Podcast and Transcript
Why Cheap Web Hosting Can Damage Your Online Business
By nature, we all like to save money right? We look for things that are on sale and maybe we’ll even use coupons. When we can have the same quality product at a discounted price, that’s a good thing. But when you’re choosing a product based on price only, not so much.
Why Cheap Web Hosting Can Damage Your Online Business – Transcript
Hey there, welcome to the Web Designing Solopreneur podcast. I’m Gisèle from itsjustg.com. By nature, we all like to save money, right? We look for things that are on sale and maybe we’ll even use coupons when we have the same quality product at a discounted price. That’s a good thing. But when you’re choosing a product based on price only, not so much.
Today you’re going to learn why cheap Web hosting can actually damage your online business and I’ll give you some tips on how to avoid these.
Sidenote. This doesn’t apply to all Web hosting businesses. I’ve taken what my own prospects and clients have complained about when coming to me for the first time.
First though I need to talk to you about a few terms so everything is going to make sense. OK, so a domain name. I don’t want to assume you know what this is, especially if you have never had a website before.
A domain name is the .com or .ca name for your website. So for me, it’s itsjustg.com.
Web hosting. This is a service that stores your website and makes it available to the public. Most Web hosting providers also offer email services so you can have yourname@yourdomain.,Com email addresses. They may also offer databases, file storage and other related services.
A very common interface that we’ve been using for Web hosting is Cpanel, and that makes it super easy for customers to manage their own accounts. Now a Web server is the physical computer that houses your website. Think of an apartment building as a server and each apartment inside that building is a website.
Website traffic is a number of people visiting your website or the server
Bandwidth. Now, this one can be a little bit confusing. Bandwidth is the amount of traffic that your website can receive.
Think of this as the hallways in the apartment building, the lobby and the elevator. It could only hold so many people at once and then things start to slow down. Some Web hosting plans allow you to increase your bandwidth, which could look like adding another elevator or making the hallways wider. Bandwidth is also found on smartphone plans.
So once you hit those limits, the provider will likely throttle, which means slow down the service to encourage you to upgrade your plan or to prevent you from monopolizing their system.
Now to talk about why cheap Web hosting can damage your online business.
So if you’ve got a Web hosting company that brags about unlimited disk storage and unlimited bandwidth for just a couple of dollars a month – red flag, there’s no such thing as unlimited disk space or unlimited bandwidth. These are hard numbers, whether it’s a 500 TB or 1 GB drive.
Once that’s exceeded, there’s no more room on the hard drive. So the hosting provider needs to add or expand the hard drives on the server or buy another server to add new clients to it. If you read the squinty print on hosting plans that offer unlimited disk space, it’s usually based on the average space used by all the clients on that server. And if you’re exceeding that range, they’re allowed to charge you extra, a.k.a. the hidden limits.
Bandwidth is also another fixed amount. The provider has the infrastructure set up, allowing a certain amount of data into their network.
Now, picture this. A good way is to think about it as with your own household. So in your home, you have a standard Internet plan and then you have one person in your household that’s going to do some searching on your Internet for some recipes. Then you have somebody going online that wants to stream a high def movie and then you have somebody else in the household wants to play online games and you have somebody else in the household who wants to download large files.
And then things start to slow down. But to speed things up, you would need to upgrade your plan to increase the bandwidth and the speed of your connection. So the problem with this, with Web hosting companies that offer this type of hosting is that their servers are so slow because they’re overloaded with thousands of other websites because they’re only charging a couple of bucks a month.
But you know what a slow website equals to? Your website visitor clicking the back button to find somebody else because your website takes way too long to load.
So the tip for this is look at hosting plans that offer hard numbers for disk storage and bandwidth. A small WordPress website can do with a 2-5GB storage plan with 10 GB of bandwidth. But you can also scale it as your business grows.
Now, the next issue with choosing cheap hosting is if it’s located in another country. Now, I’m not saying this is bad, but let’s say like me, if you’re located in Ontario, Canada, and that’s where the majority of your clients are, you really shouldn’t choose hosting providers with servers in China.
