The Quality of a Good Web Host

Today’s topic is not a new one, at least for me. I have seen some tweets the last few days that has brought this topic back up for discussion: The quality of good web hosting.

I will go ahead and say right off the top that I am in the camp of believers who say you get exactly what you pay for with web hosting. If are paying $5 a month to host a site, you are going to get $5 of service and performance. Believe me, I know this from past experience! When I first started developing web applications I would look for the cheapest place around and give them a go. Over the years I have used a great number of these lower end web hosts, especially in the ColdFusion arena. I was never 100% happy with the performance or the level of support. I then began diving into the system administration world at my job some and began to learn everything that goes into maintaining web and database servers. I quickly saw the value of paying for a good web host.

The cheap shared hosting plans can have numerous problems if you to choose to go this route. Your site will be sitting on a server with hundreds or even thousands of other sites. So your site’s performance is dependent of a number of factors ranging from hardware issues to bad code written by other developers. If one site is hacked into on the server your site could also be at risk. Support is another drawback to most cheap shared web hosts. They have thousands of customers who are paying in the cheap, so your wait time for customer service can be painfully long in some cases.

I run across clients quite often that have some rather large web applications they spent good money on, but still choose to go the cheapest route for their web hosting. If they care about their applications, it’s not too long before they see the light and are forced to look elsewhere.

Not too long after my experience with shared web hosting and my increase in system admin knowledge I decided to bite the bullet and set up a high end VPS account with a top level web host. I could then use the knowledge I had gained over the years to tune my VPS to my desired settings. If I needed to change something in the ColdFusion Administrator, no problem. Need to upgrade my .NET framework level? No problem there either. The level of support I currently receive is off the charts. The hosting company has dedicated staff who deal only with VPS customers, so help is only minutes away. And best of all, my applications perform great and the up time is not reliant on having hundreds of other sites on my server. Now, with these added benefits it does come with an increased cost. The cost is worth it to me to have good performance and high availability for my clients.

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