Some of the offers out there for web hosting seem like a steal. Hosts offering tons of space, unlimited resources, all for no more than a Starbucks coffee per month.
You’d be crazy to pass on these type of accounts, right?
Unfortunately, when a web hosting offer seems so attractive and at such a low price, there are some sacrifices that are made…
Those sacrifices are at the expense of the client, in order for the web hosting company to make a profit. Here’s three secrets that budget web hosts don’t want you to know.
1. Resource limits are quite restrictive
Most of the budget web hosts have to pack their servers full of accounts to turn a profit. It’s typical to see thousands of accounts per server.
Even with software that web hosts use to manage spikes and keep resources available, thousands of websites all clamoring for precious resources like CPU, memory, and disk performance will put a severe strain on the server. In order to avoid the server crashing or becoming borderline unusable, budget hosts set very low limits on what a site can use in terms of server resources.
If your site becomes somewhat busy, or a handful of visitors are hitting your blog or ecommerce application at the same time, your account will likely be throttled to reduce its consumption of cpu / memory. This means your site will be quite slow, unusable, or even suspended by the host. This can happen without your knowledge, and at a time where you need the resources to support more visitors.
Contrast this with a reputable web hosting company that has an undersold environment.
What do I mean by “undersold”? This means that the number of accounts per server are much lower than the maximum allowed. This allows any one site to consume the resources it needs within reason such that no throttling or suspensions occur.
A good web host will manage these resources effectively, and leave plenty of horsepower available to easily handle spikes in usage.
2. Too much data stored for effective backups and restores
Tons of accounts on a server with virtually no limits on disk space translates to servers with many Terabytes (1,024 GB = 1 TB) of data (some over 5 or 10 TB). That is a lot of data to backup and be able to restore.
When disaster strikes, and this enormous amount of data has to be restored, it could take *DAYS* for this to complete. Days is not an exaggeration. I’ve seen it many times.
Why would it take days? Assuming a conservative restore rate of 100 Gigabytes per hour, a server with 4 Terabytes of data would take just under TWO full days to be restored.
On the other end of the spectrum, a web host that undersells and has responsible disk space limits is in a better position for a fast recovery. Servers with 100-200 GB of data can be restored in a few hours at most.
3. Performance is quite abysmal
If you rely on anything besides plain text and images for your site, performance is quite important. In an oversold budget hosting environment, servers are already close to being maxed out. Hard drives are overworked, free cpu cycles are scarce.
This results in any dynamic element (i.e. MySQL, PHP, ecommerce, a blog, etc…) on your site being much slower than it should be. Your code is waiting in line like everyone else on the server, trying to use these resources. The log jam causes pages to load slowly.
How slow? We’ve seen other hosts deliver page loads for blogs and ecommerce applications in the 5 to 15 second range. That is an eternity to wait for both customers and search engines like Google. Visitors will penalize you by clicking to another site, tired of waiting for your pages to load. Google will penalize you by ranking your site’s speed below other websites, which can lower your site in the search results.
We’ve had new clients that use ShopSite as their ecommerce application believe that the admin panel for ShopSite is slow. It wasn’t until they moved to us that they realized that ShopSite’s back office is actually quite fast! They couldn’t believe the difference. That is what good web hosting should do for your site.
What’s it like in a properly managed undersold hosting environment? Dynamic pages should load as fast as plain text. Your visitors and visiting search engines will give you bonus points for a speedy and pleasant browsing experience.
Curious if your current web host is fast? Take our Speed Challenge and find out!
Not all web hosts are run equally well. They may have slick ads and talk up their services, but if they put too many accounts on a server, and have price points that require packing them in like sardines… limits, storage, and performance will suffer to a large degree.
If you rely on your website for income or as a go-to resource for others, you’ll want to insure that the web host you choose can deliver on its promises. Ask questions like:
- How many accounts do you put on a server?
- How do you ensure my site will run fast and always have access to server resources?
- Are there any Terms of Service limits placed on my account?
- What is the typical amount of disk space used per server?