If you’re in the market for a website, you’ve probably seen ridiculously low prices for web hosting. You know, the ones where it might say “web hosting for $5 a month” or something like that.
And at first glance, it might seem like it’s too good to be true. And you would be right because it is.
Those cheap web hosts do have a place in the ecosystem, and if your website is going to be an online brochure that’s not going to be a significant part of your income, then yeah, they work for that.
But if your goals for your website are higher than that, if this website is going to bring in a significant amount of revenue through an online store or lead generation, then you have to pay up for a premium web host. Because those hosts are going to be the ones that will actually keep your website up and running and help your business grow.
Cheap web hosting has a place online
Before I dive too deep into this argument, I do want to mention one thing right now. And that is that cheap web hosts like HostGator and 1&1 and many more do have their place in the online ecosystem. It’s not some sort of website sin to use them to host your website.
They are a great place for you to get started. If your website is nothing more than an online brochure, which is perfectly fine to get started with, they are a great product for what you need. You don’t need all of the fancy features that I’ll discuss. And because of that, your web host costs should be lower.
So just because I’m going to make the argument that you should not use cheap hosts for any website more than an online brochure, don’t worry if you’re currently on one of them. You’re not necessarily doing anything wrong. If it works for your needs, then it just works. As you’ll find out with websites, there’s no one right answer for everyone.
But you get what you pay for
But at the same time, you are going to get what you pay for, or at least that’s how the saying goes. If you’re paying for cheap hosting, you’re going to get relatively cheap quality.
I mean sure, you’re still going to have a place to host your website (that’s always a given), but you might be severely limited in what you can do. If you want to use a content management system, you might not be able to properly run the CMS, such as not being able to add in the plugins you want to add and what not.
And you likely won’t be able to take regular backups of your website. Plus, security might become a problem too. And then to top it all off, there is the ever present danger that the web host goes offline for an extended period of time.
Now as I hinted at before, for some of you that’s going to be okay. You might not need all of the fancy features that . And it’s probably not worth paying those extra premium prices for things that you are never going to need or use.
But if you have greater aspirational goals for your website, you need to start to look beyond the cheap hosts and move to web hosts that can do a lot more for your website.
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Eliminate the worry of downtime from your web hosting
So one of the top things that you can do by going for a more premium web host is to effectively eliminate the nagging worry that your website will go down at any moment.
For years I hosted a couple of websites on another web host and had this fear all the time. I was always concerned about it going down and not being able to do anything about it. And when it did happen, it was maddening and frustrating and hurt the websites.
And I bet that you have those same worries as well. Those websites, fortunately, weren’t my livelihood. I was still in college. But for you, your website might be your business or a significant chunk of it. If your website were to go down because of your web host, then you’re losing business and money. And that cost is greater than whatever host you’re currently paying for.
But with premium hosts, that worry goes down significantly. In 2015 I moved over to WP Engine for my websites, and I have never had an issue because of their hosting (knocks on wood). The sites have remained up and working, and I rarely give a thought as to whether or not the website will work today.
That’s what the extra price for premium hosts gets you. You have the peace of mind knowing that your website will always be up and running and working for your business. It’s worth it.
Better security for your website
Also a higher quality web host means better security for your website. And with the constant risk of internet attacks, that security can be crucial, especially if you process payments through it.
Unfortunately with most cheap hosts, your website is hosted on the same servers as a lot of other sites. That means that if someone gets into another site on the server through whatever means, they can backdoor their way into your site no matter how much security you have on it.
The premium hosts, however, don’t do that. Your website or websites will be separated from the other websites. If someone manages to get into another website being hosted, they won’t be able to work their way into yours.
Plus a lot of these types of hosts have other ways of securing the websites that they host. They offer protection on your FTP or SFTP accounts, make it easy to get an SSL certificate for your website and incorporate a firewall into your website.
In my years on another host, I had a problem with someone editing my files despite numerous changes to my password to deter threats. But with WP Engine that hasn’t happened yet.
That feeling of security is 100 percent worth it, especially if you’re running an online store.
Get features that will actually help your website and business
Also because you’re paying a higher price, you’re also going to get a lot of features that you could never dream of with a cheap host. And depending on what your website is trying to do, that could make a world of difference.
For starters, a lot of these top web hosts are making it extremely easy to set up SSL certificates for your websites with just a click of the mouse. That means your website can use HTTPS and you can accept payments through your website, which can be huge.
Also, with WP Engine, I get a staging and development environment for each of my websites. That means I can test things out, like updates and new plugins, in an environment separate from my live site. And if I break something there, well I can just reset it back and continue testing.
I also get those daily backups which are big in case something goes wrong with my website or an update breaks something. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I get top of the line security as well.
And finally, I’m able to get SSH logins for each site and the ability to use Git to push new code to the site, which admittedly is only a thing developers would care about.
While the specific details might vary depending on the web host you choose, the point is that you will definitely not be seeing these features on a cheap host. That I guarantee you.
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Much better customer support
And maybe most importantly to you, you’re going to get much better customer service with premium web hosts. You’re going to have people that are going to want to help you solve the problem you’re encountering.
You won’t be stuck in a forever waiting game for someone to get back to you, or at least that has been my experience. I’ve been able to have my questions answered and problems solved in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days like I did with cheap hosts. And man what a feeling that is.
Just as an anecdote, one time I was having trouble with something on my WP Engine install. It wasn’t anything super important for the website as it was still running fine, but it was a developer thing I was trying to do. I was at WordCamp San Antonio where they were a sponsor and had some people at a booth. And they helped me work through the issue (the problem, we found, was user error as it always is).
And I’ve had other great experiences with their customer support. You can expect the same for whether you’re using Godaddy, Liquid Web, Site Ground or some other top-of-the-line web host. Your exact mileage may vary, but on the whole, paying for premium web hosting means you’re going to end up with much better customer support.
Web hosting is part of an investment
Finally, as I have said many times before, your website is an investment. And paying for a pretty premium web host for it to run on is a very big part of making sure you get a return on your investment.
If you’re going to be serious about your website, then you have to be serious about your web host. You can’t just simply pick the lowest cost and run with it. It is a one-way ticket to frustration and headaches and the loss of potential business. There are a number of cheap hosting horror stories out there on the internet. Don’t become one of those stories.
Instead, invest in your website, your web hosting and ultimately your business. Yes, it’s going to obviously cost more, but between the reliability of your website staying up and the added features that come with them these days, you’re going to recoup those costs pretty quickly. And if things really go right, those costs will eventually seem minuscule compared to right now. That’s a great feeling.
If this website is going to be a key part of your business, then you have to treat it seriously and get web hosting that’s going to help your website and ultimately your business. Cheap hosting isn’t going to cut it.