There’s a reason why value hosting starts with the word “value.”
When your company’s website is one of the most important assets in your marketing toolkit and public accessibility, why trust your website to a hosting provider that charges the price of a cup of coffee a month?
We don’t believe that site visitors are as fickle as some studies claim—in 2016, Akami reported 53% of mobile users would abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load—but there is a common-sense assumption between your site’s slow page load time or frequent website outages and whether or not you’ll be hearing from potential customers.
With value or “economy” hosting, a website is already at a higher risk of slow load times, potentially broken pages, and that site going offline from time to time. After all, what do you expect for that promotional $7.99 a month hosting deal?
It’s time for Hosting 101.
In the world of web hosting, there are a few different categories, in order from cheapest to most expensive:
- Value/economy hosting, often on shared servers where the hosting company crams (which may be a generous term) as many customers with drastically different website needs and web applications on one server as possible to maximize their revenue.
- Premium/managed hosting, often optimized for a specific web application—like a Content Management System, or CMS, such as WordPress—and monitored for performance and potentially malicious activity.
- Virtual/Cloud hosting, which sandboxes (e.g., keeping a website isolated in its own environment) individual customers in their own “dedicated” hosting environment on a higher-performance host server that also serves other customers with increased security benefits.
- Dedicated/physical hosting, which offers customers their own physical server at a hosting provider’s datacenters. Expect to pay lots of money for this type of server, though you’re generally unrestricted with what you can install or configure on these servers as long as they meet the providers’ Terms of Service.
For every client partner we work with that has a WordPress website, we’ll always recommend a premium or managed WordPress hosting provider, like Kinsta or WP Engine. (We like them so much that we’re customers of theirs, as well.)
What are the benefits of premium or managed hosting?
The reason we recommend a premium or managed WordPress hosting provider is simple:
- They optimize their servers for WordPress because they only serve WordPress websites
- Their efficient servers are often highly reliable with almost no downtime or widespread issues (though, none are immune from internet backbone outages that cripple ISPs from time to time)
- They make sure the upcoming versions of WordPress and PHP—the programming language WordPress and many other popular platforms (Facebook, Wikipedia, Drupal) are based on—work on their servers quickly and securely
- They look out for malicious activity and either proactively alert you to potential trouble or limit malicious activity once it’s detected
- They offer best-in-class features like automated on-site backups, WordPress CLI (Command Line Interface) tools that help speed up maintenance tasks for developers, and enhanced caching and logging utilities
For value providers, however, because they’re offering basic web hosting for almost any site and web application customers can upload, their servers are often slow, buggy, insecure, and unreliable.
Let’s look at a real-world example of value hosting woes.
In 2016, we helped a client partner migrate from Bluehost within hours after Bluehost had suffered extended server outages and control panel access issues. While server outages can happen from time to time, 12+ hours of client websites and control panel access being down is typically considered exceptional.
For most organizations, a website that’s offline usually happens at inopportune moments: a prospective client or customer needs to find resources (that you might have linked them to in an email), or a conference or seminar is about to take place and attendees are looking for information, or you just sent out that business pitch and are staring at your analytics waiting to see if they’re on your site and what they’re looking at.
Thankfully, that specific client had an active WordPress Support Subscription with us, meaning we had offsite backups from the day before the outages began. With our offsite backups, we were able to get them set up on a new premium WordPress hosting provider and got their site online within a few hours—all before Bluehost restored their hosting services.
Don’t get tempted by dedicated hosting unless you are prepared for hands-on management.
Some companies with larger sites typically get set up on a dedicated server, like Rackspace, thinking dedicated servers will keep their websites running efficiently and securely.
However, proper maintenance, monitoring, and constant optimization must be performed in order to see those benefits. The company essentially needs a fulltime systems administrator or consultant to constantly maintain and monitor those servers for performance issues, security vulnerabilities, potential breaches, and more.
In many cases, agencies set up dedicated servers for their clients and skip the routine optimization. That means the client is often paying far more for an overpowered server that isn’t optimized, causing slow website performance, long load times, and potential security issues.
Antimatter Co. will almost always recommend deferring server management and hosting to those who are best specialized for providing that service: premium, managed WordPress hosting providers.
We love helping companies save money by both avoiding slow website performance and outages and overpowered dedicated servers. That means we don’t recommend they save so much by going with one of the cheapest options.
Need help migrating your website? Yep, we can do that. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and let’s explore the new, together.