Most businesses use their website to engage with existing clients and reach potential customers. The value of good website design and great content is widely accepted, but rock-solid website hosting is also crucial.
A few things to consider:
Loss of revenue
If your site goes down new customers will go elsewhere. This can also be true if your site is really slow to load. What about if you run an online shop? Clearly, downtime means lost sales and lost revenue. When a site like Amazon goes down, it’s a big deal. This happened in 2013 and in 40 minutes the outage cost them about $5 million dollars! Your lost revenue might be a lot smaller, but revenue is revenue.
If your site is down when search engines try to take a look around, your ranking will be negatively affected. Google also takes note of slow websites.
There are lots of nasty people out there who are intent on wreaking online havoc. While no one can keep your website 100% secure, a good web hosting company will backup your data and make it easy to restore if the unthinkable happens.
Understand the options
There are lots of options when it comes to website hosting - Shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Dedicated and Managed Web hosting. It’s worth spending some time considering the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.
Look for a hosting provider who offers excellent customer support. There’s nothing worse than your website being down and then having to deal with an unresponsive support team. Many providers claim to offer 24/7 support, but this is no guarantee that you will have access to a fast and knowledgeable team when you need them most. Before you enter a hosting contract test the response of the customer support staff.
While no provider can guarantee 100% uptime, they should take every precaution to ensure maximum uptime. An average of at least 99% should be expected. We recommend using a service like Pingdom to monitor website uptime. On that subject, the image we’ve used with this article was a recent monthly uptime report using Pingdom for our own website. Our website hosting partners are excellent and regularly deliver 100% uptime for us and our clients.
You get what you pay for
Cost should not be your main consideration. Basic, shared hosting is ok if your website only generates a small amount of traffic, but if your website is popular or you run an online store then dedicated or managed hosting would be a much better idea. It will cost you more initially, but it will be more stable.
You want your business to grow and your website will need to grow with you. Your website host should be able to scale with you, providing more resources to accommodate your traffic growth.
When you start to narrow down your list of potential providers you should then consider reputation. Find out how long the company has been in business, ask them to provide testimonials from existing clients and check their average downtime statistics.
There are lots of website hosting companies out there, but you need to choose very carefully. Making a poor choice can become a massive headache and affect your business.