It’s often tempting to take the easy way out, the cheaper option. However, when it comes to your business, and your online presence through web hosting, taking this route comes with a significant amount of risk.
You know that a well-designed, functional website is a modern business essential, but to do its job well means it must be found on the internet. Web hosting is what makes your website viewable, and as with most things online, there are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing a web host.
There is a massive, and growing, demand for web hosting, and there are now many companies offering cheap hosting deals. But we think that choosing cheap hosting is highly likely to prove a false economy for your business, because of the risks involved.
As website and IT support specialists, we strongly advise you to choose wisely with your web hosting, to that ensure your site is safe and secure.
Here we look at the pitfalls of choosing to go cheap.
What Makes a Bad Web Host?
Imagine being invited to a social event such as a dinner party, or an industry showcase, such as an awards dinner.
What happens, if, once you’ve arrived, there’s nobody to welcome you properly, or tell you where to sit. And if you do find a place for yourself, what if halfway through the meal your main course fails to materialise? Or despite being on a list, no one knows you, or is expecting you there?
If you’re not being looked after properly, and you’re not experiencing what you signed up for, then your host is letting you down.
There may be different reasons for this: the host may have been over-ambitious in taking on something too big to handle; or they may be disorganised; or not have the resources to deliver on what they’ve promised. Or worse, they could just be cynically making deals upfront which they have no intention of delivering on.
Web hosting is no different. If you sign up for it and find you and your site are being neglected, then you’ve got a bad host.
Who Offers Cheap Hosting?
Web hosting offers an opportunity for anyone to enter the market as a provider, turning a service into a commodity.
Some of these companies are newcomers, some more established but seeking to add to their portfolio of services while keeping their operating costs down.
So, ask yourself this: how can they afford to offer hosting so cheaply?
Are they sufficiently staffed with the right expertise, or have they cut corners? Are they treating web hosting as a loss leader so they can recoup their costs from you in some other way? Or, are they selling themselves cheaply now, only to tie you in with a dependency when they can take more money from you later?
Put it this way, if a cheap web host’s version of cost effectiveness is to get the largest number of customers signed up, they’re unlikely to have access to the best hosting packages at the prices they’re commanding.
The key things you want from your hosting are: speed, security and support. If you discover any, or all, of these things are lacking when it comes to your host, then you are putting your business at risk.
What are the Risks and Consequences of Bad Web Hosting ?
If cheap web hosting results in a poor performance for your site this will impact on its users – the people you want to visit it and, ultimately, to become your customers.
Your online presence needs to be competitive, which means having a website that loads quickly and that doesn’t slow people down when they land on it and decide to browse through your pages.
What if you’re selling direct to customers online? If you have an ecommerce site you must ensure it has top functionality. If your hosting lets you down then all you’ll have to show for it are abandoned shopping carts. Slow loading can affect your SEO too, leading to loss of business.
Security is a big hosting issue. How many sites will your cheaper choice be hosting on the same server? This may already be affecting the speed, but security is also crucial. If a hacker gets access to another, neighbouring site on this server, what’s to stop them hacking into yours? Nothing.
This could result in you finding you have content on your site that isn’t yours, or with your site disappearing altogether. You must be sure that your web host is fully knowledgeable about all aspects of online security, so that they are setting their servers up securely. If they’ve not locked down server subscriptions correctly then they could be leaving your site vulnerable to interference and attacks.
There are long term business consequences: Google displays a warning to visitors if it believes hackers may have changed a site’s pages. Warnings like this will deter people from using your site.
Then there’s the issue of downtime. If your host’s server crashes and your site is down, what action will they take, and how quickly will they ensure that you’re up and running again?
A cheap web host typically won’t have the kind of resources in place to offer speedy resolutions, or the kind of customer support that keeps you fully in the loop.
For many companies, an active website is business-critical, whether this is for customers placing orders, buying, or making appointments or bookings. Downtime costs money – and the longer a site is down the more it costs, in terms of cash and reputation.
Reliable Web Hosting
We believe web hosting must be of the highest professional standards, to ensure our clients have fully functional websites to match their business objectives and serve their customers.
For this reason, we offer Microsoft hosting and, importantly, our hands-on expertise and support – we put a high degree of personal commitment into providing quality web hosting and support.
We don’t offer the cheapest web hosting, but it’s the hosting your business deserves.
Get In Touch
We’d love to talk to you about your website requirements, and what we can do to help you with your online presence.