When we started out in 2006 as a web design, development, and hosting company, many of our first clients came to us after having bad experiences with another company. We soon recognized a pattern: the company who built them a website did not take responsibility for anything that came after the launch. You see, websites are like cars, they need regular maintenance to keep running at optimal performance and remain safe. This kind of detailed attention is called fully managed website hosting and maintenance.
Another scenario we saw often was when someone new inside a company inherited responsibility for the website, but the web company providing hosting offered nothing more than that. No guidance for updates, no support for questions about adding content, and no backups in case something was broken during editing. The person was left on their own without the knowledge of how to work within or maintain the site.
As a small business, we care about each and every customer and are proud of what our business class web hosting and maintenance provides. We have seen the dark side of web hosting, the one where people come to us after being disappointed, or downright swindled, by fly-by-night hosting companies. Unfortunately, with those types of companies it’s common to be burned by a hacked site, horrible customer service, or poor site performance.
That’s why all website hosting is not created equal. Find out why cheap hosting may seem like a good business decision at first, but will ultimately cost you a lot more.
View Hosting and Maintenance Infographic
Our hosting infographic explains the elements of your website, the security issues that arise, and how a true web partner will maintain your site and have your back.
How Cheap Website Hosting Ultimately Lets You Down
The Latin saying, “caveat emptor”, or basically, “let the buyer beware” very much applies to the different types of website hosting. If you go with a fly-by-night web host with a low monthly rate, you will get what you pay for. Initially, that monthly rate can be appealing to a business owner. But soon you will see where the service is lacking, and you don’t want that realization to come from something as serious as a website security hack.
Next, we have listed real reasons why cheap website hosting can and will let you down. We know these to be true, as many of our current hosting customers came to us after experiencing exactly these things.
Your site will go down.
This is not a guess. This is not a matter of if, it’s when. That’s because cheap hosting means that you are sharing a server with hundreds, maybe thousands of other websites. As a result, your site will go down multiple times in a year, without your knowledge. It may be in the middle of the night, and not matter much, or, it may be during working hours, right when a customer is about to place an order, and you lose them for good due to their frustration.
Premium hosting means dedicated space on a server with few others. Precision Pages business-class hosting ensures your site is up 99.9% of the time.
Regular backups of your site are rarely part of the package.
When do you really need a backup of your site? The moment right after you made a big change in your site, or accidentally modified a template, theme, or code, and multiple pages of your site are screwed up. Or worse–your whole site is broken. If you have a backup of your site from just the night before, it’s an easy five-minute process to restore the previous version. A website partner that offers fully managed hosting and maintenance will do this for you, and erase that panic.
Basic hosting does not include maintenance and updating of your CMS, themes, or plugins.
A CMS, Content Management System, is the platform your website lives upon, such as WordPress. If you’re using WordPress, the design package of your site is called a theme, and the functionality that happens on pages, like a form, a calendar, or a photo slider, often come from plugins.
Each one of these elements, the CMS, themes, and plugins, are made by different companies and just like any software, updates and patches are regularly required. In today’s world of critical cyber security issues, hackers are continually looking for access into the back end of websites. All they need is to identify a vulnerability in the code, something outdated that they can hack, or a domain that is allowed to expire, and they are in. This is why CMS’, themes, and plugins frequently have updates: the company learned of a vulnerability or hole that hackers could access, and they have to update their software, then deploy it to their thousands of users.
The companies that create these elements send out updates and security patches more often than you might think. But with open source CMS’ such as WordPress, those updates don’t just automatically go into effect on your site. Someone has to see them, execute them, and then test them after they are installed. There’s no “set it and forget it” when it comes to open source.
If you have a reputable website partner who hosts, maintains, and updates your site, they receive these notices and implement the patches and updates for you, as well as test your site to ensure nothing broke after the update.
But if you are only paying for basic web hosting, it’s up to you to keep up with the new versions and updates. Most business owners or marketing personnel aren’t taught to identify and make updates to their website, let alone troubleshoot issues that come up after a new version is installed. Often time is an issue as well. When a company has limited staff, their time is at a premium, and isn’t well spent on figuring out website maintenance. That’s where fully managed hosting and maintenance makes your life a whole lot easier.
You are just a number in their system.
Let’s be frank. Or, let’s be any big box domain and hosting company in this instance. Do you think those huge domain factories care about you or your business? Do you think your call or email will be answered right away by a real person and not an automated system/reply? Do you think they care if your site is slow, goes down for a minute, or gets hacked?
These are rhetorical questions, of course.
They try to up-sell you every time you contact them.
When you finally do get through and are able to talk to someone at your hosting company, is a large part of the conversation about what you aren’t paying for? Do you ask for help with something, only to be told that it’s part of the next package up?
A Fully Managed Website Translates to a Worry-free Website
With basic web hosting you will find that all you receive is a somewhat shaky platform on which your website sits, nothing more. As a business owner, or marketing team member, you are likely seeking a worry-free experience so that you can focus on your job. Knowing that your website company has your back and is invested in your online presence, gives tremendous peace of mind.