There are hundreds of web hosts out there vying for your hard earned cash. In our experience, choosing the right home and custodian for your website means proper investment that’s well worth the outlay in the end…
A few weeks ago we had a client (we’ll mention no names) who innocently logged into their web hosting control panel and deleted their entire site without realising it. They lost everything including all the backups stored by the hosting company. The first they knew of what had happened was when they next tried to visit their website and their entire online booking system was no more.
We were their first port of call and it soon became obvious that everything was gone. We found an original development version of the site sitting on our local server and were able to get a working site back up and running for them within 24 hours. However, despite us being able to get the site up and running again, they lost time and money and ended up spending a lot more than they would have done if they’d simply employed someone on a monthly basis to look after their site for them.
This type of experience is in no way unique – running a site successfully means regular updates and auditing. We find many people are happy to pay for an initial website but prefer to skimp on their web hosting and try to manage the website themselves to save money.
If you’re looking for WordPress hosting we recommend using the following checklist:
1. A ‘managed’ hosting platform with a reliable backup system
Daily, automated, backups are a must. There should also be a way of keeping versions of the site every time something is changed so your web developer can restore the site if anything goes wrong.
2. Web hosting that includes bullet-proof security
It goes without saying that web security is important but it’s amazing how many people are happy to put their sites at risk by going for cheaper hosting.
3. Staging environments for development work
You’ll want someone to develop your site at some point or test updates. Hosts that provide staging environments allow changes to be tested safely before deploying them to your live site.
4. Hire someone reliable to update the site on a regular basis
Entrust an expert to make regular plugin updates and audits of your site – this will avoid downtime and security risks. It doesn’t need to break the bank – 1-2 hours every month or two should be enough for a standard website (larger sites and e-commerce sites may need a little more time or more frequent updates).
5. 24/7 support
You or your trusted web keeper will have to speak to the server geeks at some point – make it easy by ensuring there’s 24/7 support (even if it’s an online chat system).
If you’re in the market for a web host that covers all of the above, we would seriously suggest looking at WPEngine: https://wpengine.com/plans/
Make sure you include a monthly or bi-monthly fee for updating and auditing the site and agree an hourly rate from your developer for trouble-shooting any issues.