Your website is a virtual representative for your business. In some cases, it’s the only public-facing representative for your business. So, it’s no surprise that finding the best web hosting services for it to operate from is such a critical decision.
Think about it like this:
You need an office or retail space to run your business out of. So, you look at factors like location, internet connectivity, building maintenance and support, price and all the other things that will keep the space in good working order. During this time, you’ll focus on running your business.
That’s the exact role your web hosting services need to play for your website.
But how do you find the right web host and hosting plan? And how do you know if the one you currently have is right for you?
Today, we’re going to look at the cost of lousy hosting on business and provide some tips for finding the best web hosting services for you.
The Cost of Bad Website Hosting
When it comes to business, you know what happens when you cut corners. (Nothing good.)
A similar thing happens when you build a website with the wrong web hosting. But it doesn’t just affect your website. Bad web hosting can have far-reaching effects on your business and its future success.
Here’s how lousy web hosting will cost you:
The Cost of a Slow Website
While there are many things you can do to make your site run faster, a poor choice of web hosting services can have a significant impact on it.
If your site runs slowly because of your hosting, you stand to lose a lot in terms of:
For a long time now, 3 seconds has been the magic number when it comes to how long it should take a web page to open. Anything more than that, and you run the risk of visitors growing impatient and exiting the site for good.
Google’s research into the matter shows why slow page speeds are so costly for websites:
The BBC analyzed its website and discovered that Google’s data is accurate. Every time the BBC website slows down by just 1 second, it loses roughly 10% of its traffic.
But slow-loading pages don’t just add up to lower visitor rates. They spell fewer sign-ups and sales, too.
What’s even scarier about slow-loading websites is the fact that it’s not just unhappy visitors you have to worry about. If Google doesn’t like how slowly your pages load, your site isn’t going to rank very well.
If you run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights, it will rate your site on a score of 0 to 100.
Scores in the red zone are more likely to rank lower in search results, but there is a silver lining here. If you scroll down your page-speed results page, Google tells you exactly what you can do to fix the problem and improve your page rank.
The Cost of Website Downtime
There are a variety of ways a website can go down. A hacker breaks in and takes it offline. A software update introduces a bug, and it crashes. Web hosting server outages can also cause your website to go offline.
When a website goes down, it’s going to cost you big in terms of:
- Lost opportunities
- Lost revenue
- A tarnished reputation with visitors and customers alike
Take, for instance, visitors who try to access your site during that time. How many of them do you think will try to revisit your website later? And what if they reach it when it’s still down?
Plus, you have to think about all those visitors that would’ve become subscribers, customers, or users during that time frame. For companies that do a lot of business online, this translates into huge losses.
Hosting.Review put together some startling statistics on how much the most popular websites to lose with a minute of downtime:
While your business likely won’t lose millions of dollars a minute, what you do lose will be substantial in the grand scheme of things.
If you’re curious to know what the impact would be on your business, calculate your average visitor traffic and sales per hour. That’s what you’d lose with an hour-long outage. Now, multiply that number by 24. How would your business fare if your site went down for a whole day?
Also, remember to factor in the costs of working with your host or developer to try and restore your website. How much time can you afford to spend away from your business to get your site fixed?
The Cost of a Website Security Breach
Website cyber attacks can hit your website from many angles and in many different forms, but a weak web server can be particularly susceptible.
With a security breach, you could be looking at the following costs:
- Time spent working with your web host or developer to identify the breach
- Developer costs to repair the breached website
- Security analyst fees to look for compromised data
- Time spent implementing stricter security measures
- Time spent contacting affected customers
- Money spent to make amends for stolen data
- Money lost on customers who decide to quit your services, stop buying from you, etc.
- Marketing campaign costs to address the breach and restore faith in your community, customers, and partners
- Time spent working with Google to remove your website from the blacklist
Depending on the size of your business and what sort of information is available through your website, you might not be liable for all the costs above. That said, it’s not just the giant corporations of the world that are susceptible to cyber-attacks.
Take Whales.net, for instance. Website manager Melissa Marchand said:
“It was a total nightmare — I had no idea that something like this could happen. I’d say 75 to 80 percent of our bookings are done online, so when our site is down, we’re just dead in the water.”
