Hosting Is Our Foundation for Success
Of all the factors that can impact your online business, the hosting infrastructure that it uses cannot be overemphasized. consider the basic fact that if your website is “down,” or loads slowly, visitors are leaving it without ever even seeing your offer or information — wasting the money and time that you invested in traffic, services and other resources.
Truly, website (and email) hosting is the foundation of any online business. Despite this, however, a question that many adult website owners seem to ask first is, “where can i get cheap web hosting?”
While no one wants to spend more money than they have to, especially these days, the question really should be, “where can i get quality web hosting?”
These two metrics, cost and quality, are not the same; but they also don’t need to be mutually exclusive, since inexpensive, superior quality webhosting is readily available — with some adult-friendly hosts offering virtual packages that outperform typical dedicated servers of a couple of years ago — for less than $20 per month. Some of these packages provide very generous amounts of bandwidth that are more than adequate for the current traffic realities facing many adult websites; substantially eliminating most cost concerns.
Of course, similar price / performance improvements have affected dedicated server packages, with service differentiators such as full management and “better” bandwidth available at bargain-basement rates — in what has become a commodity marketplace — and a far cry from the enormous hosting fees of yesteryear.
But back to virtual hosting today: an arena that once suffered the disdain of “serious” webmasters due to usage restrictions, such as a lack of root access and inability to install certain applications, along with security and performance concerns accompanying shared resources and physical hardware.
2011, however, is a time of virtualization, where “the cloud” is coming into its own; offering numerous advantages in performance and scalability over competitive systems. Indeed, I personally suspect that as many corporate server farms near the end of their useful lifecycle, they won’t be replaced; their previous functions offloaded to the cloud — improving the user experience while lowering overhead, such as administrative costs.
Straight content delivery networks (CDN), streaming services and traditional hosting providers will continue to morph, mutate and merge — with webmasters reaping benefits including more reliable uptime, plus enhanced stability and feature sets, with lower costs.
There’s a lot to think about when choosing a web host or service type, just remember that the importance of having a proper web hosting infrastructure cannot be overstated; with “customer service” being perhaps the most important, but not only, consideration — because if no one is there to help when you need it most, then they’re of no help at all, while your money is being lost and your customers disappointed.
Here are some of the other things to look for when choosing a web hosting provider:
- Beware of hidden fees and other expenses that can quickly turn “a deal” into a costly mistake that busts your budget. These unexpected expenses include account setup fees; domain registration, transfer, forwarding and parking fees and related requirements; along with customer service and support fees. For example, I once used a webhost that advertised “free, 24/7 support,” but I missed the fine print about script installation that got me billed $300 to have a copy of ImageMagick installed on my server — a common application familiar to most webmasters and something that I thought would have come as a standard feature with my account, but didn’t.
- Know your datacenter, where it’s located and who is running it. You may not have realized it, but most “web hosting companies” are merely resellers — affiliates — of the actual hosting provider. These folks use white label front ends to sell hosting the way that some of you use white labels to sell cams, dating, VOD and other offers. Your server is not sitting in a corner of their office and is likely thousands of miles away — so who has physical custody of your hardware (if you’re running your own server)? You better find out, but don’t discount these merchants; as niche providers that focus on customer service and understanding the needs of adult operators often deliver value added services with a personal touch and at a reasonable price.
- Have enough room to grow or you might end up changing hosting providers at some point due to cost or service limitations. For example, some hosting providers (especially those that do not specialize in high-traffic environments, such as adult video delivery), may impose quite substantial charges for excessive bandwidth use over your plan’s limits — while some will simply shut off your server until the bill’s paid or traffic dies down. Other concerns, such as the availability of dispersed IP addresses (including separate “C-Block” addresses); choices in database options and server configuration; media encoding and streaming capabilities; the choice of operating system and more, all come into play.
- Do your homework, talk to your peers and don’t be afraid to question a prospective web host before signing on the dotted line. Just ensure that the first question you ask isn’t “What’s the cheapest hosting plan you have?”