Hosting nightmares and how to avoid them
We often hear about businesses that invest big money in developing software applications and cloud services, only to end up hosting their solutions at the cheapest possible level – causing all sorts of issues.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the various nightmare scenarios that can play out when dealing with sub-par web and application hosting.
A low-cost hosting service often does not provide built-in redundancy of their services, which means that if your server fails there is no secondary server standing by to take over. It’s easy to imagine how this can have a negative impact on the average business, but for many organisations it can lead to devastating scenarios that seriously limit their ability to operate.
- Loss of revenue
If your application is a major source of revenue for your business, it means that even a temporary outage can cost you serious money. Choosing a more secure hosting option may seem too expensive, but make sure to compare this cost to the potential financial loss of a server failure.
- Loss of customers
The modern customer is fickle. They expect great value and a dependable service. If your customers are unsatisfied and there are are no significant ‘barriers’ for them to leave your solution and turn to a competitor’s, an outage can cause an unexpected exodus.
- Damage to reputation
As with most things, bad news spread fast when it comes to service providers. It doesn’t require many unhappy customers to cause a ‘twitter storm’ – and once your service or application becomes known as being unreliable, it will take time and effort to rebuild your reputation.
It’s not just full service outages that can affect your hosting; you can also be impacted by slow processing speeds. This may be caused by the hosting provider using old and slow hardware, or by them having several websites and applications running on shared servers. When using shared hosting, a spike in traffic to one of the websites on the server can impact the performance for everyone.
- Loss of productivity
We have all come to expect online services to be pretty much instantaneous. However, slow services don’t just frustrate users, but can also significantly impact productivity over time. Employees often adapt to the speed of the service they use, which means that if they start to expect slow performance they will slow down their own output in alignment with the software.
- Lower perceived value
Any service that is seen as slow or lagging will immediately lose some of its perceived value to its users. If you are looking to retain customers over time, you may find that customers who are unhappy with the service performance are no longer willing to pay the same price for it.
While most reputable hosting companies go to great lengths to keep their equipment safe, there are unfortunately those who compromise on security in order to provide a cheaper service.
Taking security risks can be an expensive and painful lesson to learn for everyone involved. As a client, you should always get full assurance from your hosting provider that they are keeping their operating systems up to date, applying security products, isolating user accounts, retaining server logs, and backing up content.
- Loss/breach of data
For most of us, data is money – and losing it can be expensive. In severe cases, the cost and impact of data loss can put an entire company out of business. A data breach, on the other hand, can incur costs on many other levels as it may put personal information at risk and cause damage that impacts other services.
While ransomware at the hosting level is still a very rare thing, it does happen. In 2017, a Korean hosting company was forced to pay $1M to release the files for its 3,400 business websites – a sum which no doubt ended up impacting their ability to invest in the service of their customers.
Poor customer service
Customer service can be another nightmare challenge. When facing critical issues with your hosting service, the last thing you want is to have to wait 72 hours for a helpdesk reply, or not be able to reach anyone responsible. Every hour that you are kept waiting or unaware of your issue status can cost you dearly in terms of both money and trust.
A good hosting service provider relationship is built on clear expectations, contractual agreements – and dependable customer service.
Safeguard your data
There really are no shortcuts to keeping your data and services safe. If you want the best possible hosting that suits your needs as well as your budget, you need to do your homework by researching various options and comparing cost and value.
If you are unsure of what to look for in a hosting service, always take the time to talk through your options with a trusted technology partner or advisor. What is right for another business in your industry may not be right for you, so make sure you get the guidance you need.