But the website wasn’t down, per se. The hacker was directing all traffic to porn sites. So, not only did the company have to recover its website, it had to improve its reputation.
If you’re thinking, “That can’t happen to us,” think again. According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report in 2019, businesses of all shapes and sizes are attacked regularly:
63% of medium-sized companies suffered an attack in 2019.
The report also estimates the average cost of a security attack to be quite hefty, regardless of company size:
For mid-sized firms, you’re looking at an average cost of $184,000 for each breach. Could your business afford to take that hit?
How to Find the Best Web Hosting Services for Your Business
While splurging on more expensive web hosting services might seem insane right now, think about where you want your business to be in a year.
Do you want high volumes of traffic coming to your site and putting money into your pocket?
Do you want to sit idly by as your email inbox and bank account remain empty?
The answer to that is easy. So, here’s everything you need to look for when choosing the best web hosting services for your site:
1. Good Reputation
Always use a web hosting company that others trust. Plain and simple. If it’s worked for others, it’ll work for you.
To find out who those best hosting providers are, use Google.
For instance, if you Google “best web hosting for Canada,” you’ll find a bunch of reviews on the top hosting providers for Canadian websites. You’ll find reviews and recommendations for the best of the best, like Web Hosting Canada, that serves over 35,000 businesses (and with customer reviews to back it up).
2. Server Locations
Another reason why you should look for web hosting services in your area is that they’re more likely to have servers near you and your target audience. The closer the servers are, the faster your websites will load in visitors’ browsers.
You can find this out by Googling “[web host name] server locations.” For instance, this is what you find when looking for SiteGround’s locations:
Would that be close enough to your customers? If not, look for a host with more servers in your target area.
3. Uptime Guarantee
An uptime guarantee is something that a web hosting provider should give you. For example, this is A2 Hosting’s guarantee:
Not only is this a promise that your site will be online at least 99.9% of the time, but your host will compensate you for any downtime that exceeds .1%.
4. Speed Optimizations
While you can optimize your site on your own, none of that will matter if your web server is painfully slow. Even if you don’t know what all these things are, make sure your web hosting provider has the following:
- Apache webserver
- Nginx reverse proxy
- SSD cloud storage
- PHP support
- Server caching
You’ll usually find this information on the “Technology” or “Platform” page of the website, as is the case with GreenGeeks:
Another thing to look for is CDN integration. This is an add-on that speeds up loading times for websites that serve global customers.
5. Server-side Security
Hackers are persistent and creative, so if you block one point of entry, they’re likely to find another. Don’t let your web hosting server be one of those ways.
When choosing web hosting services, look for the following security measures:
- SSL certificate add-on
- DDoS protection
- Firewall (WAF)
- Automated backups
You’ll usually find this information on the web hosting plan or pricing page, like on the InMotion Hosting website:
Also, when you review the information on the host’s server locations, make sure they have security measures in place at their data centers (it should explain what they use on the page).
Your business isn’t the only thing that needs to scale, so too does your website and its server resources. This can be a tricky thing to manage on your own, but many web hosts make it easy for you to do.
WP Engine, a managed WordPress hosting company, is one such company that ensures that scalability is built into your services from Day 1.
When researching web hosting plans, make sure the website mentions “scale” or “scalability.” You want to work with a company that understands that a website can’t just remain stagnate and needs to grow.
7. Expert Customer Support
Depending on the type of hosting you get as well as who you work with, support levels and hours may vary. But if this is important to you — to have someone available to answer your questions, help your site if it gets attacked, enable you to get the most of your hosting — look for a plan that has the amount of support you need.
Hostinger, for example, provides 24/7/365 support for cloud hosting customers:
This information should be as clear as day on the pricing page. If it’s not there, look for another web hosting partner who can offer you the support you need and deserve.
There’s a reason why many website owners look past free web hosting, shared web hosting, and other cheap, no-frills plans.
The costs of a slow website, a hacked website, or an offline webpage are just too high — and there’s no guarantee that your site will be safe from those issues if you skimp on web hosting services.
I have been working as a web designer for several years. I’m continually learning better ways to rank websites within reputable search engines. When I’m not working or studying, I’m spending time with my family exploring random activities.