The Website Hosting Dilemma
Would you put cheap gas in an expensive BMW? Most of us would not. Similarly, would you trust your website to a shady hosting company?
It’s sad that many people happily invest tens of thousands of dollars into their website but balk at spending $50 per month for a reputable website hosting company!
What causes this?
Is it the proliferation of “cheap” website hosting companies that offer hosting services for as low as $5 per month?
Or is it the promise of unlimited everything included in these hosting packages?
Website hosting appears to have become commoditized and has affected what people think in a big way. If you select a good web host, you will avoid the hassles of downtime, the eventual cost of moving your website to a new host and loss of revenue and more than anything else, you will avoid the frustration of dealing with a poor web host.
So here’s a look at some aspects of website hosting:
Fast website performance matters. Remember, search engines take website performance (load times, server response times etc) into account when a website is ranked on search engines. So invest the time into selecting a good web host.
Carefully look at the overall reliability of your selected web host(s) and pay particular attention to server performance, network connection speeds, and server uptime: these factors should be the main determining factors of who you select.
Take the time to research your selected web host(s). Base your decisions on what the average website owner is saying and not what the web host is saying. Use search engines to find and read customer reviews and be sure to look into online forums that discuss web hosting. Read actual customer reviews and not reviews that are paid for by
It may be tedious to do this but it is well worth your effort. Do not fall for some of these dubious web host review forums that are actually sponsored by hosting companies!
If your web host provides a telephone number for their sales group, or if they provide a live chat feature, use it to talk to their sales group. Determine the friendliness of the sales group and figure out how technical they are and how fast they respond to you.
Support is another area that you need to look into carefully. Before you sign up, try to contact the support group at your selected web host(s) and see how fast they respond, how technically savvy they are, and how quickly they answer your questions.
Some companies hide behind email addresses – it is much better to have a hosting company that provides a contact telephone number or live-chat features for both sales and support so that you can call or get in touch quickly. After all, time is of essence. In fact, try to call their support group and take note of how long you have to be on hold. If hold times are unacceptable, select another host. Even better if the selected company uses Twitter to manage support issues. Monitor their tweets to see how fast they respond.
After all, time is of essence. In fact, try to call their support group and take note of how long you have to be on hold. If hold times are unacceptable, select another host. Even better if the selected company uses Twitter to manage support issues. Monitor their tweets to see how fast they respond.
With website hosting, what you pay for is generally what you get. Sure, you can get website hosting from as little as $3.95 per month for a cheap shared account to as much as $900 (or more) per month for a dedicated server. It is worth investing money into getting a good web hosting company. You may, or may not, need a dedicated server to start with but do take all factors into consideration and then select a proper fit.
Whatever you do, avoid the cheap, spammy web hosting companies that are known to overload their servers with hundreds, if not thousands of websites. Look to spend an amount that is proportionate to how serious you are about your online presence.
A Caveat about Unlimited Everything Hosting
Many web hosts will dangle the proverbial “unlimited disk space” and “unlimited bandwidth” carrot in front of you so that they can lure you in. The fact is that most websites will never use unlimited disk space or bandwidth. And if you do try to use unlimited disk space or bandwidth you may be surprised at how quickly your account gets flagged and possibly suspended! So don’t be lured by these so called unlimited everything web hosts.
I can recall a conversation I had with one of our (cheap) website hosting companies a couple of years ago. They warned me that our file storage had exceeded 10GB and that we would need to reduce file space usage to under 5GB. So I quickly pulled up their website and told the support rep that, hey, but you guys, uh, offer unlimited everything. He actually chuckled and told me to read the fine print at the bottom or the page. It clearly said that the maximum space per account was 10GB but in the sales copy, they said “unlimited” everything. Suffices to say that we no longer use their services!
Most website development companies also offer website hosting services. It is prudent to give this a second, and sometimes a third look. It may be worth hosting with your web design & development firm:
- so you have the peace of mind of a one- stop support call
- because most web development companies maintain one or more dedicated servers and they do not load hundreds of websites on their servers and
- because these companies value their relationship with you and want to continue it, they will work with alacrity to resolve any hosting related issues
What has your experience been when it comes to hosting?