Today web hosting is one of the most important tools a business needs when they want a competitive edge in their industry. The problem is there are thousands of host companies to choose from. So how do you know what you need for your business?
This article will educate you, highlighting the differences between hosting companies and help answer your questions regarding what’s right for your business. From an engineer’s perspective, I’ll shed some light on what’s best for companies in order to boost your company’s online performance through proper hosting.
Hosting at the small/mid-size business level has often been overlooked. Historically to choose what hosting you should buy was calculated on technical features like Hard Drive space, Bandwidth, Operating System being used etc. These calculations caused the price in hosting over the last 10-15 years be extremely competitive and comparative in the technical features of a plan. Most small businesses didn’t need high performing hosting.
Many of the global tech. giants like BlueHost, Network Solutions, and GoDaddy entered the world of web hosting, flooding the market with “$5/month hosting or less!” options for consumers since it provided them with additional revenue. They introduced low quality automated account tools for the masses, capable enough just to get someone’s website up and running but not considering advanced configuration, customization, site speed, or the many other technical feature requirements that are needed today.
And why should they care? The audience using these tools doesn’t know all the technical jargon, or have time for it. With their automated tools, people continue buying these services in the hundreds of millions, generating excellent revenue for these companies.
While the low prices seem great for consumers with limited business budgets, other companies needing more than ‘just having a page up’ get the short end of the stick.
Hosting actually plays a crucial role in many things that follow the initial publishing of a website.
As the years have gone by, hosting has evolved with trends in business. Now companies need more than just hosting web pages. They need things like SEO, SEM, WordPress, Cloud Computing, Competitor analysis, Analytics and more. When businesses venture into these areas of service, the cheap, mass $5 hosting becomes a nightmare.
The evolution of platforms like WordPress and Cloud computing along with maturing web marketing principles have ushered a new way to approach hosting. Here the little used high performance “Ferrari’s” of hosting make a night and day difference when it comes to your website’s performance and needs.
Operational I.T. needs mean more cloud applications and interactivity with user data for efficient company use added further stress and needs to their hosting. With cloud application interactivity on your hosting platform, the needs to support all the users and all the data. Imagine your entire audience needing to use Microsoft Word at the same time on your desktop computer. What if you have 100 users? What about 10,000 users? As you see, performance at this level takes many more factors into account at the server level to support that need.
Marketing I.T. started peering into needed analytics, reporting, competitor analysis, and search engine techniques to beat their competition. Because of this, some better hosting companies have invested in reporting tools, 3rd party services, CDN networks and more to give their company an edge in all these factors. In 2014 for example Google added “site speed” as a ranking signal that can positively or negatively affect your seo position.
Because of those factors, today we are beginning to see the rise of performance based hosting companies, focusing on specific web platforms. (WPengine.com, WebSynthesis.com and RailCloudHosting.com) At these companies the cost of hosting can range from $40-$500/month for a single website. These “Ferrari” brands are precision tuned for specific purposes, needs and allow engineer level developers to customize and fine tune them even further to meet the needs of any company’s website, cloud applications and business goals. Things that the $5/month hosting simply can’t handle.
The new metrics that make a difference in hosting are now Site Speed, CDN’s, Port Capacity, Core Capacity, Competitor Reporting, AutoDDoS, etc. For most business owners, this info seems like another language, but not for the engineers and developers you use for technical labor. It amplifies their capability and the net results are better systems for you.
The “Ferrari” brands of web hosting offer these services, but the “Kia” brands don’t. This is because the labor cost of pro’s is too high for the big (cheap) hosting brands can simply not afford in mass. (That’s why they have the autobuilders etc. so they don’t have to pay labor to maintain and analyze accounts.)
It’s like comparing a Jiffy Lube mechanic with a NASCAR mechanic. When you have the highest tier of professionals looking at your needs and goals then customizing the hardware for it, you come out the winner. The mass hosting firms simply don’t have that type of manpower. They just hope to keep charging you monthly and hope you don’t notice.
Their business model is to have automated tools signup consumers in the millions. You never deal with someone that looks at your needs and recommends certain tools based on your business.
And that is precisely why hosting is so important. Understanding what you need today, tomorrow and as technology evolves will let you transition smoothly with the times and allow you to take advantage of new technologies that will be coming.
Cost will always be a factor, and for the majority of businesses, they will continue to use the “Kia” brand hosting companies because they don’t know any better and like the cheap price tag.
It’s crazy to me, seeing businesses invest money in things like SEO labor or cloud application builds costing hundreds of dollars a month and then use cheap hosting platforms that counter their efforts. You’re swimming against the current!
Take this information and put it to use. A simple change can improve your online performance by leaps and bounds.
My recommendation – take another look at your hosting.