The mystery of web hosts is something out of sight and out of mind for most people, tucked away in a basement where it only becomes an issue once it has become a problem.
Department heads trying to save money will always look at the bottom line of what it costs, but the old adage ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is worth particular consideration when it comes to sourcing hosts for your website and email providers. Even a stunningly beautiful and inventive site is not going to help if it is unavailable, and sales, dispatch and shipping are all supported by what you have in place to keep your site live and welcoming customers.
Businesses rarely stop now. Business never does. Somewhere there is always somebody looking for a product or service and the omnipresent nature of the online world means someone is always ready to supply it. Nobody even hesitates when it comes to exiting a dead link and choosing the next one on the list.
Dedicated Server Security
Ensuring reliability is clearly at the top of the agenda when it comes to finding a web host, but any serious website needs to be serious about security as well.
The average web hosting company provides for hundreds of websites, frequently thousands on the books. If there’s a group of that size, in any walk of life, there will be a complete cross-section of society – the gamblers, the worriers, the lazy and the stupid as well as the concerned and conscientious.
The reason you should be one of the concerned when sharing with all of them is how quickly their problems become your problems if something goes wrong. Dedicated servers are the gated communities of the web hosting world, exclusive options that seem like an extravagance until you’re picking up the bill for an anonymous crash.
Even worse than accidents are the crimes. It’s all too common to see ‘personal data loss’ in the news after a group or individual takes private customer data and shares it online. Medical information, banking details, addresses and phone numbers are something that most businesses will access as part of their legal day to day activities, guaranteeing customer security as they do so without wondering how many honest people you’ll find in a room of a thousand strangers.
Bad recycling - good redundancy
Reducing costs is generally good business practice, and that includes those who work in web hosting. Sourcing cheaper equipment enables some organisations to offer bargain basement hosting prices, frequently by using recycled machinery and running whatever the least-effort-required operating systems and employees to match. Backups may be performed, but with so many clients it may not be possible for this to happen frequently, and the prices associated with power redundancies and other hardware backups may not be top priority for those with a focus in their margins.
Choosing a dedicated server gives you complete control over your hosting management, on independent equipment in a controlled environment. There should be redundancies in place to cope with a sudden rush of traffic that could cause problems for a server running close to capacity, as well as allowing you time to expand as your customer base grows and anticipate the changes that need to be made. A good UK web hosting company will be able to provide you with information on the specification and capacity of the servers they're running.
Are you dedicated?
Your choice of web host will end up saying a great deal about your company. Customers and end users have a tendency to lay the blame for website not displaying on the shoulders of the company itself, rather than on absentee hosting companies who aren’t answering your calls.
There are always going to be the types of company that prefer being part of the herd, all in it together and keeping their overheads down. Others are dedicated enough to feel they, the customers they attract and the clients they represent, deserve more.