Weblinx, Incorporated

Myth #6: Web Hosting Is a Useless Upcharge

It’s often the case in life that the things that are hardest to see are the easiest to ignore. That’s why lots of people will pay more attention to a scratch on their car door than they will a reminder to change their oil.

Once your website is finished you can get it published to the web for a few dollars per month. If you work with a company like Weblinx, you’ll always get the recommendation to go with a premium hosting package. You might be wondering whether that’s a worthwhile investment or just a meaningless upcharge that comes after the fact. We can tell you with great confidence and certainty that you should ignore the cheapskates in your life and opt for better web hosting.

website hosting

Some may tell you that it’s the layout and functionality of your pages that matter, not which server those pages are stored on. The professionals who work in my industry know better. In this article we’re going to walk you through the very basics on this topic so you can make a more informed (and more profitable) choice than many of your peers.

Web Hosting Is About Two Things

In the most basic sense, web hosting refers to where your files are stored and delivered. Imagine for a moment that you had two colleagues. One of them had a fast, modern laptop with a lot of disk space. The other was using an old broken-down PC that frequently crashed. Which one would you want to be responsible for the centerpiece of your digital business?

We like this analogy because it resonates with clients in a simple way. The nicer the computer, the more likely it is that things are going to go smoothly when customers come to visit your pages.

If we go a bit deeper into the details, we find that great web hosting is really about two things: performance and security.

On the performance side, our premium web hosting packages offer more reliability and faster loading speeds. That means your site will be online when customers come looking for it, and also that they will be able to view and access your content quickly.

You might remember that in an earlier article we referred to surveys showing that the average first-time visitor to your website will only hang out for three seconds before moving on. That means the biggest determinant of whether you’ll get the opportunity to sell to a new customer or not is the speed of your web hosting.

When we reference security in the context of web hosting, we’re pointing toward your vulnerability to hackers and thieves. The cheapest web hosting plans are shared, meaning your files will be stored on a server with several hundred or thousands of other websites. Because the other website owners have also chosen the cheapest plans, you could have your HTML running alongside sketchy online casinos and companies sending millions of spam emails.

While you might not care what your digital neighbors are doing, their actions can still affect you. For instance, hackers could gain access to a server where your pages are stored and compromise your information. Or, virus protection software companies can start blocking the server you send email from because it looks like another that has been flagged as being problematic.

It goes without saying that these are the sorts of problems you can live without, especially when you’re launching a new website. But signing up for better web hosting isn’t only about avoiding hassles. It comes with some benefits, as well.

There Are Hidden Benefits to Better Web Hosting

In the same way that cheap and unreliable web hosting carries hidden costs, premium web hosting packages bring benefits and advantages that aren’t immediately obvious. The faster page loading times and more reliable content delivery are definite positives, but they might not even be the most important reasons to switch.

One of the low-key benefits you get from improved web hosting is the availability of SSL connections. Presumably you are a business owner or marketing executive, and not a web designer, so we’ll spare you the technical details that go into secure data transfers. Instead, we will simply point out that it’s much, much safer for you and your customers if information (like email addresses, personal details, etc.) are being exchanged through encrypted means.

Obviously, there are some things – like ecommerce – you can’t do without web encryption. But even if you aren’t conducting financial transactions online, you should still invest in the extra protection for your website. For one thing, it greatly reduces the odds that you will be targeted by hackers. And for another, lots of web browsers designate the safety of a website by SSL connectivity.

If you don’t use encrypted data transfers, then your website will often be marked as “unsafe” when customers visit. That’s not going to be good for your sales and marketing efforts. This is where we point out that SSL connections simply aren’t available through many bargain-basement web hosting plans.

Similarly, Google and the other search engines prioritize websites with fast page loading times and secure connectivity over websites with inferior hosting. They do this partly because premium web hosting is preferred by serious businesses (and thus more likely to be a serious search result). They also show a preference to websites with better hosting because it’s what search engine users want. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a recipe, product, or a new back pain specialist – you don’t want to end up on a slow website with insufficient data security.

When you put the details together it’s easy to understand why the secondary benefits of premium web hosting can be more valuable than the more obvious ones. Having your pages load quickly and reliably is important. But getting customers to visit your site, trust what they see, and give information like contact details matters even more.

But Wait, There’s More…

We probably don’t need to say much more about the value of premium web hosting, but since we are on the topic I’m going to introduce a few more benefits. If this were an infomercial it would be the point where we start giving away vacuums and knives. We don’t need to go over the top, though, so we’re just going to list a few of the reasons you should shell out a few extra dollars to put your website in a better, more exclusive neighborhood:

  • Our web hosting packages include backups. So, if there is an issue with your website you can always restore it quickly.
  • With the right web hosting package you can get better access to analytics. It’s impossible to know whether your digital marketing plan is succeeding or not if you can’t study statistics and user behavior.
  • When you have a good web hosting plan your website will be assigned to its own server, or at least a virtual private server. That gives you more flexibility in how your pages can be coded, along with what sorts of apps and content management systems you can use.

None of these can seem like a big deal until you need them or have a major problem with your website. Then, all of a sudden you’ll wish you had opted for something that matched your long-term needs instead of your shorter-term bank balance.

And really, this is the point where the case for cheap web hosting falls apart. That’s because the right kind of plan probably won’t make a noticeable difference in your budget to begin with.

Premium Web Hosting Is a Great Value

In most cases, web hosting – even great web hosting – will be the smallest part of your web development budget. You can literally upgrade your site and its performance for a couple dollars per day.

Why, then, do so many business owners and executives go for the wrong hosting plans? As we’ve already mentioned, many simply don’t know enough about the ins and outs involved to make an informed decision. And so, they do what their friends and colleagues tend to, which is to choose the cheapest option. That makes sense until you have all the facts.

It’s also the case that some creative agencies have affiliate relationships with low-quality hosting providers. So, they might get a referral bonus for sending customers to a company that isn’t known for its performance or reliability.

You don’t have to be an expert in server speeds or programming languages to avoid these mistakes. All you need to do is work with a reputable creative partner, follow their advice, and ask questions when needed. Most importantly, you have to be willing to spend those few extra dollars a day to get the right web hosting plan for your business website.

The best investments you can make into your company are the ones that make a huge difference without requiring a massive increase in spending. Strong web hosting definitely falls into that category, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.