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23 December 2015

Adrian Fowler

Adrian Fowler

Just two days before Christmas, I thought a good article about website hosting was in order. We'll explain the obstacles in the way of website success when choosing the wrong web host and in true Web Lab form, offer up a solution.

Web hosting – Why you should consider using our platform?

Web hosting – firstly, before we go off and burn the turkey, I’d like to explain what web hosting is. Most people who have a website designed, do not realise that after the website design and development process has finished, the site then needs to be uploaded and hosted somewhere. It has to sit on a server somewhere and the content needs to be fed to the end users. This is a really important consideration, but hardly anyone ever considers it.

Why is that? Well I guess it’s because the fun part is over. We have our website now finished, it can be accessed, so why worry about it?

Some good reasons are covered here, and this isn’t just speculation, this is actual fact, somewhere in the small print you’ll see these red flags, but you won’t realise these until something goes wrong, and we all know how possible that is with information technology.

Website backup

Fact 1. Nearly all hosting companies are not obliged to back up your website or data. They are only paid to host your site. If they have a problem with their hosting service, and for whatever reason your website is lost, it’s up to you to be able to restore it to the point it was in before the problem happened. Do you have a backup? In most cases, you probably don’t and you may not even know what to back up or even how to back it up. They probably offer that service, but at an additional cost. Even then, do you know if it is being backed up?

What would it cost to restore your site should a data loss occur? How long would it take in doing so? And what would happen to your sites’ google listing if it was offline for long enough to make search engines like Google think it was no longer available? Not only would you lose sales or enquiries, you’d probably lose your search engine positioning resulting in your competitors being ranked higher than you, and in the process of trying to restore your site, you’d probably spend a small fortune in doing so.

At the Web Lab, all our hosted websites are backed up daily including their databases. All you data is included in our own disaster recovery plan. We don’t charge an additional fee for this, it is included in our basic webhosting package as standard.

Shared hosting

Fact 2. Hosting companies provide web servers which host your website, along with thousands of other websites hosted on the same web server. This certainly does help to keep the cost low to the end user, i.e. you, but it’s cheap at the cost of performance. Imagine your own computer. When you first start it up, once it settles down and you load Google Chrome, for example, you can browse the internet fairly quickly. It seems pretty responsive. If you then start loading a few other programs and say another twenty websites, it becomes noticeably slower. Your computer becomes overcrowded doing many things as once and slowing down as a result.

The same thing happens to websites hosted on a web server along with another one or two thousand other websites. Your site (unfortunately) may or may not have high levels of traffic, but its performance is hampered because another website hosted on the same server as yours is receiving tonnes of traffic which is slowing down the web server as a result. So you have the disadvantage on not only receiving a low amount of traffic to your site, which means less sales or enquiries, but also suffering with poor site performance because someone else’s site is getting all the traffic and not yours.

Hosting companies aren’t responsible for providing you with any guarantees on how quick your site should be. If your site is slow, it’s up to you to find out why that is, but how do we go about that? Where do we begin? Their minimum threshold for what could be deemed as acceptable performance levels, chances are, are far lower than yours, and most certainly lower than what your websites’ visitor levels would be. This slow performance could, and most certainly will, result in your visitors leaving your site in favour of a competitor’s site with a better user experience.

At the Web Lab we host less than 50 websites per Server which is only a tiny fraction of what other web hosting companies host on their servers. This results in much faster performance levels per website. We frequently do traffic analysis per server, and if we think some sites are hogging all the resources, we move them to another webserver. This is highly unusual practice for any web hosting company, but it’s what sets us apart from the rest.

Website hosting location

Fact 3. Do you know where your website is currently hosted? You could be breaking the law with regard to information security if your website and its data isn’t compliant within the country that uses your website. In the UK we have the most stringent data protection laws, much higher than the US. If your website is hosted on a web server that happens to be stateside, then your website is only protected by the lower US laws with regard to information security. This isn’t good enough if your business is UK based and operating in the US. You are not compliant.

Also, the geographic location of your website affects search engine rankings. If your target market is the UK and your site is hosted in Europe, then your’re missing an important Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) factor. If Google sees your website as being hosted in Germany, it’s going to think your websites’ target audience is Germany. No good if you are only servicing the UK. Take a look at this short video from Google’s Matt Cutts explaining this.

As the Web Lab, our web servers are based in Leicestershire, and nothing is hosted overseas. It’s all UK based, and is fully compliant with UK laws.

Cheap web hosting in the UK

Fact 4. It all boils down to cost, and our hosting is one of the cheapest around. You can’t say any more than that. What other reason do you need to not consider using our web hosting platform?

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