Web hosting is not at the top of most business owner’s concerns, but maybe it needs more attention than some people give it. Getting the wrong web hosting company can result in some fairly serious issues including the loss of customers and potentially the loss of your domain name.
As a web hosting company, specialising in business web hosting, we have seen some horror stories unfold. Below are a selection of some of the most common problems we see on a regular basis.
As a business owner you try to ensure your costs are less than your net profit and so buying cheap seems like a great idea. Unfortunately, cheap web hosting often means slow web hosting. But so what, what really happens when your website is slow.
Customers and Google are not forgiving if your website is slow. As a best-case scenario your ranking in Google will start to drop. Even worse, your prospects will get fed up waiting for the page to load and move on to your competitors.
We have companies approach us asking if their webpage should load more quickly. After review we have found webpages that take upwards of 20 seconds to load. Believe me, if you want to use your webpage to attract new prospects it should be quick.
No SSL or cheap SSL
In the fast-moving world of online marketing you have seconds to make an impression. If that first impression looks like the following, what do you think your prospects will do?
Bad SSLs can cause some browsers to display an error message
SSL certificates work by having a public certificate which is from a trusted source. If that source is not trusted the resulting errors seen on some browsers will be a disaster for your website.
Choosing a reputable, business grade SSL will ensure your website shows positively no matter which browser is used by your prospects.
Unlimited plans that are not unlimited
As business owners we know that the rules for residential and businesses are different. It is unlikely you will ever find a completely unlimited hosting package for your website and if you do, beware.
Why? Because businesses generate so much more traffic and just one very successful business could bring a server to its knees.
There are two ways many web hosting companies deal with this. The first is to have clauses in the terms and conditions which allow them to charge you a premium for the remainder of the contract period. This could be x2, x10 or x100. Read the T&Cs.
The second way is to charge nothing extra but throttle your website to ensure it cannot use too much bandwidth. This means your website is stuck on a server, under a contract and unable to move but it has become so slow it is unusable.
Ask your web hosting provider what happens if you go over your limit and then make sure this is in your terms and conditions.
Web Templates that lock you in
As a business owner you are rushed and don’t really have time to think about a website. You opt for a template driven site, it looks attractive and has only taken you a couple of hours. They also only charge a few pounds a month. What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, you have just locked your website into a potential money pit. Since you have used a template site you cannot move it without a redesign.
Even then how do you:
- Move all of those great testimonials.
- Transfer those posts you have written.
- Replace the plugins you have bought.
- Sift through the hundreds of images you have uploaded.
The answer is – you most probably can’t!
Template websites seem like a great deal, especially for a startup business but as soon as you have some cash and before adding too much contect I would recommend looking at moving to a non-template site.
Cheap domain names
Have you ever been tempted by that shiny offer that just seems too good to be true? One of the magnets that capture attention is the offer a cheap domain name. You type in your new business name and find they sell the perfect match for only £1 a month.
In your excitement you sign up without reading the terms and conditions and opt for their introductory £5 a month for the first year. Now the second year invoice arrives and you realise you are being charged £100 per month.
You want to move but hang on – they say you can’t. They still own the domain name and they were only leasing it to you. That’s why it was so cheap!
Now you have spent the last year advertising your website, adding it to letters, van signage, even your email ends in that domain name.
You have a choice to pay their fee, start again or maybe if you are lucky they might offer you the option to purchase the domain name for only a few £1000s.
The Missing Domain Owner
You have read enough horror stories and have decided to work with someone you know. Who better than Dave from the pub, he builds websites and everyone seems to love them.
Dave buys your domain, sets up the website and everything is great. Whenever you need a few tweaks it costs you a couple of pints and the updates are done the next day.
A couple of years later your business has grown and you now have 5 staff all screaming that their email doesn’t work and customers can’t find your homepage. What’s happened?
Dave has forgotten to renew your domain and to make matters worse he stopped going to your local a while back. You have no way to contact him.
This one came up recently for one of our prospects. They had an employee who was a whizz with web design. They bought the domain, setup the website and everything worked beautifully.
After a minor argument the employee decided to move jobs but the business had a web designer take over the management of the website and everything worked fine for a couple of years until….. you guessed it, the domain stopped working.
The ex-employee was contacted and asked to transfer the domain over to them so it could be renewed. He agreed that he would sell it to them for £100,000. When the ex-employee had registered the domain they had done it in their name.
This was a complex case which involved our hosting security team and the company’s solicitors. It was resolved once the ex-employee realised it was going to court and he would probably loose on HR technicalities.
We see issues with domain ownership on a regular basis and most of the time it is because the person that registered it did so in a person’s name rather than a business name. Unfortunately due to data privacy rules it can now be difficult to find out who owns a domain based on the public register. It is the reason that whenever we transfer a domain the first check made is the registrant and if it is not the business we file to change it.
The aim of this article was to give a brief introduction to the complex world of website hosting and to allow you to make informed decisions on what web hosting company would work best for you.
Another article you might find useful is our introduction to web hosting, it covers all of the basics of what you should be looking for. Alternatively, our website hosting section has links to many articles associated with all aspects of business website hosting including a frequently asked questions.
When interviewing your potential web hosting company I would recommend asking a few questions, as indicated above, with the aim of finding a great web hosting partner from the outset. Most business owners are busy and can’t afford time to continually revisit issues. We find that businesses that engage and ask questions get the right service for them which means everyone wins.
Do you still have questions? Is there something you are still not sure about? Feel free to make contact and ask one of our business advisors. I guarantee they will give you loads of information and this is 100% free whether you use our services or not.
Good luck finding that perfect website host for your business – let us know how you get on.
Get in Contact
We have several ways you can contact us
- The web form on the contact page
- Phone 0117 9759523
- Book a free 15 minute appointment.
- There are no hidden charges – this is a 100% free 15 minute consultation with no hidden charges.
- We will never spam you or sell on your contact details.
- We will treat your information with absolute confidentiality.