Let’s Talk About Hosting
The recent global internet outage that wiped out some of the world’s biggest websites such as the UK government’s website gov.uk, Amazon and eBay, has not only disrupted many businesses’ but also has left many questioning if their hosting provider is a reliable choice. We had the pleasure of teaming up with Salim Benadel, Managing Director of multi-award winning Storm Internet, to address the importance of due diligence when considering a Hosting and CDN (Content Delivery Network) provider.
With the catastrophic impact last week had on the internet, we can see first-hand the implications of a website failure in a matter of seconds. Business Leader commented that due to the disruption they “believe retail worldwide will have lost around £1bn” as “Amazon alone currently turns over $950,000 a minute”. This is why we approached choosing a Hosting Provider extremely cautiously, not only for our own website security and availability but also for our clients. Storm Internet became an obvious partner of choice for us as their unique selling points directly lined up with Fishtank’s hosting requirements.
So... what are the factors to consider when choosing the right website hosting service for your business?
When it comes to hosting, everyone will require slightly different specifications so it is important that you determine what is most important to you before choosing your web hosting service. However, Storm Internet continuously builds and develops their bespoke customer experience around three key factors that all businesses need to consider: TTRT
Availability also referred to as uptime, ensures your site is always online and available to your customers. Weak servers and unstable network connections can often push your site offline. This not only denies you possible viewership or sales for an e-commerce store but also leads to low rankings on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Banking on a hosting company with reputable uptime scores, preferably above 99.5% is, therefore, key to your site’s success.
Websites and IT systems can and do go down from time to time for a variety of different reasons. However, minimising business damage from this is all about the response in getting back online as quickly as possible. Some hosting providers will monitor a customer’s servers for uptime. However, most won’t monitor individual websites or applications for availability, therefore, won’t respond proactively should any of them go offline. It’s often down to the customer to report the problem and have it investigated.
Security is essential, which is becoming increasingly more important as Cloud gets more popular the threats also increase at the same rate. The internet can be a rough neighbourhood and you should make sure your hosting company has appropriate measures in place to protect your server and website proactively. At the end of the day, it may be you who is accountable should anything go wrong.
Customer support is definitely something that we deemed a top priority especially when it comes to 24-hour service and disaster recovery. Salim commented, “Taking back-ups is one thing, making sure they are running smoothly and always up-to-date but also the ability to restore platforms quickly in the event of a problem, ensuring the solution is tailored towards what is most important to the customer”.
At Storm, they have a 24/7/365 team on standby who are constantly monitoring the availability of customer websites and systems. If anything goes offline, they’re alerted to it immediately and begin investigating to bring it all back as soon as possible. This essentially means that the onus is not on the customer to contact the tech support team to report the problem. So whether it’s the middle of the night, or you’re out for Sunday lunch with family, you shouldn‘t need to worry about this, it’s all taken care of. In fact, we’ve had many customers where this has happened who only realised a problem occurred when we update the customer and explain the action we took to correct the issue! A good provider should almost be like you never know they are there, as everything runs smoothly at all times.
Cheap hosting can be attractive especially if you’re just starting out or are not too sure what your requirements are. But a lot of customers won’t realise the level of support their package includes until something goes wrong. Salim provided us with an example of this:
Lots of providers advertise 24/7 support and although the provider responds in the event of a problem, the customer is offered limited options such as; restore a backup or wipe the server and start again.
This is all well and good if you are running a platform as a hobby site as opposed to something business-critical, especially when you have customers depending on you, the support then becomes a vital factor. A hosting provider that offers a reliable support service would work to resolve the issue first as it can be much quicker and more effective for the customer.
Salim added, “It can be daunting dealing with a server issue especially if your website is down for a long period of time and as a customer you want to know that your provider can offer the same level of support at all times to ensure the issue is resolved quickly and the best way possible for their needs.”
We offer all of our clients hosting solutions with both new or existing platforms and based on individual customers needs, our flexible hosting solutions can be tailored to fit almost any requirement.
Our developers work closely with the team at Storm Internet and both have full access to the servers we host, meaning both teams are able to manage and maintain all aspects of your hosting or website. From the operating system and resources that run the server in the background, to the code and databases that power the frontend of the website, both Storm Internet and Fishtank can work together efficiently to react to potential problems or threats.
In summary, once you have identified your hosting specifications, our advice to you would be - always dig a little deeper into the fine print! Establish the features offered within the package and ensure what they advertise on the surface reflects the level of security and care they provide to their customers. If you would like any additional information or advice on our hosting service or website maintenance please feel free to contact us.