Web hosting gone wrong? Here is three tell-tale signs.
There is very little difference between a web host, and a real estate manager. Both charge you rent according to how large you want to live(shared, VPS, managed, etc...), take care of things when they break down(downtime, email not working...), and make sure to keep sketchy people off the property(hackers, etc...).
The sad truth is, there is lousy apartment managers, and lousy web hosting companies, but as it is true in real estate as it is in web hosting, it s often impossible to tell the bad ones from the good ones, without a certain inside knowledge in what it takes to manage property, may that be virtual, or physical.
Always check the plumbing first!
Picking a web hosting company based on how much storage they give you, is equal to entering a lease agreement, based solely on square footage. Yes, there is a lot of room, but what good is it if the plumbing doesn t work, or if there aren t power outlets?
When purchasing shared hosting, it s important to understand that not all shared hosting is the same. Some hosting companies will try to save a few bucks, by offering sub-par hosting servers that barely meet the reasonable requirements of running a shopping cart. These types of hosting are usually designed to handle pre-packaged CMS solutions sold in bulk, like Wix or Weebly. These types of products are very restrictive, and require the purchase of additional upgrades, which makes them ideal when running a low budget hosting operation that caters to bloggers or personal websites.
As the needs of an organization grow, resources should scale according to the needs of the organization paying for the services. Unfortunately, a bad hosting company will do the exact opposite, and scale resources based on its own needs, and not its customers.
The results of cherry-picking resources to scale without taking customers into consideration, never ends well. Shared hosting is a typical example. When resources are shared, it s crucial that those resources are well distributed, and backed by rock-solid support. When support lags, or lacks, that s when bad things happen, such as minor glitches that are ignored and left unattended, until they become too big to manage.
Support ties in with the previous point, because the worst companies in the industry have one thing in common: unless they screw up BIG, they will ignore customers complaints, hoping that customers will somehow work it out .
A little personal anecdote will clarify the latter point on support.
Back in 2007, when i first purchased hosting for my first business website as FabioBasile.com, i landed on Network Solutions, as it seemed to me the most respectable at the time. Call centers were responsive, support was top-notch, and i hardly ever had downtime.
The trouble began in 2013, when Web.com take over of Network Solutions started showing its ugly side effects.
A significant decline in quality became visible across all of Network Solutions services, at a steady pace. In the past few months i had also began experiencing frequent glitches affecting MySQL database support, causing some of my sites and services to randomly malfunction.
The first time submitting a ticket in regard to this problem resulted in the following sequence of events:
- A phone call from a technical support representative asking me what my problem was, even after i left a detailed ticket describing the problem.
- The same representative telling me: i can log into MySQL from my end so i guess it works
- Me walking the representative through the steps leading to the exact replication of my issue.
- The operator acknowledging the issue.
- Me begging the call center operator to escalate the problem to an admin
- The admin emailing me back, telling me it s a problem with my code.
The steps above were repeated three times, within the same week, with no change in the script, even after i threatened to leave and advice all my clients who are still hosting their sites at Network Solutions to do the same.
Finally, five days later, i moved all my sites and services away from Network Solutions.
I was a customer of Network Solutions since 2007, and it took something as trivial as a small glitch in the system, for Network Solutions to lose my business.
Regardless of whether that issue is now fixed, there is no way that i would consider purchasing anything from that company again.
The final point
While the latter point might sound like a common rant, it s actually the most important lesson about how to pick a web host. Anyone who is going to make a multi-year commitment, can t act on impulse , just because hosting a website is relatively cheap, as the cost of cheap , especially when running a business from a website, is always hefty.
Picking a web hosting company based on how much storage they give you, is equal to entering a lease agreement, based solely on square footage. Yes, there is a lot of room, but what good is it if the plumbing doesnt work, or if there arent power outlets?
25th May, 2015
25th May, 2015
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