No matter how good your website is, if you don’t have the right hosting solution, you could be losing money and customers left, right and centre.
It might not be sexy, but hosting can have a huge impact on your revenue, customer relationships, search engine ranking and website security. Syed Balkhi, founder for WPBeginner, explains 3 of the biggest problems that can occur when you don’t choose the right host in this article for the Huffington Post…
1. Loss of revenue – If your site goes down, your potential customers will not be able to view your blog posts or learn about your products and services. Even worse, if you host an online store, you will lose out on potential sales and income. Amazon recently had a 40 minute outage which cost them about $5 million dollars. Your loss might not be as big, but it’s still a loss of revenue.
2. Negative effect on your SEO Ranking – Your goal with content marketing is to rank high in search results so customers can easily find you. If your site is down repeatedly when search engines are attempting to visit, then your ranking will be adversely affected. Aside from downtime, many SEO experts believe that slow websites can also hurt your rankings.
3. Security and Malware Attacks – There is no perfect solution for keeping your website secure. However a reputable web hosting company will back up your data to a remote server and make it easy to restore in case your site is hacked. They will also assist you with technical support, maintenance and security issues 24 hours a day.
At Simpleweb, we make sure all of our clients are set up with web hosts we know and trust. Here’s what we look for in a web hosting solution…
Flexibility and consistency
We generally work with web hosts who offer a broad range of services, covering a wide range of technologies. We find that this allows us to provide reliable and consistently high quality solutions to our clients.
Choosing one or two hosting partners for most our of our clients also allows us to develop relationships with hosting companies. This means we often receive first looks at new features and functionality, faster quotes and costings and, in some instances, a discount we can pass onto our clients.
Possibility of acquisition
Web hosting is an extremely competitive market with hundreds of options available. While this is brilliant for driving down price, it also means a lot of companies are created purely with a view to being acquired, or that they unintentionally peak the interest of larger players.
Smaller companies with cheaper solutions, may be looking to sell their solutions to larger, more established companies in time. This can leave customers high and dry when servers are shut down and migrated over to the new company, when support and quality of the solutions may change.
The Web Host Industry Review cite downtime as the most likely cause of upset during a hosting acquisition, but note there are a number of other problems that can arise:
“Be prepared for the possibility that other issues could crop up with your new provider delivering a different style of customer service, glitches in email servers or lost emails, billing system problems, or in rare cases, information being lost during the migration process.”
To protect ourselves and our clients from these risks, we only work with large, long established web hosting companies who are more likely to acquire smaller companies than be acquired.
PCI compliance and ISO accreditation
Clients who take card payments through their website need to comply with security standards developed by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council. Using cheap, shared hosting plans can make it more difficult to comply to PCI standards. We use hosting companies that are PCI compliant. Some hosting companies publish this information on their website, whereas you might need to contact sales or customer service departments of others to find out.
Check out this article from Rackspace explaining PCI compliance and how your web hosting company can help.
It’s also important that we choose a web host who is ISO accredited as we can be sure that they have met strict quality assurance requirements and have strict physical and information security policies. This also makes it easier for our clients to gain ISO accreditation as they can be sure their hosting is ISO compliant.
Advances in tech
We prefer web hosting companies who are embracing new technologies and regularly bringing in new services and options. Larger, well established hosting companies are constantly developing their products, improving speed and reducing costs as they grow.
These larger companies are also often the first to be approached by smaller companies looking to sell their products or be acquired. That means Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and other large competitors are often the first to offer new solutions and their customers can start using them months before anyone else.
For example, in early 2013, Rackspace acquired ObjectRocket, a MongoDB database as a service (DBaaS) provider. This enabled Rackspace to offer it’s customers a new service that would help them keep up with technological advances in the future.
Great hosting is vital to running a successful online business and it’s important the decision isn’t simply taken on cost.
As well as a reliable hosting company, it’s also vital that your web team understand your website or application so that they can ensure the hosting is appropriate and well configured. Otherwise it’s like giving a 5 year old the keys to a Ferrari and asking them to drive to the shops. Things will go bad, fast!
Look out for our next post in this series, “How we get the most from our hosting” and, in the mean-time, if you have an application online that’s running less than optimally, get in touch, we can probably help!