The Cost of Quality Green Web Hosting: How Much For What?

The Cost of Green Web HostingThe world wide web (W3) is a vast frontier for those within whom the web-preneurial spirit burns brightly. To open a brick and mortar business on Main Street is going to cost a pile of capital, and in this economy, who wants a second (or third) mortgage to roll the dice and fund a new gift shop downtown.The web, on the other hand, provides all the tools you need to build and grow a business for just a few bucks a month. And, each year, the W3 becomes a more robust marketplace. In 1999, fewer than 10% of us purchased goods or services on line. In 2010, it’s projected that 60% of us will make at least one purchase on line – and that number is only going to increase. Want proof?Take a look at your local newspaper, The Morning Rag. It ain’t what it used to be. Print, delivered to your newspaper tube, is in its death throes with advertising dollars (that’s where the money is) down 25% in ’09 alone, while the web saw a 15% increase in revenue dollars. The point? Advertisers go where the buyers go and a 40% spread from traditional print outlets to an easy-to-build, easy-to-use web site is clear evidence that buyers are employing the web more and more to buy everything from clothes to carpeting to refrigerators.And even if you do have a store front in town, web users employ digital assets for everything from comparison shopping to snagging a printable set of directions to your store from your web site. The integration between real and virtual marketing has proved to be a boon for small, local businesses thanks to the development of local search.Type in to your Google search box “pizza” and your zip code and see what pops up. You’ll see a Google map with pushpins showing the location of all the pizza places in town. Move your cursor over any push pin and a complete description of that pizza shop pops up with address and telephone number so you can call in your order. (Hold the anchovies, please!) And the pizza shop owner makes another sale.So, whether you’re a budding entrepreneur selling grommets by the kilo or a well-established, local business, the world wide web is your oyster. It’s how you’ll grow your business to profitability faster by reaching the very people who are looking for you, your products and service offerings.And all for $10 a month. You can’t beat that with a stick.The Cost of Quality on the W3: Lots for CheapThere are free web hosts, low-ball web hosts and quality web hosts that deliver a satchel of freebies for less than $10 a month – the cost of a couple of fast food lunches.Now, you could go with a freebie but, as in all things, you get what you pay for. Free web hosting companies place their ads on your site, and you have no control over what’s going to appear. In fact, the host may actually place ads for competitors on YOUR free web site. So NOT cool.The low-ball web hosts – the ones that give you a little disk space and their best wishes – might cost $3-4 a month. Not bad, but what do you get for your measly few bucks. Not much, and if you don’t know HTML code from an area code, you won’t get very far very fast, even though you save a few pesos each month.A Competitive Marketplace Keeps Prices Down – Good For YouSo what do you get when you go with a quality host? Well, a larger bill each month – but not by much. A quality hosting company charges less than $10 a month – $6 more than the low-ball sites. Six bucks more. So what do you get for that extra few bucks?More disk space – sometimes 2-3 times more disk space.
More bandwidth for faster interactions with site visitors.
A tool kit that includes templates (thousands of them), a free shopping cart and checkout, a blog and bulletin board module that bolts on to your site with a click – seamlessly.
24/7/365 toll-free customer service. Call any time. Somebody’s working on their web site somewhere day, night and in-between.
Easily accessible tech support. It’s nice to talk to someone NOW when you’re having a problem, or just have a simple question. And when problems do arise (they do, sometimes) you want your trouble ticket handed off to a techie and you want the problem fixed – yesterday. Like it never happened.
Uptime. If your site’s server is off-line, your business is off line. And, if you happen to get spidered while your site is “down,” guaranteed you’re going to get slammed by Google. Search engines don’t send users to inaccessible sites. So what do you look for? How about an uptime that exceeds 99.9%? How about uptime of 100%? You’re site is always up, even when the power is down in your server location!
Server-side security. The freebie hosts don’t pay a whole lot of attention to server-side security. They make they’re money placing ads on your site. And those low-ball sites have to cut corners somewhere and that somewhere is often server side security.
