Guide to Hosting – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Part 2
Published: 1st October 2017
Welcome to the second instalment of our guide to hosting, make sure you've read the first before learning more about ensuring you've got the right home for your website.
A quick backtrack to start
So, in our previous article we went over the basic types of hosting and it’s true that just about all hosting packages will fall into the two categories we’ve mentioned. Unfortunately, as with all things in the technology world it isn’t quite as simple as we’ve made out. For example, some would be shared hosting packages can come with a dedicated IP address and some dedicated packages can come completely unsupported. Some shared packages might include an automated backup solution whereas some dedicated plans might not.
Then there are all the extras to consider, does the plan or server feature a firewall to protect you from attacks, does it have antivirus so you can detect and eliminate malware should an attack get through your defences? Where is the backup server based in relation to your web server, if these are too far apart you might suffer considerable downtime whilst waiting for the backup to restore. The list goes on…
So there really is a lot to choosing the right hosting, take a good look around and don’t just trust onsite testimonials, check forums and the social media accounts of prospective hosting companies, here you’ll get a better idea of the services they offer from existing customers.
Don’t forget about your developer
One of the pitfalls we’ve seen time and time again is that people commission websites, which are set up on a server and for a while everything is fine. However, as time goes on, things can start to go wrong, unknown flaws in websites can cause them to break or updated plugins might no longer be compatible with each other. When this happens it’s important that you have a reliable developer on hand to help you debug the issues and get things working again, as this isn’t something your hosting company will be able to do.
If the website was built by a friend, or perhaps a developer who is no longer around to support you and it, then we’d recommend you find someone or a company who can be on standby should anything go wrong.
Good developers also speak and know the jargon when it comes to hosting, and can act as a middleman when it comes to dealing with any hosting issues, often resulting in a much quicker turnaround as both developer and hosting company can quickly and efficiently debug issues without needing to explain to each other what something means.
Often, you’ll find that a developer or development company will offer a support and maintenance package based on your requirements. This will ensure your site is kept secure, up to date and most importantly online. Any issues will be patched straight away which offers peace of mind and allows you to focus on what’s most important; running your business.
So, what do we recommend?
Hopefully at this point you’ve got a bit of an idea as to what goes into successfully hosting a website and that it’s a bit of a complicated business. If you want to go it alone and purchase your own hosting, hopefully this brief introduction will come in handy.
If, however you’d rather have everything we’ve covered here done for you, as we’d expect most people do, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Digital Agencies (Indeed, such as ourselves.) are your one stop solution to ensuring you get the best of everything we’ve talked about. A good agency will have top notch hosting, setup and configured properly to ensure speed and security, they’ll also have in house developers to assist when things go wrong. They’ll be able to support your hosting and website without you needing to worry about either.
So our recommendation if you don’t want to go it alone would certainly be to find a reputable digital agency, arrange a meeting, perhaps use this guide to help you ask the right questions regarding their packages. If they pass the test, get them on board! If you’ve already got a hosted website but no developer, most agencies will be happy to take on the management of your existing hosting, but in most cases, we’d recommend letting them move your site to their own as you can pretty much guarantee it’ll be better that what you have.
But how much will all this cost?
If you go it alone and get some shared hosting, you can keep costs low, probably under £100 per year, however you will be on your own, if things go wrong with either your site or your hosting you’ll certainly have a fair amount of downtime, and you’ll probably pay a premium to get things back up and running. We’ve heard horror stories where people have invested large amounts in marketing and advertising only for their website to crash just as it came into effect. As a result, money was lost on advertising and fixing the problem, perhaps worse still, customers were left unimpressed and unlikely to return.
Hosting packages from an agency will cost you a little more, but not often by much. The peace of mind however is worth every penny. In the above situation, you can simply communicate with your agency that you’re marketing and expect an increase in traffic, they can ensure everything is going to go smoothly.
Lastly, don’t forget that a good digital agency will no doubt also be able to help you with all other aspects of running your business, such as marketing and design. Find one that does it all and they’ll be your become your digital swiss army knife!
If you’ve made it this far you should now have an idea as to what option might be right for you. As we’ve said, this is a pretty big topic so if you’ve got any further questions or concerns a Google search might help you get the answers your looking for but also, please feel free to contact us, we’d be happy to help and discuss what we’ve mentioned here further.
But wait… you’ve not talked about Email…
Email hosting is another pretty big subject, so much so we’re going to write another article, similar to this, which will cover the various options and help you choose the right package for you. Sign up to our mailing list to stay updated as to when this available and if you have any questions regarding email hosting before then we’d be happy to help, just give us a call.