Spending £1000s on a website but pennies on hosting is a recipe for online disaster

If you work in the web hosting industry, you’ll know it’s been competing primarily on price since it began. There are only so many bronze, silver and gold hosting packages that hosting providers can come up with; all say their support is the best. And once you’ve given away all of the disk space and email with unlimited plans, how else can you differentiate yourself?

Consumers have long reaped the rewards of this never-ending race to the bottom. So it’s little surprise that when it comes to their online presence, who and what they choose to provide their hosting is, for the vast majority, the last thing on their shopping list.

It’s not uncommon for a company to say they’ve paid upwards of £10,000 on the design for their new website and are spending £1000s per month on Google AdWords and pay per click advertising, plus a similar sum on search engine optimisation. You can imagine how frustrating it is to discover that the company has chosen to place this fantastic new website on a hosting package that costs less than they would pay for a coffee and a sandwich.

The problem is that in choosing to buy shared hosting that was designed with the hobbyist user in mind, they’re often then shocked that things like enterprise level backup, load balancers, dedicated firewalls, distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, and clustered web and database servers, either physical or cloud or hybrid, are not included by default.

Shared hosting is of course tremendous value for money, but it’s usually designed to manage the loads of hundreds of websites per server, all sharing and competing for the same resources. Under normal circumstances that’s fine, but it means that if one of those websites became the target of a DDoS attack, or has a huge spike in traffic, or starts to consume all of the resources of the web or database servers due to poor coding, everyone on that shared server suffers.

If a business depends on its website, being told that it’s running slow or has crashed because of the actions of others using the same server is of little consolation. Yet had that same business taken the time to consult their hosting provider and discuss their objectives – which one would expect would include performance, responsiveness and 100% uptime – they would have the web presence that their managing director actually thought their IT department or design firm had purchased to ensure optimum performance.

The frustrating thing for the hosting provider is that all too often, they’re consulted after things haven’t worked out as expected. Reputable hosting providers invest in staff who are fiercely proud of their ability to deliver technical solutions both large and small. If they were consulted at the outset of the design process and not at the end, the right hosting choices would be made to ensure that your shiny new website will stay up and running 24/7/365.

Phil Parry is sales & service director at Hosting UK, which is based in St Asaph, North Wales. 

Image credit: formatc1/Flickr