Not just pure business, but even pure identity these days is electronic. So if you don’t have a website or online presence then, you’re pretty much invisible or non-existent, in this world. Neither business nor individuals, in current day and age can afford to be without it. It is critical to not only acquire the right kind of web presence but also configure it to meet your business or personal interests. For someone who just loves blogging or selling products, technical hassles involved in getting a website up and running can be colossal.
Then, there’s the market. In which, exist hordes of web hosting providers, willing and ready to cut each other’s throat, to get your business. Does all this competition make things any easier, cheaper or better for the consumer? May be for a few but for a majority, who lack clarity on the very basics of web hosting, the situation turns into a horror movie.
Typical Web-Hosting Horror Stories
You get your first paid hosting account and set up your website. It works like a charm and you’re happy. But then without warning, the site goes down. It’s not necessarily their fault that they think this way; the paradigm of self-advancement is one that most people in our society are familiar with, and it’s the foundation on which most leadership instruction is built.
You think it’s something temporary or a misconfiguration at your end. But, after calling support, you learn, it’s the provider. They did an update, changed something or tinkered with something on their servers without providing any prior intimation or warning and your site went down.
The Traffic Choke and Blackmail
Once you finally get things back up , it stays good for a while. So you add content and richly enhance your website. You invest money and effort in it. Let’s say, down the line, finally after an year, it all starts to pay off. You start getting visitors, twice-thrice more than your usual volume. And your site goes down. Turns out the resources allocated to your site on the server were insufficient and the provider wants more money for “enhanced resources”. Well, can you say NO, especially, now when things have just started to work out for you after an year.
So you pay-off for the “extra’s” and think the troubles are all in the past but it's only the beginning of what follows next. Now, out of the blue you start getting notifications, then warnings that your website violates their “fair usage policy” or you are “abusing” the “bandwidth and resources” allocated to you. But you don’t see any more visitors or any activity other than usual on your site, so you get suspicious and ask questions from support.
They in turn feed you a story that your website possibly has a virus and to check your code. (Except, you’re aren’t that technical and don’t know how), so they offer to run a check may be for free and fix it for an additional fee or subscription charges. Now ain’t that a rip off, executed beautifully?
But is that all we have to scare you?
Not really, we have some routine horrors that some of us experience on daily basis. Here’s the usual laundry list of them:
Poor or Wildly Fluctuating Page Loading Speeds
Just about 30% of web visitors wait more than 6-10 seconds for a page to load, rest abandon it if it fails to load between 1 to 4 seconds.
No Dedicated Support or Assured Channel/Mode of Contact
What happens when your site goes down at 2 a.m. on a Saturday and your provider has no toll free number? You want to send them an email and wait it out?
The Renewal BlackMail
First, they lure you in with low fees, heavy coupon discounts and when it's time to renew, you end up paying twice as usual , in hidden charges.
Nearly half of phishing attacks involve hacked shared hosting servers. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in web server admin panels like cPanel and applications such as WordPress to display phishing pages.
So Where’s your Server at?
So you set up a website selling books to Britons , except your hosting provider is somewhere in Cambodia - Southeast Asia. So you got a good deal in hosting and saved a ton of money, but the web server is located across the world from your Target Audience. Pages Load Slower, due to poor infrastructure in that part of the world and distance too.
So now you know, what can hurt you, most. This knowledge helps with not just taking precautions but also mastering your web hosting environment to make the best use of it for your business or personal use.
Some Technicalities For Clarity...
It’d be better to understand some basics of technology or the necessary ‘nuts n bolts’ to get clarity.
What types of services are available for web hosting?
Shared – (the cheapest)
Here your website will share a server with other websites. How many other websites would that be? Well! You don’t have a say on that. It's something that the provider determines.
Now, is that a problem? Probably, yes, if that server isn’t managed well or is overloaded. Then your site goes down or experiences poor performance. The provider could enforce limits on as to how many visitors your site can have at any instant, like rationing bandwidth for everyone. Except that’s bad for you, if you get a lot of visitors suddenly. Instead of this getting converted to desired action like sales, they are just dropped off the page. Now, that’s poor experience and they may never visit again.
In this you get to resell hosting space to others, more like renting out a flat in your building. The web hosting provider still takes cares of the technology and upkeep.
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
This kind of service is characterized by dedication of a server or significant resources in it for the use of a single client. VPS clients are isolated from each other even on the same server, but will either need to know (on technical basis) on how to set up, maintain and manage the server. Else, they gotta hire a server management company, of hire a full time inhouse Server Specialist . Now, if you have a big website, getting a lot of traffic, generating revenue in bulk loads, then VPS is not just worth the cost, but also necessary.
Dedicated server – (the most expensive)
If you’re really a big brand or just really well funded like a multi-campus educational institution, then getting dedicated server, seems an ideal service for you.
Is it expensive? Yes. But, you got it all to yourself. Privacy and security of your information along with performance is guaranteed, except, you’ve gotta invest in the management staff (Server Specialists) for this to work.