A quality host employs numerous layers of security to protect your digital assets: hardwired firewalls, algorithmically encrypted anti-spyware and anti-virus software, caged servers, locked server rooms and back-up power generation.
Hand holding. Probably more important to the first-time web site builder than the long-time vet of the web wars for site recognition. A quality hosting company recognizes the value of YOUR success. That’s how a good hosting company builds a solid client base, reducing operating costs. It costs 10x as much to find a new client as it does to keep an existing client happy so smart hosting company management takes your business seriously.
You got a question in the middle of the night? You need someone to walk you through the migration of your current site to a better quality host? Well, you want a human to answer the phone and help you plan your strategy, whether building from scratch or moving an existing site uptown.Starting to get the picture? Yeah, you can save a few bucks and go with a free hosting service, but you won’t be happy after a few months. You also won’t see the site traffic that ultimately leads to web success.Or, you can go with the cheapie sites but be prepared to install your own multi-layers of security software. You’ll also pay a few hundred bucks for site building software – money that could be used to market your start-up. Oh, and don’t expect a toll-free number for customer or tech support. These low-tiered hosts usually respond by email only. (Not so good when your site has vanished overnight and you don’t have a clue why.)The bottom line is your bottom line. Web hosting is a highly competitive market segment. There are thousands of hosts from which to choose. But a quality hosting company is based on a client-centric corporate culture, recognizing that the success of its clients will, in the end, determine the success of the web host. It’s just, plain smart business.The fact is, for a few extra bucks a month – chump change – you can partner with a hosting company that’s as interested in your on-line success as you are. These companies recognize that their long-term success is tied to the success of your web site. In effect, your web host becomes a partner in your web-based growth to profitability. These web hosts have clients who stay put.These are the site owners who form a stable client base for the web host.These are the site owners who recognize the value delivered for the cost of a couple of double bacon cheeseburgers.Spend those few extra dollars and don’t be pound wise and penny foolish. You get what you pay for with web hosting.In fact, you get a lot more than what you pay for when you choose a quality web host. Go with quality if you truly care about your business.This is the one place YOU don’t have to cut corners, so pay the few bucks and get a bag o’ benefits for that small change. Success on the web is far from guaranteed, but you increase your chances for success when you pick a quality green web hosting service with which to partner.Give yourself a break. Give yourself every advantage. Give yourself a better chance to achieve success on-line.It’s money very well spent.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Web Hosting

As usual, there are pros and cons to everything on the web and that includes cloud hosting for business. We will go through some pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages that may help you decide whether cloud web hosting is right for your firm.The “cloud” is an IT term for the Internet, and cloud computing, or cloud hosting, means storing and having access to your computer data and software on the Internet – on demand – rather than running it on your personal computer or office server. In fact, if you use programs such as Gmail or Google docs, you may not realize it, but you are already participating in cloud computing. Part of the confusion in the business decision process of IT is that the terminology is rather difficult in that it changes so often, particularly for non-tech-savvy types, including many small business owners. And it does represent a major shift in how businesses and individuals use and store digital information.Advantages for businessThere are many obvious advantages to cloud web hosting that are talked about on news mediums and on many business web sites. With cloud hosting, you have your web data and business computing programs running online, rather than separately on your office computers, and this means that you and your IT staff have access to them anytime, anywhere there is an Internet connection available. Another advantage is the fixed-cost draw to cloud computing. We call this the dreaded cost- and hassle-saving factor. With cloud web hosting, the software that is provided online is upgraded and maintained by the provider, so the small business owner does not have to purchase the latest version of a software application or download upgrades and patches. Not having to buy a program outright but entering into a monthly or annual contract is very motivating, as is the appeal that many applications are offered for free. The fixed cost allows business owners to plan for the future, rather than be surprised when a costly software or hardware upgrade is