Hosting Your Website and Emails
“My website, my email magazine, my blog, my books, my corporate seminars, and my public seminars all create the ability for social media to work and all build reputation and ranking.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
For almost any business their emails and their website are the lifeblood of their organisation and the cornerstone of their marketing. So it should be obvious that a lot of thought would go into choosing the right hosting provider for both of these aspects.
Just imagine how you’d deal with your email service going down for any length of time. Customers/clients would be no longer able to get in contact as easily, communication with remote workers becomes much more difficult, sharing information grinds to a halt.
And then there’s your reputation. If customers/clients start getting bounce back messages for the failed delivery of emails, or you’re unable to send anything out to them, this can become very frustrating. How about if customers/clients are trying to order your products or find information about you and your website is down, this doesn’t project a lot of confidence at all. No one wants to have to deal with these kinds of headaches.
Thinking about hosting
Choosing a host can become overwhelming with the number of choices out there. Any number of companies offer hosting from the exceedingly cheap to the exceedingly expensive and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get what you need at either end of the scale.
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In order to figure out what’s right for your needs you need to consider the following:
- Purpose – What kind of website are you hosting? What technology do you need for this website? Different kinds of websites have different requirements; there’s a plethora of software out there and each has its own needs and platforms. Even within these needs and platforms there can be specific version requirements.
- Service – How reliable is the host you’re looking at? Do they offer an uptime guarantee? What’s their service level agreement (SLA)? Can they handle the sort of traffic your website gets?
- Growth – Is the platform scalable? As your business grows your host will need to grow with it, if your website starts to get more traffic will your host be able to offer the resources the website needs? Shared hosting is a good example of this, a lot of small businesses who organise their own hosting will go with a shared host but these hosts will not scale at all; after all, you are sharing your web space with a lot of their other customers.
- Restrictions – Are there any usage restrictions? Some hosts have fair usage policies, bandwidth restrictions, storage space restrictions, email account size restrictions etc. These all need to be researched and evaluated to see if they will have an impact on your website/emails.
- Location – Do you want a more personalised service? Local hosting companies will be able to offer services that give you an extra layer of support, they often go above and beyond what you will get from a bigger host. However, this sometimes comes at the expense of having to abide to restrictions that you wouldn’t have with a bigger host. HOWEVER – do ensure that any hosting is UK based as a non-UK host for a UK business will look weird to Google.
- Responsibility – Do you want to manage it yourself or do you want it to be managed? Managing it yourself is obviously the most cost effective method but it also means that you are responsible for almost anything that goes wrong. Your host will only fix things they deem to be their responsibility. Should a specific part or “script” break on your website break and it isn’t related the hosting account this will become your problem to fix.
- Cost – What kind of budget do you have? This obviously plays a big part for small businesses, hosting for both emails and websites can be as cheap or as expensive as you choose it to be. Larger companies will need separate dedicated services for their emails and websites whereas others can get by on a single shared platform.
- Upgrade – What kind of upgrade/migration options do they offer? If the answer is none and you’re planning on growing your business it would be a good idea to avoid these hosts in the long term.
- Separation – Should you host your emails separately from your website? A valid question these days even for small business especially since at least two of the tech giants (Google & Microsoft) offer dedicated email services in a way that a lot of people are used too. You can have your emails on your own domain but hosted in the knowledge that you have all of the features that these companies offer as well as the reliability and safety of being able to use your emails even if your website host goes down.
- Security – Will you need an SSL certificate? Will you need to meet any levels of PCI compliance? If your website is ecommerce you need to take into consideration both of these things and more. This can be a lot of extra work and cost if you’re not careful.
All in all, there’s a lot of things to consider when picking a host and for those who aren’t technical experts, all of this can seem like too much. It is a very important and regularly overlooked aspect that does need some consideration however based on its importance to your business.
It is best to speak to an expert about this topic if you have any further questions as it often an area that requires specific expertise.
Be diligent on this, shop around and speak to professionals. If you’re having your website designed professionally you should speak to them about your options.
Yorkshire Powerhouse – straight talking advice on hosting
With the abundance of “easy to use” software on the web it seems like it SHOULD be easy to create a professional website yourself? Read >