It's been years now we've been harping at anyone who will listen to get rid of their cheap shared web hosting in favor of more reliable VPS hosting or managed WordPress hosting. Certainly, if you have a wordPress website and it contributes in any way towards earning revenue for your small business, it's time to get with the times and sign up for reliable web hosting. In fact, if you use WordPress, your best choice is to use WordPress managed hosting.
If you are one of our regular visitors you know how important it is to start your online presence off on the right foot with a rock solid online foundation. Yes, that foundation starts with a well built website, but the next step is to insure your site is using a reliable and high performing web hosing solution, NOT cheap shared web hosting. Nowadays, you want a host using php7 because it's light years faster than the 5.6. Then, you'll want SSL/https, auto updates and built in backups. There's much, much more to choosing web hosting, but that's for another post.
Sad but True Story of Web Hosting Gone Wrong
Today we share a real life true story about how cheap shared web hosting contributed to the demise of a new, contemporary, income earning website. In fact, the site was down for about 11 days, resulting in an estimated loss of at least $110,000 in revenue. As we share the story, please keep in mind we will not get into the difference between good hosting vs cheap shared web hosting, and we're not going to compare one web host to another. We have no ax to grind other then my professional opinions about how important it is for us all to be using reliable and fast performing hosting.
Nice New Website Generates Leads
We recently developed a very nice new WordPress business website for a reputable home improvement company located here in the US. The site turned out great and the client walked away very happy. We later noticed they were averaging almost two form fills per day from leads many salespersons would kill for.
The business obtains leads via various advertising strategies, directing prospective customers to visit their website or call to set an appointment. An in home appointment is scheduled, a salesperson visits and sells home improvement services ranging from a couple grand to much more. Making some conservative assumptions, if the average sale is worth 10K each, and say they actually convert a measly 100 deals per year, that equals $1,000,000 in revenue that can be attributed in part, to their website. Not bad!
Bad Advice Leads to Poor Decision
One problem though, upon completion of the new site the client decided to keep their site at their existing cheap shared web hosting account and passed on our offer to move them to our Liquid Web Virtual Private Storm Server. Some might call this crazy thinking! Personally, I'll NEVER understand why any small business, relying on their website for leads, uses cheap shared hosting as opposed to more reliable, faster and up to date web hosting.
This decision was made based in part, on poor advice from their trusted in house IT person. The client also decided against signing up for our ongoing website maintenance package which includes the VPS hosting, regular backups, updates and security. As much as we disagree with the cheap shared hosting decision, they are the client, it's their money, and their decision. However, as the saying goes, you make your own bed, but than you have to lay in it.
Cheap Shared Web Hosting and Backup Plugins Not Allowed
Just before turning this site over to the client we attempted to install our favorite backup plugin, just for our own piece of mind so had our own copy of the website and database files. We were NOT being paid for this, but we wanted something, just in case the cheap shared web hosting backups failed. Unfortunately, because the web host wants to charge the client extra for their own website backups, anytime you try to install a good backup utility plugin a message pops up stating this was not allowed. At this point we could only hope, if there was ever a problem the web host's backups would work. As most of us know, hoping rarely works out and almost never gets the job done!
Houston, We Have a Problem!
Fast forward two months and we discovered something went very wrong with the website. Upon our review we discovered all the posts, pages and images had disappeared. After a bit more investigation and questions to the client, he honestly admitted the cause could be due to some work their ad agency was doing. Alternatively, we supposed it might have simply been a WordPress update gone wrong, occurring at the same time as a major server event. Regardless, the cause doesn't matter and we know from experience it's NOT worth the time and money to troubleshoot and fix. The best and most cost affective solution is to simply restore the website to a previous backup. Of course, in order to do that you must have reliable website backup files and database. Oh, oh!
Web Host Website Restore Failed
Continuing our story, after another day or two the client got back to us and requested we work with his web host provider to restore the site. Doing our part, we performed a full website restore using the web host files and site restore functionality, which failed, repeatedly! Then, the web host agreed to perform the website restore for us. More time passed and during which the cheap shared web hosting provider tried on multiple occasions to restore the site. We even received emails stating, your site has been restored and this support request is considered resolved. Yeah, right! The bottom line here is, the website backups our client had been paying a small premium for, failed when they were needed most. We really wanted to childishly point our finger and yell, "THAT'S WHAT YOU GET," but we held back.
As it turned out, this problem was no everyday occurrence and the web host finally kicked the support request to top level. Even the top level support people were unable to restore the website. Sometimes, after a restore process was complete, the site and it's files would be available for a few minutes. Then, poof, the site and most of it's files would disappear. Luckily, we were able to download some of the files while they were available, knowing they would help with what was to come.
The Worst Case Scenario Comes True
As I'm sure you probably guessed, we had to completely rebuild the website, starting from scratch. Thankfully, I still had most of my original development files along with some screen shots and my notes. It also helped having the image uploads that were previously sized and optimized. Still, it's probable the website would have never failed had the client agreed to leave their cheap shared web hosting environment and move their site to our private VPS. Even so, had the problem occurred and the website crashed, we have reliable backup files coming out of our ears enabling us to restore any site in just a few minutes.
Looking back, it's ironic how one of the reasons the client originally refused our ongoing maintenance package was because they were already paying extra for backups provided by their web host. Of course, we must remember, this is NOT a VPS web host but instead, they had a cheap shared hosting account.
If you are operating a small business and your website plays any part, it deserves to be hosted at the best and most reliable server available. Truly consider how important your website is to your business, either at the present time, or in the future. Typically our small business websites should be a professional representation of our business. They are also our social hub, lead generator, mobile web app, blog site and so much more. Please folks, no more cheap shared hosting! No more paying to re-build a website when it could have been easily restored. Do it right from the beginning, avoid cheap shared web hosting and give your website the home it deserves.
Disclosure Note: I provided two or three links in this post to Liquid Web VPS and Managed WordPress Hosting. Be advised, I use both of these hosting services and can honestly state, Liquid Web is the BEST hosting provider I've ever used. I'm also hearing good things about Site Ground, so if looking to get rid of your cheap shared web hosting, choosing Site Ground or Liquid Web is a great choice. Also, if you found this post helpful, I would sincerely appreciate using my links to get started.