IT Best Practices.
The Hidden Costs of Cheap Server Hosting
Most people get a feeling of satisfaction when they find a good deal, and in the world of web hosting, there is no shortage of these. For as little as five dollars per month, you get what seems like generous bandwidth and free one click installs of popular content management systems. You have access to easy to use management tools such as cPanel and many other perks. The business of cheap web hosting is very competitive, which gives the customer a wide array of choices. This is a fantastic situation for the non-technical individual who wants to set up a personal website or an online side business.
However, when small businesses are lured by cheap hosting, they learn the hard way that it’s costly in the long term. The short of it is that something has to give for these types of hosting providers to stay in business. How is this done? For starters, they host as many websites on their servers as possible without losing too many customers in the process. Some carry this to extreme lengths and develop a poor online reputation as a consequence.
Other more reputable companies back off from this somewhat, but they are still constrained by the economics of their business model. To stay competitive with other cheap hosting providers and remain profitable, they must pack as many websites as possible on their shared servers without grossly degrading the performance of their clients’ sites.
The small business that uses this shared hosting will find spotty web loading times. There will be good days with reasonable loading speeds as well as plenty of bad days with severe website sluggishness. These performance ups and downs coincide with the valleys and peaks of the aggregate bandwidth use of all the websites hosted on the server. From a business perspective, sluggish websites may as well be offline. Visitors will not wait 5 seconds or more for each page to load and aren’t likely to become loyal customers.
Lost sales therefore, are one of the hidden costs of cheap server hosting. Another cost comes directly out of the business owner’s pocket. This occurs because of poor use of her web developer’s time. A slow server puts the brakes on the developer’s productivity. The business owner pays for the developer’s longer hours for projects that take longer to implement.
Because the developer is forced to use newbie friendly management tools such as cPanel, he’s prevented from using more powerful scripts and tools at his disposal. This exacts a productivity cost. When you have such a professional working for you, you are better off using a reliable bare server with ample bandwidth.
In summary, if you have a business that requires a reliable Internet presence and you use a professional web developer, you are better off using “industrial strength” server hosting that serves real businesses, rather than cheap web hosting that caters to the newbie market. For more information on reliable server hosting, contact us.