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Hosting & Maintenance 101: Professionally Managed Web Hosting vs. Self Service Hosting

Strategy, Design & Development

Have you ever done a search for self-service cloud based web hosting options (or something similar) to see if you can get your site up and running on your own? Trying to research and evaluate all of your options certainly can be a daunting task, especially with all the hosting options available to you.

While managing your own server and bringing these services in-house can seem like an attractive cost-savings solution, choosing to work with an agency who is familiar with the hosting realm will save you time, money, and future headaches due to scalability and bandwidth issues. So, if you want to build a speedy website that stands the test of time, you need to consider the big picture when you are choosing something as important as your web hosting. 

Considerable Factors when Choosing a Web Host

Starting out with a professionally managed web hosting service from the get-go will generate the best ROI as it benefits your site in several ways.  Here are a few key points to keep in mind when considering your hosting options:

1. Excellent Page Performance

How quickly your site loads when a visitor first arrives is one of the most important factors in whether or not they stay on your site – or immediately hit that back button. Your website’s ideal page load speed should be less than 1.5 seconds. The really cheap web hosting service providers will usually run shared hosting platforms that don’t regulate the number of websites on them or the bandwidth available to each. This keeps costs down for DIY’ers, but it also means that their CPU, memory, and disk space are stretched thin. This can lead to lag in page load times, as well as downtime if one or more of the sites that share the space is taking up extra resources. Which can ultimately cost you business or, at the very least, infuriate your customers and negatively impact their feelings towards your brand.

 

Website-Hosting

 

So, while CommonPlaces does offer a budget-friendly shared hosting option (versus the super cheap $29.99/year OR the more costly enterprise solution that has a 100% dedicated server for your site alone), we ensure that you are getting the best-value service possible. We set up everything FOR you, and make sure that you are receiving the flexibility and scalability you need. And, because this type of hosting is managed professionally, your site stays up to date on security, as well as excellent page performance.

 

While agencies, such as CommonPlaces, do offer budget-friendly shared hosting options (versus the super cheap $29.99/year OR the more costly enterprise solution that has a 100% dedicated server for your site alone), we ensure that you are getting the best-value service possible. We work with trusted cloud-based hosting providers and are able to allot the right amount of resources for your site’s needs. You can rest assured that we are constantly monitoring the server’s resources to ensure that each client’s site is loading as quickly and efficiently as possible. We set up everything FOR you, and make sure you are receiving the flexibility and scalability you need. With this off your plate, you will be able to dedicate your time to managing your business – rather than worrying about your website performance each day.

2. Hosting Effects on SEO Performance and SERP

Not only can your site's performance affect the overall customer experience it can also affect your website or application’s Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). Our experience consistently proves that there is a connection between faster time-to-first-byte (TTFB) metrics and higher search engine rankings. Websites that reside with trusted, quality hosting providers are able to quickly deliver web content to the end user. This nearly always results in a higher search ranking than competitor sites that use the most basic, cheap, self-service hosting methods – you know, the ones you always see touting that $29.99/yr price tag.

3. Website UPtime is definitely better than DOWNtime.

Any downtime or server outage will greatly impact your customer’s experience with your site, and so preventative measures should be put in place when configuring your server. Downtime and outages are the main drawbacks to cheap, unmanaged web hosting services, especially if you have a high-traffic site. This can be easily prevented by using the services of your professional web developer. At CommonPlaces, we ensure minimal downtime by making use of multiple cloud-based hosting providers and redundancies. In case one of our trusted hosts just happens to have downtime, your site is automatically switched to a backup, resulting in a seamless transition that keeps your site running smoothly.

4. Customer Service Quality of Managed Hosting

Have you ever tried to reach out in a live chat to solve a problem that may seem quick, but got stuck waiting… and waiting… and suddenly had to walk away at the very moment the agent opened your ticket  – only to discover you’re away? So, now your session has ended before you even had the chance to ask your question! You then decide to look for a number to call, and are directed only to the email or live chat. When you finally do get hold of an agent, maybe hours later, you are told that you need to upgrade your hosting package to accommodate your needs? Yikes.

 

We hear about this all too often from our clients who have become tired of dealing with their previous hosting provider, and are ready to leave it up to the professionals. At CommonPlaces, we know that our trusted hosting company(ies) will typically have the agent resources available to respond quickly as needed. In the instance that support IS needed from a hosting provider, you as a client, will likely not even know it – because it is all taken care of ‘behind the scenes.’ How about that for service?

5. Webhost Security is Paramount

When it comes to choosing how and where to host your site, security should always be a serious consideration, especially if you run a more robust site that includes customer sign-ins and/or web portals that house sensitive information. Security breaches and hacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, which means they are harder to identify; and if they happen the cost and time to get them fixed can be overwhelming. 

 

The really cheap options for self-service hosts don’t always keep up on the latest security practices because they are mainly interested in quantity over quality. Which means the cost effective solution you went with will often end up causing you more in the long run, not great for showcasing that ROI. When it comes to the security of your company’s site or web portal, top-quality managed hosting is nearly always the smartest choice.

6. Professional hosting services allow for more flexibility in your software and application choices.

When evaluating hosting options, you need to keep your site or portal’s technology stack and requirements in mind when conducting your research. Budget-friendly solutions often do not support a variety of tools and applications that many organizations use to add required functionality and capabilities to their site. For example, your basic self-service host may ONLY have the option to install WordPress and use native WP content management, with zero options for customer and associate web portals, CRM integrations, or other more complex features you may need to utilize.

 

With a professional service like CommonPlaces handling your hosting, you get the benefit of flexibility to use the apps you are most comfortable using, and the ability to scale. You also get the peace of mind knowing they will always be up and running smoothly when you need to use them. 

 

The Takeaway:

In general, cheaper web hosting services are more concerned with quantity of customers over the quality of their products. That really ‘cost-effective’ website hosting provider may seem inexpensive from the start, but tends to end up more expensive in the long run. Professionally managed hosting will allow your website to perform its best, and also allow you to use your valuable time to run your business – rather than keep tabs on your web host.

 

When you choose to host with CommonPlaces, you are working with a professional web developer who sets up and maintains hosting environments on a regular basis, and you can be sure your site is in good hands. Not only is it being hosted on a trusted platform it’s also being kept current, on both industry security standards and best practices. If you want to learn more about your hosting options, CommonPlaces is standing by to help.

 

Additional resources you may find helpful:

 

Brian Richards
By Brian Richards

Director of Development

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