Do you know anything about Web hosting? You probably know that it’s a service where your website is put on a server (you know, the boring stuff), but do you REALLY know about Web hosting? Did you know that this service probably uses gimmicks more than any other industry? Or, did you know that most hosts expect your website to fail? Read on and find out about these five insane, but very real, things about Web hosting.
- AFFECTS SEO
The first, and perhaps the most mundane, of the facts is that web hosting has a dramatic effect on your SEO. For example, let’s say that your host uses an obsolete server that is on its last leg. It seems to stall whenever someone accesses anything more intensive than a static HTML page and the staff is doing its best to keep the server alive. Obviously the loading speeds are going to be ridiculously slow. Slow websites aren’t just penalized by Google, but many people will consider your website faulty and they won’t give you backlinks or any sort of recognition. Server location and the IP address can also affect your SEO. If the server is hosted in Bangladesh, then your website is going to have an awfully hard time getting a good rank (unless, of course, your website is meant for the Bangladesh market. In which case, you’ll do great!). A bad IP address can also hurt you because your website might be blacklisted even if you didn’t do anything. This circumstance is rare and only happens if the entire server is full of spammy websites (except yours, of course), but it can really hurt your chances of ranking.
- UNLIMITED GIMMICK
Unlimited bandwidth is a gimmick. Before getting into the nitty gritty as to why not only is this a gimmick, but also why it’s impossible, let me use a metaphor to show you why this is ludicrous. Let’s say that I offer you unlimited bananas. Everyone likes bananas. If they’re ripe, then you can eat them right away. If they’re brown, then throw them in a smoothie or make banana bread. Of course, I sweeten the deal by saying that I’ll give you unlimited bananas for just $5 a month. You’ll probably feel a little suspicious, but let’s say that you pay for your bananas and I promise to bring them tomorrow. Tomorrow rolls around and I bring a truck of bananas. However, you notice a bunch of other people there. They all grab the bananas from the truck and you’re left with just a few. â€œI thought I got unlimited bananas.You did, everyone else just grabbed them first.This is what unlimited bandwidth is. You have a bunch of websites hosted on a single server (the truck). The resources are up for grabs and anyone can use the available bandwidth as long as they don’t go over a certain quota. You see, unlimited bandwidth doesn’t mean that there aren’t any limits. It just means that the host won’t give you specific limits (though it’s usually around a paltry 10GB of data). Not only that, but unlimited bandwidth is impossible. It doesn’t matter if you strap all of the world’s servers together and run them at once, it still wouldn’t be unlimited (though you’d have enough power to run Google, Wikipedia and every other massive website at the same time).
- HOSTS DON’T OWN SERVERS
I’m not talking about a small reseller host that obviously just wants to make about side income. I’m talking about some major hosting brands. Many of these people contract separate datacenters to host the servers. In other words, they don’t have direct control of your website and the associated hardware. This may not seem like a major problem, but let’s use an extreme scenario to see why this can be awful. So, you’re running a website that sells kids’ toys and baby bottles. Things are going great and you’re getting about 100 visitors a month, mostly from moms. You login one day expecting things to be normal, but your password isn’t working. You try everything that you can, but you just can’t get in. Maybe you feel a little panicked because you’re worried a hacker took over your website, so you check your page to see if anything changed. You’re greeted to a plethora of hardcore porn pictures (really hardcore, like close to illegal hardcore. The type that even desensitized aficionados wouldn’t touch) instead of your normal baby bottles and toys. You’re scared, but it just gets worse when you think about what all the mothers are going to think seeing these pictures. You call the host and beg them to fix the problem. However, they don’t control the servers. So they need to call Steve from the IT department so that he can fix the problem. The problem is that Steve is known for taking long lunch breaks and he won’t be back for another hour or so. 70, 80, 90 minutes go by and your website is still a minefield of smut. In fact, it seems like the hacker is feeling bad at this point because he stopped adding pictures about 15 minutes ago. Steve gets back, but he needs to talk to your host to see what the problem is before he can fix the server. This takes another hour, and by this time each and every one of your customers hates you for everything that you are. See why this can be a problem?
- WHOIS INFO
Did you sign up for WHOIS protection? I hope you did, because if you didn’t, then I can find out everything about you. You see, hosts collect information about your name, address and other personal things before giving you access to a website. I can just go to WHOIS.com and get all that information in a few seconds. Go ahead, check it yourself. I can find out everything about you in a few seconds. Not only can I start opening credit cards in your name after guessing your birthday (thanks for putting that on Facebook by the way!) and social security number, but I can probably come over for dinner if I wanted (hope we’re having steaks). Don’t worry, I won’t be over ;), but you never know what psychos out there will do with this info. Invest in some WHOIS protection. It’s usually just $20 or so a year.
- HOSTS EXPECT FAILURE
Do you know why hosts can easily offer unlimited bandwidth deals to you for close to nothing? Because many of them expect you to fail. The fact is that your average website uses less than 1GB of disk space and bandwidth a month, and hosts love that. It allows them to cram dozens of more websites on a server without worrying about people that actually need bandwidth because the resources will be available. This figure doesn’t just count for a handful of websites. About 98% of all websites do this. They expect you to buy a domain, feel all gung ho about making money or doing whatever you want to, and then losing steam within the first week. Failure is common in this area, and hosts have come to expect it. It’s part of their pricing strategy and it’s unlikely to change considering how many websites just fall apart before they are even fully built and expanded.