When was the last time you thought about your website host? If you’re like most people, it was either the first time you launched a new website or the last time your website went down.
However, it pays to spare a few minutes’ time to give your website hosting some thought. Knowing a bit about what to expect from your hosting service – as well as your web hosting company – can help you prepare for the future and know how to advocate for yourself.
Here are some of the most common web hosting myths, and why they’re all a bust.
Myth 1: All Web Hosting is the Same
After registering their domain, many business owners fall into the trap of just hosting with their domain registrar – after all, it’s easy and cheaper so it’s a very tempting offer. That is until a problem arises or too many people visit their site at once, and their website is suddenly down for an indefinite period of time.
All website hosting service are not the same. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, it’s important to consider these factors when deciding on a hosting company:
- How many average monthly visitors does/will my site receive?
- Can this company guarantee a certain site speed?
- How many pages/videos/images are on my website?
- Will I need payment processing on my website?
- What level of security do I need for keeping client/user information safe?
- Does the hosting company take steps to protect all websites on their server if one is security compromised?
- Does the hosting company offer 24/7 monitoring? And will they restore my website if it goes down, or am I responsible?
- Will my website be hosting only on one physical server, on multiple servers (a cloud) or both?
- Do I want to be responsible for all updates and plugins or do I want my hosting company to handle those?
Not all web hosts are going to be able to guarantee the same level of services. The demands of a small blogging website that sees only 200 visitors a month are very different than a large eCommerce website with 4,000 average monthly visitors. Yet many domain registrar companies would treat them the same. You need to consider your needs and find a web host that will meet those demands.
Myth 2: Free is Fine
Many web hosting companies entice in new users with the allure of free services. But buyer beware – these are often marketing schemes. More often than not these “free” services are simply a trial or even a limited version of a company’s hosting services.
The same goes for free plugins. If you’re hosting your own website or are working with a host that doesn’t install plugins for you, it can be tempting to use free plugins. But just like with hosting, these are often deceptive. Even worse, they can put your website at risk. Some free plugins are old and are easily exploited for security breaches. Even more nefarious, some plugins hide malicious code so the plugin maker can tap into your website. A good website host can help you separate safe plugins from dangerous ones.
Myth 3: Viruses Only Affect Computers
Viruses aren’t just a threat for your personal computer – they can infect a whole server, bringing down multiple websites. Recently websites as large as Amazon and Netflix have fallen victim to DDoS attacks. CloudFlare, one of the largest web security companies, defines a DDoS as:
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like a traffic jam clogging up with highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its desired destination.
This means that as long as your website is hosted online, it’s vulnerable to DDoS attacks. This is why choosing the right web hosting company is so important, because some hosting contracts do not include security in the event your website is under attack.
Web Hosting & Security for Your WordPress Website
Myth 4: My Site Will Never Go Down
When paying more for web hosting, it’s understandable to assume that means your website will always be online. There’s also a common belief that hosting on the cloud is more secure than on a server, and that cloud-hosted websites never have downtime.
However, that’s not realistic. Even websites like Amazon can experience downtime ranging from less than a second to up to a few hours. Most reputable companies can guarantee a majority uptime: BizzyWeb guarantees 99% uptime for our clients (that means at most 72 hours total of downtime out of the 8,760 hours in a year). However, if a website hosting company boasts 100% uptime that should send up red flags.
Likewise, cloud hosting is not necessarily more reliable than hosting on a single server. Cloud hosting simply means that your website is hosted across several servers. The same vulnerabilities exist.
Your website going down is inevitable – it’s more important to look to how a hosting company responds. How long is your website down? If it’s down for longer than 10 minutes at a time, do they keep you informed? What is their response to downtimes?
Myth 5: I Can Do All My Own Updates
When comparing web hosting companies, you’ll notice an additional service fee for web hosts that handle your website updates. It’s tempting to want to save money by just doing it yourself.
The problem is that installing updates on a platform like WordPress requires constant vigilance and at least a rudimentary understanding of websites. While you technically can do it on your own, unless that’s a majority of your job responsibilities you likely won’t be able to stay on top of every update. Updating your website isn’t just installing new WordPress updates – it’s also updating every plugin, making sure a WordPress update doesn’t break a plugin, making sure other plugin updates don’t break all plugin updates, etc. Additionally, DDoS attacks are designed to exploit these manual processes, which means that even if your website doesn’t go down during a widespread DDoS attack, you still need to keep tabs on them because if other websites are going down because of a plugin or update, you’ll have to remove it from your website or beef up security.
It becomes a slippery slope quickly. Your website is much more secure if you hand off update responsibilities to an expert who knows exactly how to install and will also monitor your website and internet news 24/7 to prevent attacks or address them as they happen.
Website hosting is a necessary byproduct of getting your site online. Not all hosting solutions are equal, and it’s important to know exactly what level of service you need. With these myths busted, now you know what you can expect out of a hosting service and what to look for when comparing web hosting companies.
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You have a great site, now put it on the right servers to make it perform like it should.
Web hosting is one of the most important, yet sometimes misunderstood, parts of building an effective website. You need a site that is blazing fast, secure, reliable, and supported by real, live people who understand your business. That’s where BizzyHosting shines.
BizzyHosting is available to anyone who needs a home for their WordPress website, regardless of if we designed it or not.
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