Running your own blog or website has become increasingly fashionable. Being able to get online really has become simpler than ever before. One only has to take a peek at some of the stats that the mighty WordPress put out to understand this further. Thousands upon thousands of fresh blogs are set up each and every day, not to mention the number of business sites that go live.
If you are new to this area then there will be plenty of things to think about. This blog post will shed some light on potential web hosting issues that can crop up. Hopefully by checking these out you will be better placed to avoid them.
Self-Hosting is King
To start with the first decision is whether you will be happy with the limitations of a “free” service or if you would be better served by going down the “self-hosted” route.
If you are truly serious about your website then remembering the old adage of “you only get what you pay for” should help you to steer you safely in the right direction. Sadly the free services tend to be restrictive regarding customisation options. Customisation is the one thing that will help you stand out in this crowded market place.
Additionally these free services won’t allow you to have purely your own domain URL. For example if you use the services of Blogger then you will have something like (mydomain.blogspot.com). From a business viewpoint this will never be taken as seriously as purely (mydomain.com).
Anyway, back to the matter in hand. Here are the details of some of the issues that you can expect from time to time.
Site is Off-Line
The last thing that any self-respecting webmaster would want is for their site to go down. Sadly this outcome is something that is more common place than you might think.
A server crash at your hosting agent will almost certainly leave your visitors with a message that your sites down. Unfortunately, they won’t know the reasons why or indeed how long it will be before things are put right. Given that most people are busy when surfing for information it could be doubtful if they will actually return.
One other thing to know is that your hosting service will be very unlikely to inform you about these issues. And, why would they? After all, advertising these service levels to customers can only serve to create dissatisfaction. With this in mind it could well be that your site is down much more than you think. You might get feedback from a customer, but other than that it’s down to you to see it first-hand.
To help counteract this potential concern, many webmasters utilise some kind of website status check. This can be an effective way of better understanding the times that your site is unavailable.
When it comes to initial web-hosting packages things can be good. Really good. However one area that needs to be considered is the costs of renewing a hosting service.
Normally they will run on an annual basis. So once you sign up you will have 365 days of service. As we all know, time tends to go by quickly with the weeks turning to months and before you know it its renewal time.
For many webmasters this is where things get a little bit expensive. In the vast majority of cases there is no sign of that super deal that enticed you to sign up 12 months ago. More often than not the options can be double, treble or even more than what you paid first time around.
Of course, if you don’t like it then you can always take your business elsewhere. Sadly this is much easier to say than to accomplish. Site migration is a tricky subject at the best of times and isn’t for the faint-hearted. The last think that you would want is to mess things up and then find your site off-line for an extended period of time. Likewise, losing all your data isn’t going to be much fun either.
Initially most people will opt for one of the shared hosting services as these always offer the best value for money.
The downside to this type of arrangement is that as the name suggests, you are sharing “bandwidth” with many other users. The knock on effect to this is that sometimes there isn’t enough of this bandwidth for your site to operate as quickly as you like.
One way to look at this is that web hosting services can become victims of their own success. They actively seek out as many new subscribers as possible and don’t always update their equipment to cope with the demand.
If you are new to web hosting then take a moment to think about how an internet connection works. In nearly every case you never quite get the advertised speed. One reason behind this is that there are many other users accessing the service at the same time.
Remember, if your website would come second in a race with a snail then you are less likely to get visitors to stick around. It is therefore important to measure the website speed on an on-going basis; YSlow can be a great way of analysing things. If you really are unhappy with things and believe it to be something related to your hosting then you should hassle the life out of your web hosting company.
Of course, it should be noted that running excessive plug-ins will also have a detrimental effect on website speeds. This is something that your web hosting site might well point to, initially at least.
Your author (Peter Johnson) has run many different websites, making him well versed to speak first-hand about the issues discussed above. He recommends carrying out a regular website availability check to help prevent the issues of being off-line.