Something that most startups have in common is that they are strapped on cash. As a result, they are looking for an opportunity to cut expenses without lessening the service they offer their clients. Most business owners understand that having a presence on the web is not optional. This has led some to consider using cheap hosting options. Is a cheap hosting option really the right way to go? Or will using a cheaper web hosting service negatively impact the experience your visitors have when they visit your website?
Trying to do things on the cheap is something that many new businesses have in common. This could also be one of the reasons why the majority of new businesses fail a year or so out of the gate. Even if the business doesn’t fail, making the wrong hosting decisions at the outset will impact how the business flourishes going forward.
In a study by Hosting Canada, Gary Stevens tracked the number of cheap hosting providers via Pingdom tracking to determine average uptime and downtime for popular cheap web hosts. Results show that discount hosts had an average uptime of less than 96.5%.
A Solid Foundation Needed for a Solid Structure
If you are looking to create a solid online presence, you have to start with a solid foundation. In the world of websites, your hosting service is your foundation. Investing in good web hosting is essential for the successful operation of your website.
Remember, your website is akin to the storefront of a brick-and-mortar store. Large brick-and-mortar stores like Macy’s and Sears were known for the attractive and inviting storefronts they created. It led to them having an enduring reputation.
Cheap hosting could lead to your website constantly being off-line. Think about how that would impact the way potential customers view you. Best case scenario, they would think that your business is poorly managed. Worst case scenario, they would think that your website is some form of scam. Downtime also costs SMEs billions per year, yes billions.
Modern customers refuse to spend money at businesses that do not care for their online image. Cheap hosting, like a cheap tie, can distract from your entire ensemble. Paying money for a quality hosting service allows you to represent yourself and your business in the best way possible.
Your Hosting Service Is Your Cornerstone
In literal construction, the cornerstone is what sets the pace for the entire building. If the cornerstone is crooked, the entire building will have serious problems. Your hosting service is the cornerstone of your digital presence. Choosing the wrong hosting company can become your worst nightmare. Being off-line can damage your bottom line in so many ways.
We often refer to what happened when Amazon went down for just 40 minutes. They lost more than $4 million in potential sales. Likely, there were some customers trying Amazon for the first time. Because of the negative experience these customers had, they never came back. If this can happen to the largest company on the planet with the largest e-commerce site in the world, it can happen to you.
Is Cheap Hosting Really That Bad?
As a small business owner, you are looking for ways to save money. You also are savvy enough to know that you cannot get something good at a bargain price. The same goes for web hosting. Web hosting is very competitive. There are a number of companies offering the service, and this is good for customers. Still, the cheapest solution may not be the best one for your business.
We are not saying that every single hosting option out there offering their services cheap should be avoided. But you need to do your due diligence. Ask yourself, why are they selling the service at such of a low price? How are they meeting their bottom line?
One thing that we have found is that cheap hosting services use the bait and switch method. They offer unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, and even free web design. Once they get you to migrate your site over to them or get you to sign up for a two-year or a three-year contract, you realize that what was being promised is not what is being delivered. Only then do you realize that it just makes no sense for a business to offer their services at a price that is below the industry standard.
Your website will likely experience slow load page times, your website may go down frequently, and you may have other issues. This isn’t always a sign that providers want to trick you. Instead, it’s a sign that in order to keep their prices cheap, they’ve hosted too many people on the same server. Always avoid unlimited hosting companies.
Cheap web hosting providers are also looking to keep their expenses low. One of the best ways for them to do this is to not invest in enough tech support. Right now, not having enough tech support may not seem like a big deal. But what happens when your website has a problem? You write or call tech support and days or weeks go by without a response. When you finally get a hold of an individual, you realize that you are talking to someone who is untrained and uneducated in server management. It’s then that you realize cheap hosting service may not be the best move for your business.
Reputable Hosting Is Not That Expensive
A cheap hosting provider may offer their services for a dollar or two a month. How much does it cost to get a reputable hosting service? There are a number of professional web hosting services that are renowned for their tech support, their uptime, their speed, and their security that offer their service for under US$10 a month.
So, really, you’re not saving a lot by using a cheap hosting service. But you are putting a lot at risk.
We are not recommending that you go off and purchase the most expensive hosting service. Instead, we are recommending that you do your due diligence. Compare prices and compare what the different companies are offering. Look at their reputation and see what their current and past customers say about them.
Remember, web hosting is a competitive market. There are a number of brands fighting for your business. Keep an open mind. See what it is that makes each service different from the other. Then select a reputable hosting company. That way, you will have the confidence that comes from knowing that your website will be up when your customers need it.
We would love to hear from you. Have you tried cheap hosting services in the past? How did it turn out for you? Let us know in the comments section below.