A new age hybrid between VPS and Dedicated Web Server Hosting services, that runs your website on the cloud at multiple locations. This relates to constant availability and reliability. Performance is also something which can be easily managed and tweaked, by choosing things like CPU cores, amount of RAM, storage space, network resources and many more configurations.
Deciding Which web hosting Works Best For You?
Are You Getting What You’re Paying For?
A provider offering cheapest hosting per month can’t be expected to provide even decent , let alone great service. At low monthly price, your website will most likely be hosted on a shared server with possibly hundreds or even thousands of others.
This could translate into slower load speeds for your website and users abandoning pages. (which is definitely not good for business.)
Another thing is, that Google ranks, faster sites higher in their search rankings. That means even with most thrilling content your website could sink even further in rankings due to slow speed and high abandonment rates.
Now, this don’t necessarily mean that the most expensive hosting is always the best. Always check out reviews for hosting providers to get an idea, as to the expected level of their service. Twitter feeds, particularly has the most updated and candid feedback for most companies. It is posted online by real customers, sharing their actual experience of the services, real-time.
Is The Server Localized?
Wherever feasible, use local web hosting providers to get optimum page loading time – so if you are an American business targeting European customers, look for an European host as the first choice.
This strategy yields a couple of advantages, first and most obvious is lightening speed page loads and website performance. The second ,is the easier server management and maintenance, due to easier access to the web host.
Did you read the fine print? Really?
How does the offer of “100 GB” or “Unlimited” disk space sound to you? Great, isn’t it.
But it’s a common ploy, many providers use to impress you and get you to sign up. First, an average website like a blog won’t need more than 3 - 5 GB. So only consider, it as a decision making factor, if you really need it. Second, if you do really need it, be sure to see it in writing as “Dedicated” space and not shared with others.
So What’s the Limit?
Every web host puts a limit on data transfer from your website. Now, you might argue, there ain’t no data transfer happening on your website. No file sharing, no uploads or downloads. Nobody putting anything or taking stuff out. People are just visiting to view a new recipe every week.
In technical terms, any activity on your website, even when someone visits and opens a page, will download a copy from your server to their computers. This is standard and counts towards data transfer quota (monthly) assigned to your website.
Now, there is ALWAYS a limit to this even if the hosting company says “unlimited” in their ads. Read the fine print carefully and you will find when or at what point of usage the limit is applied and how much.
There are countless stories out there of people who wrote a masterpiece online, got a sudden spike in traffic, and then found their website taken down due to breaking the bandwidth limit rules.
Now, here’s a list of commonly found online businesses and which web hosting service is expected to work best for them:
|Core Business||Expected Traffic||
|Content Writing||Medium||No||Shared / Cloud|
|Content Editing/Curation||Low||No||Cloud / VPS|
|Audio/Video Transcription||Medium||No||Cloud / VPS|
|Audio/Video Production||Medium||No||Cloud / VPS|
|Business Coaching||High||No||Shared / Cloud|
|Affiliate Marketing/Re-Selling||High||Yes||VPS / Dedicated|
|Digital/Virtual Assistant||Low||Yes||Cloud / VPS|
|Online Courses||High||Yes||Cloud / Dedicated|
|EBook Selling||High||Yes||Cloud / Dedicated|
|Online Tutoring||Medium||Yes||Cloud / Dedicated|
|Blogging||High||No||Cloud / VPS|
|Advertising||Low||No||VPS / Dedicated|
|Social Media Management||High||Yes||Dedicated|
|Consulting||Low||No||Cloud / Shared|
|Photography||Medium||No||Cloud / VPS|
The Laundered List Of web hosting Providers…
So we told you first, of the horrors that have plagued innocent people and business falling into the treacherous, complicated traps of web hosting mistakes, due to lack of knowledge and thus poor judgement. Then we tell you how to judge the players in the market, so you can tell “Great” from “Pathetic”. So, is that all? So do we, now leave you to decide the right web hosting service and provider for you? Well, you’re just about ready now, to make the final plunge. But before you do, let's leave you with one final piece of the Website Hosting Puzzle :
A No-Nonsense Analysis of the Top web hosting Service Providers, to aid your decision making.
A leading web hosting solutions company, founded in 2003, Bluehost provides comprehensive web hosting solutions to millions of users throughout the world. A Premier Partner for WordPress Blogging Platform...
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HostGator is a global provider of web hosting and related services.Founded in 2003, with humble beginnings, HostGator has grown into a leading provider of Shared, Reseller, VPS, and Dedicated web hosting. HostGator is headquartered in Houston and Austin, Texas, with several international offices throughout the globe.
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SiteGround is one of the largest independently owned hosting companies with more than 2,000,000 domains, processing 1500+ tickets, 1000+ phone calls and 3000+ chat requests per day.
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Started back in 2001 , A2 hosting has grown as a user friendly web hosting provider, featuring swiftserver technology platform to enable upto 20X times performance enhancement. A2 also offers full money back guarantee in addition to the uptime commitment.
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