Business is expensive, right? If you’re anything like me, you’re always trying to save a buck here and there.
Let’s see. You have payroll, taxes, an expensive office lease, marketing budgets (you do have those right?) … heck, at our office, we even have to pay for drinking water because there’s no water line to our suite.
Surely, shaving off a few bucks and going with the cheaper hosting option would be a sign of prudence right?
Before you get too enticed by that super low, introductory special from that big box host, consider the following cautions. Ignore this list at your own peril.
Caution #1: Your Website Could Get Hacked
Ever visited a website and got caught off guard when it told you that you “won something”? Or maybe you received a glaring red message like the one below?
One of the major disadvantages of cheap hosting can often be cheap security.
The reason for this is fairly simple. Cheaper hosting is generally more generic (i.e. the hosting isn’t for a particular platform like Drupal or WordPress) and with generic hosting, you have generic security support from your hosting provider. Whatever platform you’re using may require more specific server configurations or even hardware requirements. The cheaper hosting company is going for volume so optimizing security for an exponential amount of clients is simply not feasible or even possible.
But what are the consequences of your website getting hacked?
Lost prospects, lost revenue, brand damage. Depending on what kind of company you’re operating, the consequences could range from frustrating to darn-near crippling.
If you’re trying to save $20 but opening your website up to security risks, you have to ask: is the money saved really worth it?
Caution #2: Cheap Hosting Tends to have Terrible Support
In 2011 I started doing a bit of real estate investing. Because of the amazing time that we got in, real estate has been a huge blessing to me and my family. The learning curve has been steep at times but I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons over the years. One of those lessons is around purchasing appliances for our home and rentals. Keep reading, this will make sense in a minute.
… It all started 3 years ago. We just purchased a new home and the last owner took the refrigerator with them. So, being the thrifty businessman that I am, I decided I would go to the Sears Outlet store and pick up a discounted fridge. We found a beautiful Samsung refrigerator at half the price. I took it home feeling proud that I had saved us money and acquired an awesome fridge with a lot of nice features.
But a year later, things went bad.
The fridge started getting frost buildup and a service tech told me that there was little he could do. I searched and searched for appliance folks that could work with Samsung fridges and I learned something discouraging: Samsung has few and very lacking options for maintenance (at least in my area).
It hit me. What’s the point of a nice fridge if the second it has an issue, I’m dead in the water?
Something will Break
I learned a valuable lesson. Whenever you purchase something, make sure you have options when something goes wrong– because inevitably, something will go wrong.
This principle certainly applies to website hosting. What does it matter if you’re getting uber cheap hosting, heck, even uber cheap and fast hosting if you have to wait 30-45 minutes to talk to anyone from your host? And even then, can they help you? Or do they just tell you some reason why they can’t help and that it’s a development issue?
The truth is, this is par for the course. If you’re not paying much for hosting, don’t expect much for support. One of the biggest expenses in business is your people and if you’re not charging much then you either can’t afford enough people, or you’re not hiring good people. The better, more specialized hosting company will cost more, but in general, you’ll see better support reflected in the price.
Caution #3: Cheap Hosting is Generally Slower
Running my agency for over 10 years, it’s been my observation that cheaper, platform-agnostic hosting providers are considerably slower than the $40/$50/month plans.
In this case, the adage is true, “you get what you pay for”. Your website may load moderately quickly sometimes but then other times, it lags terribly and leaves your users with a sour taste in their mouth.
We experienced this recently with a client who, understandably, went with the cheaper option that we provided them with. The website was super image heavy and the cheaper option just didn’t get the job done. Images took too long to load. Pages lagged while they were loading. The overall experience was sub-par and it only saved $15-$30/month.
As soon as we moved the client to our preferred hosting option, the website zipped along.
The performance was considerably superior and the client was much happier with the result.
Consider how much you spend on your cell phone bill
I once had a colleague bring up a good point. For many clients they get caught up on spending $50+ on their website hosting, but how many of us spend $100+ for our cell phones? Look, this is your business website. It brings you business. Do yourself a favor and spend a reasonable price for a fast host.
Still not convinced? Well, consider this. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you may lose as much as 47% of your visitors. Most of whom may never experience your brand ever again.
When was the last time you waited more than a few seconds for a website to load?
The truth of the matter is that for most folks, they’re just going to find another company who’s website runs faster. The internet has not helped our patience. You’ll lose prospects, you’ll lose revenue. It’s just not worth the risk.
For most companies, their website is vital to their success. Cheaper hosting companies typically have inferior support, run slower and have fewer security features. The best website hosts are feature-rich, blazing fast, come with enterprise-level security and have stellar support.
Do yourself a favor and spend a few more bucks. You’ll get more business, you’ll have happier customers and best of all, you’ll sleep better. How often can $20-$30 have such a positive return?