Every year, your business pays for hosting. Just another routine service charge, right? Wrong! You’re paying for a safe home patrolled by a security guard to protect your website, your brand and your corporate identity.
Does your website live in a safe neighbourhood? Websites reside, not in cyberspace, but in a physical location, on a computer called a server — think of it as an apartment building for websites. Your website rents space to store the coding, data, files and images that visitors see as your website. The quality, service and security that that server delivers can be as different as a shabby tenement flat and a high-class penthouse suite. It all depends on the integrity of the server and its caretaker.
How competent is your caretaker? Just like apartment buildings, servers get old and rundown. Doesn’t your website deserve a safe, modern server that loads your site quickly and reliably? A good caretaker replaces old servers, updates and patches the software, and backs up the server regularly to prevent loss of data.
How safe is your server? A safe server helps you keep out the “bad guys,” monitoring for problems like a hacker’s hostile attack. Your server also protects your reputation by refusing to host bad neighbours; websites that share a server with spammers risk getting their e-mail blacklisted. The best servers also implement the latest in anti-spam technology. Without it, many businesses spend costly hours sifting important e-mails from the hundreds — or thousands — of spam messages they receive every day.
What if trouble strikes? Since the Internet is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, your caretaker should be, too. If something does go wrong, you’ll sleep easier knowing that friendly service and expert repairs are available around the clock, 365 days a year.
Should I shop by size or price? Neither size nor price guarantees the best service. One-man web shops may lack the experience and human resources to deal with problems; they often simply resell large company solutions. With large companies, you’re often just a number. You’ll seldom get the same voice in the service department. And when they have a problem, it’s a huge problem that takes time to correct. There’s a real advantage to choosing a mid-sized hosting company with a manageable network. They usually offer the best blend of experience, stability, custom packages and personalized service to keep your website up and running. Remember — hosting is not a commodity. Find out what your hosting fee buys.