A website being down, even temporarily, can cost a business in loss of sales.
That potential new client may never return.
One of my clients had some mysterious code appear on their WordPress website. This can mean that the site has been hacked and could have taken the site down or exposed viewers of the site to a virus. In this case some malicious software had indeed gotten onto the website. For them, the best and the least costly thing to do, was to restore the site from a backup. Fortunately, they were on a maintenance plan so I had a recent backup that we could use to restore the site. Unfortunately, they were on a slow shared server so it took a bit of time to restore the website.
In this post, we will explore different WordPress hosting options for small business websites and benefits to premium hosting service solutions.
But first, some definitions.
A WEB HOST is the server or service where a website lives in order to be viewed on the world wide web, not a service that registers domain names – although some hosts do that too.
WORDPRESS is one of the best software platforms for small businesses. WordPress currently powers 1/3 of sites on the internet today. However, unlike the static html sites of the old days, WordPress requires consistent maintenance and good hosting to stay secure and function well.
STORY: Jane took the bus to work everyday.
This took her an extra 45min to get to work than most of the other people in the office. So she had to wake up extra early and was generally tired at work.
The bus was usually crowded so she had to stand.
When she did get a seat, sometimes the person next to her took up part of her seat with extra bags or even themselves.
She caught every cold or virus that was going around each season and missed many days of work each year.
One day, the guy next to her stole her purse.
Needless to say – riding the bus was no fun and Jane’s work productivity sometimes suffered.
One day Jane decided to buy a car.
Instead of waking early to get to the bus station, she used that time to exercise.
She noticed she felt refreshed when arriving to work and was more productive.
She no longer missed many days each winter from illness.
After a while, as Jane’s productivity increased; she got a raise.
I’m not trying to put down public transportation. This story just illustrates what it’s like for websites on shared hosting. Shared hosts crowd up the servers by packing a lot of sites together. Like people on a bus sharing the ride, the sites SHARE the servers resources, which keeps costs low.
But sharing that same space is at the expense of security and speed for those websites. (More people on the bus = more stops to make) Just like it took Jane longer to get to work, if a there is high traffic volume on the server OR if the other sites are hogging up all the server resources, all the sites on the server are slow.
And just like Jane was vulnerable to getting her purse stolen or catching a virus more often, sites on shared server space are less secure and more vulnerable to hackers. If one site on a server is hacked, it can affect other sites on same server.
Shared hosting is very inexpensive because they only provide the space to house your website. Building, backing up and maintaining the website is all up to the website owner.
“You get what you pay for” is especially true in hosting. Cheap hosting can cost a business $ in long run.
Shared = DIY everything, nothing included, slower average speeds, insecure
The other type of hosting that is popular for WordPress and a great option when a site needs to be fast AND reliable is MANAGED hosting. The big difference with managed vs shared is that managed hosts do most of the maintenance and security for you. Plus, they run on servers that are optimized for WP, which makes them faster overall ~ like driving your own car is faster than taking the bus.
Managed hosting can vary quite a bit in price depending on some of their services, like how often they backup, how many backups are stored, if they will even restore a site for you or provide tools for you to do it if there are problems. They may also vary in how much software they will update…some specialty plugins may or may not be taken care of for you. Managed WordPress hosting services are hands down a much better option than shared hosting as they take care of most if not all of the necessities.
Managed = better speed / more security / some software auto updates
A step beyond managed hosting is what I call “managed plus” hosting. Managed plus provides all that managed hosting does plus other extras such as content updates, instruction on how to use the site and/or troubleshooting without going through layers of protocols to talk to someone. The extras here boil down to personalized service ~ you can actually call or text the same person as needed. This equates to having a driver or car service at your disposal instead of driving your own car.
I can’t speak to all managed plus hosting services as they will vary but here at Fresh Eggs, I offer a managed hosting service that includes support plus lots of extras. I started doing this because I was not satisfied with the hosts that I was working on for my clients and I wanted to offer a better product. Everything is covered, including 30 days of offsite backups and my clients site’s are restored if hacked or if there are software conflicts. I fix EVERYTHING with no additional charges AND include 1 hr of time per month to do content updates or site tweaks.
The biggest difference with Fresh Eggs hosting is the support provided. I am personally available to my clients. I pick up the phone when called. When changes are announced that may affect my client’s websites, I am proactive in letting them know and offering creative solutions to minimize impact.
Recently, when the new internet privacy laws were changed for the European Union and the GDPR went into effect, I offered to update my client’s privacy policies to comply as part of their hosting plans free of charge.
Other than keeping their information current – either themselves or sending it to me – my clients don’t have to think about their site details at all. They have peace of mind that their sites will be secure, fast and consistently stay up. And if anything goes wrong, I’ll fix it – most times before they would even notice.
Fresh Eggs premium hosting clients don’t have to worry about details. They know their sites will stay up and be secure.
Managed Plus = Managed + customer service / troubleshooting / content updates / extras etc….
KEY things to be considered when selecting a HOST are:
- Customer support
- How much time do you want to spend managing and updating your website?
- Who will fix the website if it gets hacked or has a software conflict?
Optimization of all these factors can make a difference in how reliable a website is, which will equate to more clients and sales in the long run just like Jane’s raise.