The True Cost of Cheap Hosting
Cheap hosting may just be one of the most expensive mistakes you make when it comes to your website. Like so many other things in life, you get what you pay for. And when it comes to cheap hosting, what you’ve paid for is shortcuts, sub-par site speed, space issues, sketchy uptime, and so many more sources of trouble that are going to see you spending any money saved (and way, way more) quicker than you can say “host with the most (potential to let you down)”. So while rock bottom hosting prices may look appealing to your budget, don’t fall into that trap. It’s going to cost you, in more ways than one, in the long run. Here’s how:
Sluggish Site Speed
We all know by now that you have about 0.2 seconds for your website to load before your visitors shut your page down and go elsewhere. (Yes, we exaggerate, it’s actually about 2 seconds, but potato, pot-ah-to.) The point is, your site and page load speed need to be fast.
Cheap hosts? They don’t do fast. Among those who know, cheap hosting is synonymous with slower servers. Slower servers result in slower page load times. Slower page load times result in abandoned site visits or up to 7% fewer conversions.
Poor site speed can also negatively impact your SEO and your website’s ability to rank higher in SERPs. This, again, negatively impacts your bottom line because it affects whether or not you even get visitors to your site.
How is cheap hosting a prime suspect in propagating crimes against site speed? Cheap web hosting service providers usually run your site on shared hosting platforms. Shared hosting platforms means resources are, well, shared: CPU, memory, disk space – all shared with about a bajillion others. It’s like sharing a bathroom with 17 flatmates, all of who are fully caught up on rent. Not only is it going to slow your morning preparations down significantly, but it’s also going to end up in blocked drains and… yep… you get the picture. And it’s not pretty.
The bottom line is this: cheap hosting = shared hosting platforms = limited use of resources (such as bandwidth, even if it is technically ‘unlimited’, it’s ‘unlimited-but-shared-with-far-too-many-users) = guaranteed slower server response times.
The solution? Upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting will improve site speed.
Downtime or server outage is one of the main drawbacks of cheap web hosting services.
A good quality web hosting company should guarantee that your website will be up 99.9% of the time (uptime). But you can expect to pay for that. The poorer the host quality – which is what you’re usually getting when you Scrooge it with a cheap host, the more often you can expect your website to be down (downtime, i.e., offline). Like slow site speed, this will ultimately annoy users and drive them away for good, AND annoy Google and drive your SEO rankings down the drain!
On the other side of this coin, if you bite the budget and shell out a bit more for reputable hosting, you can expect your website to be accessible 99.9% of the time, allowing for it to be found in relevant searches, rank better, and allow users to see you exactly when they want to. (Trust us, if your site is down when they first try to visit they’re 9 times out of 10 not going to bother trying again… they’ll just go elsewhere.
Don’t believe us that downtime/uptime is that important? Consider the case of the e-commerce giant Amazon: when Amazon.com’s website went down recently for no more than 40 minutes, the company estimated that they lost almost $4.72 million in lost sales. That’s nearly $5 million of revenue lost in under an hour. Okay, okay, so your small e-commerce business isn’t Amazon, BUT think of it this way: while $5 million might be a drop in the bucket for them, for small businesses, even $10 can make a difference. Moral of the story? You want to avoid downtime to avoid lost revenue. The amount you spend to ensure a decent uptime (99.9%, remember), is definitely going to be way less than the money you lose in downtime.
The solution? Upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting will improve uptime to the recommended 99.9%. (See a pattern here yet?)
So Many Upsells
All. Of. The. Upsells.
So you think you’re getting a full hosting package for just $5 or $10 a month. Think again. Cheap hosts suck you in that way, but once you’re in, you realize that you only have 5 GB of space and 10 GB of transfer. Want more? Oh, hello: that will be an extra $25 per month please and thank you.
But wait, there’s more: when you go to use tools that are ordinarily included in any decent hosting platform package, tools that you need to create a responsive, highly functional website that looks good, gets you all the traffic you need, and ensures ongoing online success, you’ll likely find you have to pay extra. Cheap hosting means you have very little control over things like access, database scripting and usage, CMS templates, plugins, and many other resources related to hosting. Before you know it you’re paying way more overall for this so-called ‘cheap’ host than one of those fancy, ‘expensive’ looking decent hosts you eschewed when setting up.