You’re adding a whole bunch of extra travel time for your ideal customers to reach your website.
The other thing to consider when looking at cheap hosting in a country outside of your own are their privacy laws. Are they going to access the data on your server for anything other than regular maintenance or support? What are they going to do with that data? The solution is to choose a hosting provider that’s located in the same country that you were in or in a neighboring country where they have the terms of service and their formal privacy policies posted on their website.
Another thing to watch out for is a Web hosting company that says that they guarantee that your website will be up 100 percent of the time or they have zero downtime, there’s no such thing. Cheap Web hosting companies can’t guarantee that your website will be up one percent of the time because it’s too many outside factors to consider. Heck, when I do a server update and it requires a physical reboot, that’s downtime, even though the downtime could only be 30 seconds, it’s still downtime.
Another thing that comes up more frequently is a client will call me whether they want the website redesigned or they want their first time website or even they’re just looking for Web hosting, the domain name they have registered by their current Web hosting company, has that Web hosting company’s information on the domain record as the owner and administrator of that domain name. In a nutshell, with that scenario you don’t own the domain name…the Web hosting company does.
The only way that you own the domain name is if it’s your physical name, your company name, your address and your email address on that domain record.
Now, I feel that this is really unethical. It’s like buying a house, but it’s your real estate brokers name on the deed. It’s just not done. So when you’re registering your domain name, make sure you put your information on there. If the web hosting company is offering to register the domain name for you. Confirm that it’s going to be your information on the domain record and not theirs.
Now, something else to watch out for if you see cheap prices for hosting, look at the squinty print for a term. It’s common to see 2 and even 3 year terms for discounted pricing. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if it’s your first time, try the hosting company first. Give them a try on a month to month basis to test the delivery of their service before committing to any type of contract.
Now, month to month rates are usually more expensive, so think of it this way, you sign in with a new Web hosting provider for three months to get ten dollars a month hosting, only to find out that the service is down 20 percent of the time, and your website is as slow as molasses on a cold winter’s day. Instead, pay twenty dollars a month for three months, and if the provider gives you exceptional service, then you can opt in to sign into a contract only if you want.
But if they deliver crappy service, then you can move your website to another provider.
Now another thing. Does the company offer free SSL certificates to help improve your website security? They may make it look like a great feature, but you know what? for any Web hosting company now, especially ones that use Cpanel, it’s built into the system to automatically install basic free SSL certificates. If free SSL certificates are not offered at all…back away.
Another thing, does the Web hosting company offer free website hosting in exchange for putting ads on your Website? Please, for the love of all things holy… run if you see this type of offer, these types of companies make money from those ads. Some of those ads can be direct competitors to your products. Some of those ads can be inappropriate and you really want to distract your website visitors with a bunch of ads? It’s hard enough keeping your website visitors attention. Let’s not make it worse, shall we?
Now, things you can look out for when researching Web hosting companies are where are they located? Not just their offices, but the location of their data center where they store all their servers.
Method of contact, do they have a phone number? Or can you only contact them by filling out a form on their website? Are you able to book an appointment for consultation or presale questions? Something you can do during your research is call them just to ask a couple of basic questions, how do they talk to you? If you have to get a call back, how long do you have to wait?
Something else. Who were the people running the company? Take a look at their about page, is it filled with stock photography and generic names and titles, or do they share the values and information about their company, owners and associates? A warning sign is the complete absence of an about page, and with those you kind of have to wonder, what are they hiding?
One thing is to be careful about reviews and social proof. Social proof are icons about, featured in and then they usually list high profile publications.
Be careful of these and general reviews because it’s already been found that unscrupulous companies buy reviews and buy testimonials to build fake credibility. You can always ask your friends or other business owners that have websites who they use for Web hosting and how they feel about the quality of service.
Now, this is a lot of information to absorb, especially if you’re planning your first website. So please contact me if you have any questions. And rest assured that even though I co-own a Web design company with my husband and we do offer hosting services, the information I’m giving, you can be applied to any Web hosting company in general.
Thank you for being with me today. And until I see you next time, stay inspired.