Hosting is what makes the web go round, but it doesn’t get a lot of attention. That can be OK, because hosting is just supposed to work. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way it goes.
We recently started offering our own WordPress hosting solution, so we wanted to talk to some WordPress experts about why hosting is an important decision to consider.
“I want to know that a top-level support person will be available on a weekend.”
– Aaron Reimann
We talked with Aaron about support availability, WordPress-specific issues, and the value of good hosting.
Do you have a hosting horror story?
I have a couple, but nothing compares to what my company went through in 2013. At that time, we were hosting 80 sites for various clients—and we lost two of them thanks to this story.
It started on a Friday morning when our Virtual Private Server (VPS) was using too many resources on the host machine and the server went down. I contacted them and they informed me that my instance was going to have to be migrated to “bare metal.” Meaning it needed to be on its own dedicated box. So they started the migration around 10:00 a.m.
I contacted them at 5:30 p.m. asking for an update, and they told me the migration failed and it would have to be restarted. What they didn’t tell me is that the support team that does migrations stopped working at 5 p.m. and they (tier three support) wouldn’t be available until Monday morning.
The company dragged their feet without telling me that no one was going to be able to get the sites up. It took until Sunday afternoon before they gave me that vital piece of information. When Monday rolled around, tier three came in and the sites were finally up late in the afternoon. We had over 80 hours of downtime.
What’s the most important factor in choosing a hosting company?
I would say that up-time is the most important, but in light of the story I just told, I want to know that a top-level support person will be available on a weekend.
How does the hosting conversation change when you’re talking specifically about WordPress?
It doesn’t change much because we do 95% WordPress development. The only difference is that I expect there be a top-level WordPress development team available to troubleshoot WordPress-specific issues.
How do you convince people of the importance of investing in hosting?
That is sometimes difficult to do. As our company has grown, so has our clientele and the larger the company the bigger the budget for IT. I always tell a client something like this:
“The difference between good hosting and bad hosting is around $30 a month. Sure, you can get hosting at $5 a month, but you could pay $35 and have a dedicated WordPress development team available to fix things if something as simple as an upgrade takes the site down. What is your product worth? What if the most profitable client goes to your web site when it’s down? How much will that cost you? If it’s more then $30, invest more.”