Is There A Difference In Web Hosting Services?

I have a bias because I host most of my web design clients. I did it out of desperation. I used to suggest that my clients shop around and get a low price — after all, it is just a place to put files to connect to the Internet, right? Many of my clients would come to me later bemoaning the poor service they were getting from their web host and ask me who I’d recommend. There were some “expensive” services out there but I’d always suggest another low-cost service to try. Then when problems arose, I was blamed for recommending that service.

I then began taking care of the hosting needs for my clients with a low-cost hosting company thinking that because I was handing several sites over to a hosting service, that would carry more clout. It didn’t. Low cost servers still equaled low-cost service and frequent outages and too much of my time being spent reassuring my angry clients that their email service or web site would be restored shortly… even though I wasn’t convinced of that myself. Either myself or they would be on the phone to a support person somewhere overseas with an accent that was difficult to decipher. There had to be a better way.

I found that there are differing levels of hosting services. The ones that are low in cost (and sometimes even free!), typically can’t afford to give service and to maintain their servers (big computers connected directly to the Internet) at top-level. If one of their servers is designed to hold 500 web sites (for example), they will need to try to squeeze 700 on that server to make up that difference in cost. Some use what is known in the industry as “Fair Use” to determine if you are using too much of the server’s time. If you get a surge of traffic due to a mailing, the server slows down your service to make it fair to the other 700 web sites. When there is a peak time for most on that server, everyone’s service can slow to a crawl so everyone gets a fair use. You may have a small web site, but you are impacted as well as the others.All of this made sense for someone trying to squeeze every last penny out of their service.

I began to sense that my clients preferred to pay a bit extra to not have to worry about outages and poor service. Rather than jeopardizing my reputation with low-priced budget plan, I started looking for hosts that were reliable. I’ve finally found one that I have no problems with. It costs my clients a bit more but these are solid servers and I have a great team of server gurus supporting them for me.

And I discovered something else… my clients appreciated spending a bit more for that reliability and peace of mind And now I have more time to meet my client’s needs rather than making excuses for a service that is destined by price to have slim margins for such “frills” as reliability and customer service. We all win!

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