Web Hosting Blog
In this day and age, if you have a business, chances are you need an online presence. Though some businesses choose to conduct their online activity purely through social media, the majority will have a website of their own. Whether you use your website for the bulk of your sales, or merely for an information page for your physical premises, having a website remains crucial in the attraction of customers. Even if consumers are looking to make a purchase from a store in person, chances are they will perform an internet search for suitable shops in their area before heading out. So you can see that however you do business, a website is important.
As well as having a website to host, you may also have other business needs for hosting, such as a remote desktop facility, or perhaps you wish to host an app or a particular piece of software for your customers or staff. Whatever it is you need to host, the most important decision you need to make is how and where to host it. You need to decide whether your needs are more suited to a Budget Hosting plan, or a Premium Hosting plan. Let’s have a look at the differences and benefits of both to help you decide.
As the name suggests, one of the most obvious benefits of Budget Hosting is the cost. If you are a small or relatively new business, it may be important to you to keep your initial costs as low as possible. If low cost is an important factor in your search, make sure you are carefully reading the T&Cs of the service to check exactly what is included. Many “budget” services seem like a bargain on the surface, only to add on additional charges when you do start to use them. Make sure that the low cost you’re agreeing to is a fixed monthly cost, to avoid any nasty surprises later down the line.
On the opposite side to this, if you are an established business that is looking for complete peace of mind knowing that the hardware is being taken care of and that you have a support team to lean on in your hour of need, then paying more for a premium service would be the best option for you. Most premium services will include monitoring, backups, server patching and 24/7 telephone support.
Ask yourself the question, how much would I lose if my website or application was offline for a period of time? If the loss of revenue and reputation outweighs the hosting fees, then a premium hosting solution is for you.
Budget Hosting can be great for getting the server specification you need for a low price, but there are a couple of things to look out for. The first is that you may not be able to tailor the specification as much as you need, as a hosting company’s budget offering may be to a set specification. If you don’t mind not having full control over resource customisation, or using reconditioned hardware then this won’t be a problem for you. Paying more for a premium solution will generally mean that you will be able to pick the desired specification, using enterprise-grade hardware. The second thing to note is that as your business grows, you may grow out of the budget specifications pretty quickly. So make sure you know how easy the process of scaling up in the future will be. Will the hosting company you have chosen offer you a free migration service in the future, for example. With a premium service, you should be able to scale the resources on-demand or have more capacity in the hardware for growth.
Although you may get the hardware specification you need with Budget Hosting, this may come at a cost in the form of reduced service level agreements or in some cases, no SLAs at all. Premium hosting will usually come with a financially backed SLA for support levels, an uptime guarantee and protection against hardware failure. If there are any SLAs at all with your budget hosting, these are usually limited to uptime.
With Budget Hosting, there can be various levels of support ranging from none at all, to twitter support, to limited phone support for selected issues. By contrast with Premium Hosting you can usually expect 24/7/365 support, and a variety of ways to get in touch with your provider and in many cases, a dedicated account manager who has a clear understanding of your business operations and objectives.
Pros/Cons of Each
There are pros and cons to both Budget Hosting and Premium Hosting. We’ve talked about a few of the main ones in detail but here are some further points you may wish to consider.
|Low Cost||Support is limited and often not available by phone|
|Higher spec server than you would get if you bought a server outright||SLA is usually limited to uptime only|
|Rolling monthly contract, giving freedom to change service or leave as required||Budget hardware|
|Often has an attractive introductory offer||Limited customisation options|
|Provider may be a reseller in a 3rd party data centre or hosting provider|
|Enterprise level hardware||Higher costs involved|
|Support levels are taken very seriously, with support being available 24/7/365 often through a number of channels||Contracted service, meaning you’re tied in for a minimum term|
|SLA is usually financially backed and includes guarantees for uptime, support and hardware.||Sometimes lower spec servers due to the higher grade of hardware|
|Ability to work closely with the provider to achieve your business goals|
You can see that there are lots of things to consider when deciding between Budget Hosting or Premium Hosting. Rather than immediately opt for the low cost or the better service, it’s important to consider all of these points against your business needs carefully. Work out the minimum requirements for your business hosting to be a success, along with a “wish list” of features you would like and work backwards from there to find the best hosting possible within your budget and requirements.