Cheap Website Hosting Is Like Building A House On A Glacier In The South Pacific
I still meet people and engage clients who want to host their websites with cheap hosting services such as Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostgator, Dreamhost, etc. You can get hosting for as low as $2.99 per month in some cases. Customers build elaborate and expensive websites and host them with cheap companies who have terrible reputations in the industry.
When you have a house built, you need property on which to build. When you have a website, you need space on the internet on which to host. Would you build a house on a glacier in the South Pacific if it lowered your real estate costs? No? Then why would you put your most important marketing and business asset on a weak foundation? Same result happens in both the house and website scenarios. “It will be gone soon.”
Cheap hosts really don’t care about you, your business or the welfare of your website. Some of them don’t even have a phone number. Check out Dreamhost.com and let me know when you find a phone number. There isn’t one. Other cheap hosts offer a phone number for sales (of course), but not for support. Support is when you need immediate help the most! When your website is down, or worse, hacked, the time between the discovery of the problem and it getting fixed is fraught with anxiety, anger and worry. Productivity and business prosperity are not happening during this time. So, why would you upload your website, the face of your business, to a source in which it could disappear completely and YOU would be held responsible!? Luckily you only paid $2.99 per month to have your life destroyed.
Talk about risk, check out these horror stories:
In the comments someone suggests that the person should have backed up the sites and taken security measures. Ya think?! Furthermore, why should you, as a business owner (of something other than website hosting) have to do all this? Shouldn’t your web host ensure continuity?
- Same host evidently staged a hack and scammed this person
- Hacker group targets cheap hosts en-masse
- Website gets redirected to porn
Quote from the victim “I spoke with my webhost (Godaddy) and they said there is nothing they can do.”. How helpless would you feel? The credibility of your whole business just went down the drain.
Would you send your kids swimming in the mouth of a volcano? No? Then WHY would you host your website with a cheap host?
Here are some horror stories of my own experience.
The Porn Hack
I worked with a client who has a business dealing with large construction equipment. Their company was reputable, well-known and they hosted on Godaddy. They were infected with the redirect-to-porn hack that I linked to above. Their credibility was suffering. I found the infection and removed it. Three days later, it came back. They blamed me. This went on for months. I told them that it doesn’t matter how many times I fix it, the hacker got in through the root of the server and has admin access. This means that one weak link on the server (of the thousands of other sites crammed into Godaddy’s host) opened a gateway for everyone to get hacked. Finally, they agreed to move their hosting to my company and the hack stopped. This was over a year ago and the hack has not returned. It won’t ever.
The Lack of Backup
About six years ago, a prospect came to me who had three websites hosted with Bluehost. This company installs basketball courts, tennis courts and large scale playgrounds. Their products cost from the hundreds of thousands to the millions. A server at Bluehost crashed and their site was lost. When contacting the host (no support phone number, by the way) the host told them they were responsible for their own backups. This is an outdoor sports company, not a web company or technology company. They had been down for weeks. They could have potentially lost millions of dollars. They had the original disks of their websites’ files and sent them to me. I explained that my company’s hosting is more expensive than Bluehost’s but they will not ever have this problem again. They are still clients to this day.
I know these stories may seem like they were written by Stephen King, but no, these are not fiction, and they are every bit as scary.
Here’s what to look for in a host:
1. Backups. Make sure they not only back up your website EVERY DAY, but that it’s easy for you to restore it.
2. Security. The host should offer layers of security to protect you against hackers.
3. A Phone Number. (Should this even have to be mentioned?) In times of crisis, you should be able to speak to someone on the phone and get an ETA of when it will be resolved. Most cheap web hosts have no support phone numbers. We have two.
The bottom line is, you get what you pay for. The cheaper your host, the more self-serve the service will be. If you are not in the web hosting business, you need a more “managed” approach to your web hosting. If you are in such a risky situation and want to get out, please call us at 410-861-6888.