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The only thing permanent in this world is change. You must keep this in mind when you choose a hosting provider. You must be able to grow within a hosting environment. Many businesses and individuals have suffered because they have not catered for growth while taking a decision. Here we will discuss challenges you are likely to encounter and how to cope with them.
Your host is like a home for your website
John Silver owned a shoe store in London. He had inherited this store from his father and was proud of it. The shoes he sold were special. They smelled of tradition, class and history. They did cost more than usual but his traditional customers valued his products. When John decided to go online, he received all kinds of advice. His good friend and neighbor told him that cloud hosting was happening and he should adopt it. John felt that the cost of cloud hosting was not worth it. John was a shrewd man and though he was not tech savvy, he knew business. He wanted to consider a few factors before choosing a hosting provider.
Scope to grow and expand
Discussing the situation with a friend, the first issue which John wanted to understand was the scope to grow and expand. From experience, he knew that he will need more space and resources as his online shop started getting more traffic. Actually expansion made good business sense. He wanted to go with a hosting provider who could meet his growing demand. ‘It is like a normal shoe shop’, he claimed. His traditional business had grown from fifty square yard to five hundred in ten years. His website would probably grow faster.
John realized that he could begin with a simple shared hosting plan and go for a dedicated hosting plan later if required. He should be able to adopt cloud hosting if he found it suitable. John was also told that migrating from one host to another can be a problematic issue. Therefore any hosting provider must be able to cater for this expansion.
Finally after considering various options, John decided to try out his online enterprise with a shared hosting plan. It was cost effective and provided him with all the facilities which he required to run his shoe shop. There was one more piece of advice which he was considering. He was told that his small business could easily run on WordPress platform. Other options required that he employ a full time technical hand which he could not afford. Fortunately for him the hosting service provider had a ready solution for WordPress. In fact, his site could be WordPress enabled with one single click. He simply had to purchase a professional theme and his shoes shop would be up and running. John was astounded by the simplicity and power of WordPress. He had never imagined that a website could be launched with such ease. WordPress was not only an elegant solution but could also become an enterprise solution with all the bells and whistles in place.
Going the Ecommerce way
John was offered an alternative solution. He could directly go for an ecommerce solution. Here he would have to pay for the ecommerce software. The hosting provider once again showed the way. John could choose from a range of ecommerce solutions depending on scope and cost factor.
John could grasp the advantages offered by an ecommerce platform. He could visualize the ease with which his customers could navigate through his shop and buy shoes. Moreover, book keeping and inventory control was automated. He could stock items depending on demand and could save money on inventory. Inbuilt analytics gave click by click report of visitor behavior. He was also excited by the forecasting tool which came with ecommerce solutions. An ecommerce platform made good sense except that the initial cost was higher than WordPress. Additionally, he was told that WordPress too had ecommerce plug-ins which were as powerful as any ecommerce solution. John was happy that his hosting provider would be able to support him whether he chose WordPress or ecommerce solution.
John knew the shoe business inside out but lacked technical expertise. He was a shrewd person and knew that the trick to a successful business was to keep operational costs as low as possible. Employing a technical person would have dented his profits. Focusing on his business was his top priority. Managed services therefore made sense to him. He was told that his hosting provider can take over the entire management of his website.
Choosing a hosting provider must be done carefully. Cost of hosting must not be the only consideration. If you are planning for managed hosting, specific attention must be paid to each and every additional service provided by the hosting service. Hidden costs may bite you at a later date. Ideally, all maintenance and upgrade work should be completely handed over. Piecemeal approach should be avoided. Some hosting providers may charge a premium which may well be worth the cost. It is always advisable to compare costs with three or more providers.
Support & Security
One of the major issues with any ecommerce platform is security. Customers don’t want to transact online unless they are absolutely sure about the security of their credit cards. SSL certificates can ally fears and provide confidence to customers.
John had learnt through experience that service providers are tested only things go wrong. Timely troubleshooting and support from hosting provider can save money and reputation. Support in the form of helpdesk is essential.
John was a businessman not a technical expert. He knew very well that his online business would work well if he leaves hosting to people who know their job. He was ready to pay a bit more for the services. Customer loyalty and support can only come when they have a flawless online experience. Slow and sluggish websites, downtime because of maintenance and such issues can be disastrous for an online business. John chose a hosting provider based on these essential factors.