Believe it or not, good web hosting is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make when setting up a website regardless of the size of your company. Over the years a great deal of time has been spent troubleshooting client problems and of that, a majority of it came down to the web host being down or having issues. Sometimes it would be as simple as a client forgetting to pay their hosting bill or their domain bill and ever since then I have always hosted everything for my clients. I learned very quickly to try out different web hosts and once I found a great company with excellently managed web hosting services I never left. If your website is just basic HTML and you don’t use your host for email then don’t worry about it. However, if you’re of a majority of people these days that have content management systems like WordPress, Woocommerce, or Magento then you’re highly dependent on MySQL databases.
I recall a friend telling me about an outage that cost him a $10,000 sale because he was unable to answer an email due to his web hosts outage. He never cheaped out of web hosting again because a good host always has redundant backup systems trunked to save your company in the likely event of an outage. Google estimates that one in a thousand servers would go out on them daily. So it’s not a question of if your server has issues but when. A good host is fast, fully managed, and always backed up by redundancies for both connection and server files.
Web hosting is part of the communication life line of pretty much every major recognized company. When people look for your contact information your business card is typically not handy so they Google your contact information online. If your website or your email is down because of your web host you lose that major opportunity to connect with that person. If you sold buildings, or houses that sale could mean the sale of the year. Not only is important that your web hosting is always on but also that your site speed uploads are extremely fast. For every second of load time added onto a site a company on average will lose 7% or more.
In today’s market, the site speed is extremely important so much so that Google even made it a part of their algorithm for ranking websites. While anyone can host a website on their home computer the kind of upload speeds a person gets of 768k is not nearly as fast as the 20 Mbit connection upload redundancies that web hosts have. Even if your business has a decent upload speed it’s unlikely that your staff will not at one point or another slow that speed down to a crawl.
People often ask for the reasoning behind the name Making 8 and one of the major reasons behind that is because people make decisions about a website in their first 8 seconds. Believe it or not, if you’ve made it past 8 seconds and they’re still on your site after a minute you’re doing well. Most people do not spend a great deal of time on a page if it’s not structured right. You need to insure the page loads fast, doesn’t have too heavy of imagery or flash that slows download time. You also have to insure your site loads fast for a majority of smartphone users of which 56% as of 2013 access the web on. If your site is extremely content rich then you absolutely need a great host.
Over the years 1&1 and Godaddy stuck out as by far the worst web hosts with horrible support which is fine considering their ultra-low web hosting prices. The best web hosts I’ve worked with so far are Hostgator and Hostmonster. I absolutely love how good the service is at Host Monster but their service is only catering to the small business that doesn’t have a very big website. If you’re a mid-size business like most companies you’re going to want to go to Hostgator which provides above average service, support, and scalability. Hostgator has saved my butt more times than I can imagine and their uptime online is more than a business could ask for. They back up files regularly and if a developer accidentally deletes your site or even intentionally they have recovery services available to you.
If your boss is demanding your company hosts the site make sure that you select a good web host and don’t do it internally. Between the cost savings of having your email and website managed it will far outweigh having it done inside your company in today’s market. A good web host is available by phone 24-7 and answers within a few minutes. A good web host monitoring the servers 24/7 and always know when an outage is. Chances are by the time you phone in they’ll already be rectifying the situation and it will be back up minutes later. The way I tested managed web hosting service is I would call them up at any random time of the day in pre-qualifying them. I’ve found that both
Host Gator and Host Monster answered promptly within minutes and in some circumstances as long as 10 which really is way better than the 30-45 minutes I’d see with Godaddy or worse yet 1&1. Godaddy is great for domains but when it comes to web hosting it’s an area I definitely avoid with them. So when it comes down to web hosting don’t cheap out on your business. Not even giant companies like Twitter do all their own hosting. In today’s market with all the savings it makes absolutely no sense to host your own website. While your IT guy says he can do it he will cost you far more to do it than a good web host will.
Update: We recently switched to Liquidweb web hosting because HostGator, HostMonster and Blue Host which were all great companies before merged infrastructure which dramatically reduced their quality of service. They have incredible security and it’s no wonder as they host Symantec Internet Security. Clients have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of their hosting services. It’s a bit of a pain to sign up but they’re worth the work.
One of the far most important factors is security with web hosting. A good web host is usually very large and includes security experts. Believe it or not, most sites are tried numerous times per month to be hacked if they have any real search or social influence. A good information security expert will cost upwards of 20k for an audit but big web hosting companies usually have one working with them at all times. The regular server updates and calculated moves big hosts make protect you and your business 365 days a year including the many days when your staff is likely not working. If your site comes under attack they’ll know about it and have the appropriate protections in place. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people being hacked on cheap shared hosting. It’s just not worth risking your business presence and reputation on bad web hosting.
At Making 8 we like to use managed web hosting services from Liquidweb in the form of either a dedicated server or a VPS (Virtual Private Server) because that means your site is not shared with thousands of others and will greatly reduce your chances of an outage from someone else abusing the servers (which happens a lot on low cost shared hosting). We host all our clients here and include the cost into our integrated digital marketing services for free because we know just how much trouble it saves everyone. If you’re a web developer or an IT professional I highly recommend you doing the same for your clients. You’ll never have to worry about them not paying for a domain or inexpensive host again and it will expedite any troubleshooting issues you may have to overcome from time to time. Nothing is more annoying than finding out that you’ve spent over a half an hour of your company’s time only to find out that the client didn’t pay their $15 domain bill. Save yourself the trouble, and gain yourself the support of great service by getting managed web hosting.
We use these guys… Liquidweb