Web hosts are not created equally, but it’s not just about cost (although that’s one prickly thorn). A lot of website owners don’t even know what exactly their web host does—let alone if they’re not doing the job well. However, a poorly performing web host, one without competitive pricing, or one who simply doesn’t have the right tools is going to negatively impact your online presence. Plus, web hosts know that it’s just easier to “let it slide” than research and secure a new web host. In other words, they know you’re putty in their hands.
You should take the same care with choosing a web host as you do designing your website. Both contribute largely to the user experience. A subpar host can drive away traffic, lose you customers, and lower your rankings in Google searches.
Here are some of the most common web hosting problems and what to do about them:
- My site is too slow!
There are many things which can contribute to a slow loading site, but your web host is one of them. Sometimes there might be a bug in their system which is a quick fix. Other times, they’re just loading up their servers with so many clients (including you) that slow loads are inevitable. If you suspect a slow loading site, check with your web host first—it’s the quickest and simplest check.
- The server’s been hacked
It can technically happen to anyone, but there are a lot of servers/web hosts out there who haven’t been hacked. Remember: Your host (just like the host of a party) is supposed to ensure everyone is safe and enjoying themselves. Only you can decide if a security breach is worth changing hosts. Bear in mind that some (good) hosts seriously amp up their maintenance and security post-breach.
- It costs too much
“Too much” is of course subjective, but remember that there are plenty of free and low-cost options out there. However, some website owners need or want more features, supreme service, or fewer other clients sharing a server for whatever reason. If cost if nagging at you, though, there are other solutions.
- I can’t talk to a real person
Being able to connect with your web host 24/7 and in whatever format you prefer (email, chat, phone, etc.) is critical. Unfortunately, being a web host is kind of like being a terminator: People only call you when there’s a problem. You might not think it’s a huge deal right now that your web host is closed on the weekends, but what if your site goes down on a Saturday morning during Cyber Monday and you’re a retailer?
- They’re off-shore
Off-shore hosting can save you money, but remember that the further away servers and customer service is, the worse off you’ll be. It makes sense for some people in the world to go off-shore (many African countries rely on US-based servers), but not so much for Americans to go international.
Are one of these issues plaguing you? It’s actually easier to research a new host than you think. Carve out a little time and you’ll enjoy better service, better customer service, and even cost savings.