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Why your developer wants you to choose your hosting company wisely.

Lucia Mancuso, 09 December, 2009 5 Comments

When you’re building a new site, it’s common to spend considerable time
brainstorming, planning, wire framing and conceptualizing. You want your
site to be perfect. So do we. When it comes to hosting your site, you
probably give a hundredth of the amount of consideration to the company
you use. This will make your developer grouchy because it makes their
job much more difficult. Choosing poor hosting companies is extremely
common. Sadly, we deal with substandard hosting outfits on a daily
basis.

Choosing the right hosting company will make all the difference in the
development and success of your site. A bad hosting company can cause
the development process to drag on much longer than it should, knock
your site off line for extended period of time and cost you lots of
money with little return. Bad hosting can turn your dream site into a
nightmare in a few seconds.

Here are the three most important factors to investigate when looking for a hosting company for a new site.

Support

What type of support does your hosting company offer? Ideally, you
should be able to get someone on the phone who you feel comfortable
communicating with 24/7. When you are first developing your site, there
are numerous minor tweaks and changes that will need to be made to your
hosting account to get things up and running. Most aren’t very time
consuming. Having to send an email, get a ticket number and wait for
someone to contact you can severely cripple the development process.
Having to wait 4 hours or 3 days to have a change made that should take a
few minutes is unacceptable. You may need to put your hosting provider
in touch with your developers directly, so enquire if they are
comfortable and capable of working with developers. They should be. In
the best case, you will have one or two support people that are assigned
to your account, that understand your site and become an extension of
your development team.

Reliability

If your site goes down, you are temporarily out of business. Most
hosting companies will tell you they have ’99% Uptime’. This isn’t
always the case.  Things happen at even the best hosting companies,
and sooner or later your site may go offline for one reason or another.
Ask about the safeguards your hosting company has in place to prevent
this. More importantly, find out how they have handled outages in the
past.  Get a reference from other users, and get a first hand
account of their recovery procedures.  A really solid hosting
company will admit when they have had issues in the past, and will be
proud to discuss how quickly and how well they have corrected them. If a
hosting company tells you they never have issues, and have never had a
server go down. Run away. Quickly.

Pricing

It’s really, really easy to get ripped off when you are paying for web
hosting. Unlike many other things in the world, the most expensive
hosting companies aren’t necessarily the best. Strangely, we’ve had
nearly the opposite experience. Many of the less expensive hosting
companies are some of the best we’ve dealt with. This is economies of
scale in action. Larger hosting companies can offer very competitive
pricing because they have so many clients. Some smaller hosting
companies charge exorbitant prices, but not necessarily superior
service, features or support. Take advantage of this, and shop around.
Don’t make a decision based solely on the lowest price you can find, but
there is no need to pay through the nose either. Investigate the amount
of disk space, data transfer and other extras that are actually
included in the available plans. In many cases, a low price upfront can
easily soar out of control with data and transfer costs, or other fine
print extras.

You do the research for every aspect of your business. Please do the
same with your hosting company. It makes the job of a developers much
easier, and in the long run it will benefit your pocketbook, your
business and the people who visit your site. We’re always happy to help
with any suggestions, so get in touch or leave your questions and
favorite hosting companies in the comments.

5 Responses to “Why your developer wants you to choose your hosting company wisely.”

  1. Travis Melvin

    Enjoyed your article and have to admit that hosting providers is
    usually something I don’t spend all that much time on. I was expecting
    to hear some recommendations/suggestions of host providers but I guess
    it really depends on the scope of the site, needs, code etc. I feel
    there is value here because switching hosts mid stream or moving
    multiple sites from one host to another is a pain and people should take
    your advice and do the homework first. Thanks!

  2. Lucia

    Thanks for your comment Travis.

    We are actually compiling a FAQ style page that will address hosting in
    more detail to help people make the right decision. You are correct,
    hosting needs do depend on the site so it makes it hard for us to
    recommend anything without knowing exactly what the goal is. However the
    FAQ’s will address some basic items that will help the majority.

  3. sumesh

    a good one….

  4. IndyDave

    As a developer since 95, if a customer of mine has a potentially
    troublesome host and will not move to an approved vendor, I will price
    my services (higher) to compensate for the inevitable frustrations.

  5. Lucia Mancuso

    Thanks IndyDave That is a good policy & one I think we are going
    to start implementing. We unfortunately have had dozens of hours eaten
    up due to troublesome hosting.  Is there a host that you prefer to
    deal with?

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