Hi, my name is Sam and many know me as the HostingGuy because of the many seminars and security articles I have written about online data management over the years. Any online business is so reliant on their hosting services provider, and sorted through all of the hosting companies available to get an apples to apples comparison can sometimes seem complicated. Hosting really is a pretty simple thing once you know what to look for and how to read quotes from a variety of contenders. That's where our expertise comes in and where my experience may be able to save you a lot of money.
At first it can seem counterintuitive, that a cheap webhost seems like a bargain, but ends up costing you a lot more money in the long run. However, at the same time, you really don’t want to be overpaying for hosting services that you aren’t really using right now.
The key to saving time and money is properly evaluating what services and features you need right now, and finding a hosting company that is willing to provide exactly that without any other bloat in their package rates. Ideally your host is also one that is willing to scale up your services over time as your business continues to grow. Perhaps for example you don’t need a CDN right now, but you may need one in the near future as international orders grow and being able to add those kinds of features without starting from scratch can make a world of difference for your ongoing business interests.
Most business owners put too much emphasis on familiar brand names. Keep in mind, hosting companies you hear about all the time are either in the news for something bad happening, or they are spending a fortune to have a large advertising campaign budget. Where do you think all that ad money comes from? That’s right, they charge higher prices from you and pass their profits on to ad agencies aimed and bringing in other site owners who are also willing to overpay.
There are plenty of diamonds in the rough when it comes to hosting, and it’s easy enough to identify them if you make the technical specifications of their services your primary factor in choosing which hosting company is right for your business.
Again it depends on the specifics of your online business, and your own expertise when it comes to the fine tuning of your website platform. For example, a dedicated server can either be offered to you as a DIY solution where you are expected to hire or become your own systems administrator (sys admin), or it can provided as a fully managed service where the company itself does all the technical work and asks you to send in support tickets to their techs if any changes or fixes are needed.
Conversely a shared hosting plan, also sometimes call fractional hosting, can be far less expensive but it's a one size fits all solution and often is far less efficient because many businesses are using the same server and sharing all of its protocols across a wide array of possible configurations.
Even more importantly, if your IP address is in a good honest range on a server of quality businesses then a shared plan may make some sense, but if you get a cheap host and they stick you on a server along with known email spammers, malware sites and other bad actors – your own business may be penalized heavily by search engines and others just for being associated with that kind of internet data ghetto.
Your potential host will be able to provide you with detailed specs and stats about their servers. These are objective facts that include things like where their primary nodes are, how many redundancies have been built into their processing chain to ensure uptime, how many outages they have experienced in the last 6 months and the lengths of those outages. All of this kind of objective information is essential to choosing the right hosting company.
As just one example, a company that promises 99% uptime, but has sever logs that show a pattern of downtime over the last six months is one that can’t be trusted. Having the sweetest sounding tech on the phone, or the fanciest email templates, or the slickest looking UI/UX for their support ticket interface is far less important than whether they managed to keep sites up 24 / 7 or not over the most recent periods of time.
It is useful to think of hosting more like an appliance than a luxury item. A lot like a refrigerator in your kitchen. Yes some may look nicer, or have more “bells and whistles” than others, but at the end of the day what actually matters is whether that appliance does its intended purpose effectively. If a refrigerator lets the food rot, who cares if it has an automatic icemaker? If a host can’t consistently provide excellent download speeds from your URLs in real time to everyone who visits from all locations – who cares what other bonus features they happen to include?
One of the most common errors company owners make is doing the due diligence to find a good host, and then locking in with them indefinitely. What may have been a great deal years ago, on equipment that used to be state of the art may now be an overpriced contract on subpar technology today. It’s crucial that your CTO reevaluate your hosting each year or at the end of each longer term contract as if it was the first time you were choosing a new host.
Yes a good working relationship is important, and if your host has been providing you with quality support and solid customer service, that should count heavily in their favor when it comes time to renew your hosting plan. However, many hosting companies offer a “sweetheart rate” for a first time customer and gradually increase their pricing over time while putting your tech on auto pilot.
Make sure your hosting company remains hungry for your business, and be sure that you are continuing to get the best possible hosting service at the most competitive price because it’s a fixed cost and one you will need to account for every month in your own financial bottom line.
Whether you just found my site and want to say hello, or are a repeat reader who wants to send a thank you for helping you to find the right hosting company, I welcome all of your correspondence and input about my site. For me this was, is, and always will be a true labor of love. As someone who has hosted sites since the start of the Internet, as we know it, having proper hosting isn’t just a hobby or a fantasy, it’s an integral part of all the businesses I have managed over the years.
Reach out any time to [email protected] and I will be sure to read what you send. Keep in mind, I get thousands of emails a month at this point, so it may take a while for me to reply, and in some cases there may be no need for me to reply at all, but I am reading your notes and I do take any input about the site seriously. After all, the HostingGuy website is only successful if YOU find it helpful when seeking advice and information about the many popular hosting company solutions available to you right now.
The best way to protect your business and your wallet is to do your own due diligence before you ever sign up with a host or pick the plan that’s right for you. It pays to read honest reviews here on Hosting Guy, to read the sites of hosts you are considering and to speak with them about their services. Almost all of them are willing to give you a free full quote with detailed specs, and that allows you to compare one host to another from the curated list of quality companies wee profile here on this website. Good luck with your business now and in the future, but be sure to remember that there is no such thing as luck when it comes to hosting a website. It’s always about experience, expertise and making the effort to find the right fit for your online entities. Thanks for becoming part of this growing community, and in the coming months I expect to be able to offer unique discounts and other bonus options based on the bargaining power of the HostingGuy web community as a whole. It’s an exciting possibility and one I am exploring with several ethical providers as we speak!