Web hosting can be a minefield for beginners, where every step you take into uncharted territory feels daunting. Learn not to make these five web hosting mistakes from our experiences of customer issues. We’re sharing these tidbits with you so that you can avoid making the same mistakes as well.
Neglecting SSL Encryption
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates may have been pricey at first, but they are becoming increasingly common these days. Some web hosting plans will offer free SSL encryption as part of the deal, while others offer SSL as an add-on with a recurring cost. Additionally, there are different types of SSL encryption with different prices. Whether you are purchasing your own certificate from a third-party provider or going with your web host’s recommended option, we strongly suggest you add SSL to your website – it adds that extra layer of trust between you and your visitors, especially if there is anywhere on your website that users will have to enter sensitive information into. Securing your website with SSL not only gives your website that green “Trusted” badge, it also improves your website’s visibility on search engines.
Forgetting to Back Up Regularly
Backups are an often-forgotten necessity of web hosting. It is easy to be too caught up in the process of rolling out a website that we forget to cast our safety nets. However, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst, just in case something happens and you lose your website content. If the unforeseen happens but you manage to restore everything from a backup, you’ll thank yourself later.
Setting up your website for regular backups can be as easy as making a few clicks and having everything run automatically for you. This is especially for CMS (like WordPress) which allow you to backup off server to other cloud services. Why should you always backup off server? Well, if there was to ever be a serous issue with a server, you can restore your website to any other server quickly and easily. You also control the backups and therefor your host can’t try to lock you in.
Picking the Wrong Server
Some web hosts will give you the option of selecting the location of your server, especially if you are purchasing a VPS or dedicated hosting plan, or they will specialize in servers for specific locations.
While it may seem like a trivial thing at first, the location of your server comes into play when your website gets booming and draws in thousands of visitors. The nearer your server to your visitors, the faster your website will load for them. Whether it’s getting your page to climb to the top rank of searches or ensuring that your visitors have a smooth experience, those few precious milliseconds of loading time can make all the difference. Not all web hosts will allow you to change your server location once you have decided on one, so do some planning beforehand and select a server that will be closest to the majority of your projected visitors.
Choosing the Wrong Hosting Plan
The myriad of hosting plans available can seem confusing, but in our experience, it is usually better to overestimate than underestimate and run out of resources. Before you get started on purchasing a hosting plan, be sure to read up thoroughly about the different types of hosting plans and what you need to look out for in a web hosting provider. Be clear about what you plan to do with your website and what services you will need, so that you can pick the perfect hosting plan that allows your website to grow without being underutilized.
Not Getting Your Own Domain
No top-level domain is free, which can deter some users from getting their own domain name. Instead, they may choose to settle for “free” subdomains, where their website name is simply a subdomain of the web host. This may be suitable for casual hobbyists or those who are simply trying out web hosting before committing to it.
However, if you are getting serious about your website, buying a top-level domain is a necessary investment. For one, loading onto a free subdomain betrays a lack of professionalism to anyone who visits your website. It also hurts your website’s rankings on search engines, as subdomains typically do not rank as high as top-level domains. With your own domain, you can even have a customized email address to step up your marketing game, as well as domain branding that you own and control. As time goes on, if the website is popular, the domain itself can become a valuable asset.