How much should you pay for website hosting?
Cheap is not necessarily the way to go …
If you are going to get yourself a website or blog, one service do you need to subscribe to is a web hosting service. Your website can’t get found by your clients if it ain’t hosted!
You may get “free” website hosting as part of your website. Your website designer may have included it in the price of the building the website for you … but do make sure of what your on going costs are. Do ask the questions “Who is hosting my website?” and “What are the annual costs?”
Don’t get caught out by an invoice for a couple of hundred pounds that you weren’t expecting.
What if you want to find your own website hosting? … which I do recommend. If you are in control of your own website hosting, you have control over your website. And the last thing you want is your website designer to suddenly go out of business and you’ve no clue on how to get access to your website files.
Google “web hosting” and you are given more than 275 million results. It’s confusing trying to find a reliable, yet cost effective solution. So, one of the best routes to find reliable web hosting is to ask your network. Referrals count!
But what do you spend?
This one area of your business that cheap does not necessarily mean good. You may not have considered this cost when it comes to your blog or website, but don’t knee jerk and go for the cheapest. Ask yourself these questions:
1. How many websites/blogs do you intend to have over time? Sometimes a starter package is great but when you start to add additional domains, it soon mounts up. Think ahead and work out how much you could end paying within the next 2 or 3 years.
2. How big are your websites? This is not just about the number of pages (although do take this in to consideration), it’s about the images you use, mp3 audios and other big files. Don’t get caught out by going for low GB packages. Yes, you can probably upgrade, but if you run out of space you may find your website just disappears from view one day.
3. How much traffic are you expecting? If you are starting out, you may be feeling ecstatic with just 10 visitors a day LOL But what about this time next year? What if you launch a new programme and you join up with some big businesses that have big lists? Could you site suddenly cope with thousands of visitors in a day? You need to check the bandwidth on offer. If it’s unlimited – great. But if it’s restricted, ask the company to define it in terms of daily or weekly site visitors. Prepare for great success – even though it may feel unrealistic at the moment.
4. What about mySQL databases? If you want to run a wordpress.org site, for example, then you are going to need one of these for each of your wordpress.org sites. And I highly recommend that you choose a website hosting company which specialises in wordpress.org sites. I used to use 1and1.co.uk and even though they advertised wordpress.org hosting, my admin just got slower and slower and slower. After 12 months of putting up with it (so long? I know!) I changed to Tidy Web Hosting.
5. Which country are you focusing on? Now a SEO expert is welcome to chip in here and confirm this or not. But years ago, it did make a difference to the likes of Google where your website was hosted. If you are a UK business, focuses on attracting predominately UK based clients, then go for a UK based hosting company.
And make sure their machines are based in the UK (not like 1and1.co.uk who I thought where UK but actually had their machines somewhere in mainland Europe). I’m not sure how much barring it has on your SEO any more, but best to take it out of the equation and think about your hosting location.
6. How much up-time do they guarantee? If a web hosting company is advertising 98% guaranteed up-time, then it means that for every 100 days, your website may be offline for 2 of those days. 98% is not that great, hey?! Problems do occur. No one is perfect but a minimum 99.99% reliability is what you are after.
7. What sort of customer service do you want? Pay less and you will end up with a online “submit-your-question-and-we-promise-to-get-back-to-you-in-48-hours”. No good if you site disappears right in the middle of a promotional campaign! If you want to have someone at the end of a phone, then it pays to get it. This is what attracted me to Tidy Web Hosting. Small web hosting company compared with the likes of GoDaddy and 1and1, but to be able to pick up the phone in emergency and speak to a real human being … priceless!
So, what do you end up paying? If you are using the web to build your business, I highly recommend you end up with a hosting package that costs between £10 and £2o a month. The bigger the website, the more support you need, the more bandwidth you want, the more you pay. But by golly, it’s worth it!
Those $1.99 a month packages may look appealing, but you’d probably grow out of them (and grow very weary of them!) very quickly.