Smart Online Presence for Small Businesses: Website Hosting

Posted by on Jul 10, 2011 in Blog, Marketing, Technology | 0 comments

Smart Online Presence for Small Businesses: Website Hosting

Today, there is certainly no shortage for website hosting providers, in fact, Google shows about 10,500,000 results. So how do you evaluate who is responsible for housing your website data and files, delivering your email every time and in a timely manner, and providing a good experience while visitors are browsing your website. How costly is it if someone clicks the “Buy Now” or “Contact Us” button only to have your website returned unavailable. Evaluating a hosting provider and a hosting package is more than finding the cheapest price available.

Some of the factors involved in the selection process are: What operating system will your hosting server be running? Some flavor of Linux (hopefully) or Microsoft (if really necessary). What programming language is necessary for your website? What is the hosting server control panel that you have available to manage your server and how intuitive is it? What about a backup plan for when your web server’s hard drive fails. Is it a RAID configuration to begin with? How important is your website to your daily business activities? Are you looking at a shared server, virtual server or a dedicated server solution? Unfortunately, much of the real evaluation process comes but way of trial by fire. While there are many reviews of hosting providers available on the web, all of them may sooner or later not meet your expectations or will at least create higher levels of stress in your business life than should be necessary. Experience with the same hosting provider may often vary from one user to another.

The question then becomes, in the event of a problem how responsive and competent are the provider’s support personnel and how quickly can they resolve an issue and get your website back online. Being willing to change providers when they prove to be incompetent is also key but this, in and of itself, is no simple task. It also ties back into your domain name registrar and can take even days to complete. It is far better to select a hosting provider with a proven track record, even if it costs more up front.

So with this said, one simple strategy to protect your small business online presence is to split the responsibility of your website hosting and email to two different providers. This way, if and when your website goes down, you can at least still maintain communications with your customer base by way of email. You may say “that sounds expensive” but in fact depending on the type and size of your business, it may in fact be cheaper.

Gnarly Crumb can take the guess work out of the hosting equation. We have been dealing with a variety of hosting providers since the late 1990’s and can help you make the right choice. We have experience with a variety of “hosting disasters”, we know how to handle them, and we know how to minimize your downtime.

As always, we welcome your comments and feedback. Or contact Gnarly Crumb now to get started.

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