Free gift with purchase, buy one/get one free, everybody loves a little perk for giving you their business. However, when it comes to web hosting, free may come with a hidden cost. In this report by Aussie Hosting looking at the performance of multiple cheap hosting companies, we can see that hosts that operate on a discount model are more prone to downtime issues.
In an increasingly mobile world, it’s important for business owners to choose digital products that will provide them with stability and consistent service, including responsive support and security. That starts with using a reliable hosting service as a foundation for business growth and prosperity.
First, let’s take a look at your options for web hosting.
How to Find a Hosting Service
Your options for hosting seem to grow by the day. In fact, there are so many different types, that making a decision is confusing at best. Do you use a shared plan or pay for a dedicated host? Will your data be safe on a cloud or is an on-premises better for you?
In order to choose the best host, you need to know what it will take to make you a happy productive guest. Your hosting requirements depend on whether you’re building a relatively static website will mostly text or you need a fully functional eCommerce platform that uses a lot of resources.
Here’s a rundown of the four most common types of hosting and where they’re a good fit.
Shared hosting – This is web hosting at its most basic, and where you’ll find the cheapest plans. It’s okay for those just starting out who don’t need a lot of resources. If you do need some extra features and functionality, you can move up to reseller hosting. With this option, you’re still somewhat at the mercy of your neighbors on the platform, but you get a few perks like private domain names and someone to handle your tech support.
Dedicated hosting – This option allows you to lease a physical server from your host, giving you almost complete control over functionality. However, that also means you’re in charge of security and maintenance. It’s best for companies expecting a lot of growth who have the resources for an in-house team to manage your network.
Cloud hosting – Hosting on a cloud pools the resources of many servers together, which allows you a level of scalability that’s built into the platform. It’s good if you experience sudden growth of traffic spikes due to special events or seasonal sales. You’ll also experience less downtime because one server can take over if another goes down. Some plans even allow you to pay for only the services you’re currently using.
Virtual private servers – This is sort of a middle ground between shared hosting and dedicated platforms. You’re still sharing space on a physical machine, but it’s partitioned into several virtual networks that are dedicated to the client.
The Problem With Cheap Hosting
Your website may be the first chance you have to make a good impression. Cheap hosting isn’t a place to start trimming your budget if you want to present the image that you’re a reliable professional who can be trusted to take care of business.
Going beyond the premise that you get what you pay for are four big reasons to avoid free hosting plans.
#1. Lack of control. When you choose a free hosting service, you’re stuck with what they give you, not what you need. In many cases, you don’t even have control over your domain name. Free services lure you in by offering “benefits” like free email addresses or domain names, but their own name becomes part of your URL. How professional does it look to have a domain or email address that includes mybusiness.cheaphost.com?
You may even lose ownership of your website if you decide to migrate to another platform. The host name in your domain often means that they own your website, too.
#2. Lack of resources. Companies can afford to offer free service because they can cam thousands of websites on one server and skimp on everything else. That means you’re sharing memory, bandwidth, and other resources with other websites and relying on them not to be greedy with RAM or careless with security. This last point is important, because you’ll also possible share in any viruses or system crashes.
Which leads us to …
#3. Poor performance. What do you get when you have hundreds or thousands of websites sharing resources? The answer is stress on the system that leads to excessive downtime, which is deadly to eCommerce. The paucity of resources also means that your pages will load slower, and some of your functionality may suffer. That equates to high bounce rates and a tarnished reputation.
#4. Unreliable service. Free hosting platforms are known for sudden crashes; sometimes, they disappear altogether without warning. What would you do if your website suddenly disappeared with no backup or restoration available? If you do experience problems, good luck finding support. Things like that cost money.
There are several ways that choosing the right hosting company can bolster your image and reputation. Reliable platforms allow you to better serve your customers. That kind of consistency is what will enable your efforts to boost your brand, raise customer confidence levels, and grow your business without unnecessary issues and setbacks.