needed. And for businesses that have updates to their web site(s) made hourly, even by-the-minute changes to their web site, cloud web hosting can offer a big advantage over self-hosting.Not all web sites require hourly news updates. probably doesn’t need up-to-the minute reporting from the world of sewing. I mean, how much changes from one day to the next in the sewing world? But that doesn’t mean that Jane should hire a copy writer for her site text, set her sales pitch and hope for the best. If she’s a savvy business women (let’s assume she is) providing articles on types of yarn, on-line lessons for beginners, information on other handiwork, visitors will be encouraged to continue to visit for the information and, at some point, make a purchase. That is the goal of all for-profit enterprises…right?What is cloud hosting?Cloud computing or cloud hosting is often the term employed to describe the “as a service” model over the Internet. You will see the terms “infrastructure as a service”, “platform as a service”, or “software as a service” used as you conduct your research of the leading cloud hosting providers such as Rackspace Hosting, Amazon and SoftLayer.Pros of Cloud HostingThe cost savings in cloud hosting, compared to co-location, can run as high as fifty-three percent, a large number in the startup dynamics of business. It only makes a good business case to use cloud hosting and any arguments against it on the cost front are with little merit. In a highly competitive business economy, cost savings are a big plus.Cons of Cloud HostingCloud hosting is a very profitable business for service providers. As such, it can lead to expensive monthly fees if the code of your web site is not well written. And the way to save money, as a customer, is to optimize your code. For projects hosted in the cloud, you can actually get a monthly statement that can illustrate your performance optimization efforts. If you and your programming team edit your code so that it accesses the database less, you can save a few hundred dollars per month. The cloud can give you a direct line from your code to your dollars. Interesting stuff!Carbon neutral web hostingAnother con of cloud web hosting is that the majority of cloud hosting providers are not environmentally-friendly or carbon neutral, meaning that they do not use renewable energy to power their data centers. The cloud is growing at a point in time when climate change and reducing emissions from energy use is a growing concern for consumers. And because it is of concern to consumers, many of those consumers purchase goods and services from companies that are making environmentally friendly choices – such as the type of web hosting provider they choose. Although many small and medium sized businesses are moving their web sites to green web hosting providers, the emissions produced by the IT industry continues to grow. With the growth of the cloud, however, comes an increasing demand for energy. For all of the web content to be delivered to Internet users in real time, virtual mountains of video, pictures and other data must be stored somewhere and be available for almost immediate access. That “somewhere” is data centers and in most instances, data centers emit a large amount of carbon. This begs the question of whether a webmaster should choose environmentally friendly green web hosting instead of cloud hosting. The decision should be made, however, only after a very thorough investigation into the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of each type of web hosting.Environmentally friendly web hostingThe air is getting dirtier. The seas are turning black. Clean drinking water is scarce in many places in the world and we all have a responsibility to use less energy. It’s the ethical thing to do. So, to start, look for a web hosting company that shows concern for the environment today and in the future – a web host that employs green technology to deliver services to you.What to look for in a web hosting provider?
more renewable energy sources like wind turbines and cold water cooling for web host servers
Energy Star rated, highly efficient servers, which are nothing more than huge hard drives on which your web site resides on the server side
responsible disposal of outdated equipment to prevent heavy, toxic metals from seeping into our water supplies
an ethical, corporate value to employ the least amount of energy while delivering the highest quality of service
Green hosting services are the future of the web hosting industry. Only a few web hosts employ green technology end-to-end. Choose one of these vanguard companies. That commitment to a cleaner future makes an ethical statement about what’s important to the web hosting company’s management team.Still not getting it?Because you provide reasons for site visitors to revisit your site – and maybe even award you with a bookmark, which should send shivers of delight down your spine. These are prospects who may not become buyers for weeks, months or years, but as long as they keep coming back…you increase the likelihood of converting a visitor into a buyer.So create some adhesive to keep visitors stuck on you. In time, these repeat visitors will help pay your rent and build your business.