18 Aug How to avoid a website hosting heart attack
How to avoid a website hosting heart attack
By Thomas Couch
When you are at your lowest, stressed beyond belief, losing sleep and questioning the meaning of life, who would you turn to? A psychologist? Your local priest? Or your web designer???
Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon that business owners come to us in this state. Normally it’s because of some sort of unexpected cyber attack that has turned their business and life upside-down. Maybe their website is compromised and they are losing tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe their child-friendly reputation is ruined due to an attack that exposed all their users to pornographic material. Maybe the attack was so damaging that the business shut down as a result.
All these stories are real and the sad thing was that they were avoidable. The aim of this article is to help your business avoid these issues so you can sleep well at night.
OK…so how did these businesses get in this mess?
9 out of 10 times they made a simple mistake: They opted for cheap website hosting.
We can understand why they did it. They didn’t know why hosting was important so they looked for the cheapest option. $5 per month. $10 per month. Cheaper equals better right? What could go wrong? But what they didn’t realise is that they were setting themselves up for two traps:
Trap 1 – Pay More (Later)
The first trap is the one set by the cheap hosting company. Well it’s not a trap per se. Instead it’s just a clever business strategy designed to target business owners who don’t know any better. The business owner gets hosting for $10 per month thinking that they are saving money. But what they soon find out is that their cheap hosting is missing all the important features they absolutely need like security features, website backups and technical support. Of course they only find this out once things have already gone bad. Their website has been attacked, their reputation is sinking, their stress is rising and they are desperate to get things back to normal. And it’s in this vulnerable state that the cheap hosting companies make their money charging much more for the inclusions clients should have already had.
Story time. We had one client whose website was important to their business. But they decided to go with a cheap host, which saved them $20 per month. 6 months later they endured a cyber attack that devastated their website and no backup was available which meant they had to re-build from scratch. That cost them >$5000 plus weeks worth of missed business.
Let me say that again. At the end of the 6 months, they had saved $120 in hosting but the attack cost them $5000 plus several weeks worth of missed business.
Would proper hosting have prevented them from coming under attack? Almost certainly. And even if they did get attacked, their website backup would have been there ready to go.
Trap 2 – Sitting Ducks
The next trap is easier to explain. It’s simple. If you don’t have adequate security and contingency plans, you are a sitting duck (Just like the story above).
But I wont be targeted right?
I know what you are thinking. My business is too small, too new, too unknown to be targeted with an attack. But that’s not how cyber attacks often work.
A hacker doesn’t need to know you to attack your website. Instead they automate their attacks. They can write code robots that scour the internet looking for vulnerable websites. When they find one, the code gets to work. It is not uncommon for small WordPress websites to get attacked more than 20 times per day.
Sounds like scare tactics to me
Yes, we know it sounds scary. But there are two reasons why we feel it is important to be honest about it:
- It’s a cautionary tale for business owners. Learn from other business owners to save your self the stress, misery, reputation damage and money that comes with making these mistakes.
- Luckily, it’s actually quite easy to prevent and not very expensive.
So how do I avoid these website problems?
Simple. The first step is to not get seduced into cheap hosting. Remember that you probably paid thousands for your website. And you probably put your heart, soul, time and effort into your business. It doesn’t make sense to invest so much in those and then risk it all with cheap hosting.
Then the next step is to make sure your hosting has these key features at a minimum:
- Security – Some sort of security system such as a Firewall
- SSL – Some sort of SSL encryption should be provided with your hosting. (Sidenote – if you sell products or memberships on your website, you probably need a better, more expensive SSL than the one provided for free on the server.)
- Technical Support – If anything goes wrong, you need someone who can help you. This is not only for the sake of your website, but also for your peace of mind. Save yourself the stress.
- Backups – As a final contingency plan, you need daily backups of your website that you can recover incase of a disaster situation.
At this point, we should mention that the truth is that there is no way to make your website 100% immune to any attacks. But with proper hosting, the likelihood of your website being compromised is reduced dramatically. Plus if things go wrong, you have technical support and backups to save the day and save you a tonne of stress.
We encourage all business owners to ask themselves, is your cheap hosting going to cause you to run into trouble. Don’t risk your website, your business or your emotional wellbeing on cheap options. We offer website hosting plans that include all the important features by default and are a lot more affordable than you might think. They normally cost around $30-50 per month.
But even for those not interested in hosting with us, we hope this article has taught you about the importance of hosting for your website and will steer you away from any future hosting troubles.