Website hosting is a complex topic. The internet is filled with opinions on who's the best host, not to mention questions about if you should manage it yourself or outsource to a hosting partner. In this article, we wanted to explain the recommendation we make to our clients, and why we do so.

Let me cut to the chase: we recommend our clients host their site with us, and we charge them $300 per month for this service.

Here's why:

Hosting gets complicated, quickly.

Affordable web hosting is as close as a Google search away. A quick "website hosting" query will show hundreds of companies offering hosting as low as $5 per month, and the honest truth is that these services can host your website.

The problem though is that the infrastructure required to power modern websites, goes well above the baseline packages these providers offer.

  • Do you want your website to be fast?
  • Do you want it to be always available, to everyone across the globe?
  • Do you want it to be easy to work with and not slow you down?

These questions might sound rhetorical, but they're actually not.

If you want your website to be genuinely fast you need to make sure your host is configured with caching technologies so that each time it's visited, it's not doing redundant work.

If you want to make sure it's always available to everyone across the globe, you need to make sure the code (in addition to all the images, videos, and files) are loaded onto a content delivery network, that delivers these assets quickly no matter your location.

If you want your site to be easy to work with and not slow down you down, you can't have your served bogged down with tasks and queues, like waiting for images to resize, or handling CPU intensive processing.

The bottom line: nowadays the infrastructure required to power your website goes well above just baseline hosting. We configure our infrastructure to handle these needs, and to meet the expectations you likely have for how your site should perform.

Hosting is complicated
  

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Images are tough to manage.

Your website likely gives you the ability to upload and add images to your site. For 99.9% of our clients, this is a requirement.

The challenge is that images are tough to manage when you need to account for things like cropping to fit a unique size, optimizing and compressing for faster delivery, and serving unique images for desktop and mobile devices.

When you factor in these considerations, any image you upload really requires 3-4 different versions of the same image to ensure your site is optimized for all these scenarios.

In reality, that's a crazy idea. Uploading 3-4 version of the same image would be a huge annoyance and time suck.

To assist with this we use various tools, such as (Amazon S3, Imgix, Imager, etc..) to automatically resize, optimize, host, and serve the images you load on your site.

These are tools all have their own accounts and monthly costs, which we simply roll into our monthly hosting fee.

The bottom line: images are important to any site, and not having them properly configured can eat up a lot of your time, and has the potential to crash your site. We account for these bottlenecks so that creating content on your site is fast and easy.

This is fine

Websites go down more than you think.

Unlike print ads or other marketing materials, websites aren't "done" once they go live. Websites are always-on constantly running apps, that experience performance problems or complete outages based on a variety of factors: spikes in traffic, malicious attacks, code bugs, content issues, or the physical failure of hardware.

When your site does go down, the obvious question is: how do I get it back online?

When you're responsible for your own hosting, your first call is likely to the host company themselves. You'll likely wait on hold before talking to technical support, and in some cases they might be able to resolve the problem. However, in our experience, more often than not they defer the problem back to you, and say "the issue isn't on our end" starting a frustrating circle of finger pointing between you, your development team, and the hosting provider.

For someone who isn't tech-savvy these conversations can be a nightmare.

This entire situation is another reason we handle hosting. When the inevitable issues does come up, we're immediately able to jump in, see what the problem is, and get it fixed ASAP.

Beyond hosting, we also install site downtime and bug monitors on all of our sites, alerting us to any issues that arise. This way, we're able to stay ahead of any issues that could take down your site. And, if it does go down, we're immediately notified and ready to jump into action.

The bottom line: your site will go down, and when it does it's going to be a fire-drill trying to diagnose the problem and bring it back online. We account for this inevitability and make sure we're ready to put the fires out.

It will make your life easier

Modern web hosting is complicated. There's a plethora of things to consider before making an informed decision, and unfortunately there's no magic one size fits all solution.

Sure, if you wanted to save a little money each month, you could create accounts with the various services we use to host and power our sites, and probably save a little bit of money. But, at the end of the day, you're not paying us to simply host your site, you're paying us to own the responsibility of making sure your site is online, healthy, and if an issue does come up, that we're around to immediately fix it.

The bottom line: choosing to host your site with us makes your life easier by removing responsibilities from your plate. You're not simply paying for a host, you're paying for reliability, security, and dependability.

Final thoughts

If you are curious on the technical details of our hosting infrastructure, or some of the tools and services we use to make sure things are fast and reliable, shoot me over a message! You can get in touch on our contact page, or by emailing me at bryant[at]authenticff.com.

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