Budget hosting - know the risks
Even the best run company can have a bad day. Crazy Domains’ day went from bad to worse very quickly today when their entire hosting infrastructure went offline for an extended period. Not surprisingly, a flood of complaints and criticism was directed at Crazy Domains in forums, on Twitter and on Facebook. But, similar to the complaints leveled at Web Central last year when their system went down for a weekend, were all the attacks really fair? After all, Crazy Domains is a budget hosting brand designed to offer the lowest price, not the best service – which is perfectly fine. But you need to adjust your expectations accordingly. When hosting a business critical website or email, maybe the first choice shouldn’t be the cheapest hosting option.
When weighing up the price differences between web hosts, many prefer to think only of the days everything runs smoothly but rarely consider what could happen when the unexpected occurs. No one thinks they need 24×7 telephone support until they need it. No one thinks there is a difference between budget hosting and a premium service until their website disappears for hours at a time. Mistakes do happen, problems arise, hardware fails, gremlins get in. Every web host – budget, premium or otherwise – occasionally has trouble that can see services interrupted. Understanding a bit more about the infrastructure involved and the support available can prepare your business for the rare bad days as well as the more usual good ones.
Do you know where the data is housed? How secure is the data centre and what redundancies are in place in case of power failure, DOS attack, fire, flood and earthquake? If a problem should arise, will you still be able to contact a genuine support person by phone in the same country, no matter what the time is? A team of on-call maintenance personnel can mean the difference between a few minutes downtime and a few hours – or days.
There is certainly a place for budget hosting, but if you have a business critical website, email or web service, then you need to be absolutely sure that what you are saving in web hosting fees won’t cost you in unscheduled downtime. How much would just one hour of downtime cost your business?