As a savvy business/website owner, you’re always looking out for the best deals and ways to save. That’s a smart move, but at what cost? It’s very tempting when you see all those ads for free web hosting to just sign up and never think about it again. After all, isn’t all web hosting the same? You can’t afford dedicated hosting (and don’t need it anyway), so this should be an easy task to tick off your to-do list, right? Not necessarily, because not all hosts are created equally. There’s a lot more to their difference than price alone.
If you’re looking at a basic shared plan, you should really be looking at a virtual private server/VPS hosting plan. It often costs about the same as a basic shared plan, but gives you the safety and speed of a dedicated hosting plan. In some instances, a VPS hosting package might be a few dollars more per month. However, when it comes to comparing free or $1 to $10 for a VPS hosting plan, that’s just about $120 per year for a much better hosting package and service. Isn’t your business worth that?
The Costs You Don’t See
Does it really matter if you have a subpar plan or host and your website pageload is slowed down by one second? Yes, although you may not realize it. Every second your visitors have to wait equates to a percentage of these visitors abandoning your site, while others will decide your site isn’t that great. They may or may not stay on the site now, but the problem becomes that they might tell their friends about the experience. They may never come back. Even if you vastly improve, customers are fickle and will always remember your site as “the slow one.”
It’s even worse if you have a data breach and the story is picked up by the media—or it’s so severe you have to notify your site visitors. Both speed and security are better with VPS hosting, and again that’s just over $100/year to get those benefits. It’s really easy to undo a glowing reputation in the digital era, but immensely difficult to repair it. Consider hosting as part of your branding and security.
Taking Care of Business
If you’re a business owner or freelancer, the cost of web hosting (and all business site related expenses) is a tax write-off. Make sure you include that in the data you give your CPA at the end of the year. The more write-offs you have that are carefully organized, the lower you can get your tax bracket. This can lead to great savings, and a savvy CPA will work with you to make sure you don’t pay anything more than what’s necessary. When an expense is a write-off, suddenly you have a lot more wiggle room.
When it comes to web hosting, the upfront cost is just the beginning. Unless you get into dedicated territory, it should be very affordable—but don’t let price alone dictate your decision.