limited Resources

Such hosting providers often promise unlimited resources. However, upon a closer look at the terms of service, you may find many restrictions and limitations on server usage.

3. Poor Service Quality

The quality of service in lifetime hosting plans is generally lower. This could mean slower website speeds, frequent downtime, and ineffective customer service.

4. Long-term Financial Viability

It's hard for hosting companies to maintain financial stability when their revenue depends on one-time payments. This instability could result in sudden business closure, leaving customers without their promised hosting. More on this can be read on Investopedia’s page on Business Models.

5. Lack of Updates

Lifetime hosting providers often struggle to provide regular updates and improvements due to financial constraints, leaving your website vulnerable to cyber threats and outdated technologies.

6. Hidden Fees

Many such providers often have hidden charges for additional services or renewals. For instance, after a period, they may charge you for continuing to host your site, negating the "lifetime" promise.

7. Data Security

Data security can be compromised with lifetime hosting providers. Their lack of resources might result in inadequate security measures, exposing your site to hackers and data breaches.

8. Non-refundable Payments

In most cases, the one-time payment for lifetime hosting is non-refundable. This could lead to financial loss if the provider fails to deliver on their promises or shuts down.

9. Dependency

Such plans can create unhealthy dependency, making it difficult for you to switch hosting when required due to the sunk cost fallacy.

10. Limitations on Scalability

As your website grows, you'll need more resources and services. Lifetime hosting plans often fail to provide scalability options, hindering your website's growth.

ChatGPT's Conclusion

While lifetime hosting offers might seem attractive initially due to the lure of a one-time payment, the multiple downsides make them a risky investment. Instead, it's advisable to choose a reputable hosting provider with transparent pricing and reliable services.

My Conclusions

'Lifetime' anything is a scam be it household goods, website hosting or anything else. But this points us at another unsavory aspect of the industry: 'Cheap' Hosting.

Hosting- what it is

  1. Hosting a website is a complex business, believe it or not. Here's what a hosting facility does, in essence:
    Allows your website to be seen - globally or locally according to website settings. This means carrying data from your site to every viewer which means it provides a data allowance.
  2. Stores every file on your website including images, text, orders. Usually though your videos are stored on YouTube or other video site for purposes of bandwidth and speed.
  3. Provides security against hackers in addition to software on your websbite.
  4. Provides email addresses for your site. Email is often hosted elsewhere but the addresses come from your site.
  5. Provides a backup service
  6. Provides limited technical support when needed.

What is the limitation of Cheap hosting?

We'll take each point from the previous paragraph to show you the limitations of cheap hosting:

  1. Data Bandwidth: As your website grows, it needs more bandwidth. When you've run out of bandwidth, your site will simply switch off until you update the allowance or the end of the month has passed. So now you must upgrade from 'cheap' to a new plan.
  2. File storage: This limits the size of your site, but it also limits what else you can do such a keeping a copy of the site to test updates before publishing them. Once you are put of space, your site shuts down - again, you need to upgrade your hosting plan.
  3. Security: Even with good quality plans, hosts will often tell you to get another company to solve your problem if your site's been hacked. So you do need a support plan with your website and good quality protection. The cheaper the plan, the less support you'll get from the host.
  4. A website backup is critically important and requires more space than many cheap plans provide. 
  5. Hosting companies are driven by Geeks (no disrespect intended), so if you do have technical issues, you must either speak Geek or have a support plan with your website.


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About the author 

Keith Rowley MBA BSc (Hons)

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