Hosting a website used to be really expensive. Shared hosting—multiple websites on one server—helped bring that investment down, but brought with it some security issues.
Today, website hosting is either more prone to hacking but really cheap, or secure with a larger financial investment. How can you tell which route is right for you?
Hackers and spam
Hackers and spam have contributed to the current website hosting environment. Not all spam is created equal, though. There’s a wide range—let’s call it the spammy scale. At the far extreme of this scale is very illegal hacking of a website or server. On the lighter end is legal spam, which can come from a legitimate business but is annoying and too promotional.
The hacking community is very friendly with each other, and happy to share among themselves. The experienced ones have built tools that are increasingly accessible to people who want to hack but don’t know how. It’s easier to hack now than it used to be.
The investments for website hosting and development have decreased and building a website has become much more user-friendly. A hosting package that would protected your site twenty years ago won’t be as secure now, because there are more hackers. Working with websites has gotten easier for everyone, and part of why it’s easier for hackers is because it’s easier for you.
If getting the most cost-effective website is a high priority for you, that’s perfectly okay. That website might not be the most secure, but you have to keep in mind the value of your website to your business. Truth be told, a website is not as important for some businesses as it is for others.
But if a secure website is essential to your business, it may be more of an investment now than it used to be. High-end hosting tends to be safer against hackers.
Nothing is hacker-proof
No site is impenetrable, so two things that higher-end hosting does to keep your website safe are malware cleanups and site backups. But if you’re comfortable doing those things on your own, you shouldn’t pay someone else to do them for you.
For example, that’s a standard part of our managed hosting. But we know that’s not right for everyone, so we don’t force our clients to use our hosting.
Which route did T&S go?
We used to attempt to compete on the lower-end hosting, but eventually we realized that was a race to the bottom. Sure, our hosting was cheaper than it is now, but clients had to do a lot on their own to keep their websites updated and secure.
Of course, most didn’t want to do that technical work.
In order to better serve our clients’ needs, we decided to only offer one managed hosting package. Our customers are able to have a more hands-off approach, knowing that their website will still be protected. Our managed hosting now includes:
- Regular CMS, WordPress, and plugin upgrades
- Backing up your website
- Malware recovery
- Minor website edits including adding, editing, and deleting of text, graphics, and pages
Our hosting method had to change in order to keep up with changes online and the polarization of web hosting. We decided that although we would lose some hosting clients, we wanted to continue to provide our clients the quality of hosting they expect.
With your website, you’ll have to decide for yourself. Are you comfortable keeping your website secure? And how valuable is your time? Knowing the answer to both of those questions is essential to deciding which route you want to go.