The hidden cost of cheap web hosting
If you want to pay for cheap web hosting, you are going to pay for someone to manage it. Bottom line, cheap web hosting is expensive. Let me explain…
Recently, we’ve received several requests from customers to migrate the new website we built for them, to a hosting platform they were already paying for. This is what we’ve been hearing, “We bought our domain name and a hosting package at the same time so you can just use that for our website.” It’s that very decision that this article is all about. Just because you already have it, doesn’t mean it’s the best fit. It can often — very often — become a classic case of “you get what you pay for” and lead to a load of trouble.
Among the most recent migration requests, eight out of the last 10 have resulted in extra time (and, thus, extra support fees) to configure the server properly for the environment the website was designed for. Until we get in there, it’s hard to tell if it’s going to work as is. Based on our recent numbers, this is the case only 20% of the time.
There is an assumption out there that web designers are responsible for any issues that arise with a third party host. In other words, we are expected to take care of it as part of building the website. The truth is, this work is out of scope. A web designer cannot guarantee the security and functionality of your website if it’s hosted in a third party environment. In the end, it will save you time and money by going with the same source if the option is provided.
You might be saving money on hosting, but it can easily cost more to make it work properly. When using a cheap hosting provider for your business, consider this list:
4) Hosting plans
All hosting companies have several plans and most of them are compatible with most popular software platforms. Some even have nifty install scripts to make it pretty smooth. It’s possible the plan you are on doesn’t cover the software used to build your website. This is not always the case but if it is, it will require an upgrade. The upgrade cost isn’t much, but the time to figure that out will usually will be more. Also, it will delay the installation time.
3) Website backups
When was the last time you backed up your website? When was the last time you even thought about it? If you think your hosting company is taking care of it, think again.
How most hosting companies treat your website data:
“You are responsible for your backups and web content. We create our own backups on the shared servers, and we can restore from those. However, this is NOT a procedure you should rely on to keep your content safe.” — quote taken from a popular web host
Our take on business websites we build for our customers:
We won’t host it if you didn’t hire us to build it. Our backups are specialized for the environment your website was created for so it’s reliable. If something does go wrong, we will restore it faster so you can run your business, not an IT department.
2) Page speed
Unless you are paying premium fees, your website will be on a server with a few thousand others. Your website is not a priority to most hosting companies as their server will be answering millions of page requests and slowing down overall performance. Speed matters, just ask Amazon or Google…
This is the big one. If the stars aren’t aligned, we will have to spend time waiting for, and communicating with, support staff to get the hosting space setup for migration from development to production. We can spend 30 minutes on hold just waiting for someone to talk to. Then, you will be lucky to be taken care of without being transferred to another department. The experience is awful because it takes awhile to get to the right person. Sending an email request isn’t awesome either. Most systems auto-reply with, “Your request will be answered within 24 hours.” That usually means 12-36 hours and that translates to this: you pay more for cheap web hosting. Tech support will cost more money. In order for us to transfer a website to your host, we will require that you pre-authorize our company to act on your behalf. When going live, which usually is at night or on the weekends, access to support is critical. If we don’t have it, it will surely cause a delay.
With website hosting, there are many things to consider. Either you will have to make the time to sort it all out, or pay us for support. Either way it can be frustrating. The solution could be better… it could be smoother… just have us host your website. After all, we built it and we know what it needs. Let us take the hassle away and save you money in the long run.