On the flip side, a dedicated server gives you the flexibility, at no extra cost we might add, of customizing the server to your unique needs with regards to things like CPU, RAM, disk space and software. Where cheap shared hosting limits you to the applications, software and operating environment already loaded onto their server – with the option to upgrade at an extra fee (naturally), a dedicated server offers a customizable server environment that fits your needs and gives you full control over your own site.
The solution? Upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting will remove the constant upsells, give you the control, and improve your bottom line!
Another thing cheap hosts are synonymous with? Seriously sketchy customer service. Smoke and mirrors baby. Broken promises and disappointment. Bot responders rather than real live people who know what they’re talking about; ‘live’ chat that’s never live or 777 customers deep in a queue; phone lines that are never free; emails that are answered days later at best, never at worst; 24/7 customer service that’s reduced to 24/never.
When you rely on being online 24/7 for your business to survive and thrive, you need to know you’ve got backup and support 24/7 when you need it. Cheap hosts can’t, or won’t, offer this kind of support because they’re not prepared to pay for it.
When choosing your host server, cheap or otherwise, make sure you read reviews about their customer service. And believe what you read.
The solution? Upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting will improve customer service. The giveaway? The word ‘Dedicated’ really refers not only to a dedicated server and space for your site and your site alone, but dedicated service.
Full disclosure: in a world where life is increasingly lived online, there is no immunity from security leaks and cybercrimes. The threat is real. That said, the more attention you pay to your site security, which, yes, can translate to the more money you spend on-site security, can make a huge difference. And help you sleep a little better at night.
When you choose to go with a cheap host, you are choosing to share space with, well, who knows who? It’s a bit like climbing into an Uber with a bunch of complete strangers… Who knows if one might be a serial killer? In the online equivalent of that, in sharing a server you are sharing an IP address with multiple other websites, and who knows if your server buddies are spam sites, adult sites, serial killer fan club sites? Not only could this mean having your websites’ rank pushed down – nobody likes spam or a serial killer (aside from said fan clubs that is), least of all Google – it can open you up to all sorts of security risks.
With dedicated hosting, you have a dedicated server, which means you get your own dedicated, unique IP address. This is especially important in the world of e-commerce where SSL is required for credit card processing.
PS. Site security is important in so many ways, whether you’re an e-commerce business or not. Be sure to read this to find out why, and how to make sure your site is secure.
The solution: Upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting will improve your online security.
So, what does a good hosting provider look like?
To start with, it probably looks a little more expensive at the outset than one of those $5-a-month cheap hosts. But, as we’ve outlined above, looks can be deceiving!
Other than cost, a good, reliable, reputable hosting provider will look something a little like this:
- It offers secure site servers;
- It offers ample storage and space for your data;
- It offers optimal server speed, which won’t slow down (or crash) during site traffic peak hours or sudden viral events (sales etc);
- It ensures 99.9% uptime;
- It offers 24/7 customer service with multiple channels for communication (live chat, text, email, support tickets, phone).
Or, to paint a slightly more evocative picture: it looks like a house built on a solid foundation; on a lovely sprawling property that’s all yours; with plenty of garden space; in a safe neighbourhood, but also secured by a gorgeous-to-look-at 6-foot fence just to be sure. Just so we’re clear: your website is the house, your host server is the space it’s built on, with all the associated security features. And, much like a house, isn’t it a no-brainer to build your website on a solid foundation rather than the quicksand that is a cheap host?
Switch from subpar cheap hosting today
Have you experienced the true cost of cheap hosting? Ready to switch over to a host with the most… the most uptime, the most speed, the most success, even if it does come at a slightly bigger initial cost? Our 1st on the List team of dedicated, expert SEOs and technical whizzes can help! Contact us today to switch from not-so-cheap-in-the-long-run, and definitely not cheerful hosting to a reputable host that can overdeliver where it matters, every single minute of every single day. Call toll-free 1-888-262-6687 or contact us online.