HSBC Bank, British Airways and the Playstation Network are just a number of websites hit by a global outage yesterday. The disprution is the second widespread outage in the past two months after high-profile sites including Amazon and eBay crashed at the beginning of June. These global outages are becoming recurring issues for some businesses and many have been left questioning whether their hosting provider are reliable enough to keep their site safe.
With a hosting service carrying such a significant responsibility for the success of a business online, Mirfield-based digital marketing specialist, Fishtank Agency, has teamed up with Salim Benadel, Managing Director of multi-award winning Storm Internet, to address the importance of due diligence when choosing a Hosting and CDN (Content Delivery Network) provider.
What key factors should you be looking for?
Every business will require unique specifications; therefore, you should determine what elements are most crucial to your business before choosing your web hosting service. Here are three key factors that all companies need to consider:
1. Availability, also referred to as uptime, ensures your site is online and available to your customers all of the time. Weak servers and unstable network connections can often push your site offline and make it difficult for customers to access. 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, damaging your visibility to users. Banking on a hosting company with reputable uptime scores, preferably above 99.5%, is key to your site’s success.
Some hosting providers will monitor a customer’s servers for uptime but ignore the individual websites or applications for availability, and 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, which by then could have already caused large amounts of damage for your business.
2. Security is essential and becoming increasingly more important as Cloud gets more popular and possible threats increase. The internet can be a dangerous environment, and you should make sure your hosting company has appropriate measures in place to protect your server and website from danger.
3. Customer support is something you should deem a top priority, especially if you’re looking for 24-hour service and disaster recovery. Some Internet providers will have a team on standby constantly monitoring the availability of customer websites and systems. When a site goes offline, they’re alerted to it immediately and will begin investigating to bring it all back as soon as possible.
Quality over quantity
Cheap hosting can be attractive, especially for new businesses who are unsure of what their requirements are. But many customers don’t realise the level of support their package includes until something goes wrong. Salim Benadel provided an example of this: “Lots of providers advertise 24/7 support, and although they may be quick to respond to an issue, the customer is then offered limited options such as; restore a backup or wipe the server and start again. A reliable hosting provider would work to resolve the issue first.”
Damien Fisher, managing director at Fishtank said, “Website downtime is a serious threat to business, often leading to customer dissatisfaction. Choosing a reliable hosting provider can protect brand image, search engine rankings and potential loss of business.
“As the digital world continues to expand, your website should always be your topmost priority; it is the face of your brand online and in most cases, it is the first touchpoint within the customer journey.”