You can bet the official campaigns for the two major parties don’t rely on a basic shared hosting plan—but what about all the other campaigns? From the local to national level, campaigning is serious business, and these (often temporary) websites are a mecca of valuable big data. They might be collecting donations (ahem, credit card information), names and addresses, and personal information like why exactly you’re supporting a local measure. In other words, these sites are brimming with sensitive information, but many are put together quickly just for the voting season.
This is the recipe for a perfect storm. If you’re managing a political campaign, or something in that realm, how closely have you looked at the web host you chose? Many people go with whatever host is recommended when you register your domain (these are hosts that either pay to be featured, or lure you in with cheap/free domain registrations!). Maybe you have other, unrelated sites and just went with your current host—even though it’s been years since you looked into them.
If a political candidate made such a sloppy mistake, her career would be over. How is yours faring?
Hosting in 2016
First, make sure you know the difference between the three major types of hosting: Basic, virtual private server/VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. In an ideal world, everyone would have dedicated hosting, but this just isn’t realistic. There are a handful of political-related sites which can afford it due to their generous donors. Dedicated hosting means you’ve bought your own server (often for six figures) and either have your own datacenter you manage yourself, or you hire a third party to do it. You need to be making millions in order to make this a feasible option.
The next best thing is VPS hosting. It’s very similar in performance to dedicated hosting, but you don’t technically own a server. Instead, you lease a virtual slice of one along with other clients. However, thanks to that virtual slicing, the security is almost as good as dedicated hosting. Get it via a managed hosting package, and experts take care of maintenance, security, and upgrades. You also get more speed and often better customer service with VPS.
Then there’s basic plans, and “basic” is right. This is the bottom of the barrel, yet somehow costs about the same as VPS hosting (ranging from free to under $20 per month). Basic plans are great for a personal website, but these days if you’re starting any site you might as well go with VPS. Unfortunately, most web hosts don’t offer VPS—and people don’t do their research, so they end up settling.
Winning Them Over
Not only does VPS hosting keep your site and visitors safer, everyone can also enjoy a faster site—that’s critical, since numerous studies have shown that if forced to wait, people see a site as not as trustworthy. They might also totally abandon the site, never to return.
You can also use VPS for your own PR. If you care that much about site operation, just imagine how much you care about the candidate or cause at hand!