You probably go to great lengths to look after your most valuable business assets – staff, buildings, IT systems, vehicles and the like, but what about your website?
Hosting is one of those areas where business owners can sometimes find themselves tempted to cut a corner and take the budget option. After all, it isn’t something either you or your clients can see, you just need somewhere to park your website, and surely hosting is hosting, right?
Well no. There are wide variations in the level of service you can expect to receive depending on whether you choose a budget or a premium hosting solution for your website.
At MMD, we provide our clients with hosting through WP Engine, a platform that’s dedicated to supporting the WordPress websites we design and build, but there are many other premium options, and most will offer similar benefits.
Have you noticed how some websites are lightning-fast at loading content, while others seem to leave you hanging? There are other reasons why a website might be infuriatingly slow, but more often than not it’s an indication that it’s being hosted by a budget provider.
A slow website is bad for your business for two reasons. First, visitors expect a high-quality user experience, and fast-loading is a prerequisite. If a visitor is frustrated by the performance of your site, they’ll go elsewhere, and you’ve lost a potential customer at the first hurdle. The second reason is really an extension of this – because Google only want to promote websites that give their customers the best experience, they rank fast-loading sites more highly in the search results than slower ones.
So, as you can see, seconds really do count!
Premium hosting generally provides a high level of security to protect your website against hacking, and to ensure viruses and malware can’t be introduced.
Because the hosting solution we use (WP Engine) is not generic, but is specifically for WordPress websites, it ensures any standard vulnerabilities or threats are neutralised before they can get anywhere near our clients’ websites.
If your website should succumb to any kind of external issue, you’ll want it resolved as soon as possible. A website that’s not functioning properly is likely to have a significant financial impact on your business – especially if you’re paying for online advertising, and your customers are being directed to a page that’s not working.
A premium hosting provider will be accessible to you 24/7 to help with any issues, and if the worst should happen and your website is hacked or becomes infected, they will act immediately to ensure it’s restored quickly.
Unfortunately, many business owners find out too late that this level of service is not standard with budget providers, where response times can be slow and the website owner may be responsible for repairing any damage to their site themselves.
A premium hosting solution will automatically backup your website regularly (usually daily) so that if necessary, it can be restored. Automated backups are likely to be much less frequent (if at all!) with a budget solution.
A premium hosting provider will constantly monitor your website to make sure it’s up and running and functioning as it should. For the websites we manage at MMD, we get automated notifications of any problems the moment they happen, and in most cases, we are able to resolve them even before our client is aware there’s an issue!
With budget hosting, it will usually be down to the website owner to look out for any problems – although inevitably it will often be their own customers who first notice something is wrong.
These are just some of the benefits associated with premium hosting. Depending on the option you choose, there will be others. WP Engine for example, automatically applies any core WordPress updates to your website – after first testing them on a duplicate copy to ensure there are no issues. (We update plug-ins and third-party extensions separately as part of our managed service).
The cost differential between budget and premium hosting is often not huge. While opting for a budget solution might save you a few hundred pounds a year, the potential cost to your business and your reputation if something should go wrong is incalculable.
If you’d like to find out more about protecting your website and your business with premium hosting, get in touch now by sending us a message or calling us on 0118 380 0131 for a chat!