There are businesses that spend large amounts on developing a website, but cut corners when it comes to web hosting.
What is web hosting? Why does it matter?
Essentially, web hosting is the server space where your website resides.
But isn’t it all the same?
Just as the physical location of a business has an effect on it’s performance, likewise hosting has an effect on website performance.
I’d like to give you my own recommendations of where to find quality WordPress hosting, but first let me tell you a story.
A Tale of Two Businesses
In a city much like yours, there were two identical businesses planning to open.
Each one was in the same industry, and had the same number of customers anticipating their grand opening.
These two businesses each had the same budget to spend on their equipment and storefronts. Each of them spent the same amount of capital on new equipment, uniforms, supplies and decor for their shops.
But here’s where they did things differently.
The first store owner said, “I’ve spent a lot of money setting up my shop so far. But in order to get that investment back, I’d better give people a chance to see my shop.”
That first store owner did their research on vacant commercial space in the city, and found a location that was expensive, but seemed worth setting up in.
The location the first owner selected cost more, but had lots of square footage.
Even though they were in a high-traffic part of town, customers could get in and out very quickly. The parking lot was spacious, and well lit at night. Because there was room inside the store, customers didn’t have to wait in line, and they had room to browse.
The first shop was in a shopping center with a security patrol and in a part of ton where crime rates were low. The shop owner also invested in extra security measures like an alarm system.
Though the first business invested a lot up front, they prospered over time, and were successful in their location for many years.
But the second store owner made a different decision.
The second store owner said to themself, “I’ve spent a lot of money setting up my shop so far. So in order to get that investment back, I’d better save money wherever I can from here on out.”
The second owner researched all the vacant commercial space in the city, and found a location that was inexpensive, and set up shop there.
The location of the second shop didn’t have a lot of square footage. When customers were inside, it was hard for them to browse the goods for sale, and it took longer to check out.
The parking lot of the second shop was congested and crowded. There were numerous small shops in the shopping center where they were located, and all of them had to share the tiny parking lot. It took forever for customers to get in and out, so many never came back for repeat business.
On top of that, the second shop owner didn’t realize the reason he got such a good deal on the lease was his shop was in a bad part of town. Break-ins were common in the shopping center, and eventually, his shop was also broken into.
The second owner didn’t insurance on his equipment, and after having a slow year, also had to figure out how to replace all his stolen equipment and merchandise.
After struggling along for a few more years, the second shop eventually closed for good.
The Point of This Parable
In case you haven’t guessed, this story isn’t just about the decisions you make about the physical location of your business, but also about where you host your website.
Hosting Affects Everything Else
You wouldn’t build your house on an unstable plot of land, and you shouldn’t host your website on an unstable server.
Web servers that run outdated software are a security risk. But many small businesses have websites that run on outdated servers.
Some hometown hosting companies survive because they people in the community who don’t want to go elsewhere. There’s an trust factor in place.
But this is business.
Your business that’s on the line.
If your current hosting isn’t optimized for your website, then it’s affecting your business.
Many business owners don’t know how to compare web hosting, and make a decision by how much it will cost per month. What these business owners may realize later, is that low-cost hosting companies cut corners, and sometimes make them pay extra to upgrade to the most current software. As a result, these businesses hesitate to ever upgrade, as they feel it is an unnecessary expense.
If you’re wondering if your current host is running up-to-date software for your WordPress site, there’s a Requirements page on the WordPress.org site. As of this writing, they are recommending PHP 5.4 and MySQL 5.5 as server software. Be wary of hosts running anything earlier than that.
Avoid Shared Hosting
Out-of-date software is one factor to avoid, as is shared hosting.
Shared hosting is usually offered for $10 a month (or even less). The reason hosting companies can sell you server space at this price is they are cramming literally thousands (or tens of thousands) of sites onto one each server.
Each of these sites shares server bandwidth and resources with every other site on the server.
The end result is your site will be bogged down and slow.
The dollars you save with shared hosting you end up losing multiple times over from lost conversions, poor search rankings, and dissatisfied would-be customers.
Investing a few more dollars each month to get VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is well worth the money.
VPS hosting is generally much faster than shared hosting. VPS hosting allocates a certain amount of server resources to your site, improving performance greatly.